Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fox Valley Marathon Race Report

I'm no longer a marathon virgin!
After I stopped crying

It was so much harder than I thought and took me a half an hour longer than I anticipated, but I'm so happy it's over with.  I did this. No one else could do it for me.

But I have to say that having awesome friends helps.

Like Kim, who despite running 31 miles yesterday, got up early to cheer me on.

Or MacKenna, who rode her bike along the course. I saw her probably 20 times, and she had an inspiring word every time I encountered her.

Or Jenny, who told me at the beginning that she was proud of me already. When I saw her around my 20 mile mark (she was running a 20-mile race), it totally recharged my batteries.

Or my parents and Tim, who met me multiple places around the course, taking photos and then driving me home because I couldn't.

Or Rachael, who couldn't make it, but had a beautiful fruit basket (with chocolate ... that kid knows me too well) delivered to my house. Seriously made me cry.
I got up at 4:45, ate and drove the half hour to St. Charles. Parking was easy, plentiful and free. You have to love local races, for that and things like this:

I took some photos with the Chicago Running Bloggers, too.

The race was a wave start, so I lined up with the four-hour group. I was so optimistic, but in my heart, I knew I wouldn't make it.

Early on, I was pretty happy
Things were fine, until I had to go to the bathroom just after mile nine. I lost my pace group, and kind of lost my groove. I struggled. I ran when I could, and I walked when I had to. I took a shot blok every other mile starting mile five, swapping that out for a chocolate gel at 11ish and a 20 something.

I felt a pop in my left calf around mile 18, which felt ominous. It started to hurt.  It felt tight. I felt spent.  I wondered why I signed up for this, why I wanted to do this.  I don't even know what compelled me to keep going, other than MacKenna telling me I was close, and my dad saying there was no turning back, or Tim and my mom waving at me, or Kim telling me I looked strong.

I had to take a second bathroom break somewhere in there too, which annoyed me even more.  By the time I got into the 20s, I was so ready to be done.

Less happy, but faking it
Turning onto the street with the finish line was amazing. There were tons of people yelling my name (I'm not sure how they knew it, the bibs were a bit tiny) and it pushed me to the finish.

As soon as I finished, I got a medal, someone took my recyclable timing chip and I promptly started crying. My legs and feet hurt so bad. And I was emotional in general.  I gathered my stuff with my dad's help, got my timing sheet and collected some food. I wasn't a big fan of the food - only one type of bagel, no fruit and no protein shakes.  Just water, gatorade, bags of chips and cookies and soda. I couldn't stomach it.

The volunteer support at this race is unreal - there are so many people out there helping, cheering and passing out stuff.

My time was 4:30:58, which is funny, because I told Tim last night that if it was 11:30 and he hadn't seen me, something was wrong.

My splits say it all: I was doing well for the first five, started to fade by the half and really started to suck it by the last 3.7 miles.  My overall pace was 10:20.

Cost: I think $95, I registered in January

Time: 4:30:41

Pros: Free and easy parking, great volunteer/crowd support, lots of places to watch the race from, supportive vendors, nice medal, personalized bibs, nice shirt, shaded course

Cons: Tiny bib (so people couldn't see your name), not a great variety of post-race food, I was lead to believe there was beer at the finish ... you had to go to a local bar to cash in

Would I do it again: Once this pain subsides, perhaps. It was a great race.

16 comments:

Losing Lindy said...

Congratulations! It was great to meet you.I am sorry I lost you all.

Xaarlin said...

Congrats on the race! Marathons are strange creatures, and no matters how prepared you are, you never will fully know what will happen in the later miles. You did amazing out there :) go celebrate!!!! You deserve it!

Maggie Wolff said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! That is an awesome time!!!!! You should be SUPER PROUD!!! I'm super proud of you! Was the course pretty?

Erin said...

You did GREAT! That time for a first marathon is stellar. The first one is a great unknown. You just never know how your body and your mind will react. But now that you know, you can sign up for another one :-) After you bask in the glory of this one for a bit, though.

Michelle Dragoo said...

So proud of you!!!! You did amazing!

kilax said...

MARATHONER! Congrats!!!!

That stupid stupid pesky left foot. UGH! What are we going to do with it?! It sounds like you were starting to struggle with the mental game, then the foot pain came in. I do hop you keep us updated on it (and we need WAY more details about the race than this!).

I have often wondered how I would do at a marathon if I could just stick with a pace group and not lose them at the bathroom like I always do! Someday! They do say most pacers finish on their own, and that was what I saw today at the finish.

You have a great marathon finish time, but like you said, it was not what you anticipated. I hope you do feel super proud of yourself. Marathons are HARD and you never know what the day will bring.

I was so happy to see you had so much support out there! A lot of love in your life.

Congrats on your first marathon!!!

Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl said...

You did amazing yesterday! Love that pic of you waving, you look like you're having the time of your life!

skinnyrunner said...

syou are a marathoner!! congratulations, its such a wonderful feeling!

bobbi said...

You should be amazingly proud of what you accomplished yesterday! YOU ROCK HARD CORE! It was so much fun cheering you across the line!

Congrats marathoner!!!!

Ginger Foxxx said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! You really did an amazing job! Those last 6 miles can be SO painful, and you didn't let it stop you!! I hope it was everything you hoped for, and i hope you will run more in your future!! :)

Unknown said...

Congratulations!!! You're a marathoner and an inspiration :) Have you registered for your next marathon yet? ;)

-Irina

Angela said...

Congratulations on your first marathon!! Huge accomplishment. I am so jealous too, because I've been training for my first and am sidelined by plantar fasciitis. I know how hard you must have worked to get to the race ready to run and achieve the time you did. Kudos to you!

hungryveganrunner said...

Congratulations on your first marathons!! AMAZING job! :)

Kristen L said...

Congratulations on finishing your first marathon!! I'm training for my first one in December, so it is fun to read other people's recaps from their races.

Kristen L said...

Congratulations on finishing your first marathon! What an accomplishment!! I'm training for my first marathon in December, so it is really fun to read other people's race recaps!

Emily said...

Congrats on the 1st Marathon!!! My first marathon time was only 20 seconds faster - we could have been marathon buddies! I'm training for Boston - probably 2015 as I'm running Chicago this year to qualify but it's after registration. Ah well, it'll just give me more time to get another marathon or two in!