Sunday, December 9, 2012


Steph and I decided to head to Delaware on Friday afternoon so we could have a carby dinner in Rehoboth and get to bed at a decent time. I got to meet the lovely Theodora and Laura, both of whom I've heard about/read about in Steph and Fiona's blogs. Always happy to make new runner friends, and these two (who are now part of my 5 readers) are both hilarious!
My survival kit for the trip down (the trip-home kit included a lot more junk food!):

Rehoboth was looking very festive
Theodora introduced us to two more runner friends, Ericka and Lindsey and we all loaded up on pasta for dinner:
I think we all managed to sleep pretty well. I thought I might be too nervous, but I was a) not nervous and b) completely exhausted. When we woke up in the morning, I did not want to eat because I was still full but they made me (thank you, I knew I needed the fuel!).  Note: ww bread, banana slices, and Nutella is the breakfast of champions. 
I was so excited to wear my bright yellow shirt, pink compression calf sleeves, and sparkly headband! I loaded my SPIbelt and sports bra (BAD, BAD idea) with gels and we headed off to the start. 
Picture right after our last minute bathroom stop:
I lost my sparkly headband :(
I decided to start a bit apart from my running buddies because I wanted to run my own race, whether that meant faster or slower than them...first marathon and all, I didn't want to be influenced by anyone else. I didn't wear my Garmin, but did wear a watch with a timer and my goal was to keep every mile right around 9 minutes for the first half, then step it up a bit until 18 or 20, then a bit more, then give everything I had for 24-finish...but no idea if this is a feasible plan. Can one actually run hard after 24 miles? We'll see. Also, the goal I told people was "I just want to sub-4" but secretly I hoped I could beat that 22-mile run prediction of under 3:50. 

Internal monologue for the next ~4 hours:
*1: shit, I have to pee. No you don't, you JUST went. Shut up.
*2: ugh, can't wait til I'm at 6, I know I'll feel better then
*3: my hamstrings really hurt
*5-6: ok, finally settling in and feeling good about this. Maybe going too fast
*8-10: slow the f&*k down, you will not keep this pace the whole time! This is where the half-marathoners turn around, they are jerks.
*11-13: I can't slow down! You have to, just let people pass you (I let a couple wearing red pass me and then tried to keep them within 50 feet of me)
*14-15: omg, why is there this hill here? I love hills but this one sucks. And running down it hurts even more, shitshitshit my shins hurt! Dammit, the guy in red stopped to pee by the trail so now he's behind me. I wish I could pee on the trail.
*16-18: red guy caught up to red girl so I'm following them again. My hamstrings and one calf/achilles hurt. Stop whining, this is not supposed to be easy. Ok, now we're counting down miles. 8.2 to go
*18-22: to paraphrase the NY Times, how is my pacing? Will there be more hills? Am I going to hit that "wall" soon? WHY AM I DOING THIS???? (actually, I'm kind of loving it) And I left the red couple in the dust
*23: watch says 3:20. Holy hell, I can beat my secret goal if nothing falls apart. *mental prep for the hardest 1/2-hour I've ever experienced
*24: cruising through a picturesque, misty field, mostly alone, it feels nice. I'm glad there is a cooling mist...lots of people are walking here, I want to grab them and drag them with me. Dammit, where is the 25 marker?
*25: lots of walkers, and I'm passing plenty of runners at this point...they call out that I'm doing great, being really encouraging, it feels really nice (I do it back!). But seriously you guys, where is 26???
*26: there it is, and the finish line is just around the bend, and there are lots of cheering spectators and ohmygod this is happening
*26.2 in 3:48:09!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One reason small races are amazing because you get to hear your name as you're approaching the finish line. I grabbed a bottle of water, my medal, a Mylar blanket, and walked around in circles for a bit. Then I stood at the finish line to cheer for people and look for my friends. One little girl, about 4 years old, jumped in and crossed the finish line with her cute! Another point for small races:

*Begin somewhat personal reflection: Watching all these people cross the finish line, some like it was nothing, some nearly collapsing, some cheering and some point, it really sank in...last spring/summer, I hoped for under 4:15...sometime in late summer I started thinking I could do it in 4 hours but then I got hurt. Part of me feels like I don't know how I beat my secret goal, since I didn't follow any training schedule that well. But I also know that I give my body the breaks it needs, and when I am running, I push myself and make the miles count. This year had its ups (mostly ups!) but some pretty difficult downs too, and even though that's in the past, this accomplishment was something I really, really wanted. So yeah, I got emotional standing there, and there may have been a minute of some teary eyes (the good kind, I was really proud of myself) but then a guy Gangnam'ed across the finish line and I snapped back to the moment. end personal shit*

I waited for the rest of my new friends (actually, Lindsey had finished in under 3:30, and Theodora had dropped to the half so they were already in the finish tent). I saw Steph, Laura, and Ericka cross the finish line (right around 4:13) and we all went into the tent. There was mac 'n cheese and pulled pork but I couldn't eat. I finished my water and took a Sprite for the sugar. I went into the physical therapy tent for some stretching, where they were worried because my lips were blue and I was visibly shaking. One of the therapists laid her fleece jacket over me and brought something to keep my head warm while I was getting worked on. I was pretty unhappy at this point, soooo unbelievably cold, nauseated, and kind of light headed. Full disclosure...I did throw up. Guess I know I gave it everything, huh?
After a shower and a nap while the other girls showered, we were on the road. First stop:
We got Arby's for real(ish?) food, and had a lot of snacks in our car. When we got back to Manhattan, I jumped in a cab and went directly to Brooklyn for the annual holiday dinner I have with my oldest NY friends. Luckily they're like family, so rolling in in flip flops, sweats, and a hoodie was acceptable. Oh, and I wore my medal all day :)

Turkey Trot and marathon prep

The cancellation of the NYC marathon was national news, so no point in writing about that little drama. I strongly disagreed that it should be held, and decided about 6 hours prior to the cancellation that I was going to defer to 2013, and spend that Sunday volunteering in some way instead. I followed NYC Marathon of Relief on Facebook, and ended up heading out to Staten Island on Sunday with hundreds of other runners. It was a really interesting day: I met some wonderful people, said hi to Amby Burfoot, felt really productive helping out, but at the same time it was pretty emotionally difficult to meet nice people and families who had lost so much. I've been there twice now, and would like to go more because help will be needed for awhile, but there are apparently some concerns about dust and air quality right now so I'm holding off. It was really beautiful to see so many runners come and help out.

Staten Island Ferry Terminal, pretty much all runners:

When NY was cancelled, a lot of people chose races the following weekend...Fiona went to Richmond, other friends went to Harrisburg, and I heard that Indianapolis opened more spots to NY runners. When I'd debated deferring NYCM, Steph had mentioned she wanted to run Rehoboth Beach on December 8th. I decided to join her there, since it would give me time to make up for my injured time off. 

I still didn't train all that well, mostly focused on my long runs and couple of short, fast runs (more on that in a moment). I sucked at doing tempos-when I did them, they were great, but I just rarely did. My peak long run, 22 miles, went incredibly well. I felt strong, not too exhausted in the last few, and I ran them at an average of 8:40. I entered that into some run calculator to see what my marathon time would be if I kept that up. 3:49:something. I hardly dared to hope, especially since I have no clue what those next 4.2 miles feel like! I did feel confident about my ability to sub-4 though. 

I decided to stay in NY for Thanksgiving this year, for various, school work, just generally wanting to relax. Last year in Iceland was unreal but I hoped to get in some good quality time with friends and get a lot done. Thanksgiving morning, I ran the Prospect Park turkey trot with a friend. I thought it was a 5K but luckily realized the day before that it was 5 miles. No big deal, just glad I caught that before the middle of the race! I slept at Hanna's, and then we ran to the start to get some extra distance in. That was my first small race, where I started right at the start line-it was great, no one in my way! I chose to not wear my Garmin, and the mile markers were easy to miss, so I really didn't know how I was doing. I knew it was hard, but had no idea if that was because I was going fast, or because I was tired/out of shape (what??)/hungover...
Turns out it was hard because I was FAST (for me)!!! I finished in 38:03, 7:36 minute miles. I was really excited for that. Then I went home, made an amazing dinner and dessert from scratch, and dragged it to the UWS for a friend, and he and I just watched movies and ate a lot. All in all, an awesome Thanksgiving day. 
Apparently, I HAVE to look at the camera button when taking a picture with my phone: