My Favorite Quote:

"There is an inner beauty about a woman who believes in herself, who knows she is capable of anything that she puts her mind to. There is a beauty in the strength and determination of a woman who follows her own path, who isn't thrown off by obstacles along the way. There is a beauty about a woman whose confidence comes from experiences; who knows she can fall, pick herself up, and move on."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Marathon #1: Twin Cities Marathon

Mile 6 - on pace and feeling good!
It was an absolutely beautiful day for a marathon in the Twin Cities!  The leaves were changing colors, the sun was out, the weather was warm, and the spectators (300,000 of them) were in full force.  The course was beautiful including Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake Nokomis!

My husband Eric and his buddy Bill were out on the course equipped with a cow bell and a camera.  My brother Paul was also running the marathon, but we failed to find each other at the start and finish and never saw each other that day.  I also had aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends cheering me on.  I was amazed at the support.

The start of the race was surreal.  I couldn't get up past the 4:15 pacer, so I had to start back further than I wanted.  I had planned to find Paul at the 3:50 pacer, but we were packed in like sardines.  The other runners were cheering as we started to run across the starting line.  I was bogged down and not able to get to my pace the first mile, but I tried not to worry about it.  I actually stopped at the porta-potty at mile 2.  I lost more time there.  But I kicked it in and caught back up to goal pace (8:50/mile) by the 10K mark.  I saw Eric at mile 6 and my friend Ingrid at mile 10.  I couldn't decide to ditch the arm sleeves or not.  I kept pulling them up and down as the temps changed around the lakes and on the parkway.

I was surprised when I reached Cedar Ave.  It came up fast and I was excited to get my half split.  As I crossed the bridge to round the south end of Lake Nokomis, I felt a twinge of pain in my left knee.  I stopped to restrap my self-made cho-pat and moved on.  I stopped to walk right before the 13.1 chip mat (which was dumb!)  I started up again and tried to push through!  I saw my old college roommate, Rachel, a few steps later and threw my arm sleeves to her.  

I continued on and by mile 14 I was limping.  I went into a walk/run mode.  As the pain increased, it became 1 minute on, 1 minute off.  I tried to keep a sub 9 minute pace and it worked for a short while.  It became increasingly worse as my right knee started to feel the patellar tendon pain as well.  I made sure to walk infront of all the EMS staff, so that I wouldn't get pulled from the race.  My walking breaks became longer and because the running caused limping, my ankles started to hurt.  By mile 19, I could only run 10 steps until the pain ceased up the knee and locked it in place.  Walking became my only option and it didn't hurt to walk unless it was downhill.  

At mile 19, I gave up my goals - but only for this race!  I thought about how far away the finish line was and I had to make the decision if I was going to go for it.  I started pumping my arms and headed to St. Paul!  I won't lie, it hurt to use those neglected walking muscles for a fast 7.2 mile hike!  I watched 1700 runners pass me and that hurt a bit.  It hurt a lot.  Spectators were commenting to me to "RUN!" and I couldn't.  I saw my aunt and uncle, my dad's cousin, my friends Rachel and Ingrid (again), and fellow dailymilers Renee, Dave, Clem, and Cristy along Summit Ave.  It was so great to see them all as I walked by!

Walking as fast as I could to the finish!
I stopped at a porta-potty one last time at mile 23.  I figured I had time :-)  I thought the finish line would never come.  I had to walk down the final hill into the finish chute.  It hurt so bad because the downhill really tugs on the tendon.  I started limping during my walk, but I figured no one could pull me out at this point.  I picked up into a run shortly before the finish line so that I could finish it running.  It hurt, but I didn't care.

Once I was handed my medal, I felt funny.  I didn't feel worthy.  I had walked 1/3 of the distance.  I didn't get to run a distance that was longer than my distance PR.  I was heart broken and emotional.  I wasn't tired and I wasn't sweaty.  I also mis-communicated with my husband and it took 1 1/2 hours to find him for the hug I desperately needed.  Once Eric and Bill found me, we took plenty of pictures and I did smile :-)  It was hard though.

Over the past 24 hours, I've thought about the journey and what it meant to me.  I accepted that my first marathon was not perfect.  I finished it.  I also realized that the training was much harder than the actual event.  As I pulled my training plan off of my refrigerator, I looked at all of the miles that I had crossed off in completion.  AMAZING!  Hundreds of miles I ran in preparation.  Hours and hours of sweat and sacrifice.  I accomplished something pretty darn cool between May and Oct of 2010.  I am now a marathoner.  And I have battle scars to prove it...

Event: Twin Cities Marathon
Theme Song: "I've Gotta Feeling" - Black Eyed Peas
Place: Minneapolis, MN
Date: Sunday, October 3, 2010
Time: 8:00am
Overall Place:  5708 of 8197
Gender Place:  2018 of 3389
Division Place (F3539):  348 of 532
10K Split:  54:48
Half Split:  1:54:57
20 Mile Split:  3:05:39
Final Time:  4:35:50 (10:32 avg. pace)

My First Marathon (pre-race thoughts)

Monday, September 27, 2010
I sit here in the final week of my taper and I am as nervous as it gets.  I can't believe what I've accomplished up to this point.  I never thought I'd be running a marathon.  The thought actually never crossed my mind until this past winter when I made the decision to do it.  I look at the training plan that I just completed and I think that alone is an even greater accomplishment than the race I am about to run.

I have trained well enough to know that I will not just run this marathon, but I will "race" it and go for my Boston Qualifying time.  I have followed the training plan to the "T".  I have driven the course.  I ran the final 6 miles of the course, which included the section called the "wall".  I have practiced my walking and fueling strategies for the race and so far the weather forecast is desirable.

My one obstacle and bit of anxiety at this point is my knee injury - patellar tendinopathy.  The pain has gone from hurting before and after my runs, to hurting during my runs.  I am nervous that the pain will disable me during the race.  I have a chiropractor appointment on Wednesday to see if he can relieve some of the pain for the race.

Wednesday, September 29
I went to my chiropractor today and felt good about what he told me.  I should have no problem completing the race on Sunday at my goal pace.  I ran a 2 miler this afternoon and my knee felt better after being worked on and stretched out.  I just finished icing it and I am feeling confident for race day.  Now I just have to wait!

Friday, October 1
I just finished reading some posts on dailymile.  This community is awesome.  If I didn't have a large group of crazy runners to share this with, then it just wouldn't be the same.  I've been reading Good Luck posts from those that are running and not running this weekend.  I've been reading posts on fear, personal achievement, excitement, and just plain anxious to do this race!  I feel all of these emotions as well and I am happy to be a part of it all.

This afternoon, I am meeting my brother Paul and his wife Ieva at the packet pickup.  Paul is also running the marathon and was my motivation to complete my long runs.  We never ran together during our training, but knowing that he was successfully completing the long runs is what pushed me through them.  Considering I wrote his training plan, I knew I better get it done myself!

Saturday, October 2
Packet pickup was fun, despite my one year old screaming like an injured animal through most of it.  I picked up my 26.2 sticker to display proudly when I am done!

My husband and I met my brother Paul and his wife Ieva for a carbo load at the Olive Garden.  My mom and Paul's buddy Andy joined us as well.  My mom took my boys for the night so that Eric can watch me tomorrow in peace.  The dinner was as chaotic as it gets with two toddlers, but I managed to eat!

Sunday, October 3
I am not nervous at all.  I am prepared and ready.  Let's do this!