Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Race Report: Portland Marathon - the extended version

The day before: Portland is only a 2 hour drive from my hometown, but I am not very familiar with the city so we got there a little early to allow some time to drive the course. It looked pretty good. Lots of long flat stretches, with only one notable hill around mile 16. Nothing to be worried about. Checked into the hotel and hit up the expo. It was only around 3:00, but it was beginning to feel like a very long day and I decided right then and there that next time I have a marathon over an hour away I'm traveling two days before so I have the whole marathon eve day sans travel. Finally got some pizza for dinner and went back to the hotel to set up my gear and chillax. I was actually pretty calm, but I had a hard time falling asleep. I had some crazy ass sneezing attack that lasted almost 1/2 hour. I think they needed to clean their ventilation system or something because the air felt dusty. Ugh. Finally fell asleep around 11:00 and slept surprisingly well. Lots of visualization of strong running and joyously bounding across the finish line under 4:30. Marathon morning: Got up at 4am. Got ready. SUPER NERVOUS now.

I seriously didn't know if I wanted to poop or vomit for a good 45 minutes. As we were walking to the start (~1 mile) my stomach started FREAKING out. I've never been so nervous about anything in my life!

I had to stop at a hotel on the way to the start to go poop one last time. I was in major nerves-ville. Can you tell?! note about the outfit: I bought a cheap sweat suit and hat from target to throw away at the start so I didn't have to stand around in the chilly air freezing my buns off. I looked like a total nerd, but while everyone was standing around trying to stay warm I was nice and toasty. Suckas.
Once I got to the start area I did some plyos and light jogging to warm up my muscles and that really helped calm my nerves. Finally; I kissed my hubby good-bye, got my good luck wishes and went into the start area. I lined up with the 4:30 pace group. I was intending to stay with them and then if I had it in me in the last 3 miles speed up and give it all I had. My nerves had turned into confidence and I was so ready to do this.
Marathon:
note: I didn't set my Garmin to record any mile splits, I just wanted to keep an eye on my average pace (which was to be 10:18)
Miles 1 - 7: I have never run in a pace group before and it was so interesting. Everyone was kind of jocking for positions. I started out in the back and was just watching peoples feet in front of me hoping they didn't fall or trip and take me out. It was kinda crazy. Around mile 3 I had to go pee. Frick. I was so irritated with myself. There was a bunch of port-o-johns with no line at mile 5 so I ran across the course to pee quickly and forcefully. Obviously I lost the pace group, but I settled back into a 10:15 pace and felt great.
Miles 7 - 12: Around mile 7 my legs began to get a little heavy. I was actually slowed down to a 10:20 pace and was trying to figure out why I was feeling so fatigued. It was getting worse by the minute and I was starting to get pissed. What was going wrong? There was a turnaround at mile 9 that I was headed for which meant I could see all the faster runners on the other side of the road. I was trying to draw so much strength from them. They all looked so strong and graceful and I was feeling like a pile of lead. I kept pushing thinking my legs would come back and reward me for the last two weeks of downtime I gave them.
Mile 12: This was my lowest moment of the race. I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain this for the next 14 miles. My HR was already hoovering in the 180's and I was only maintaining around a 10:20 pace (slowly drifting though). I realized this was not going to be my day to hit 4:30 at this point. My legs were not having any of it. I saw my husband shortly after this point and I shed a few tears at the realization that all the work I had done to get here was not going to come to fruition this morning.
I really wanted to quit. Why bother going through with it? In the end I couldn't. I couldn't stop thinking about all the time, money and support that my husband invested into this goal. It was going to happen at least on some level. I shed my tears and slowed down.
Miles 13 - 19: After I came to terms with my loss of 4:30, I just plugged along. I walked through the water stations and gritted through it. As if my legs failing me weren't enough, I started getting THE WORST blisters I've ever experienced in my life! I could actually feel them pulsing and filling with fluid. My racing flats were failing me big time. I refused to alter my gait to accommodate them so I just literally gritted my teeth and tried to block them out.
Mile 20 - 21: This was another major low point in the race. I had enough of the blisters and I was just feeling sorry for myself. I was beginning to walk more and more. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. Half-way through mile 20, I saw one of my friends from my running group. She ran to me and walked beside me for a minute. I will forever be indebted to her for the words of encouragement she offered me at this point.
Her: "You look strong girl. Keep going." Lie
Me: Wiping tears and snot from my face "This is not my day"
Her: "Yes it is! You got this. Your gonna just do a mile repeat. Run a mile repeat and then when you get to the downhill you can relax. Then your going to run another mile repeat at the bottom. That will put you at mile 23 and your going to bring it home."
Me: "ok"
Her: "feel sorry for yourself until mile 21 marker and then go."
Me: "ok" wipe tears and snot again. start running.
Mile 23: See my husband again. Feeling better.
Timing chip: 4:47:20/10:58 av pace
Garmin: 4:47:22/26.52 miles/10:50 av pace Ugh, I can't believe I ran an extra 1/4 of a mile.
Post-Marathon: These pictures say it all..........
After I took my shoes off I was much happier!
Post-marathon thoughts: Even though my marathon didn't turn out like I was expecting I did get faster training for it and that is a MAJOR SUCCESS. Right now I am swearing off marathons forever. I don't think my body was made for them. Will I do another, more than likely. My blisters are healing, but my ego is still bruised. I know you can't will em' all, but I am disappointed that I was not able to dig a little deeper. Of course I feel better about it very minute and when I think about the pain I was in for the majority of the race, I am actually quite surprised that I pulled out what I did.
This spring I'm concentrating on speed. Lots of short courses. 5k's, 10k's, halfs. Bring It.
I'm calling it....
Project Suck IT - The Sequel "Ones best success comes after their greatest disappointment"
Lastly, I just really want to say thanks to all you guys. Whenever I was feeling down or discouraged you all were there to pick me up and your support really meant the world to me. You guys are awesome!

34 comments:

Tara said...

You know, we have good days and we have bad days and whether you realize it or not, you had a great day! You took 49 minutes off of your PR girl! Good for you and don't ever discount yourself! I am proud of you.
You realized and accepted that you would not make your goal time, but you re-evaluated and kept going. That is a true athlete. A lot of people might have given up, but for you to take a look at what all you have put into training for the race.....well that shows true charachter! CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR MARATHON GIRL! :)

Tara said...

BTW-your feet are damn ugly; mine already look like that. I don't even want to think what they will look like after my marathon. I love your pics!

Amanda said...

Holy hot sweatsuit and sexy blisters:) I'm sorry you didn't meet your goal, it sucks when you're just not feeling it on race day. That is great that you stuck it out and finished though, and that you got faster. Congrats on your marathon finish, that's a HUGE accomplishment!

Hi! I'm Erin said...

You finished a marathon with horrible blisters on your feet! I say that's a HUGE accomplishment!

You're also the second person whose blog I read to not meet their time goals at a marathon this past weekend. Must have been something in the air.

the gazelle said...

ha! I thought my feet looked bad post marathon! :)

You did great, and it sounds like we had a very similar race! Way to shed all that time off your PR - and way to finish through adversity!

Meg Runs said...

You struggled, you blistered, you hit the bottom and bounced back up to finish. Not everyone can run a marathon...get job getting out there! Thankgoodness for good running pals and husbands...what's next? Start thinking of the next one...

Sarah said...

Your poor poor feet! Honestly - don't be so hard on yourself! YOU RAN A MARATHON!! It's AMAZING and inspiring and fantastic. Congrats on your fantastic accomplishment!

Jamie said...

Holy blisters!!! Girl, you did amazing! You pushed and finished STRONG on a day you sure as hell didn't want to. Even though you didn't make the "A" goal you took an incredible amount of time off from your previous marathon. It totally sucks (and hurts) when you don't hit that goal but it does get better each day. I promise. Congrats on your very impressive marathon finish!

Molly said...

I am so impressed with your race! First, you beat your PR - with nasty ass blisters! ouch. Second, you kept it up the whole time, and you didn't quit even when that thought got into your brain. The sweatsuit was a good idea too, you looked like a seventh grader in gym class. : )

Niki said...

Great job on finishing your marathon girl! And your time is awesome even if it is a little longer than you had planned!! Your poor feet! You need to baby those puppies!! Looking forward to project suck it the sequel!!

Running and living said...

I think you ran a great race. A 45 min PR is amazing! It's so hard to run with blisters (my feet looked like yours after Boston); mostly, it is superhard to keep running when you realize you can't meet your goal. But you did it! And that shows mental toughness. Rest up!

jeff said...

yowch. those blisters look hard core. you got it done, though, and faster to boot.

what is with race/long run mornings and our poop routines, though? having to poop three or four times before running? really? c'mon, body, get a clue. i'm sitting on the toilet here, can't you get your sh*t together? i mean, literally? let me do the job all at once, not in frantic bursts. sometimes i think the pre-race nerves and the results of those nerves are harder than the race itself.

Running Diva Mom said...

You are awesome -- congratulations!!! I'm also glad to hear that I'm not the only one that has tummy issues pre-race and I also took blister photos post-race from my marathon -- very similar! You did awesome and be very proud of yourself. You're an inspiration!!

ShutUpandRun said...

You did it!! You finished. The best part about it is that when you had your really down time at mile 12 and on you worked through it and made it to the end. The next time you race and feel that way (if you do) you will always know that you felt bad and still kept on. Good for you and great race report. I was cracking up at the Target sweat suit. That's a real gem.

Amy said...

I know it's so hard and discouraging when you don't hit a "goal time" but I am glad you realized YOU FRICKEN PR'ed AND STILL DID AMAZING! Plus, hello, those blisters???? Wowza. I am SOOOOOO proud of you. You didn't give up and you finished with a PR. You are awesome.

I RUN LIKE A GIRL said...

I'm sorry you didnt finish in your goal time - but you never gave up and FINISHED the race!! That's AWESOME. If it makes you feel any better - You look SO freakin cute when you run!!

Congrats on finishing and pushing through it mentally. Now, you are going to ROCK the 5 and 10k's!!!

Kelly said...

Oh man- I'm sorry you didn't reach your goal but you still accomplished something again, that most people never do. You should be proud of yourself!
have you ever done a triathlon? That could be a fun challenge and not as crazy on the body as a marathon (I mean a sprint haha, an ironman would be much worse on the body haha)

joyRuN said...

Holy shit, Kristen. Your poor feet :( Those blisters are fucking insane.

Congrats on the HUGE PR, girl! I loved the pics - you looked like the epitome of DETERMINATION.

aron said...

great report girl and i am soooo there with you. it really sucks when all that hard work goes out the door at mile 12 - its just so heartbreaking. but you are definitely stronger from it and you still did AMAZING! i mean a marathon is awesome and a huge PR like that is even more awesome!! congrats and be proud of yourself :)

love that quote too...

Chic Runner said...

We all have these days, and unfortunately, yours was on the day when you had to run 26.2 miles. This is like the same feelings I had with San Diego. I was so sad and tired and just horrible the whole way through, and what do you know, I am considering another marathon.

You toughed it out and that is much much more important in the long run! :) GREAT job! A marathon is still a MARATHON no matter what!

X-Country2 said...

Oh man, what a great race report. You should be extremely proud of yourself. There's a reason very few people run a marathon. You're one of them.

Christy said...

HOLY S*&#!!! Your feet look so painful!

I just have to say you are truly amazing! I already told you that I totally look up to you, and now I just think are are even more awesome!!! Way to tough it out. I think you were so smart to buy some sweats to throw away at the start! I never would have thought of that. Way to go on finishing the race! :-)

Oh, and thanks for all the support and prayers you have sent my way. And thank you so much for all the quitting smoking advice! I know its gross! Ugh! It stinks so bad! How did you not gain weight when you quit?

Have a fabulous weekend!

seejessrun said...

Now that I have a keyboard, I can finally say great job, Kristen! I love the pics and your report got me excited to race again. Don't rule out marathons just yet. :)

Tracey- TropicalHappiness.com said...

When your bruised ego heals and you are "unbruised" remind yourself that you COMPLETED A MARATHON. YOU DIDN'T QUIT WHEN YOU WANTED TO GIVE UP. YOU WALKED THROUGH BLISTERS AND PAIN. YOU FINISHED. Those are major accomplishments and those are things to be proud of!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) CONGRATS!

Ali said...

Congratulations! You look fabulous in the pics. I loved reading your report.

Those are some seriously ouchy blisters.

Well done!

Irene said...

I can't believe you are beating yourself up about time. You finished a marathon!!! Be proud of yourself. I can't even get my 5K time right...

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KAT said...

Honestly, I think you did awesome in retrospect- you went out there and ran through some serious pain- those blisters were KILLER! I'm kind of impressed...

Teamarcia said...

You've accomplished something 99% of the population never will. Marathons are HARD. Despite what you think, you did awesome!

Kelly said...

Yay for the new foam roller!
PS. I would never directly give my blog to parents at my school I was just more wondering if other teachers worry about them finding it.

KK said...

Girl, you are awesome. Wanting to quit at mile 12 is not easy to overcome for 14 more miles. But you did it. You stifled that nasty little voice, you put thoughts of your husband first and you ignored every ounce of pain coursing through your body to get yourself to that finish line, not too far off that 4:30 goal. I know it is disappointing to have to abandon a goal you have worked so hard for, but a true athlete is flexible and readjusts according to new circumstances and never gives up in the process. And that's precisely what you did. Now finish off that box of Haggen Daas ice cream bars, wash it down with a bottle of cabernet and polish that medal; you earned it! Congrats!

Alisa said...

I've had the pleasure (NOT) of also feeling pulsating blisters during marathons 1 and 2.

I really think you did tremendously! Look at that HUGE PR and smile! Project SUCK IT worked for you. You gained strength and speed.

I forsee sub 4:30 in your future for sure!

D10 said...

sorry this is a little late:( Those blisters would make anyone want to sit down and cry. Way to push on. Hope your feet are feeling much better now. You did great.

Alaskan Assassin said...

Go with the Drymax socks. They really do work and you will not have blisters next time.

That is awesome that you kept going even with all of the problems. The marathon is a tough distance to nail down.