Alternate Titles – 5 Seconds Saved Me (instead of last year’s Four Minutes Away title) Or
Monica’s Last Marathon
Early this morning I woke up and did my pre-race thing – clothes, bathroom, food. Then, I woke up Ben and Matt (my lil’ bro who’s staying with me this weekend) and we headed to Long Beach.
I started off way too fast (like always!!!) and really really tried to slow myself down. I even used my whole name to scold myself in my inner dialogue. I kept looking at my Garmin and trying to get it to around my goal pace of 8:59, but had a hard time.
The boys met me at mile 12 where it loops around. I planned on handing Ben my water bottle for a refill and coming back around for it.
When I saw Ben I was still booking it and he said I was in front of the 3:45 pacer. <- If you’re a runner you might realize this is a HUGE mistake. Going out too fast NEVER banks time it only shreds your legs and ends in regret (at least for me).
I planned on taking a gel every 5 miles, but the warm day and chocolate flavored gels stored against my sweaty body made for gross mouthfuls. Plus, I normally take gels every 6 miles in training so this difference made me feel bloated and nauseas.
But, my big butt kept going. (Thanks for that shot Ben, I appreciate having to look at it as much as the people behind me in the race did. No wonder I kept getting passed…)
I knew about the hill around mile 17. This is where I fell apart last year. Mentally and physically I couldn’t keep pushing.
And it happened again.
I went from 8:45 minute/miles to 10:30s and couldn’t get it back. The nausea didn’t go away so I started to worry that I was over-hydrated or under fueled or slowly dying a torturous death in front of thousands of people. One of those.
My knees started to hurt and I got that same weird pain I got last year. It was a Charlie Horse right above the knee, but it’s only happened before in a race?! I walked up a hill at Mile 22 and that was a bad choice. My knees locked up even more and started to cramp to the point I thought they must be bulging out of my skin. I stopped at the medical tent to get sprayed with some pain relief stuff and tried to run again.
I tossed my water bottle on the side of the road at Mile 23 and pumped my arms so my legs would keep going. Thank God they did. I decided to run it in and try to keep it below 10 minute miles.
I had my Garmin on the pace screen and refused to change it to the elapsed time. I knew that if I confirmed I wasn’t going to sub-4 I’d just stop and walk it in. I decided that either way I was going to try and keep running so I kept going without any idea if I was going to make goal.
Ben saw me at Mile 26 and got a few pictures. I did not see or hear them. I’m pretty sure I was seeing things a la the movie Gladiator when he’s dying and seeing flashes of his family in Heaven.
I stumbled to find Ben and check my time on the computers to make sure it was real. I felt like absolute crap so I need to apologize to the 2 readers who spotted me past the finish line – sorry if I just kinda nodded like a zombie.
We headed straight for the car because I needed to sit! I was still nauseous and couldn’t drink or eat anything (that’s how you know something is wrong with me).
We went to my mom’s and I did an “ice bath” in the pool. I put my head down with my legs in the water and Ben brought me some chocolate coconut water from the finish line. I feel like death.
I’m holding a peace sign, not the middle finger…Last year my rib cage hurt the rest of the day and I figured it was from bad form and a weak core, but I worked on my core more this year and it still hurts to take a deep breath. Boo.
Post-pool dip I took a shower and Ben picked up lunch. I didn’t say I wanted anything, but he knows what I like and brought onion rings and a tuna salad. God Bless that man.
I’m alive. I ran a marathon in under 4 hours. I am happy and proud. But, a few days ago I was considering running the RnR AZ marathon in January and now I’m thinking I do not want to run another marathon. Ever.
Congratulations to everyone who ran this weekend! Running is hard! Be proud of yourself no matter what.
P.S. Hello to the runners who saw me during the race! Thanks for saying “Hi!” I really appreciate it
Question: What was the best thing you did or best thing you ate this weekend?