Marathon #11 can best be described by one of my Dad’s many sayings: sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you. I won’t leave you in any suspense – I didn’t get the bear.
I didn’t have a terrible race. I didn’t go out too fast, didn’t hit the wall, didn’t dehydrate, didn’t develop aches or pains, or didn’t fuel properly. My first 13.1 was run in 1:48 and the second 13.1 in 1:52. A 4-minute positive split. Not terrible – I’ll never be a negative split marathoner – even splits are the way to go for me.
All I can say is that I got tired (no shit, right?). My mind was saying “go, go, go” but my legs could not maintain MP. My pace would slip, I would rally back for a little, and then my pace would slip again.
the bad and the ugly
On paper, a sub-3:40 (8:20 average pace if you’re using 3:39) should have been easy. I just ran a 1:41 half 3 weeks ago (7:45 average pace). My MP would have been 35 seconds slower than my HMP. That’s huge. This was not a stretch goal.
But the marathon is a fickle bitch of a race. Anything can happen. You’re on top of the world for one mile and praying that it will all end the next mile.
I wanted to use the first 2 miles as a warm-up and then settle into 8:20 pace. I was holding back here. I obsessively checked my Garmin to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast. The first few miles were within RB and then we entered a rails-to-trails section. This was definitely my favorite part of the race. It was gorgeous and the trail running put me at ease.
And then we headed out for a long stretch to Lewes and Cape Henlopen State Park, passing some of the biggest and most beautiful houses I have ever seen.
I needed to pee. Like real bad. I first noticed it around mile 7 and I thought the feeling would go away. It only got worse. With the exception of my first marathon, I never have to stop and pee during a race. Ever. I gave some serious thought to just peeing myself but my stage fright is way too bad for that. Plus it’s really difficult to “let go” while running!
I HAD to stop at the next porta potty. I was going to lose time either way. If I didn’t pee, the feeling would only get worse and slow me down. I ducked into the next porta potty I saw, peed as fast as I could, and then tried my best to make up for lost time (that’s why mile 18 is 8:53).
Miles 14-16 went through Cape Henlopen State Park. This is where the so-called “hills” were. It was more like gentle rolling hills – nothing that will really break you. The payoff was gorgeous views of the sand dunes and ocean.
This is where the tiredness set in. I didn’t hit the wall; it was just harder to maintain MP. I felt OK and tried to rally back with mile 21 but my paced slipped again in mile 22.
still giving a half-hearted thumbs up…
We made our way back to RB via the rails-to-trails section. I saw Jess around mile 22. I have never met Jess before but we both knew we were running the race. I introduced myself and we ran together for the next 4 miles. We were both having a tough time and although we didn’t talk it was nice to have someone there with you…providing silent encouragement and motivation. Thank you, Jess!
I passed mile 25 in 3:30. I didn’t know how close to 3:31 I was but I remember thinking I can do this. I can run a 3:39. It’s funny how you forget that you have to run 1.2 miles to finish. I would have had to pull the fastest 1.2 miles of my life to get a 3:39.
I saw my Garmin switch over to 3:40 and my heart sank. I was so close…I could see the tent where the finish line was. I crossed the finish line in such a fog I never stopped my Garmin until 30 seconds later.
Overall – 197/823
Female – 47/323
AG – 10/45
I so badly wanted to run a 3:3x marathon and was totally capable of doing so but it wasn’t my day. I left nothing on that course and did the best I could do on that day…which is all you can really ask for in a marathon.
the race itself
I would definitely, absolutely, positively recommend this race. The course was beautiful (and flat) and RB Running Company organized a small and fantastic race. I lucked out with the weather – it was 100% overcast with no wind. I could see how even the slightest bit of wind could cause havoc on some of the out-and-back portions.
I also got to see Matt about 4-5 times on the course. He kept popping up every couple of miles.
The best thing about the race was the after party. A huge, heated tent with catered food, live music, and beer!
I mentioned this in another post but it’s worth mentioning again. I stayed at Avenue Inn, right around the corner from the start line. The race started at 7AM and I didn’t leave my hotel room until 6:45AM. I was warm, dry, and used the bathroom to my heart’s content.
we ran right by the hotel at the start
Writing this recap has been cathartic. I was hoping it would be. Up until yesterday, all I could think of is how I didn’t run a 3:3x marathon. I hate how that overshadows that fact that I PR’d by 2 minutes. If I were a client I would have looked at those splits and told them they ran a terrific race and they should be proud. I need to listen to my own advice.
On the plus side, I get a break. A real break. Not a let’s-run-a-50K-and-then-another-marathon break (remember how I said I was going to take a break after Boston)? I’m going to focus on barre and running what I want, when I want.
I literally could not keep up with all the comments on FB, Instagram, and Twitter. Thank you, thank you! It really did mean a lot.
Congrats on your PR! That is a huge improvement, I agree with you, the marathon is a fickle bitch of a race 🙂
Congratulations!!! You ran a really strong race!! It’s definitely a huge achievement when your pace barely drops in the last 6 miles! Sorry you didn’t make your goal, but PR’ing is definitely something to celebrate!
Congratulations on another marathon and a PR. 3:3x is there. Don’t you worry. You look amazing in your pics.
Rest up! I’m sure you’re looking at future races (if they’re not yet planned!).
Amanda @RunToTheFinish says
ok the beginning of your post just had me cracking up. I think you clearly stated exactly how it is.
it’s so crazy that 2 minutes can make such a difference in how we feel about a race…and that damn it needing to pee can play a factor! Congrats on another finish and I’m impressed if that counts for anything 🙂
Congrats! Seriously, a 3:41 and change is amazing. You kept consistent mile splits for the race, which is more than I can do after mile 15!
Hey Kristy! I’ve been checking your blog over and over for this RR. I am so sorry you didn’t get your 3:3x race. You were soooo close! You are such a strong runner and your splits looked amazing! I hate when having to pee throws everything off like that. I can’t pee myself during a race either. Enjoy your break and I hope you can enjoy your PR, too! xoxo!
Congrats on your PR! You had a great race even though you didn’t break 3:40. Just remember, the older you get it gets easier to BQ but harder to PR! (Trust me, I’m speaking from experience!). And I know you have more BQ’s in your future. Enjoy your no-pressure, no stress training break.
You ran a great race, even if you were off your goal pace. Like you said, that distance is a fickle bitch (I say as I am still upset with my effort last week!). You have a strong BQ in you, you just need to have the right day. And you will!
I love Rehoboth–I may just have to try this one next year, although I doubt the weather could be quite as perfect as what you all had this week!
Kristin @ Every Day Is Run Day says
Don’t be so hard on yourself! I think you did an outstanding job. I spectated the race while my husband ran it. It looked fantastic and I’m definitely signing up next year (was signed up this year too, but backed out after some knee issues).
Kristy! congrats! Seriously. I get why you’re a little bummed (BELIEVE ME), but you PR’d! And were pretty darn close to breaking 3:40. Sometimes our bodies just don’t work as well as we want them when we want them to. it doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of a 3:3x at all, and I’m sure it’ll happen next time.
Hooray for taking a break! I hope you’re recovering well 🙂
Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen says
You really did run a great race!!! Your pace is really consistent and it’s a good pace…and you PR-d! I hate how we can PR and still be disappointed with our times. It sounds like a great course – I love the trails part and it sounds really easy and convenient. Your post is great, I love how you’re writing with your heart and the emotion in it. On any given day and any given race, anything can happen, no matter the training 🙂
This was an awesome post. Even though you were disappointed, you wrote it in a way that was very inspiring to me. A lot of recaps focus on the negative and harp on being slow. I’ve only been running a little over a year and I would be proud to run sub 10 for consecutive miles. I think you’re amazing! I know you’ll get that 3:3x!
I think you had a great race, particularly since you werent planning on doing this marathon until recently! The marathon is hard — I know exactly what you are talking about with head going “go go go” and legs not wanting to change gears — that might be my goal for my next marathon…to be able to change gears in the last 6.
Enjoy your break!
I know not hitting your goal is disappointing but I am so impressed with this race! You’ve had a strong season and ended it with a nice PR. Enjoy your break!
The marathon is indeed fickle, but a PR is a PR. I say–congrats!! You are wise to try to see it from your coach-self point of view instead of your competitor-self point of view. That 3:3x will come–you know not the day nor the hour, but it will.
Enjoy the break!
Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel says
Just look at it this way – reclamation run in 2014 🙂
Trotting Tortoise says
SO frustrating about the bathroom break – I actually DID pee my pants in my first half [and you’re right that it’s hard to do!], but my PR half is about 10 min slower than it would have been if I hadn’t had to take about a 10 min GI distress pit stop, so I feel your pain.
BUT, you PRed and you pushed through the tired in the late miles – kudos to you!
Trotting Tortoise says
Also – I TOTALLY know what you mean about forgetting about the extra .2 at the end!! When I ran my marathon I looked down at my watch at mile 25 and thought “I’m going to hit 5 hours exactly!!!” and then I remembered that dang 0.2 and finished in 5:01:14. haha. Oh well.
Congrats on your PR! Your half PR definitely indicates you have a faster marathon in you! Maybe you should consider doing a spring marathon so you can go back to Boston in 2014??
I completely understand that feeling of disappointment when you didn’t hit your goal, but still PR’d. Regardless, congratulations on a great race!