Went to bed around midnight. Woke at 5 AM on the dot.
Mixed my Hammer Perpetuem and put in 4, 8 oz bottles for my fuel belt. Made blended salad (avocado, romaine, spinach, banana, date) to eat one hour before start of race. Made my gels for the race (5 gels out of dates, coconut oil, hemp protein, lemon juice, agave nectar).
We left the house around 6 AM, stopped to get water (mixed 2 Nuun tablets in 17 oz water to sip on prior to start), and made it to the train with about 10 minutes to spare.
Arrived downtown about 6:55 AM. Made our way into Coral A, hit up the ole porta potties, and sat down to relax. At around 7:45 I started putting fuel belt, race belt, sox and visor on. Discarded $5 sweatshirt, beanie, and gloves -- that we barely needed since it was 70 degrees. I did about 3 sun salutations before it got too crowded.
Gun went off right on time and we crossed the line about a minute later. I could tell immediately that it was going to be a hot, overheated race. The one positive thing about it was that I've run that race before (2008) and knew exactly how to handle it. I took my foot way off the gas and just focused on keeping my HR in the 150s. If it got up into the 160s I would back off.
I also tried to take a full breath every 12 steps -- with a cadence around 170 steps/minute. In between the 2 and 3 mile mark I realized that I was still getting overheated so I took my visor off (and carried it for 23 miles) and lost my shirt. That helped a little.
Here are my mile splits with HR for each mile:
1 - 8:34, 152 -- Ben wanted to go a little faster so I waved him on when he looked back at me the first marker. I was happy with time.
2 - 8:04, 160 -- a little too fast so I backed off a little. Still very crowded at this point. Already pouring sweat 16 minutes in. Not a good sign...I started taking water every chance I got. Could still see Ben in the mix up ahead...
3 - 8:33, 159 -- lost visor and shirt b/c of overheating. Ran across new bridge. Started to get a side stitch here...really maddening. But I was able to get rid of it by mile 4 and it never came back...credit: breathing. Lost Ben on the bridge.
4 - 8:13, 156 -- started sipping Hammer at this point and drank a sip every mile until the very end.
5 - 8:36, 158
6 - 8:44, 158 -- lost a little time (was wanting to hit around 8:35 for as long as I could), so I picked it up. There were some uphill sections along in here.
7 - 8:34, 157
8 - 8:53, 158 -- first gel here. Really perked me up. Those homemade gels are amazingly awesome.
9 - 8:31, 160 - after an 8:53, was relieved to get it back down in the 8:30 range. My thought process here was "one more to halfway" since I think of it as a 20 mile race, then a 6.2 mile mental challenge.
10 - 8:33, 160 -- "halfway" there! Still reeling off decent splits. Halfway to next gel.
11 - 8:37, 159 -- one mile to gel.
12 - 8:43, 155 - took 2nd gel here. Starting to feel a little lighter as bottles started emptying more and more.
13 - 8:35, 159 -- halfway point. I wasn't looking at my overall time, just my split times. I thought about looking at my overall time at this point but decided against it. I knew I was under a 4 hour pace, just didn't know how FAR under. Just coming to the lake. Ankle starting to bother me a little...that same stinkin' one.
14 - 8:32, 159 -- dropped a bottle running down a hill to the lake. Wind wasn't as bad as I was thinking it was going to be. Halfway to next gel.
15 - 8:56, 159 -- this where times started to slow. Hard not to think "11 more miles" at this point...I tried to keep telling myself..."just 5 more....5 to go". One mile to gel.
16 - 8:43, 160 -- heard someone say at this point that it was all "single digits" from here on out...9 to go, 8, 7...etc...took 3rd gel.
17 - 8:57, 161 -- thinking about my girls at this point. Just wanted to keep running so I could see them faster...If I stopped or slowed here, it would just mean more time before getting to see them. I wonder what people with no kids think about to keep them going?
18 - 8:54, 161 -- halfway to next gel.
19 - 9:03, 159 -- first 9+ min mile. Starting to get pretty uncomfortable at this point. Just focusing on the next few feet in front of me. One mile to gel. (thinking about gels like this really helps...gives you something short term to strive for)
20 - 10:13, 160 -- stopped to pee, which I took as a good sign. I probably could've kept running but thought, "why be MORE uncomfortable than I have to be the last 10K"...so I stopped. Took 4th gel at this marker.
21 - 9:35, 162 -- it's just a mental struggle these last few miles. Muscles aching. Pushing off hurts. Landing hurts. Back was hurting. Feet hurting and tingling. Everything within you is telling you to stop....but you keep running. I fixed my watch where I could only see my HR at this point. Didn't care about times. Still hit my lap button at each mile, but I didn't look at it. Got a couple of swigs of beer at this point. Tradition.
22 - 9:22, 158 -- here I stopped even looking at my HR and stopped focusing on breathing. Too many other things to worry about - namely, just keeping on going. I didn't care if my breathing was fast or my HR was high...Almost there. Was thinking...just two more miles until my last gel...get to the last gel.
23 - 9:28, 157 -- here I started thinking "ok...one mile to the next gel, then one mile and I'm gonna stop, take off HR monitor, but on visor and get ready for the finish...almost there." Also, I thought we had already crossed 23 and was thinking about 24 when I saw the 23 mile marker...that's disheartening.
24 - 9:28, 159 -- took final gel and kept on trucking. Did all Heisman trophy winners to pass the time. Could NOT think of 1991 for some reason (Desmond Howard) which was really bothering me. Just shows what 24 miles does to your brain.
25 - 9:52, 159 -- stopped to walk at this marker. Took HR monitor off and attached it to my fuel belt. Put visor on. Took last swig of Hammer. Saw Tracy totally unexpectedly along this mile. Much needed pick me up.
26 - 10:04, 158 -- almost. there.
26.2 - 2:20, 161 -- saw Jenn and Holly about 50 yards from the finish. Did my customary arms out wide with fingers pointing out when I crossed...think I may have blocked someone from getting a good finisher pic...whoops!
Overall time was 3:54:23, which I was happy with considering the conditions. In 2008, in these same conditions, I ran a 3:56:21 and I had been training for 18 weeks at a 3:20 pace. That puts it into perspective a little bit. That day I was running 7:40 miles until mile 20 and I had to walk most of the last 10K. Today I ran a smarter race.
I only trained for 5 weeks for this race and probably only ran 90 miles in those 5 weeks, so I was able to do this on an extremely limited training regimen. My average HR was 159 for the race which is what I was hoping to do.
My pee was dark brown and syrupy immediately after and for most of the rest of the day despite drinking lots of water during and after. That's never happened to me before. Kidneys were doing some work today.
Overall, another great marathon experience. My 4th marathon completed (5th if you count the Ironman). And I honestly can say that I'd rather do an Ironman than just a marathon...don't know what the physiology is there...but I always hurt more after a marathon than after a Half IM or Full IM. I ran the marathon at the Ironman in 4:05 in hotter, more humid conditions (which is only 10 minutes slower than what I did today). Interesting....
If I complete this race next year (which I'm planning on)...it will be the first time I've ever completed the full marathon in consecutive years.
Much thanks to the support team at this race:
Jenn, Haelyn, and Hope Rogers
Holly, Allie, and Ava Grant.
and to my runnin' buddies: Ben Grant and Stephen Baldridge. Great work guys.