|Road kill to the finish!|
I am not living up to blogging standards... Summer has been busy and therefore race reports and thoughts have been delayed. To continue from Adventures in Vancouver, is the inaugural Vancouver Marathon race report.
Race MorningAlarm went off at some un-Godly hour. I figured I had about 4 hours of sleep. The hotel, Vancouver Hilton, was located right next to the train tracks. The trains were active all night. And so were the trains' horns. Also, the bed was super soft, leaving little to be desired on the hips and back.
|L to R: Nordic Moxie, Rocket Girl, Tornado Girl|
Tornado Girl and Rocket Girl arrived as expected to our room at 6:30 for photo op. Rocket Girl was calm. I was going to ask what she took, but forgot to ask. Tornado Girl was nervous, but I only knew that because she said so. I was feeling a little distressed as my normal bathroom routine hadn't gone as planned. Hours later, it will have ruined a good running time.
Firedaughter Clothing had made a great tank that gave the message "Peace Out" on the back (which I just discovered lovely Samya added my photo to her web page!). It was this tank that inspired the decision to go with Running Skirts purple argyle theme on race day. I thought what a better message to give to your competitors as you pass them?
Start LineStart line was literally across the street from our hotel. Tornado, Rocket and Ms. Moxie all headed to the start line to wait our fate. I was hoping to find a couple other running friends in my corral: the graciously sweet Keeley and Endurance Sports NW co-owner and mutlisport extraordinaire, Jenn. I saw Keeley, in her white Running Skirt just like she had said, but never got to give a "good luck" hug to Jenn.
The horn blared and off we went!
The weather was a thick layer of gray clouds (what's new) and it started to sprinkle. I was glad I had chosen hat over sunglasses.
I decided to run base on feel and not be codependent on a watch. First glance at watch (out of curiosity): 7:34. Oops. Too fast. Moved back to an easy low 8s and held steady. I told Keeley at the start line, that she would probably pass me on the course. She graciously disagreed and insisted the other way around. But I was right. Right after the 1 mile marker, Keeley passed me. I wanted to run her pace and reminded myself to run my own race.
Pace Groups: A gift or a cursePacers are a wonderful gift when you need one. On the other hand, they can be a curse. I know both from experience. As a pacer myself, I have brought some great runners to their goal glory. As a runner with high hopes on a bad race day, a pacer can be discouraging (this topic for another blog entry another day).
At the starting line, I got glimpse of the 3:30, 3:40, 3:50, and 4:00 pacers with their little signs. They were way near the front starting line, which seemed significantly odd for the 3:40-4:00 pacers, being that I was standing in 8:30 corral.
After the first couple of miles of interesting weaving and turns, the course flattened out to this straight rural road. Off to the left was the grand Columbia River. The right, fields of grass. You could see industrial buildings in the distance, and the 4:00 pace signs. To give a snapshot of the pace per mile to finish in these times (26.2 mile finish time = minutes ran in a mile to achieve):
- 3:30 finish = 8:00 minute mile
- 3:40 finish = 8:23 minute mile
- 3:50 finish = 8:46 minute mile
- 4:00 finish = 9:09 minute mile
Make no mistake... running with the 4:00 pace group was not in my plan. In fact, I was quite annoyed that I was running with them several times throughout. With the VUM course not being a closed course, we were stuck to running on the side of the road. Not a lot of room. And yet, here I am running 8:30-8:40 and feeling like I am the pacer for the 4:00 pace group (who should've been running much slower, at 9:00).
It was a song and dance between me and the open road, and the claustrophobia of the 4:00 pace group. I would keep my mid-8 pace (my plan), pass them and have a lead. As soon as I stopped at each aid station to get liquids down and take gels, along came the herd. Repeat all over. And over and over.
Best dressed? Not the only one.Who doesn't like getting compliments? If you can't win the race, at least look good (or fast), right?! Many dug the argyle Running Skirt and arm sleeves. The most fun was hearing the comments as I passed other racers. It never got old RK'g! I wondered about my girlfriends, dressed to kill, and how they were fairing on the course.
We laugh at the whole notion that those not familiar with looking good on the course, assume we are back-of-the-pack runners. It is almost an asset to doing well on race day, because we have something to prove. But also because our gear is made to perform and not get in the way.
Want to know more about me and my friends' race day gear? Leave me a message and I am happy to help!
Mile 18My dreaded mile 18. Before mile 18, the legs, lungs, and energy were feeling good except for one thing: the GI. My race morning worries had come to life. For whatever reason, be it in a different bathroom or what I ate the day before (which was the case), my GI was being stubborn race morning.
Apologies in advance for discussing this nasty topic, but it is what killed my time and left me crying at the finish.
My GI started acting wonky about half way through. I was feeling bloated. At the time, I was chalking it up to the gels. I was praying I could make it to the end without any port-a-potty emergencies (my only experience was at Portland '09 at mile 13, but that was only a loss of 5 minutes). At mile 17 I knew I was in trouble and wasn't something I could just run into the bushes with ease. I was praying and hoping my GI would just settle down. It wasn't. Ever hear the story of the guy who craps his pants during the marathon? Well let's just say I didn't want to test the waters and see what that was all about.
Holding on, holding on, I knew the potties were at aid stations and the aid stations were practically spot on at the mile markers. I am running around this bend leading out of some park and I can see the aid stations. Passed the aid station, in which I really needed to stop for water and gel, but decided it was too big a risk. Saw the potty (only 2!) and the long line. My heart sunk. A line full of 21k walkers. I asked if any would let me cut in line being I was doing the marathon. None too kind. So I waited.Thank you Lord for I never thought I would be so happy to meet a port-a-potty.
The running time on my Garmin when I stopped at mile 18 port-a-potty was 2:28. The time on my Garmin as I left the port-a-potty, 2:38. Losing that ten minutes hurt my pride.
As any marathoner knows, a lot can go right and a lot can go wrong on the course of 26.2. You just never know with so many components going on: weather, course, how your body feels, how positive or negative you go in, nutrition leading up, nutrition day of and during, etc. Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment in itself, but facing adversity on the course and charging through to the finish is even more amazing.
With this moral killer I had to dig deep for some positive thoughts and not give up on seeking a great time. It was still in my cards.
Pissy QuadI also learned I didn't have my race day nutrition perfected. Though I did have it fine tuned. What I knew then:
- Before race: 2 slices of Dave's Killer Bread with honey on one and PB on the other
- During race: Take a Honey Zingers honey gel every 45 minutes (or at closest aid station to time)
- Stick to water every aid station
- Electrolyte drinks if applicable: Nuun, Cytomax, or Ultima only
- Stay AWAY from Gatorade, Powerade, Gu (liquids, gels, and gummys)
- If race does not provide electrolyte of Nuun, Cytomax, or Ultima, carry Hammer salt pills and take 2-4 every hour. I NEED the salt that I can't get through Gatorade.
Around mile 25 I hear "Larissa! Hi, it's Grant!". It was one of my retailers and a friend, the husband of Jenn of Endurance Sports NW. I thought, "it would be so rude of me not to stop and say hi."
YELP!!! OUCH!!! UGH!!
It took about 5 minutes to rub my quad so I could start running again. The cramp had literally locked up my right leg. That sucked.
Finish strong. Is there any other way?
One mile to go! The best sign on the marathon course! As we got closer, you could hear the finish line. Bart announcing the finishers and the spectators cheering on the same.
I saw a few runners ahead of me on the last stretch, and like all competitive runners, decided to end them. My running time was a 4:10. With all the stretching and quad cramp stopping, I know I could have pulled a much lower time. However you just never know what you will get in the marathon. It is like a box of chocolates.
As I pulled through the Finish, Bart called out my name and gave a little bio to the crowd and a big hi-5. I was looking for familiar faces, namely my husband. Wondering if Tornado girl would be behind me or Keeley in front (though I am pretty sure she finished around 3:50). Finally found a camera in my face. Rob! Once I saw him, tears. Overwhelmed from the porta-potty and quad incident.
My husband is an amazing man with a genuine heart. He consoled and encouraged me at the same time. He said he had a pretty crummy 21k race too (he actually was nauseous and made himself throw up so he could finish) and we laughed.
|Not my normal happy smile, but the tears hadn't dried yet. But look! My lipstick is still intact.|
|My awesome husband|
|VUM track jacket|
|Tornado Girl (Audra) & Rocket Girl (Michele)|