Here it is, the moment you've all been waiting for...my race report for the 2009 Wisconsin Marathon! Woohoo!! If you want the short version, I ran 3:33:58, qualifying my 24 year old female self for Boston! Yay! If you want the long version, read on...if you dare...
Pre-Race Stuff - Friday-ish
I posted my game plan about a week ago, which I was still pretty set for on Saturday. My main and ultimate goal was to qualify for Boston, and anything beyond that would be icing on the cake. (If you know me, I LOVE icing.) I got a cold starting on Tuesday/Wednesday that I had hoped would disappear by race day, but that didn't work out either. When I ran on Friday, my nose cleared up and I actually felt pretty good, so I thought I was all set for race day. The Rocket Scientist was all set to land at 3:30, so I was going to pick him and then head up to Kenosha for the night. However, his plane was delayed (of course), so he didn't land until 5pm. This detail isn't important except for the fact that I got a phone call at 4pm from the hospital I interviewed at in March. About what, you ask? Well....
I HAVE A JOB!!!! I'm going to be a REAL nurse! WOOHOO!!!
Okay, okay, so what does that have to do with my race report? Wellllll, I may seem like I have it all together, but after about five minutes of being really excited, I started bawling my eyes out. As much as I want to move, it's going to be really hard to leave my parents and everything around me that is "safe." It just makes me nervous. So therefore, I spent the rest of the night alternating between crying and forcing myself to not think about it.
We headed up to Kenosha and went out to an Italian place for dinner, where I ordered a calzone with cheese, green peppers, and black olives. It was soooo good! Definitely recommend it for pre-race food, especially since I had pasta at lunch and didn't really feel like having any more. We then headed back to the hotel and hung out with parents before going to sleep. I didn't end up getting too much sleep because at first I couldn't fall asleep because I kept crying, so I finally had to turn the TV on and pay attention to that. Then I woke up every hour until 5 am, when the people above us woke up and I heard them getting ready. I finally got out of bed at 5:30 to start getting ready!
Race Day - Pre-Race
I had brought all the stuff I needed for race day, including my breakfast, which of course consisted of peanut butter toast and a banana. (I even brought my own toaster.) I was feeling kinda crappy in the morning, mainly as a result of the cold that wouldn't go away, crying all night, and actually being rather apathetic about the whole marathon thing. I was worried about being dehydrated because I had HUGE bags under my eyes, but I didn't want to drink tons of water causing me to have to go to the bathroom all the time. We finally packed up and drove over to the race, which took about twenty minutes. Once we got there, we walked over and I immediately got in line for the port-o-potties, with about 25 minutes to go. The line was kind of long, but it went fast, yay! From there, I retied my shoes (they have to be PERFECT) and headed over to line up. I'm used to the giant corrals like in Chicago/Marine Corps, so it was funny to just have a bunch of people standing around. I lined up around the mass of people that composed the 8:00-ish mile group and waited for the start.
Race Day - It's race time!!
My parents took lots of pictures, so this will be a much more colorful part of the report!
After the parade loop, we did a four-ish mile loop around downtown Kenosha, which was fun because there were lots of spectators out. I had read online from people on RWOL that the course would feel fast because of how much the scenery changes, which definitely was true for me. My spectators (Mom, Dad, Rocket Scientist) were somewhere in this downtown loop, and I knew to look for them because of my sign that is unmistakeably mine, and they could spot me because of my red shorts (and the fact that there weren't 40,000 people running too!). I found them around mile four, where I remember yelled, "This is so much fun!" to them, and people around me laughed...woo! My mom snapped some pictures!
I felt good at the pace I was running, even though it wasn't quite according to my plan. I was running around a lot of people (it's all relative), but it felt like a lot of people were passing me! I figured as long as my pace stayed around here, I would be fine....no speeding up! Once we got out of the downtown loop, we headed north for an out-and-back up to mile 7.75-ish before turning around. There were a couple non-descript hills here, but they were more like inclines than actual hills, so they were comfortable. You could see the lake for most of the time, which was pretty, and the weather couldn't be beat. For fuel, I had a bag of about thirty Honey Stinger Energy Chews, which I am a HUGE advocate of (seriously...Honey Stinger, if you're reading, I LOVE YOU). The water/aid stations were about two miles apart, so I figured I'd have a Honey Stinger for every mile-ish, taking in two-three at every aid station. I skipped the first one and just took water, and I tried to take a couple after that. Sometimes the aid stations were much closer than two miles apart, so I kind of randomly decided how many to take. (I know, I know, I should plan better!) I ended up taking about twenty out of the thirty I brought...oh well.
Anyway! We continued up north, and the turnaround was around mile 7.75. It was so uplifting to get to the turnaround and then see all the people behind me! I don't mean that to be mean to anyone behind me, but it was awesome to see that I was doing well! After the turnaround, I tried to look for Kim and a girl from my high school. I must be terrible at finding people because they both yelled out my name before I saw them at all! It was definitely a boost to hear people yell my name, and it was fun to see them as well! We headed back on the same route we came in, and since I love running out-and-backs, this was fine by me since I kind of knew what I had ahead of me. My glorious spectators were at mile 10-ish, where my mom got some more action shots:
Mile splits, miles 5-12: 7:50, 7:54, 8:01, 7:51, 7:51, 8:01, 15:54 (missed the 11 mile marker!)
After the first couple water stations, I decided I would start to walk through them while drinking water. I ran through the first few, but I kept getting water up my nose, so I figured I wouldn't lose much time to walk while drinking water. Some guy actually yelled, "That's it! Get that hydration down!" when I walked through one of them, which I thought was funny.
A little after mile twelve, the half marathoners turned around to head back to the finish, which left me with just the other marathoners. I spent a few of the first twelve miles wondering who around me would stick around for the second half, and I quickly learned that not too many were in for the full ride. That must have been why they were going so fast...no reason to hold back! (Just kidding!) At the first water station after the half marathoners left, a volunteer yelled, "540! You're the ninth female!" At which point, I believe I said out loud that that was kind of ridiculous! It was definitely empowering. I got really excited when we hit the halfway point because I was feeling great! Some spectator yelled, "You guys look like you could run all day!" I actually felt like I could at that point, but I also really didn't want to run all day...26.2 was good enough for me.
Half marathon split: 1:43:33
Once the half marathoners broke off, we headed south for until around mile 19-ish. Around mile 14, I decided that I needed to stop and use a restroom (when you gotta go, you gotta go). I had tried waiting to see if the feeling would pass, but I realized I better stop. There was an aid station at mile 15, but when I got to it, someone had just come out and another person was going in, so I didn't feel like waiting in line, so I held off until mile 17. In the meantime, I kept telling myself how much further I had to go. When I hit mile 14, I told myself that twelve miles was just an easy run. At mile 16, ten miles is NOTHING. That's 80 minutes of running! I can do that any day. (I'm really good at thinking about running in terms of minutes, based on an 8:00 pace.) It's more comforting to me than saying "10 miles." At this point, I told myself I'd have a break at mile 17, when I hit the aid station. Luckily, someone came out just as I was getting there, so the timing was perfect! I lost almost two minutes, but it was well worth it! I got back on pace afterwards and life was good. Somewhere before the turnaround, my spectators were waiting with my sign:
Right on the lake!
Told you I waved a lot this race!
It's about time for more splits, miles 13-20: 7:55, 7:43, 8:02, 7:57, 9:57 (bathroom!), 7:56, 8:07, 8:21
I was doing really well up until mile 19-ish, and my pace dropped off from how consistent it had been. Like I said, I think in terms of minutes, and around mile 18.5-ish would be one hour to go if I kept pace. One hour! That's it! No problem. I knew the fun would begin after mile 20, so I kept trying to stay positive. Once I hit mile 20, I kept calculating in my head what average pace I needed to keep to qualify for Boston. I was still running, no walking except through water stations, so I was confident in myself, but I liked to have that in the back of my head. I think I saw my spectators just before mile 20, where I don't look near as enthused as I did before:
And the "I'm getting tired so I'm going to half-heartedly wave but not actually look at the camera."
Boats waiting for summer!
Mile 26 of this marathon was AMAZING. It was just a matter of getting to the finish line, unlike my other marathons where I had to convince myself to keep running (never happened). I never believe people early in the race when they say, "You're almost there!" but after 25 miles, you ARE almost there! So good! I was so excited because I knew the BQ was going to happen! I saw my dad and the Rocket Scientist as I came around the corner, and my mom was all set up for the photo finish:
I love space blankets!
I promise we're more photogenic than this...haha.
Finishing time: 3:33:56
Overall Place: 69/520-ish
Age Group: 4th
Not too shabby! Did I meet my goal of qualifying for Boston? Yes! Did I run 3:30 or faster like I hoped/thought would happen? Nope! Am I okay with that? Totally! There will be other marathons, and I'm just happy that I BQ'd and that I ran the whole thing! (Minus the water stops.) I felt very strong and in control throughout the race, and I think that I trained really well and it paid off. This was the inaugural Wisconsin Marathon, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looker for a smaller marathon, as the course was 99% flat, the volunteers were awesome, and the weather couldn't be beat!
I want to thank everyone who has followed my training since my entrance into the blog world. It is so awesome to know that people are supporting and pulling for me, even though I don't really even know you! I definitely thought about you guys during the marathon, thinking about what I would have to tell you when I wrote my report. When I was thinking about walking, it was motivating to me to think about how I could report that I stayed strong and pushed through even when it got a little tough. I'm looking forward to meet so many of you in Boston next year!!