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Amy O race recap & advice n...
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Race Recap & Advice Needed
I woke up yesterday at 4:30. I slept ok, considering. Drank coffee, had a banana and tried my best to eat a bagel. We left at 5 and it took about 50 minutes to get to Lehigh Valley hospital in Allentown. This was a marathon, half and a relay. The half starts at 13.1 miles in though. So since its a smaller race it was actually like lining up for a 5k. Maybe 500-600 people? No corrals, no slow start but also no pacers, which I could have used for sure. Anyway, I lined up and saw Thomas and Stein from DM so I chatted with them a bit and they are really nice guys. I think this was a fairly fast field. I feel like everyone I talked to was trying to get a BQ. I guess if your picking a marathon just to get the experience you select one of the bigger ones.
Before we knew it the gun went off. My goal was 3:39:59 or less...8:23 pace. As soon as I crossed the start I was passed by a massive amount of people. It's impossible to tell who was running the marathon and who was running the relay but I vowed not to get caught up in it. "Pass no one, pass no one" I kept repeating that and checking my watch. My pace was all over the place. I really suck at pacing I have to say. I got to mile 1 at 7:50. I knew this was an issue so I really pulled back and started to run 8:00-8:20. My husband had told me to find a person and pace them but that never worked, no one seemed to be keeping an even pace.
The crowd support was really only at the relay exchange points (about 6, 12, 16 & 22). My strategy was to not use music until after I was half way through. I tend to run to the beat but too much music and my mind drowns it out. So I only wanted it when I needed it. So it was just me and my watch. I have to say that my watch kept my mind engaged the whole time. I was constantly checking my pace and trying to get in the groove with the right pace. When I got to the first exchange point around mile 6 I was a bit ahead of schedule (I wrote my target times for each exchange point on my arm) but I thought of it as a cushion if I needed to use the bathroom. Thank goodness I never needed to because I didn't see one porta potty on this course. I heard they were at the exchange points but I didn't see them. Anyway when I got to the half way point I was 2 minutes ahead of schedule. I felt great though. I was still running easy. From mile 2 until 20 I just said "run the mile your in" over and over. I tried not to think ahead and it really worked. If I started to think I have 10 miles to go I just started chanting that in my head and squashed those thoughts. Somewhere after mile 14 I started to realize my watch wasn't lining up with the mile markers. I did zig zag a bit due to puddles and rocks/roots but I also must not have paid attention to the tangents. That's when I started having to do math. Math is much harder after running 18 miles. :)
Slowly from mile 13 to 22 I lost my 2 minute lead. I hit 22 exactly on schedule. The whole race from mile 1-22, I felt good. I was thinking " Why don't more people do this, it's pretty fun." and I vowed not to get to ahead of myself but I did think I had the BQ. Here at mile 22 I realized I was in some trouble. I tried to pick it up and when I got to mile 23 I had 27 minutes left. I needed to run 3.2 in 27 minutes. "You can run a 27 minute 5k in your sleep"' I told myself and tried as hard as possible to push it. It wasn't until this point, mile 23, that I started to hurt. Up until this point the race was very flat. The last 5k had a few climbs though and my tired little legs just couldn't run them fast enough or recover from them fast enough. I got to the last two miles and all I could think of was the end. I just pushed and pushed and I could see the finish line. My husband jumped into the course with me at this point and was encouraging or yelling at me (ha!) I couldn't tell. At this point (50 meters or so to go) I could finally read the clock 3:41. That was the worst feeling, seeing the clock. It made it so much harder to get across the line.
I walked and sat on the curb and put my face in my towel. When I looked up the girl sitting next to me was crying. I guess she just missed it too. My calfs started cramping and I couldn't even get up off the curb. I made my way over the a water fountain and put my legs in. The water was freezing. Thank goodness for that fountain. It made it tolerable to get back to the car.
The marathon course was very nice. It was a great event. It was my first. I was nervous because I had heard it hurt like childbirth or you feel like you are going to die. No, I can assure you childbirth hurts 100 times worse. :) I was really bummed afterwards though. My four kids were all there watching me along with my husband and even my Mom came up. They were all really supportive of me and it made it a lot easier. I always tell the kids if you get knocked down you get right up, dust yourself off and try again. So that is exactly what I plan on doing :)
So here is where I need advice. I could do a spring marathon. I have been looking at different options already. However, most of the flat and fast marathons are in the fall. Including Philadephia in Nov and registration is still open. I'm already in race shape and they will have pacers. Plus it's still two months away. What do you all think? Should I go for Philly? Then I could always sign up for a Spring Marathon if I don't get it in Philly. Let me know your thoughts wise running people! :)