Monday, November 5, 2012

Rails to Trails Marathon Race Report

The race for which I have been training is over. Standing at the start line, I thought, I can't believe it's finally here! All of your training has led to this moment. Don't worry about the past two weeks. You're fine. I do quite a bit of self-talk. It's a good thing too, because I ended up running most of this race by myself. I'm patting myself on the back because that is something I don't think I could do even two months ago. It takes mental toughness to run 26.2 miles with only your thoughts to keep you company. This has always been my challenge.

Before the race - a family that runs together stays together!
I'm comfortable enough now to tell you that I ran my first marathon - Des Moines 2009 - in 6:12. My first goal for Rails to Trails was under 5:00. My second was between 4:15 and 4:30. I started off pretty conservatively and then ended up picking up my pace more than I wanted. However, I was so jazzed that my body just felt like speeding up. I don't know. I just couldn't stop smiling. I thought, I'm here, I'm doing this, so I'm going to enjoy myself. The landscape was beautiful and everyone was friendly. One guy ran past me around mile four. He asked me what was my goal pace, and I told him 9:30-ish. He told me his was 9:00 and I told him to go catch one of my sisters! We chatted for a little bit and then he ran ahead.

Around mile six, I came upon the 3/4 mile-long tunnel. You know the part in Lord of the Rings when Frodo gets stung by the spider? That's what the scenery was like - there was water trickling along and high ground on both sides of the trail. I clicked on my headlamp and said, "Let's go."

My legs began hurting around mile 14. Up to that point, I hit my two mile-targets just fine:  at both mile six and twelve I had a Gu with some water. But then my stomach got upset and I actually had to stop at a bathroom. From then on, I alternated water and Powerade and got some pretzels and gummy bears on the way back. I know my mom thinks she wasn't as much help as she was last year, but just knowing she, Cody, and Will were going to be along the course kept me going. I only grabbed a handful of pretzels and then gummy bears, but those handfuls were everything.
Still going...
While running, three songs cycled through my head:

"Payphone" by Maroon 5
"Lucky Strike" by Maroon 5
"Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson

I know, I know. I am NOT a Kelly Clarkson fan, and I was ready to banish this song forever from my mind. BUT, the lyrics were perfect for my situation. Ha!

I got to mile 18 and then set my sights on mile 20. Then 22. Once I got to mile 22, I started talking to myself out loud. "Come on. Anybody can suffer for four miles!" At mile 25 I sang, "Mile twenty-fiiiiiiive!" And mile 26 went something like - fist pump - "Mile twenty-siiiiiix!" When I saw the clock under 4:40 I smiled and kept running to the finish.

That was the most rewarding race. Ever. It's by far my favorite. I had no pressure and I was out to have fun and enjoy myself. I got a little down, and I almost started crying when I got gummy bears from my mom and then when I was heading back into the tunnel and a group of people were cheering for me. This is something I trained for months to accomplish and I was just thinking, These people don't have to be out here. But they are. And they're cheering for me. And they're missing the Packers game for this. I stopped at every aid station on the way back and walked when I wanted to walk. Final time - 4:37. 10:34 pace. Whew! Now, give me some time before I talk about running another one...

On a side note, David ran his first half marathon in 2:07, knocking his goal out of the ball park. He's awesome. And we had awesome gear. Check out my pictures. Live Uncommon made these especially for us! We got so many compliments; it was unbelievable.

Erin, Adrienne, and Steve also ran the marathon, and Brother Dave and my dad ran the half. Grandpa won his age group with a time of 1:56 (and he's 73. Stud). A special thanks to my mom, Cody, and Will. They drove around and carried water, pretzels, gummy bears, Gu, you name it. They gave up their weekend to basically wait on us during the run (and my mom had to drive me home).

Check out the Rails to Trails Marathon. It's definitely worth it!


1 comment:

  1. Congrats on a great finish! My husband and I ran the half. It was amazing! I ran near your brother quite a bit but lost him at the end when my hip started cramping. came in just after him at 2:08. Wasnt the tunnel insane? loved it! Rachel