Monday, October 22, 2012

Box Checked: 26.2 Miles-The BayState Marathon

wow, what a great day. 
I actually did not expect running a marathon to be so "nice"
...if that word is even the word I am looking for. It's hard to describe in words how I feel about yesterday's marathon but let's just say there was not a single negative thought in my head the entire run. It really was a great day and I had plenty of happy in me the entire time.

My focus this season was the half-distance triathlon and when some late season plans changed, I decided to run a marathon since I am doing my first full next season so, why not, right? I was initially concerned that I would not have a lot of training time for this but I figured I had a pretty strong endurance base with triathlon training and I just needed to get some miles on my legs to get the distance. Coach was pretty reassuring that I could do this no problem. So she put together a run plan for me and things went pretty smooth. It was all easy (low heart rate) running and my body handled the miles quite well. I knew I would not be fast for this marathon but I was confident that I would have a good day.

Saturday we made the drive to Mass for packet pick up and Lola and I played parking garage ninjas.
Be Afraid 

The first few days before the race things were not going my way; Lola got sick with a head cold (que the Zicam, Emergen-C, and ChuckieTea) and I did not sleep much. I did get a chance to nap on Saturday and I assumed that Saturday night, my sleep would be restless. 
au contraire
I slept like the dead. 
I am always a restless sleeper before a race but I think because I felt so prepared to run and I did not have any big goals for this race other than to run 26.2 miles, I was so CALM.
I am NEVER calm...especially before a race! 

I ate my usual chicken, rice & veggie dinner that I have been eating before every long run and then laid my stuff out for the morning. 
I have been training in my :gosonja: kit (aka Coach) from Kompetitive Edge and it's been so comfy! I wanted to show my Rev3 love so the obvious choice was my Cedar Point visor-CP will be my full race next year! Pockets full of Powebar gels and a funky dubstep playlist to rock out too on the course.

It was also time to get tat'ed with some Punk Rock Racing love.
Lola loves Punk Rock Racing! She's giving me the "give it some Grrrr" peptalk!
Let's do this!
I was so chill race morning, calm, happy, smiling...and just ready to run. 
I was going down to the race with my athlete/training partner, Marc who was running the half. We got there with plenty of time to spare. Got dressed and went to warm up. 

pumped and ready to go!

I warmed up for some easy miles with a few surges thrown in, peed a couple times and lined up to run between the 9 and 10 minute mile corrals. All of my long runs were around the 10 min mile pace and this is pretty much what I expected to average for the race. A couple days prior, I had a conversation with Coach about pacing, MAF, etc. that crept into my head and stayed there for several days before the race....
My plan for the race was all easy the first half, pick up the pace after the first loop and then GO time the last 6 miles. All my training for this race has been easy and I did not want to take any gambles on race day by pushing too hard and blowing up. I wanted to have a GOOD day...and as I stated, there were no goals of BQ'ing today!

Nice and easy out of the gate and I was just trotting along, heart race nice and low, settled. No spazzing out, I did not let people passing me get into my was just me, the road and the sunshine above (and a ton of other people running). I ran for quite a while without music, just taking the environment in and enjoying running and then it was a nice little mix of some dubstep and dance-a new music choice for me! It was nice to just kind of zone out and run. Before I knew it, I had reached the halfway point (2:04) and I was feeling good. This is also when I stopped to pee...ahhh, good stuff. I lost about a minute and a half at the squat stop but it was sooo worth it. 

Run, run, run...things were just smooth. I was happy, I was feeling good and it was turning out to be a good day. Around mile 18, I started to see the start of the marathon carnage...walkers, lots of stopping, people on the side of the road stretching their calves/hamstrings/quads/etc, one gal was in a medic van, one guy was done for the day with his shoes off and sitting on the side of the road. People who passed me earlier in the day were now coming back to me as I passed them. My paced had slowed a tad but I was going strong and there was not an ounce of quit or negativity in me. 

This is a two loop run course and there is one section that the road is sooo slanted, it was actually very uncomfortable to run like that. I got as far into the road and off the shoulder as safely as I could, but it was still very slanted. I noticed it way more the second loop when my right side was starting to "talk" to me.  

Mile 20 came and I was still feeling good and it was time to pick up the pace. My legs were really feeling it now but it was OK. I was ok, I was not in distress and I was still happy. I just could not hit the pace I wanted but I was able to let my HR get a little higher now. No more watching the Garmin, no more watching stats...JUST RUN. 
And run I did. 

Next thing I knew, I was rounding the corner to the final stretch. I passed about 5 people in the last half mile or so and saw 8's flashing on the Garmin. 

Based on my training, I figured I would finish around 4:15:00...and when I rounded the corner to the finishers chute, I saw 4:15 on the clock! Go Jen!! Then just before I crossed, it ticked over to 4:16. 
Oh well! 

I had a fantastic day, I did not walk one step of that marathon and I had positive, happy thoughts and energy all day. I am calling it a success!!

My right quad/hip was pretty tight those last 6 miles and I did not realize just how tight till I stopped. Oooooops. DON'T STOP! Stopping hurt more than running...

Once I recovered a bit and was moving again, I checked my official results and to my surprise-

Oh yeah...GUN time versus CHIP time...looks like it took me only about 30 seconds to cross the starting timing mat!

What did I learn?
I liked running 26.2 miles and I can't wait to do it after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112.
I definitely want to do some run focused training and chase that BQ time, I KNOW I can do it!

Big props to Marc too! He PR'd by over 3 minutes and had a fantastic race. I am so proud of how far you have come in the last year and you make me one proud Coach!! Congrats Marc and thanks for always being my cheerleader!


Katie said...

girl, you are a badass. it's so nice to hear how happy you spent the day! xoxoxo. congrats!

lisa price said...


TriMOEngr said...

This is how every race should be. While going fast is great, finishing with such a positive experience is just what I love to read about. You are going to be such a ROCK STAR at the full next year. LOVE THIS!

Jen said...

That's fan freakin' tactic Jen!! What an awesome race report for what sounds like a spectacular day! :-)

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

Amazing. Simply amazing!

baker said...

Fantastic Race Report Jen and CONGRATS!

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

Great job on your marathon!

Jen Small said...

exactly!! I guess I just always want my "first" experience at a distance to be a good one-and this was fantastic. Now I have plenty of time to focus on faster :)

Erin said...

Awesome job! Congratulations!!

Krista said...

Nice job! Did you like the weather this weekend? I was watching the Head of the Charles and it could not have been nicer outside...crew might be my new sport...those women are buff!

Chick 9 Clothing

donna furse said...

well done and congratulations on an amazing time and race. Your spirit and enthusiasm crosses over to everyone and I'm sure you gave lots of people out on that course yesterday reasons to run, fun, happiness and the joy to beable to do what we are doing. Well done Jen, I can't wait for Cedar Point, I'm on the fence of wanting to do that race as well, well see.

Jason said...

Congrats to you and Marc. I have sworn off the marathon as a stand alone event at this point in my life.

They hurt to freaking much......haha!

Carrie said...

Yes, you rock!

Melissa Cunningham said...

how exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
congrats on not only your first marathon,but for having so much fun and feeling so calm and relaxed!
loved the ninja pic btw!

Jen said...

Damn you rock! Go chase that BQ dream. I know you have it!!!

Carol said...

Congratulations, Jen!

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

You are amazing! Great job and congrats!

Colleen said...

WOOHOO! Congrats girl!

Maggie said...

Congrats and awesome job!! You totally killed it!