My first marathon is….. not technically in the bag. I skipped it and went straight to the “Ultra Marathon”
Confused? I can explain…
The race weekend started out great! We flew into Dallas and got to the packet pick up in no time (despite my apparent lack of attention to emails I’m sent… sorry Beth…)
As we pulled up the the Hyatt House, Pixie flew out of the building with an awesome glomp of joy!
There was no pomp or circumstance with the pick up- just a folding table where they checked me in, gave me my number and shirt, and a map of the race on an easel.
We collected our things and headed to McKinney to relax, have dinner, and walk around town. All these things were necessary as they are the best thing to do to get your mind off of what the following day will hold. I went through all of the stuff that I had brought with for energy and clothing and made decisions about what to put in my pack and what to wear.
There are so many options for fuel, and I brought most of them with me: carb boom, sport beans, Hydrate, chews etc.
Feeling like I had done all I could do, I set my alarm for 4:50 and headed to bed.
Sunday morning I was calm, like creepy calm. B made my oatmeal while I got dressed. Everything was already in order, so I was able to mindlessly get everything on. On the way down to Fair Park we swung by a Starbucks so I could get my mocha. I was thrilled as punch, as I had cut off caffeine for the 3 weeks leading up to my race and this would be my first jolt of coffee energy in a long while!
Arriving at Fair park we pulled in and made our way towards the festivities. They had rows of porto potties, and we must’ve been early enough that we didn’t have to wait very long to use them. Inside the hall they had vendors, maps, photos etc. I’ll be honest, it was really nice to have somewhere light and warm to wait for the race to start. It wasn’t very cold that morning, but knowing how hot it would be later, I was dressed rather lightly so the heat was appreciated.
As they began to announce that our start was 10 minutes away we made our way towards the starting line. The marathon portion of the series was rather small- only about 500 runners- so it was nothing like the mobs of Colfax or Bolder Boulder, and that was a good thing.
Pixie and I started getting our tracking devices ready and I was programming my watch to the target pace she and I had agreed upon: 11:45. While I was doing that I noticed that there weren’t waves, like I had originally thought, but rather PACE groups! I have never run with a pace group before (it had never even crossed my mind!) but while I had my phone out I opened the calculator. I told Pixie that the 5:00 pace group would be running roughly 11:27 per mile! We both instantly agreed that we would stick with them as long as we could.
The excitement culminated as the announcer said that it was time!
5. 4. 3. 2. 1!!!!!!
We were off!
It was so hard to not go off like a rocket, but having the pace crew in front of us, I felt confident and happy! We followed them through twists and turns and in a bit my garmin (and everyone else’s) beeped with 1 mile. There were no course markers, but I didn’t think anything of it. When my garmin went off with another beep alerting me to 2 miles, and I could see a one mile marker off in the distance I knew something wasn’t right. I tried to not pay attention to it- we were having a great time with the 5 hour pace crew, and I was really enjoying the run.
There were a lot of hills, but nothing that my training had missed, so it wasn’t too bad. We stopped at the first water stop for a Pixie potty break and got moving again to try to catch the crew. We stayed near by them, but never quite caught back up to them.
The Whiterock Lake Park was beautiful, and I was super grateful that it was overcast and cooler outside. I felt like we were going along at a good clip, and around 8 miles (by my garmin) we slowed to take some fuel. I decided to use my Carb Boom first, and I have to say the kiwi strawberry was pretty tasty. I have had GU in the past, and it never set well on my palate, but this product was delicious. I had Herbalife Hydrate in my pack and used that to wash down the goo.
We started back up again with the jogging, and while we were slower than the 5 hour crew, I was still happy with our pace of about 11:50/12:10.
The water crew people were great- they said they were competing to win a prize, but I have yet to see where I would vote on that? Oh well!
At the top of the lake we left the park and went into a neighborhood to the north. We wove in and out of the neighborhood, and the trees and shade was great, as the sun was starting to come out and slowly roast me…
My half marathon split time was 2:34:51 and this is a MAJOR PR for me! (Prior half PR was 2:43:15ish) I was making great time!!!
As we left the neighborhood and began to make our way around the other side of Whiterock Lake, the sun was really starting to get to me. I could feel my body temp rising and no water stop had water that was cold enough to bring me back down.
Also, the mental battle of knowing that we would be running over a mile longer than we had planned was starting to become very real to me. I didn’t want to run that far. I felt cheated and lied to with every mile marker that we passed.
Around mile 16 we saw my hubby and Beth. I felt a little silly because we had slowed to a walk and we talking, so in the picture we look like we are just going for a leisurely stroll around the lake. I promise, we weren’t!
Finally around mile 19 I decided it was my turn to use the potty. I was glad that I did! It was nice to sit down, but I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get back up, so I didn’t stay in there long!
I quickly caught up with Pixie and I noticed that we were both starting to feel a little defeated. At mile 20 there was a wicked hill that we walked up, and I was so tired that I used the fuel given to me at the water stop at 20, instead of trying to get into my bag for my own stuff.
At mile 21 I hit the wall. It was bound to happen, given the extreme heat and sun as well as the negative emotions regarding the mistake that was made somewhere on the course that was forcing us to run longer that we wanted.
At mile 23, right after another potty break, my garmin died, a little over 5 hours into the run.
Note to self, run my race in less than 5 hours next time!!!
I came out of the bathroom and didn’t see Pixie anywhere. I started to jog, back at my 11:45 pace, even though I didn’t really have it in me, because I needed to catch her wherever she was!
At the 24 water stop I finally caught up to her, as she was coming out of the potty- she thought I was next to her and was far off before she realized I was gone!
We spent the last few miles lamenting about our energy/heat/emotional level.
We cheered to ourselves as we crossed 26.2 miles, according to her Runtastic app, and then struggled to continue going.
I was getting so tired of people leaving the park telling us that we were “almost there”. Ok, folks. The worst thing you can say to someone finishing a marathon is that. You and I have very different definitions of what “almost” means and 1.25 miles is not almost. Sorry.
At 27 miles we saw our friends and they were cheering for us, waiting to feed us BBQ!!!
At long last we saw the finish line.
We joined hands and raced through, together!
27.35 miles in 6:16:03!!!!!
A final picture that sums up everything……..