Saturday night I prepped everything I would need for race day. Now, my alarm is set for 5:30 every (week) day, however marathons are generally held on the weekend... I'm sure you can guess what happened. Thankfully I woke up by myself and I made it to the race on time. Like, announcing "Runners to your corrals" on time, but there before the race started!
And we even had time for pictures!
I went into this race with a clear fueling strategy. Fueling began a week prior to race day. I made sure to feed my body whole foods with plenty of high quality carbs and protein, but not really changing it up too much. The day before I didn't chug water, but made sure I was fully hydrated. My race night dinner was early, light and I've eaten it a million times before with no stomach issues.
Race morning I had my usual PB and banana sandwich. Then I had my first GU in my corral waiting for the race to start.
After my first GU I made sure to take a GU about every half hour. Unlike my last marathon I was consistent and made sure I didn't forget to take any. I also drank Gatorade and water at each station, spaced about 1.5 miles apart from each other.
And of course I had to take a picture with the Elvis(s).
In my race day strategy Lou gave me great advice, which stuck with me. You can’t set a PR during the first 10 to 30 minutes but you can defiantly lose it. He told me to zone out, block out all the excitement, focus on deep rhythmic breathing, and RELAX! And that's what I did. I listened to 3 podcasts, Marathon Training Academy, Vegetarian Food For Thought, and Marathon Talk. On Marathon Talk they interviewed ultra marathoner Scott Jurek. He's won 100 mile races, so it put my 26.2 in perspective!
I hit mile 13 feeling great! At 13 I turned on my jams. Fun. really gets my heart pumping for the record! At the 1/2 way point my race strategy switched. It was time to
“kick the tires and light the fires”
It’s now time let’er rip. It’s “hurting time”
My race strategy now was to pick a runner in front of me and focus on catching them. After passing them, pick another runner and pass them. It was actually a fun game and it helped the miles go by.
Spread out along the course there was a good amount of people cheering, and I always love a funny sign to get me smiling! They even had a couple bands playing.
When we finally hit the boardwalk I knew I had almost made it. Of course I felt tired but the boardwalk gave me some renewed energy. After the boardwalk came what I thought was the hardest part of the race. The sun was beating down and all around you could see people digging deep to keep going.
I'm pretty sure my Mom and Matthew were REALLY close to the finish line, but when I saw them I just assumed the finish line would be a hop, skip, and a jump away. I was wrong. Seriously, those last .2 miles are rough!
Matthew was shaking his moroccas and yelling "Go Melissa! You're almost there!" I picked up the pace but I didn't see the finish line. I kept up the pace and thinking it would be around the next bend. I was getting SO mad. Where was the finish line?!
When I finally saw it I sprinted and gave every ounce of energy that was left in my body.
Mile 26 was my fastest mile of the whole marathon. Negative splits, what what?! As soon as I stopped running all the muscle pain hit my body. My lower back ached and my legs felt like jelly, but I was SO. HAPPY.
I know I did not PR, but I felt strong, accomplished, and oh that runners high!
After my last 2 marathons I felt burnt out. Not this time around. I really think that if I give myself enough time to build up a solid base, and stick with Lou's training plan I can PR.
Each race we always learn something new, but I think we need to have the right attitude going into it. I knew this race for me was not about pace and being fast. Instead I wanted to find a way to finish strong and still love running the next day. I think I achieved this, and am excited for what the running future holds!