Sunday, February 24, 2013

Austin Marathon 2013

I trained for the marathon this year with Gilbert's Gazelles. I really enjoyed it, it was a little more challenging and higher mileage that what I've done before, but I felt good all through training. I did 3 runs of 20+ miles and actually enjoyed all of them. So based on my training I felt really good going into the marathon this year. My goals were:
1. Have Fun & Finish
2. PR over my 2010 marathon (5:26)
3. If I have a perfect day, I'd love to go sub 5:00

Jeff got me to the start early, but after lining up and just 6 minutes before start time, I decided I needed to use the restroom again. There are porta-potties at every aid station (every mile) but they always have lines and I wanted to go for a PR and definitely didn't want to waste time standing in line during the race! So as the race started I was standing in line. My time wouldn't start until I crossed the start mat, so I wasn't wasting time, but I didn't want to start at the very back of the pack either. I let myself get a little nervous about it, even though I knew it was unnecessary. As soon as I finished, I rushed back to the start, gave Jeff a quick good luck kiss and got into the mass heading across the start mat. I crossed the mat and started running, it was crowded but I wasn't getting stuck behind walkers or anything, so I assumed I had gotten back to the start just in time.

As I ran up San Jacinto I heard and saw lots of spectators, my legs felt good and I felt the sun on my shoulders. I was suddenly smiling from ear to ear and I thought "this is so much FUN! This is exactly why I LOVE racing!" I tried to really let myself feel that and let it set the tone for my day.

Soon the 3:40 pace group passed me and I realized I had actually started closer to the 3:00 runners than the 4:45 where I had planned to start! Oh well, luckily I'm good at running my own pace and not getting concerned about people passing. And when the 3:40 group passed I knew to expect lots of people to go by for the first few miles. At mile 2 I ran by City Hall looking for my spectating crew of Kristen, Ingrid, Shayla, Jeff, & Jim (KIS,J2), but instead I saw Rita and threw her my gloves. Then around the corner I heard before I saw KIS!! J2 wasn't there, but I assumed Jeff was still en route since I had mangled the start plan a little.
Waving to my KIS crew to make sure they saw me in the mass of people at mile 2! Photo by Kristen Carey
As I ran up Congress, I thought about Gilbert's advice to be patient and NOT go out too fast, I let people pass me going up the hills on Congress and told myself to be patient. I saw Southies Gina, E-beth & Kelly cheering! When I turned onto South First I knew I'd get to pick up the pace some going downhill- Yay! Maggie and Linda both doing the half, both passed me and I talked with each of them for a minute. I saw Alysha on S. 1st and was impressed that she picked me out of the crowd! I saw the Southie crew again on S. 1st, but I'm pretty sure they didn't see me this time! As I crossed the First street bridge I saw my KIS crew again and this time J2 was with them, good!
High fiving Shayla on the First Street bridge. Photo by Kristen Carey
I found Lauren just after the bridge and ran with her for awhile. Texas 4000 was running the mile 9 water stop. They must have found every single person they know to come out and cheer, just past the Lamar bridge was "Livestrong Way" there were hundreds (if not over a thousand) people out wearing yellow, with yellow signs, yellow chalk on the ground and all cheering their hearts out- it was amazing! One of the highlights of my marathon! Melissa from book club was at the Mopac crossover, there weren't a lot of spectators right there, so it was great to see her! At mile 9 I was on pace for a sub 5 hour marathon. I knew I'd lose some time in the next 5 or 6 miles, but I also knew the last 7 miles could be faster if I felt good and so far I was feeling awesome!

As I ran up Winsted and Exposition I tried to remember to be patient and as long as my legs felt good when I turned on 35th I was in good shape. Devon, Tom & Carolyn were spectating on Winsted, which was the only part of the course I hadn't run numerous times (it's not normally runnable due to traffic). Exposition is definitely the toughest part of the course for me, with a few steep hills. As I got closer to Westover I couldn't help but think "whoever made the spectating plan for my KISJ2 crew is a genius (me), I am SO happy I'll see them here!" As I started up the Westover hill, Kristen was there taking pictures and told me everyone else was at the top of the hill.
About to start up the BIG hill to Westover. Photo by Kristen Carey
 I'm sure I would have walked a little of that hill if I hadn't known they were up there! I saw them and Ingrid flashed this sign at me! So Cool! Ingrid's awesome signs were another highlight of my marathon!
The first of Ingrid's Awesome marathon signs! It's a "mom" sign from Connor & Katie- CUTE! Photo by Kristen Carey
I continued up Exposition and thought I had another hill or 2 when I saw the light at 35th, wow, I'm at the top already! Not often I think that! I hit the half marathon mark at 2:32, just about perfect according to Gilbert's plan (negative split the second half because the first half is so hilly), and I still felt really good!

I saw Nicki on Shoal Creek around mile 16 and told her I felt great! I passed the Gazelle Band and said hi to Jay at mile 17. But shortly after that I started to get a side stitch, I don't get them too often, but when I do they usually keep coming back. I walked for a minute and got rid of it, I was sure it wouldn't come back. Great Northern was one of the few places with not many spectators and I really could have used them then, but near the curve a lady came jogging toward me and said "this is a lonely stretch with not many people, but don't worry, just around the corner there are lots of people!" I really appreciated her! I saw Del, Kim & Jen  and then Annette, Nicki, at Foster and then Veronica & Bianca, and right after that the stitch came back- oh no! I tried to run through it, but it got worse and I had to walk to get rid of it again. I got to Northcross and saw my KISJ2 crew again and Ingrid had another awesome sign for me! She ran with me and asked how I was doing, I told her I felt great except for a couple of side stitches but I was sure they were gone now. And of course, right after that, I felt it come back again, I ran through it as long as I could then had to walk again.
A smile power sign from Ingrid! Photo by Kristen Carey
A high five from Jim. Photo by Kristen Carey
A Mama Mudge high five, looks like we both had to stretch for that one! Photo by Kristen Carey
And a high five from my awesome husband! Photo by Kristen Carey
I was really impressed that the Crestview neighborhood came out in force to spectate! They even had Domino the giant Violet Crown pig out on Morrow!
Domino the Crestview Pig, notice how big he is, he's being pulled on a trailer behind a truck (random photo from the internet)
 I saw Tracy running the opposite direction down Morrow whooping and cheering wearing her cowboy hat and boa, I'm pretty sure she didn't see me, but it was fun to see her! There were lots of house parties and lots of kids cheering in Crestview, so even though I was disappointed that the side stitches were slowing me down (and they kept coming back) I really enjoyed running through Crestview! At mile 19.5 I passed "Jenny Corner" I knew Jenny wouldn't be there, but I found a random spectator, high fived her and thanked her, thought of Jenny out skiing and ran on. Alysha showed up again at mile 20.5, she was like a little leprechaun who kept showing up at the best places! Then Monica ran with me a little at Thunderbird Coffee. As I got close to the mile 21 water stop, I saw Laura, she started cheering my name and then everyone else at the water stop started cheering my name, it was pretty cool! I was off pace by now, but aside from the side stitches I was having the best time! I was still hoping the stitches would stop and I could bomb down Duval and still be close to 5 hours.

I saw Carolyn again on Guadalupe and on 51st I spotted Mark up ahead, I caught him, but had to walk with a stitch again so he got ahead. I hadn't seen Bonnie in forever, but I saw her working the water stop on 51st. I turned onto Duval and I heard before I saw Betsy, David, Amy & Matt going crazy for me! Betsy even made me a special book club inside joke sign! I really need to get a picture of this sign! I wanted to tell her that aside from a few side stitches this race really had been "Magic every Mutha F'ing Mile" so far! Amy came out to run with me and asked if I wanted a jello shot, at first I thought "oh jello sounds yummy" but then I realized there was also vodka in it and I couldn't run 3 more miles with vodka in my tummy! So I turned her down, then she said, will you pretend so I can get a picture? That was fun! Thanks Amy!
pretending to take a jello shot, photo by Amy Bush
I caught Mark again on the little hill past 45th (and another side stitch), I chatted with him for a minute and told him we were still on pace for about 5:10 (that may have been slightly generous). And then at 43rd I saw my KISJ2 crew again! Yay! Less than 3 miles to go! Mudge high fived me and told me to make sure to look for my special chalk sign. Ingrid had written "Si Se Puede" on the road for me! YAY!!
Coming down Duval ready for some high fives from my KISJ2 crew! Photo by Kristen Carey
My feet were starting to hurt, my legs were getting tired, but I felt much better than expected- nothing hurt too much and I felt great nutritionally and mentally, if only I could keep the side stitch from coming back! I saw Alysha the leprechaun again near the bottom of Duval. I had really wanted to take the downhills on Duval fast and I was disappointed that I just couldn't do it without bringing on the stupid stitch! I ran through campus, knowing that short stretch would seem longer than it should, and it did. I crossed MLK and knew I just had a few blocks to go. Then Tracy appeared out of the crowd and started running with me, she warned me about the awful hill coming up, I had run it in training a lot, so I knew exactly what to expect, but it was awesome to have her there talking me through it!
About to start up the insult hill with Coach Tracy there for support, and of course my KISJ2 crew cheering like crazy! Photo by Kristen Carey
As I started up the "insult hill" I saw my KISJ2 crew one more time! Jeff told me I was "too fast" and they couldn't make it to the finish line before me! At the turn, Tracey wished me well and I ran to the finish line! Finish time was 5:16, and I felt good and had fun the entire way! So 2 of 3 goals accomplished. I didn't think it was possible to have as much fun as I did during a marathon! And I PRed over my 2010 marathon by 10 minutes. I'm sure I could have been really close to 5:00 if I could have gotten rid of the side stitches.

Recovery is going really well and I can't wait to run another marathon and try for sub 5:00!

A few of my Marathon Highlights:
Feeling So Awesome at the start
"Livestrong Way"
Ingrid's awesome signs, and Betsy's special sign
The "jello shot incident"
Seeing so many friends out on the course! I knew where I'd see my KISJ2 crew and a few other people, but a lot of others were a surprise, I looked forward to seeing those I knew about and was happily surprised every time I saw someone I didn't know would be out there!

Notes mostly for me:
Weather: 36 at start, 68 at 12:00, sunny, windy in second half (headwind on Woodrow & Duval)
Clothing: nike shorts & embrocation on legs, long sleeved Gazelle shirt, compression socks
Shoes: Newton Terra Momentum
Nutrition: Infinit- 300 calories, Honey Stinger gummies- 160 calories, water at aid stations


shubbe said...

Congratulations on pushing through some hard times and finishing strong, Heather. As I said while we were running, I've had those side stitches, and I know all about the ones so debilitating you have no choice to walk (or even stop completely). I wish I had any advice on how to stop them (though for me, I think it may have something to do with salt, maybe, I don't really know).

I was so happy to be part of your race, and even though you were going through a rough patch, you still had a huge smile on your face and a great attitude. It's a pleasure to be your friend!

Olivia Derr said...

Awesome report Heather! And that Gazelle's shirt looks GOOD! Great meeting you this year.

-- Olivia