Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Woodlands Marathon 2014--Race Recap

I watched the weather closely.  At the start of the week, Saturday was projected to have a low of 40 and a high of 60.  Perfect!  Unfortunately life doesn't always go perfectly.  By Thursday the forecast had changed and instead we were looking at a low of 65 and a high of 79.  To top it off humidity was at 100 percent.  Ouch.

My six year old believes she is a nature fairy.  I told her if she was going to make it hot to please add a light misty rain to the schedule.  What do you know?  When I woke Saturday at 4 AM, there was a misty rain, though no rain was promised in the forecast.

Before the Race!

I ate a breakfast of toast and nutella and about twelve ounces of my favorite juice--Bare Naked Blue Machine smoothie.  It was perfect.

My friend picked me up and we all drove down the the race site.  We met our friends at Town Green where we used the bathroom for the first of many times.

The race started at 7 am.  The misty rain was still going strong.  Thank goodness.  The heat would've been unbearable without it.

My running buddies at the start.
The race started right on time.  I was a bottle of nervous energy.  The race started off feeling so easy, despite the heat.  Emily and I kept our splits just under ten minutes for the first six miles.  It hardly felt like we were working at all.  We talked to each other and those around us.  I wanted to speed up, but knew it was only going to get hotter and also every racing plan reminds you not to start out too fast.  The beginning miles shouldn't feel hard.  So they didn't and thank goodness!

Jon brought the kids to the 10k mark.  It gave me a boost of energy (Mario Star!).  Rosie was wandering in the grass and Hayden was cheering all us runners on.  She told me later that a lady thanked her.  I told her that it is a service to cheer people on, and it really helped me feel loved.  She said she must also be a Love Fairy as well.  Ha!

The poster my little Nature Fairy made for me.

Mile seven was the start of the hills.  Flintridge is not like the crazy hills I had growing up in Utah, but for Houston area, which is crazy flat, it is definitely a hill.  The hills last from about mile seven to mile thirteen.  None of these are hard hills, but my legs felt it.  Emily and I were sweating like mad due to the heat and humidity.  Around mile ten we took a salt packet.  I will never race without a salt packet again.  It was an instant pick me up.  I thought it would be gross to dump salt on my tongue, but my body wanted it.  I could've used more.  Next time!

We hit the halfway point at around 2:13.  Not bad.  It was right on pace.  The mist was still coming and it was still overcast, but we knew that was going to end.  Around mile 15 I had to use the bathroom.  Emily was nice enough to wait for me.  That added a bit of time, but not much.  There was no line, so I was in and out.  It was hard to get back into the groove though, especially because now the sun was coming out.  We saw our friend Ashley a few hundred yards ahead of us.  We had started the race together but had lost her in the first mile or two.  She must've been running the same pace as us because we couldn't catch her then.  A water stop or so later, we caught up to her and we all ran together for a bit.  

Mile seventeen I turned on my music.  I really needed a break from thinking about my legs which were now starting to hurt (this was also when it started to feel really hard).  Around here, I saw my friend Lara.  She had made a poster for me and I was so grateful to see her.  Another Mario Star moment!

The miles kind of blurred from here.  I walked the water stops, refilling my handheld water bottle and drinking Nuun instead of water or the provided drinks.  My miles slowed considerably as the sun pounded me.  I got to mile twenty and was overjoyed.  Emily and I had broken the race into short five mile segments.  We were now at our last five mile segment (well 10k)!   I told myself that I only had a little over an hour of running left.  That didn't help.  I had to change my thought process. Instead of five miles, I switched to one mile increments.  I just needed to run one mile.  This mile.  Elevenish minutes later, I hit the next mile and then the next.  I had to stop for another pit stop at this point.  I also remember some people standing in the road to cheer for us.  That was nice, except one couple was cheering right in my path.  They wouldn't move.  I kept thinking they would step out of the way!  But they didn't!  At the last moment I finally moved over so I wouldn't run into them.  That was annoying.  I really didn't have strength to move any more than I needed to.  It was already a chore to put one foot in front of the other, I really didn't want to have to move sideways!  

I got a second wind as I ran over the lake.  It didn't last long, but it felt good.  I would've liked to keep up the pace, but I started getting dizzy--though my legs were moving nicely.  I really didn't want to pass out, so I slowed down again.  At mile 24.5 a group of half marathon finishers were taking a walk right on the course.  Not a bad thing except they were blocking the WHOLE path.  They walked shoulder to shoulder.  A few yards behind them I yelled for them to move over.  I think I said, "coming through."  One girl moved over, thankfully, but another didn't.  I squeezed between them.  I wasn't very nice about it.  First off, several of them were pushing strollers which aren't allowed on the course AND they weren't being respectful to the actual runners in the race.  I was a little annoyed.  Okay, maybe more than a little.  I got over it and filled my water bottle one last time.  I was all out of Nuun so I had plain water.

At this point, I knew I would finish if I kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I wanted to walk so bad, but it was just as painful to walk as it was to run, so I ran.  

Jon waited for me about a half mile from the finish.  It was so good to see him.  He gave me a quick kiss and then I was off again.  

The finish is beautiful.  It goes along the waterway and was right at the Pavilion.  The only bad part is I couldn't see the finish until I was right there.  I only knew I was .1 from the finish because of the 3 mile marker from the 5k.  I pushed it as hard as I could--which wasn't very fast, haha, and crossed the line.  My official time was 4:42:26.  

All I wanted to do was sit.  I got my medal and Jon supported me until I found a spot under a tree.  I took off my shoes and socks.  No blisters!  Jon brought chocolate milk for me and I downed it.  Chocolate milk is the nectar of the Gods.  After changing my socks and resting for a bit I was able to move again.  

Emily had crossed the finish and Ashley shortly after.  We met and took some pictures.  Emily's dad and brother had also ran the race.  We split up, I went for food and she waited for her family.

The finisher shirt is nice.  The food was ok.  Breakfast sandwiches from Chick-fil-A.  I really didn't feel like eating.  I didn't eat much besides nuts and a piece of toast until dinner (a burger and fries from Jerry Built).

I fell asleep at 7:30.  My baby woke at about midnight, Jon went to take care of him, but he was still crying.  I was hungry, so I went to get my little guy.  I fed him stew and I ate a bit of oatmeal and drank some Blue Machine.   After he ate, he went straight to bed and so did I.  

The race was awesome, I was exhausted but never it the wall.  I think I kept a good pace in the beginning, drank a lot, and ate tons of honey stinger chews and shot blocks throughout the race.  I consumed about 500 calories total, mostly in the first 13 miles.  I will most definitely be racing a marathon again.  I'm a little scared though.  This time I was scared because I didn't know what I was getting into, next time because I do know what I'm getting into.

After the race. Finally starting to feel a little more like me.
I really didn't want to move from this spot.

1 comment:

  1. I can totally relate to people not moving out of your way on the course; I was so annoyed!