You guys all know my training. It was long and obsessive and not your run of the mill training program. I caught a lot of slack from people saying it was too aggressive etc. But I like aggressive. And I think it worked. In fact, I want more for my next training. Never in a million years would I have thought that I could run my first marathon comfortably in 3:02. Never, that sounds cocky! But please enter this dude:
|Eric is the head CC coach @ West Liberty Univ. and assistant track|
coach. Also, a fast guy with countless 2:30 marathons on his resume.
I have to add this conversation because it's funny. I went to the Pacer table and said hello. Mind you I am a pacer. I've sat at that table. But being on the opposite side is nerve racking.
Pacers: Hi, what are you looking to run?
Me: Hi, my plan is to drop the 3:05 group pretty quickly and go low 3.
Pacers: Oh really? (snicker/smile) What is your pr?
Me: It's my first marathon. I don't have one.
Pacers: Ooooh okay...wow. What's your half pr?
Me: 1:25. I total lie but that was based off a recent training run. I had to say that. I see where they were going.
Pacers: Okay, well this guy is doing the 3:15.
Me: I don't think I'll see you. If I do I'm in trouble!
...get me out of here!!
Fast forward to race day:
All the standard no sleep, jitters and stuff applied to me too. But who cares. I dig that. I carpooled into the shuttle area at about 6am on Sunday. I took the shuttle to the start and bag check area. It was freezing and I was shivering. I waited until about 20 minutes pre-race to part with my jacket and check my bag. I talked to a few other runners. I was so cold and shivering that I had to do a warm up. So I just started running everywhere. Bum rushing port-o-let lines, excuse me, excuse me! Then ultimately packing myself in the middle/front of the coral A with not another women in sight. I looked around...ughhhh. Then I thought of Eric saying..."LaBella, you get up there, get up there..." Okaaaay!
I found a few guys who had a 2:59 or bust attitude. So we started getting excited and vowed to do the deed pre gun. We talked for a few miles. Then we disbanded somehow with the crowds and turns. But then I met another group. About 6 men and 1 women: Haley. She appeared to be the unofficial pacer for their 2:59 group. We cruised so tightly, drafting each other for a good 10 miles. Crowds cheered us and said how good we looked. It took the stress off to know that if I just stayed with them I could have a fun run. We were running high 6:40's. It felt like what you see on tv but clearly, slower...
Then around miles 10 I got antsy. I thought they were going too slow. So I left them. Then it got boring. I listened to my ipod off and on. Always pausing it near cheer sections to hear the crowds and smile back and high 5.
At the half the clock said 1:29. I had wanted 1:30 to ensure a negative split. But because the 1:29 was a cake walk I didn't stress. I crossed the mat and knew my friends back home were cheering me through. Every mat I crossed I thought of every friend who had ever influenced me. My local friends, facebook, blog followers..Benny in Texas...Spandex King...I got this!
I was alone for most of this. I kept a 6:5X pace. I knew I banked the first half with the 6:40's so I was fine with it. I felt great. I was having fun. The I saw the mile 20 mile marker sign. I knew the "race started at mile 20" like everyone says. I thought okay, this is a 6 miler. Let's go.
Mile 22ish: I had slacked on mile 20 and 21 with a 7 pace. I bargained with myself that I would stop this recovery pace and race to the end. But then my quads and glutes felt like they were attacked by bees. They were stinging. I thought oh shit. What is this? I drank some water. Sucked on my gel. It didn't go away. So I said, okay. I will run with this stinging I guess...
I wasn't hurt per se. But my attitude started to change. I saw a few elites pulled off course with what looked like bad leg cramps. They looked like amazing runners. And here I was singing Pitbull and smiling. That made me nervous. I thought, who am I? That could happen to me next. Maybe I should just chill and have a little more respect for the distance....Then the scenery got my attention and I was watching the river white cap along the greenway. It was gorgeous. But jeezus, what the hell happen to me? Race, LaBella race!! So I pulled out my mental cards. Things that I have always thought of that would toughen me up:
*My Ultra friends. They could do this and they love it and do it 3 more times, with blisters!
*Laura B's 2:59. She did it 1st thon.
*Tim Meigs in Boston 2012 running like it was 2011 conditions.
*Joey running Tahoe Rim with little oxygen and saying it wasn't too bad. ha!
*Shannon and his Tower's Run up a moutain, weekly. Here I was on flat...suck it up!
*Every jaw dropping hilly run that Brian Douglas has ever done at 6:20 pace.
*Dan did a low 3. That means I can!
*THE GIFT..Pre said I can't sacrifice it...run harder!! the gift damn it...lol!
I could be wrong but I remember running alone in what was desolate greenway. I kept thinking that we would dump back onto the streets of Univ of Oregon to head towards Hayward Field. At this point I knew even if I dropped to 7:20 pace I had a 3:02 in the bag. Now my attitude was screw it. A 3:02 is fine.....I can jog it in and enjoy it and not hurt. I was a tad annoyed that I lost my balls to the wall racing attitude but proud I was still going to roll up with a good time.
Where is Hayward Field??!!! Geez, I was running alone in tall grass on the greenway losing my mind then all of a sudden the streets were lined with crowds and cheering. FINALLY!! I picked it up a little bit but I was so taken aback by the crowds I must have looked like a deer caught in headlights. Then I entered Hayward Stadium like I was Beyonce being ushered backstage. Impeccable volunteers, again. I hit the track and was so grateful for the soft surface. Then I looked up and saw the stands full of supporters cheering. They called my name, "Laura Frey from Raleigh!" I have read books about this 200 mark. I see this view on posters. Shit!! I thought:
*okay smile. Oh no, don't cry..smile! Don't cry!
*suck it in, straighten up!!
*Holy shit, I'm gonna BQ! I can't NOT finish now.
*Holy crap, they just said my name on Hayward field!!
*3:02:30...uhh..let's pick this up LaBella. tick tock...
*OMG, I ran a marathon!
The rest is a blur of smiles and euphoria. Seeing so many people accomplish so much and all the support is really amazing from a runner or just a humanitarian perspective. We all did it!
Next was an onslaught of texts, calls, emails, FB's etc. People that have been with me for the last year and more when I stress fractured 3 weeks before my last, 1st marathon. I've detailed my training and had their support. Without, I would not be here. THANK YOU GUYS!!! XOXO
It was roughly 50 degrees at the start and humid. Pretty much perfect.
I drank 2 coffee's 2 hours pre race.
I then drank Muscle Max from GNC on the shuttle.
I opened a Clif Shot Cherry Chocolate in the Coral. And ate 2 more that I carried with me.
I never took aid station water or drinks. I ran with a 12 oz bottle of water with Mio and drank 3/4 of it.
I wore Brooks PureFlow with 12 miles on them.
Video of finish here lol
Some pics from the race photog's.
|entering the final .2|
|Me post race behind the track with a foot near my sunglasses incase|
you were wondering. lol
|post marathon, Hayward Field, sun: HAPPY GIRL!|
Thanks for reading!! I'll have to do a "Day after" post...sheeeeit!!