Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Seriously - one of my best days EVER! Completing my 1st Marathon!

And, I got to see SPACE DEBRIS, too!! Check it out:

I actually did see this while I was running. I think I was around mile 20 or so.
I thought..."what the hell was that?!". And, one spectator alongside the road had the same look on his face. We then looked at each other & shrugged our shoulders in bewilderment.
Many people have run a marathon before, but not many can claim they've run a marathon under a flurry of flashing space debris!
So...my 2009 Austin Marathon Race Report!!!
Simply put, I had an incredible day!
It started out early, 4:30am wake up. A bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar & coffee immediately & a little downtime on Facebook.
I felt calm & somewhat prepared (Trev assured me I'd be fine, that I had enough "base miles" under me) - and, I just had a peace around me. I really felt like I could go out & give it my best, despite having only had run 18.7 miles as my longest run ever.
I got dressed in my super-cute Beef Running Team jersey & Laura & Karen met me here at my house at 5:30am.
We arrived downtown without problems & parked with ease. I worried a little about traffic & parking ahead of time, but all turned out good.
Trev called to check in with me & tell me where the bag check in was.
Walking to the start, I still felt calm & got another call from Trev. I was actually amazed at how good I felt! I did have a twinge of nervousness & I told Trev that, but it wasn't bothering me at all.
I made my way up to the bag check & hung out with Trev until the start. Talking with him kept me distracted and still totally calm.
Eventually, the start was upon me & I was slowly inching my way up to the start with the hundreds of others doing the marathon & 1/2 marathon.
We made it up to the line around 7:30am, I believe. I started my watch & off I went!
Very, very slow start - on purpose. Made my first mile an 11 minute mile, "respected the early hills" as my new friend Noelle told me to & got to the 3mile mark around 31 minutes.
I wanted to gradually pick up the pace & my goal all along had been to have a negative split - where my 2nd half (13.1 miles) was faster than my first 1/2.
I eventually got to mile 10 in 1 hour 39 minutes - right around where I wanted to be at that point - around a 10 minute/mile average.
I felt GREAT & nothing was hurting - not my legs, not my hips, NOT MY STOMACH -- thank God!
My nutrition plan was to take in sips of watered-down gels consistently, take 1 electrolyte pill every hour & sip on my very concentrated drink mix (Cytomax) and grab water as needed at the aid stations. Based on how good I felt the whole way through, I'd say my nutrition plan was a full-blown success.
At mile 13, the half-way mark, I called Trev because I had my phone & I felt great & wanted to let him know that! I got to this point at 2 hours, 9 minutes & was psyched because I was on pace for finishing under 4.5 hours, which was my goal all along.
When Trev answered he said "uh, oh - what happened?" I said "nothing - I'm just at mile 13 in 2:09 and feeling great!". He asked my why I was carrying my phone & I told him it was because I was on-call and have a mom who is due to go into labor at any minute! He thought that I had left my phone in my bag, DNF'd the race & was calling to tell him that! NOT SO! I was rocking it!
At this point, I felt so good that I really felt that my goal was doable.
I kept my pace - slow & steady - made every effort to be in each moment and really love it for what it was.
My music was awesome & really kept me entertained, too & I had so many people along the way cheering me on & cheering for "Team Beef". I felt like I was almost floating along at so many points.
Around mile 20, or so, I think - I saw my new friends, Noelle & Brian, & saw them cheering. They are so awesome! I am so glad I have gotten to know them & I was totally not expecting to see anyone I knew along the course...so, to see them out there cheering was really cool!
By mile 22-23, I did feel the fatigue setting in. I could sense that my hip went out and it was a tad funky, but it didn't really bother me. I just felt the exhaustion of being on my feet for 3.5 hours! I would say that this was where I hit the proverbial wall and the mental game ensued. But, honestly, the exhaustion & mental game were not even as bad as I had imagined in my mind ahead of time. I had a few quick thoughts about how I wanted to be done and how I was tired, but I knew I had it in me. I really knew it. I looked at my bracelet (which reads: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Phillipians 4:13) and I felt renewed and pushed on.
By mile 24, I knew I had it in the bag! I had gotten myself just under the 10 minute/mile mark around mile 17 & I knew that if I just kept going, I would be able to hit 4 hours & 15 minutes. Despite some rough final hills in those last 2 miles, I kept pace. I crested the final hill and then turned the corner onto Congress Ave - to see a downhill & the FINISH LINE!!! My heart leaped & I looked at my watch - 4 hours 13 and some minutes & then the sprint was on! I took off down the hill & knew I could make it under 4 hours, 15 minutes. AND, I DID!!
I sprinted & crossed the line in 4 hours, 14 minutes, & 45 seconds!
The feeling at the finish line was incredible! I found Trev, got a big hug & showed him my watch & my finish time.
I was so psyched! The goal had been to stay & average under 10 minute/miles the whole way & I did what I set out to do.
This race & my outcome was seriously one of the best days of my life! This understandably sounds cheezy and quite possibly the most ridiculous thing anyone has ever heard, but it was really that intense and special for me.

Primarily, it has given me the confidence to tackle the serious Ironman training that is about start. More than that, though, it has really given me the confidence that I can accomplish what I set my heart & mind to when I plan, prepare, train, and give it my all.

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