Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wrightsville Beach Marathon week

I had such high hopes for this race week. It started out great with another donation. I had created an awesome iPod playlist from song suggestions of friends, donors, and my own favorites. I was totally excited about vacationing with my sister. We had a great easy jog and then a walk on the beach the day before the marathon. I started the marathon at the pace my coach prescribed and it felt "easy". I was totally going to set a marathon personal record. But then the dream faded away...  The following paragraphs describe each day of this week leading up to and including the Wrightsville Beach marathon.

Monday:  Rest Day.  I received one more donation for the Cystic Fibrosis charity that I am running my marathon for. Sydney was so sweet to make a generous cash donation! My daughter proclaimed that Bryce's mom (Sydney) is a cool mom because she wrote Kyra's name on the envelope and "4 UR Mom". Bryce and Kyra have been in the same class for several years; kindergarten, 3rd grade, 5th grade (and maybe a few others but my memory isn't the greatest). Bryce is a sweet boy that also is a Georgia Tech fan. I graduated from Georgia Tech in 1990. Most of the people that we know are UGA fans, so GT fans are top rated in my heart. Go Jackets! In addition to her cash contribution, Sydney also gave me great suggestions for my marathon iPod play list. And oddly, several were also Kyra's suggestions as well. Which of course, made Sydney an even cooler mom because she has similar tastes in music to Kyra.

Tuesday:  Intervals.  Ran 4 miles in 43:15, average pace 10:48. Coach Josh prescribed 1 mile warm-up at 11:00, then intervals of 4x3 minutes at 9:50 pace with 2 minute jogging recovery after each, followed by 1 mile cool down at 11:00.  I ran exactly as he prescribed with the exception of doing a 1.1 mile cool down to get to the total of 4 miles since I wasn't sure if I should go by the mileage or the work-out plan, and since it was only 0.1 mile difference, I decided to go the distance. If I didn't have a marathon in 5 days, I probably would have pushed the interval pace harder because I found it easy. But decided to be a good girl and followed the plan prescribed by my coach. It is taper week, after all...

Wednesday:  Swim 800 meters in 25 minutes.  Coach Josh originally planned for me to stationary bike today, but on Monday, when I looked at my weekly schedule, I asked him if I could swim instead. I LOVE swimming (and I bought a new swimsuit on Sunday). He said yes, and readjusted my schedule. I was supposed to swim 1000 yds, but only had 25 minutes between getting Kyra to school and the time I needed to be in the shower to make it to my follow-up sports medicine doctor's appointment, so just swam 25 minutes which ended up at 800 meters. Took it nice and easy; didn't sleep much last night and just didn't have the energy/motivation to push it hard. Nice relaxing swim. My heel still hurts, but is a little better than it was 4 weeks ago. Dr. Gary Levengood gave me another cortisone shot and his physician's assistant showed me more stretches to try. Dr. Levengood said I was his 3rd marathon patient of the day; two other people planning on running the ING Georgia marathon on Sunday were also there worried about whether they would be able to run their marathon. Gary said I was good to go. He's looking forward to our return trip to Chicago in October!  (I ran Chicago last year with his wife and another of our friends and we plan to do it again together in 2010.)

Thursday:  I was supposed to run 5 miles today, but I just didn't have time. Too much to do before leaving town tomorrow. I stayed up way past midnight trying to get everything accomplished. Now what did I forget to pack...

Friday:  Rest/Travel day.  I only slept about 4 hours and am totally exhausted.  My sister arrived at my house around 11 a.m. We took the dogs to Funnybones, picked up lunch from Chik-fil-a, returned home to pack the car and then began our drive to Wrightsville Beach, NC. We arrived around 7 p.m. and stopped at Szechuan 132 for chinese dinner before checking into the Hilton Garden Inn.

Saturday:  My sister and I went to "The Loop" at Wrightsville Beach and ran 2 miles in 23:07 minutes, average pace 11:32. Coach Josh prescribed a mellow prep run of 25 minutes.  We ran two sides of the triangle of "The Loop", then walked the third side on the beach. Great, relaxing run followed by an even more relaxing walk along the beach. We went shopping afterwards, then returned to the hotel for showers. Then we went to lunch at Elijah's and while we were waiting for a table, Coach Josh called. He thinks I can run this race in less than 5 hours, told me the paces that I should run and when to consume gels and said he would send me a text message with the info. I was surprised that he thought I could run it at a 10:45 pace, but knew he's been right in the past when I doubted him. I was excited/nervous and picked at my crabcake lunch. Afterwards, we headed to the race Expo. The Expo was cramped into a tiny space, with lots of people, and I felt a little claustrophobic. I couldn't stay in there long. My sister bought me a small purse (that I picked out) for my early birthday present (my birthday is next week). Then we went to the beach for about an hour. It was warm this morning, but was cool this afternoon. We had our bathing suits on under our clothes, but I was too cold to remove my shirt and shorts. I was very tempted to return to the car and get my jacket. But I was too lazy and laid on the beach reading a magazine instead. After about an hour, we were both too cold to stay any longer and returned to the hotel for dinner. The hotel had a pasta buffet, especially for the marathon. It tasted marvelous! But immediately after eating, I had to return to the room to use the restroom. Unfortunately, I had an upset tummy the rest of the evening and prayed that it would be all out of my system by morning. Between trips to the bathroom, I laid out my clothes, pinned my race number to my shirt, tied the timing chip to my shoe, painted my nails to match my Team 65ROSES shirt, and mentally prepared for the race.

Sunday:  Wrightsville Beach marathon...  Ran 16 miles in 3:26:11, average pace 12:53 (thanks to illness).  I should be writing 26.2 miles in less than 5 hours, average pace of 11:xx, but that just didn't happen. I woke up feeling well, but took an imodium just in case since my tummy had been upset the night before. I showered, dressed, ate a peanut butter clif bar, drank some tart cherry juice, and off we headed to the trolley pick-up. The trolley pick up was just a few tenths of a mile from the hotel. The trolley dropped us off about a half-mile from the start. We waited in line for the bathroom at the trolley drop for quite a while, but then I feared we wouldn't make it to the start in time, so we left the line. We dropped our bags off at the baggage bus, consumed a Hammer Gel and small gatorade fifteen minutes before the race was supposed to start, and then got in line for the porta-potties. Thankfully, they decided to delay the race start by 10 minutes because of trolley delays. I exited the porta potty just as they announced the start, but didn't see my sister anywhere in the pre-dawn darkness. For the first few miles, I kept my eye out of her, but maintained the pace Josh prescribed (11:00 pace for the first 3 miles). About 2 miles into the race, I spotted her about a block ahead of me. I could have sprinted to catch up with her, but decided to run my own race. At mile 3, I increased the pace to 10:49. I consumed another hammer gel at mile 5, just like Josh had told me. I focused my thoughts on Nathaniel during mile 5 to 6, since he's a 5-and-a-half year old with Cystic Fibrosis and his aunt so generously donated to the CF charity that I'm running for.  The first 7 miles ranged from 10:49 to 11:06.  I was so happy and predicting a personal record (PR). I was smiling and mentally rehearsing my victory statement of a sub-5 hour marathon.  But then... the wheels fell off... During mile 8, my stomach started cramping. I was gaining on my sister, but at mile 9 I started desperately looking for a porta-potty.  At mile 9.5, I spotted a porta-potty and got in line, praying I could hold it. Made it into the porta-potty and had my first round of diahrea for the day. That mile took over 20 minutes thanks to having to wait so long. But I had visions of making up some of the lost time. A mile later I was again desperately scanning the landscape for another porta potty. The next one was at a First Aid station. I asked for imodium and they had none. But a spectator overheard the request and caught up to me after I exited the porta-potty and handed me one; she just happened to have it in her purse. I felt for sure this was a sign that things would improve! I took the pill and knew that I would feel better soon. I was wrong. I barely contained myself between porta potties and slowed down drastically. At mile 14, I began to vomit. Then, for the first time, I added walking into the running, and prayed to contain until the next porta potty. I stumbled into the mile 16 aid station and the volunteers asked if I was okay. I said no and they asked what I needed. I said "bathroom" and they pointed me towards the porta potty. After using it, I stumbled out and collapsed. When I came to, I was told my race was over. I was so disappointed. I had simply lost more fluids than I could take in and had become too dehydrated. I really wanted to finish the race, but was just too sick. An aid station worker told me that there are hundreds of marathons around the country so I should just think of this as a 16 mile training run and register for another race. It made sense, but I still was very sad and disappointed. I kept thinking of Nathaniel, Tony and Susan (the three people with Cystic Fibrosis that I was running for), and felt horrible for letting them down, but vowed to make it up by completing a marathon in April, instead of now. They called a van to pick me and another woman up, who had to drop out too. She also wasn't feeling well, but looked better than me. The van took us to the medical tent at the finish area/bag pick-up. After receiving sufficient fluids, I got my bag, put on my fleece jacket and headed straight to the porta potty. I went back and forth between the spectator/finish area and the porta potty. I wanted to see my sister finish, but didn't know if I would be able. Josh called after he saw my texts/tweets; thankfully I was sitting on the curb watching finishers at that point, rather than in the porta potty. I fought back the tears as I talked to him. I felt like I let so many people down, especially him. He said the most important thing was that I was/would be okay and I just need to focus on feeling better. Easier said than done. Fortunately, I got to see my sister round the corner and finish in 5:27:45. I was so proud of her! She asked how I finished so much faster than her and I explained that I didn't. Then I had to run to the porta potty again while she grabbed her bag. We started walking back to the hotel and I wasn't sure I would make it without ruining my outfit. I told her I would leave the room door ajar and then I ran to the hotel; I made it just in time. I spent the rest of the afternoon bouncing back and forth between the bed and the toilet. We bought more imodium and went out for a late lunch as soon as my stomach had slowed a little. I took the imodium and ate some soup. I hoped for the best, but by the time we returned to the hotel, I was back in the bathroom. Unfortunately, I was very ill the rest of the day. I prayed I would be over it by morning since we had planned to drive back home tomorrow. So disappointed...

Weekly Summary:
  • Days run this week:  3
  • Miles run this week:  22
  • Highlight of the week:  spending time with my sister at the beach and watching her finish her first marathon.
  • Goals for next week:  feel better

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