Thursday, June 13, 2013

Utah Valley Marathon Recap

Cliff Note Version:  2:59:05 - 6:50 pace, 3rd place overall female finisher.

Before I copy/paste my report from my training blog I just really need to publicly say Thank you.  I am beyond blessed to have so many incredible people in my life that support me, inspire me, motivate me, and most importantly make me want to be a better person on a daily basis.  I am so very humbled, so grateful, and just so lucky to be surrounded by so many people that genuinely love and support me. 

No matter how hard a marathon is we live for that euphoria of crossing that finish line.  Just like life we go through highs and lows out on the course, trials and triumphs, moments of weakness, and flashes of joy.  No one ever crossed the line of a marathon and said "that was easy".  Marathons are hard, life is hard.  In the end, once you cross that finish line it is always worth it.  I always want to live my life in a way that no matter what I am striving to get to that finish line.  My steps might be slow, I might have to crawl at times, and I may even need someone to carry me through the hardest parts or the journey.  But I want to never forget how worth it it will be when I get there.

My 3rd year in row running UVM (2011-3:31, 2012-3:12, 2013-2:59).  I pretty much love this race.  The course is awesome (although this year it felt much less awesome than years past), I love that it is close to home, I train on the course all the time, the support is absolutely amazing, and well UVM weekend is just pretty much like a Holiday to me.  I knew that my feet injury I've been dealing with would be an issue for this race but I wanted to run it anyway, so I did.  My goal for the race was 2:55 and I honestly thought that was a reasonable goal.  I was 4 minutes off of my goal but I gutted it out and somehow managed to hold it together after the wheels came off.  These races where we somehow keep going after falling apart truly are humbling and teach us so much more about what our bodies are capable of.  So although I did not reach my goal I really am not too disappointed.  I was not really trained optimally for this race and I still managed to run sub-3 which after taking a step back to analyze I feel is still pretty awesome.

Nutrition:  Bagel, banana, & 32 ounces Gatorade before the race.  2.5 gels, half a 5-hour energy before the start, 2 salt pills and 2 ibuprofen 800's during the race, not enough fluids. <---this may have been a limiting factor for me.  Hard to say....I have not been training with fluids and just could not seem to force much down me during the race.  My stomach just wasn't handling it well.

Splits:  1:27:31/1:31:34  Also just to note this is my first time positive splitting this course which just sucks!  Not a fun way to finish a marathon. 6:28, 6:25, 6:26, 6:24, 6:33, 6:33, 6:31, 6:57, 7:02, 6:38, 6:42, 7:04, 6:40, 6:52, 6:49, 7:00, 6:49, 6:38, 6:41, 6:52, 6:53, 6:59, 7:04, 7:20, 7:11, 7:09, 6:40

Report - Wallsburg miles 1-7:  The first 7 miles of a marathon are just so much fun.  The emotional roller coaster begins and I was definitely on a high for this section.  I forgot to start my watch at the start of the race and ended up starting it about a minute in so all of my splits are off but I think my first mile was like a 6:28.  I was running with a pack of guys that were all gunning for 2:55.  Jacobs friend joined us shortly into the first mile (I cannot for the life of me remember his name) and ended up running with me until mile 7.  My feet started bothering me at mile 5, mile freaking 5, and after he left me I told him I would be shocked if I finished today.  Physically I felt great, heart rate was low, breathing was under control and I figured I'd at least try to make it to halfway point.

The 3 humps 7-13:  I passed Marcie right before the hills started and she informed me I was in 2nd.  Wow I honestly had no idea.  I noticed that Amber had went ahead but figured surely there was someone up there with her.  This was motivating and helped me hold it together during the hills.  Honestly the hills were not bad at all and I just focused on maintaining my effort.  The uphills felt good and controlled but the downhills that followed were just killing my feet (especially my left) and I tried to focus on relaxing, landing light, and trying to land on my midfoot instead of my toes.  I still had a lot of miles to go and this was not a good sign that I was in so much pain already.  I hit the half at 1:27:31 and was right on pace for 2:55.  Although I was on pace I could tell I had worked harder than I had hoped and feared the 2nd half may not be pretty.

JulieC bike miles 13-20:  I held it together pretty well until mile 15 and was excited to see my friend Francis at the mi 15 aid station.  Tara passed me at that mile looking incredibly strong.  Usually I have more fight in me but I just kind of let her go and this is when I realized I was struggling.  Fortunately JulieC rode with me during miles 15-17 and that helped a lot.  Those miles seemed hillier than normal?  I don't know I was really falling apart already...crap!  Thankfully Julie entertained me with her stories and kept my mind off of the reality that the next hour of my life was going to be completely terrible.  I hit mile 19 at exactly 2:01 (on my watch that I started late so probably realistically 2:02) so despite feeling pretty craptastic I was miraculously still on pace for 2:55.  Cam met me at mile 18 and despite my feet I actually felt pretty good up until mile 20.

University death march 20-26.2:  Not really much to say....just the classic wheels coming off and trying to hold it together.  My sister road with me on the bike during these miles and Cam ran with me until mile 23.  I'm sure that was fun for them....not!  My parents were also at miles 21 and 23 and I made sure to high five them both times.  I was really struggling and that hill at mile 24 that I've ran at least a million times seemed to grow about a thousand feet overnight.  These 6 miles took a lot of mental strength and I just kept reminding myself that I could do anything for 6 miles.  I truly took it one mile, one street light, one aid station, one person in the crowd, one step at a time.  "one step at a time" would somehow ultimately propel me to the finish line.  By far the coolest thing about this marathon for me was the support I received that last .2 miles.  It was freaking awesome!  There were so many people chanting my name and screaming and hollering for me.  In my foggy blur I could not really recognize anyone but I could hear everyone cheering for me and it was so incredibly cool.  I crossed that finish line feeling so blessed, so thankful, and just so proud and happy.

The fact that I didn't reach my goal didn't really matter because I was reminded of how lucky I am just to be out doing this.  Honestly this marathon was one of the most emotional for me because I just had so much support and gosh it is just so cool.  If you would have asked me two weeks ago if I thought I could run UVM I probably would have said no way.  But being in that moment and knowing there were so many people out there supporting me is ultimately what kept me going.  A big huge thanks to JulieC, Cam, Lily, Jen, and most importantly my family.  I know it sounds so cheesy but I truly could not do any of this without such a great support system.

Aftermath:  My feet cramped up immediately after crossing the finish was the weirdest thing ever.  I couldn't stand for about an hour so I just laid on the grass and iced my feet.  I felt bad because there were so many people I wanted to talk to and thank but I just literally could not stand - it was pathetic!  I'm feeling better now but am really hoping to get this foot thing figured out so that I can run healthy again. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

An Update on Running

I feel compelled to visit my little corner of the internet today for a quick update.  The thing I love about blogging is that I am not forced to do it and yet I always know I have it to fall back on when I feel the urge to write, document, or journal my simple little life.  I know not many people read about my shenanigans but I do enjoy having a reference to come back to.  And to be completely honest sometimes it just feels nice to purge out my feelings and write. 

 I've been running quite a bit and enjoying everything else that life has to offer.  I've ran a few decent races, met some incredible people, and even traveled to some pretty cool places. 

Back in May I ran a new half marathon PR of 1:20:51 at the Provo City half.  More importantly my sister ran her first post-baby 5k that day and she allowed me to share that experience with her.

 In the middle of May I had the opportunity to travel to Rochester, MN and then to Fargo, ND to pace the Fargo half marathon.  Of course the trip revolved mostly around hanging out with my bestest friend Julia and sharing in her experience of a new marathon PR.  It was such an awesome and unforgettable trip!

 On Memorial Day I ran the traditional Run of Remembrance 10k with my sister and other running friends.  This is the third year I have participated in this event and I truly look forward to it every year.  This day was especially exciting because my sister ran her first 10k!  I honestly just could not be more proud of her.  She has truly committed to training and it absolutely just brings tears to my eyes to see her accomplish her goals, fall in love with running, work hard, and succeed.  This is what it is all about.  Running is all about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, getting healthy, and finding happiness and balance in life.  Gosh I just freaking love it!

 And last weekend I traveled to Moab with a group of girls to pace the Thelma & Louise half marathon.  Such an incredible experience.  This all women race was just what I needed to remind me of why I run.  It was just awesome and I met so many inspiring people.

Life has been full lately.  Full of running, full of friends and family, full of trials and stress, full of happiness and joy.  Life is real, I am real.  Running is a part of my life yes.  But I am so much more than a runner and running is simply an ingredient that helps balance my life and make the perfect little Rachelle cookie!  Humor me if you will. ;)

Speaking of full, I am running a full marathon this weekend.  It has been pretty touch and go as to whether I would/should toe the line this Saturday at my favorite Utah Valley Marathon.  But as of right now, for better or for worse, I'm throwing myself into the fire and praying my feet don't burn. ;)  Here is an insert from my training blog today of how I feel about Saturdays race: 

There are so many variables going into the marathon I am attempting to run Saturday.  My feet have pretty much plagued me on and off the entire year.  Enough so that I actually went to a Doctor for the first time since I was a kid.  I do not know if the cortisone shots will help and I won't know until the race.  I'm not really willing to experiment until then.  My marathon build up has definitely not been perfect....are they ever?  But I know I am in great shape and can run well if my feet do not hold me back.  I might not be in ideal marathon shape but I'm fit nonetheless.  I am going into the race knowing there is a 50% chance I will DNF.  I am completely okay with that.  I have absolutely no desire to just run another marathon.  I want to race and if my body holds me back I'm out.  People might think I'm dumb (I admittedly probably am) for even toeing the starting line but it's what I want to do and my heart is telling me to go for it and hold nothing back.  The feet situation is unfortunate but it is absolutely no excuse and I will go into the race with confidence and give it 110%.

I promised myself after Provo City half I wouldn't even attempt to race Utah Valley Marathon if I didn't get my feet figured out.  I ran Provo City Half well but fought through pretty intolerable foot pain for the last 5 miles.  I absolutely do not have my feet figured out but I do have two cortisone shots, a doctor, family, and maybe a few friends that still support my insanity.  Above all I've got my brother watching over me and a really big heart that feels compelled to take the risk. 

"The miracle isn't that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start."