Race morning was pretty typical: alarm at 5:30, breakfast cookie and coffee. My father-in-law drove J, KK and I to the start where we met up with John and Stef. I dropped my bag with the GOTR SoleMates folks and headed outside.
It was somewhere around 48 degrees at race time and really, very pleasant! I ended up wearing my Oiselle singlet, arm warmers and Stride Shorts. I also decided on sunglasses but later wished I would’ve worn a hat.
We said goodbye to Stef and then John, the hubs, KK and I lined up in Corral 2. After the wheelers and first wave of runners took off, it was our turn!
Miles 1-3 8:50, 9:19, 9:23
The first mile weaves through downtown Minneapolis (yeah, Garmins hate that) and once you’re out of downtown you head up your first hill by the Walker Art Center/Sculpture Garden.
Our little group stuck together and maintained about a 9:15 pace for the first couple of miles. I could feel something in my hip (and my foot, surprisingly) but felt great. The weather was perfect and the crowds were energetic. We kept a pretty steady pace as we headed towards the lakes.
Miles 4-8 9:04, 9:09, 8:51, 9:06, 8:54
These miles take you around parts of Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. The paths narrow and it gets a bit crowded through here but we maintained a pretty decent pace. Was still feeling strong and stuck with the rest of the group.
Miles 9-11 8:59, 8:57, 8:51
We saw John’s wife and our friend Mike right before mile 10. Then, at mile 10 I spotted….my face!
And Jen, Mandy, Tony, Ashley and Andrea! I was quite warm by then (sun was out) so I left my arm warmers with them.
By this point, I started feeling the familiar feeling in my hip that I felt during my last long runs, so I knew it was realistic just to focus on just trying to maintain my pace or increase it gradually, so our little group broke up and I was on my own.
Miles 12-15 9:07, 9:04, 9:15, 8:59 (crossed the halfway mark under 2 hours — still on track for a possible 4 hour marathon)
I’m happy to say that during this stretch, I was possibly the strongest I’ve ever been, mentally, during a race. My hip pain was traveling down to my knee and upper calf and I considered a DNF, many, many times. So I was starting to really hurt, my foot was rubbing in my shoe and I wasn’t even at the halfway mark yet. But I focused on maintaining my pace and on just making it to the next landmark. I focused on getting to the 13.1 mark, then Minnehaha Falls, then 36th and the Parkway (where I knew my father-in-law would be) and then Franklin Ave. In my mind, I just wanted to make it to mile 20 and then would re-focus on finishing the race.
Miles 16-18 9:22, 9:27, 10:35
These miles were very familiar to me since I run them so often. And I truly believe that I was only able to keep my pace through here because of that. But the thick crowds and seeing Kristin, Kelly, my father-in-law and Alyssa during this stretch also helped. Because now I was starting to break — both mentally and physically.
Miles 19-21 10:30, 10:21, 10:17
I finally broke down and adjusted my shoe to try and stop the rubbing. I also started walking through the water stops and doing leg swings to loosen up my hip. I spent this stretch running to the next mile marker, walking a bit and repeating. The rain was also really coming down at this point. My sunglasses were blurry because of the rain so I put them on top of my head but then the rain was getting in my eyes — super frustrating. But then I saw Ashley and Andrea and was so relieved! I got a GU from them and my knee band that I had given Andrea ahead of time.
Miles 22-23 10:48, 11:00
At mile 22 I saw some more familiar faces and then started to head up Summit Avenue. I felt a slight sense of relief to be on the homestretch but knew that it wasn’t going to be pleasant, considering the shape I was in. More walk/running but the distance I was able to run before my hip would totally tighten up was getting shorter.
Miles 24-finish 10:36, 11:55, 11:46
Seeing Tracy at mile 24 (OK, I didn’t realize it was Tracy at the time) gave me a boost to run just a little further! I ran up the little incline to the top of the hill and the Capitol (and the finish line) was finally in my sights. It was pretty amazing how completely opposite I felt this year compared to last. Last year, I fed off of the crowds, dug deep and sprinted to the finish. This year, it was all I could do not to walk across the finish line. But I crossed the finish line just feeling relieved to be done — and then my left leg started to lock up and then when I saw KK and the hubs waiting for me, I lost it. All of the emotions — the pain, the disappointment, and even still a sense of accomplishment — came over me and I had a good cry.
We waited to see John finish and a few minutes later all of a sudden I felt short of breath and like I was going to pass out. I muttered something to J along the lines of “I think I have to go to the medical tent now” and stumbled over to the tent. I ended up knowing the guy that was helping people into the tent (went to college with him and hadn’t seen him in years!) and told him I was really dizzy. He helped me into the tent and I was taken to a station where I laid down with my legs elevated and they promptly slapped a blood pressure cuff and finger pulse thingy on me. I started shivering uncontrollably and lost feeling in my fingers. On top of everything, my hip had totally tightened up. But they kept the warm blankets coming and alternated between feeding me broth and water and eventually I was able to sit up without feeling dizzy. I took a few shaky laps around the tent, sipped on some more broth, and had my vitals taken one more time before they finally let me go. I met up with the hubs and my father-in-law and we headed home.
The rest of the day we laid around and then hobbled over to BDP to get some burgers and beer.
Final official time: 4:20:15 (Garmin said 4:18) — a PR of 29 minutes!
So there you have it! I’m thrilled with a new PR but obviously disappointed that I wasn’t able to go into this race totally healthy. I’m looking forward to taking some time off and setting some new (shorter distance) race goals. Although I won’t be signing up for one in 2014, I’m pretty sure another marathon will be in my future!