Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Cleveland Marathon Part II
At the half way point I was feeling fine and was doing a mental check of where I thought I might finish. I figured even if I faded, I should be able to keep around a 3:30 marathon time which would be just fantastic.
The scenery heading out east was pretty boring and there was not a lot of crowd support. Just before mile 14, I squeezed as much gel as I could out of my little flask which was not really cooperating and walked to get in some water. Mile 14 8:03.
Miles 15 through 18 just ticked away and I was just counting down the miles. I think back as being pretty bored during this time. The Ipod tunes were ones I had heard a million times and all I could think about was there was still a lot of road to go. 15-8:14, 16-8:11, 17-8:11
I started to really look forward to water stops as I was so thirsty and hot and I was looking forward to my 10-15 second walk breaks as I took in water. My feet were already just killing me (as usual in my long runs) because I run on the balls of my feet typically and they already felt pretty bruised.
Mile 18 8:20
I was happy to come around by Case and have some more enjoyable scenery and was starting to dread coming all the way back on Marginal against the wind.
Mile 19 8:46, Crap my pace is starting to slide and seven plus miles is going to be a long road back. I just kept thinking I can do this under and hour.
In my head I decided I was not going to push myself so hard to hit the 3:30 paces, that as long as I made sure I was on track to be under 3:40 I was very fine with that.
Mile 20 The stomach started acting up again and somewhere around Mile 20 / 21 I hit the port-o-potty again. Mile 20-8:51 Mile 21 -9:02
There was this van that must have made a wrong turn and decided to totally cut off one runner and to turn around right in front of us. The closest lady which he really affected smacked the van in dismay as myself and another guy both commented on what a jerk move that was. As if that lady was in need of another obstable this late in the course.
The miles now seemed to go by soooo slowly and the water stops seemed so far apart.
Upon heading back into town it was tough. I kept seeing folks taking walk breaks and I was yearning for one myself. The city looked so far away. My feet were killing me and the wind was so tough. A few times I would try to tuck in behind someone to shield me from the wind and it was amazing the difference I could feel. There were no spectators and a couple times down this stretch I let myself walk for 15-20 seconds knowing I had the time in the bank. The gel flask had me irritated as I really could not seem to get gel out which I attempted every time I was saw a water station ahead. Mile 22 must have included some walking as I was discouraged to see the mile split at 10:17.
That time was unacceptable and I was not going to miss my BQ goal so I tried to pick it up. "Gosh, why did I have to go and tell everyone that I was doing this and I was confident that I would qualify? If I fail, I will feel so stupid!!!" Must suck it up!!!!
There was a tall guy that I tucked in behind and pretended I had a rope connected between us. It helped some and hope he did not mind. I got excited to see friends LE and GH on the course cheering. A small mental boost such as seeing them meant so much at this point in the race. It is really too bad this long last stretch for the most part is so lonely and boring.
Mile 23 9:01. I was gaining strength as I knew I was coming into the city. I repeated the mantra I have used for in my training so many times and throughout this second half "Boston Baby!" I knew I had it in me to get there under 3:40. As we came around the stadium I saw Salty one and tried to manage a wave but I was so exhausted I am not sure it was much of one.
Then there was the uphill climb into town that we did at the 1.5 mile mark. Oh my goodness, it is sooo much harder now!!! I shortened my stride and ran up that hill just dying to get to the top. I hate this stupid climb that I have done in so many races! I think I hate it because it is usually near the end of a race when I am already tired. Being back in the city was a huge mental boost. I knew the last hill was over and there was again crowd support. Mile 24 9:33.
My feet were absolutely killing me (yes, this is all I could think about!) and I could not wait for the next water stop. At this point I was totally in get-to-the-friggin-finish-line-already mode and in usual Janet fashion, this is when I stop hitting the splits on my watch.
There was a water stop at 25 that I decided to skip as I knew I just had 1.2 miles to go. Only 1.2 miles to go, which felt like the longest 1.2 miles ever!!!
I kept thinking we should be getting there and making the turn in soon, but it seemed we ran down the street forever before making the turn to come back around towards the finish line. I desperately wanted to walk but my stubbornness pushed me on. I was so excited to see the finish line and as others around me started their final push, I picked up my pace as well. Final 2.2 miles 19:47
My official time was 3:38:32. (Second half 1:55 compared to first half 1:43--ouch!!)
I was so excited (and relieved) to have come in under 3:40. However as I started to walk, my breathing became extremely labored. I was wheezing so hard and could not catch my breathe. Volunteers were handing me water and a medal and all I could try to do was to try to catch my breathe. I shoved some stuff to my friend, Bob on the sidelines and continued to try to walk. Every step hurt so much. I even tried to talk to myself (as I remembered talking helped before) as I staggered around like a drunk around the finish area trying to recompose myself. A good three or so minutes later I finally was able to catch my breathe.
I grabbed a banana, a couple water bottles and a chocolate milk before heading out to the grass. I downed a water and then I drank the best tasting chocolate milk in the whole world. I kept trying to stretch as I drank as I kept getting horrible tight charlie horses randomly in the calves. After getting in some fluids and stretching I walked around to see a few other folks before heading back to the CTC drop site to sit down. I did not want to step on my feet anymore as I whinced in pain with every step.
I was so thankful that that Cleveland West Road Runners had a changing tent that I could use to put on some dry clothes as I was freezing. As I took off my socks I could see what part of my problem was...the pads on the balls of my feet were horribly blistered. I was so excited to see ESpeed at the end of the race with her positive energy. I had hoped she had been able to have a decent experience as well and when she energetically remarked that she had partied her way through the marathon, I knew all was good. She had another ugly blister on her foot too!
I had intended to stay down at the race longer to cheer on others but even though I was excited and happy, I really felt just too exhausted and sore to enjoy it.
So at the end of the day, even though I felt just totally drained, I was so excited to have scored the BQ and now I am just waiting for the pain to go away so I could get back there and pound the pavement again!!!! Time to make some Boston plans!