Training, Nerdy Stats, etc.
This year I did something I've never done before. I have a huge sweet tooth (H.U.G.E.), but since the beginning of the year I've cut out 98% of sweets. Yes, me! What?! I honestly didn't think I was capable of doing it, and I fell off the wagon a little bit during a conference in Vegas. However, even those days that I allowed myself some sweets were not nearly as bad as they used to be! I went into race week not being confident because despite my drastic diet improvements, I still struggled with side stitches in the two weeks leading up to the race. I had almost ZERO side stitches earlier in training, convincing me that these side stitches are at least partly in my head and associated with anticipating a race, but knowing that isn't helping me fight them at all. It's just the weirdest thing. I couldn't run a step without them 4 days leading up to the race, so I only ran 5 miles race week.
The great thing about running Phoenix is that I knew even if I had a terrible race, I'd still get to see family and have a nice road trip! Two sets of aunts and uncles live in Prescott, AZ (though one set was out of town), and my cousin and his husband live in Phoenix, so I got some great family time in! Certainly changing my diet was also a giant positive for my health and general well being no matter the outcome of the race.
The last marathon bus was leaving at 4:45 a.m. so a 3:00 a.m. wake up call it was! I really wasn't able to sleep at all, what with the traffic and honking of the light rail. I gave up at 2:45 a.m. and started eating a bagel.
It was around this point that the almost 2 mile long hill got started and I promptly lost the 3:30 pace group that I had been keeping in my sights. My side stitches tend to pop up with both uphills and downhills, so I made sure I wasn't breathing hard at ALL on that hill!
You could say that hill cost me a minute 30, but I prefer to see it as that time kept me in the race because my stomach was happy. I was actually already feeling pretty hungry, having had my bagel at 3 a.m. but no food since, so I had a gel around mile 5 instead of my normal mile 7.
Miles 7- 13.1 (Halfway)
First Half- 1:44.25
At mile 9 I could already feel the downhill in my quads. I kind of groaned at myself in my head. "Why didn't I do some downhill long runs in training?" I definitely wondered if I was going too fast and would pay later, but I also was happy each mile to get closer and closer to a 3:30 pace. I think I was still wearing my CIM jacket at this point!
Then suddenly, there I was, right in the middle of the group! It was a HUGE group! I don't think I stayed with them very long, but the time I spent was SO FUN! At one point some volunteers went CRAZY and started chanting "3:30, 3:30, 3:30!" It was SUCH a boost, some of us were actually laughing at them.
I felt like I could go faster, and nobody was keeping a steady tangent and I was weaving a bit to avoid being tripped, so I ran ahead of the group.
8:05- Mile 23 was the start of the struggle bus to hold on. I think this was one of two aid stations that I walked through because I could feel a little bit of a side stitch on the left side, but for whatever reason I could tell it wouldn't be a debilitating one.
Miles 24- the Finish
8:03- Okay, not too bad, grit your teeth and get this last mile doooooone.
7:43- SPRINTING TIME!! Ugh- just kidding.
The second I started running faster towards the finish, my stomach completely rebelled and I started dry heaving. I don't know why I never *actually* barf anything up. The retching was kind of violent, and I moved toward the side railing, still sort of running, and tried to avoid other runners, but nothing actually came up. After about 6 or 7 bouts of heaving, I seemed to be done and started trotting to the finish when I heard Terry and Gelsey cheering from the side lines! I gave them a little wave and finished up the race!
Final time: 3:27:50 7:56 avg pace. Second half: 1:43:26 Almost a 4 minute PR.
I am still nowhere near where I want to be for the marathon, but I will certainly celebrate each step closer after such a terrible year running last year. I'm so happy to be getting back on track. It almost (ALMOST) makes me want to continue the momentum and do some more road running, but I am pretty much done for the rest of the year. REALLY pumped to be getting back to trail running now! I've barely done any since Hardrock, but I have some exciting trail races on the horizon. Let's do this!