Monday, June 05, 2006

Marathon Length Post

Here's the scoop…

Saturday – Day before the marathon:
It was unseasonably hot here in San DiegoSweating 2. In early June we usually have “June Gloom” weather, which means night and morning overcast skies, mild temps in the low 60's, but it hit the mid 90's with clear skies in my neighborhood and high 80's where the marathon route is… Panic didn't really set in, but the thought of having to run in full hot sun is somewhat daunting, especially 26.2 miles when you're not used to it. We trekked out to the expo at the convention center to pick up our t-shirts, goodie bags, race bibs and timing chips, and happened to walk past a lecture on electrolytes. Someone asked about running the marathon in this warmer than normal weather, and the reply was to load up on electrolyte drinks the day before, and drinking plenty of electrolytes/water provided through out the marathon…. Hmmmm… At the expo I purchased a purple SDRNRM cap and workout top, a small fanny pack (just big enough for gels, cell phone and ID), and Michael bought a cheapo pair of polarized sunglasses… After milling through the expo, our son joined us for Chinese cuisine for our last carb-load meal. In addition to carb-loading, both Michael and I loaded up on extra electrolytes that evening per the suggestion we heard at the expo.

Sunday – Marathon DayYippee
The alarm goes off at 4:20 AM… I get up; get the coffee going, then get dressed. Michael, not a morning person, surprises me and is up and getting ready to go instead of waiting until 5 minutes before leaving . My brother-in-law, Jim, picks us up at 5 AM. It's really foggy outside. Last year, Jim drove us and took the suggested route but it was very trafficy. This year he went a back way and we arrived at the starting area with no worries or traffic issues. After dropping off our gear bags at the UPS trucks, I go wait in line at the port-o-potties… Michael finds our friend Sam and hits the bagel tent. It's a good thing I got in line when I did because it took about 20 minutes to go through the line, and as soon as I was finished, the call to the starting corrals began. I end up in Michael's and Sam's corral. I'm supposed to start in a different corral ahead of Michael and Sam, but it really didn't matter. I suppose it only really matters if your bib number is in the single or double digits.

After all the formalities, national anthem, and wheelchair start, we're off. It takes us a good 7 to 8 minutes to make it to the starting gate, and that's where the actual timing begins . The nice thing is that it's still foggy, however humid, but the temperatures are still in the 60's. At the first mile, I'm running about a 10:30 minute mile, which is comfortable marathon pace for me. After the first mile I lose Michael… Keep in mind that he really doesn't run, so he's doing a walk/run pattern. Sam is still with me. I'm feeling pretty good and maintain the 10:30 to 11-minute mile pace through out most of the marathon. Somewhere along the half way point I lost Sam. He zoomed ahead and I had just assumed that he kept the faster pace… The skies are overcast for most of the run but the temperatures start rising towards the latter part of the run. I'm on track with my gels and all the liquids I'm taking in. I even had a salt packet. I made it past the 18-mile point without issues – That's where my knees had problems last year. I'm feeling really good and amazed that I'm on course with no pains. Somewhere around mile 22, that's when I got some serious calf cramps. UGH! I had to walk -- no choice there. I slowed down. It's was killer because I was all set to finish the marathon in just under 5 hours. At that point I just wanted to finish. It's too late in the marathon to quit. I've come this far already! I'm ALMOST there. I walked with long strides, which helped to stretch out the calves, and ran when I could…

I finally made it to the gates at MCRD, and then it's less than a half mile to the finish. I jogged in… RunningIt wasn't exactly the sprint I was planning, but I was thrilled to be finished. I was thrilled to have chopped 17 minutes off of last year's time. I heard someone call my name, but there's so many people that I didn't know who it was… After making my way past the finish line, they handed out WET, ICE COLD TOWELS… OMG, that was the best thing ever. They didn't have towels last year… Then the medal, then pictures with the medal...

...then to get liquids and food, groovy Spenco rubber slippers, a mylar blanket and look for Sam and Michael.

Sam and Michael finished just a little over 6 hours. I thought Sam was ahead of me, but after he went ahead of me, he came upon a woman who was having a serious asthma attack, and he stopped to help her. He waited with her for the medics to show up then tried to get going again, but his legs cramped up.

After retrieving our things from the UPS trucks, we went to chill with ice cold beer, and sat on the grass, under the shade of a huge tree. We found our friends who offered to ride us home… They were the ones who called my name… Michael's brother even showed up, which was a total surprise. Sam ended up at the medical tent and they strapped bags of ice around his legs, then he joined us under the tree with his girl friend. The clouds had cleared by then and the weather was warm… Life is good.

The backs of my legs are very stiff and my left ankle is sore, but I'm in pretty good shape. Last year everything hurt, so I guess I'm already ahead… Michael went into work this morning with his medal for proof that he finished and camera to show off the pictures… He was moving really slow, but he was moving… I'll post pictures when he brings his camera back home…



FV Tom said...

Awesome work! Congrats!

Chérie said...

I keep losing my comments X@**%!

So proud of you and that awesome time! Not that I have a right to be proud, but that's how I feel. After all the preparation and training, you did it. Again! I hope you feel a great swelling of joy and pride!

Miss Rachel said...

Congratulations Irene - you did great! :-)

Miss Fit said...

Awesome recap! I'm seriously considering the RNR for 2007... if I can just get my shins and knees to behave. You made it sound fun - in some sick way I guess.

I'm so happy for you!

xo, Rachel

Irene said...

Thanks Tom!

I had the same problems today! I couldn't post comments or pictures... Awww, thanks Cherie... Shucks... I do feel really good about it. It wasn't easy but I finished. Whew!

Thanks Rachel!!! :)

Miss Fit (Rachel),
It was actually fun. Really! There's a lot of people to cheer you on, plus the bands! People come from all over to run in this event. It would be awesome if you decide to participate next year. BTW, you can already register on line for the 2007 SDRNRM. :)


Melissa said...

Irene, you did awesome! I was reading this yesterday but was interrupted and couldn't wait to get back and finish. I'm so impressed. I think finishing a marathon would be incredible. If I ever chose to do one, I would have a LOT of training to do! I had the bad calf cramps in my run too, my left calf was really hurting and I have been really sore since Sunday morning. Sorry, didn't mean to be a blog hog! Just wanted to say congrats on doing such a fantastic job! You should feel so proud! *High Fives and Hugs* right back at ya! :)

Donna said...

Great recap. I enjoyed reading about the marathon. So proud of you. Thinking of you and Melissa got me out the door yesterday. Today I'm going to try too. I'm having some slight pain in my leg and I'm not sure if it'll work its way out or not.

Irene said...

At the marathon I did, there were a lot of different levels of runners. It made me wonder why I didn't do one sooner. Sure there are people who are faster, like the Kenyans and Ethiopians who finish in the 2 hour range, but then there are people who walk it. We watched those folks come in well after we were finished. Yay for them! I'm learning that the calf cramps come from not engough hydration and/or salt & electrolytes... Nope, you're not a blog hog... :) Thanks for the encouragment. It was cool that we both had events on the same weekend. I thought about you when I went through the 20K mark.

I hope the pains don't bug you too much. It took me a long time to figure out how to work around mine, like shoe type, supps, and knowing when to say "uncle" -- gotta know when to rest. Thanks for your support!