June 4th, 2011
Size: Race capped at 900 runners.
Timing: Gun/No chip. Started a bit back from the front.
Goal Time: 3:15
Age group: 5/55 (the first three places were in my age group)
Overall: 13th woman/ 70th overall finisher men and women out of 673 finishers.
The Newport Marathon has a reputation for being flat, fast, scenic and friendly! Since it is on the Oregon coast, one would typically expect it to be cool, cloudy and pretty perfect race conditions! The biggest fear might be getting rained on! I've always heard great things about this race...the volunteers, organizers, support, pre and post race organization, as well as the efficiently run water and fuel stations along the way. The only slightly negative thing I'd heard about this marathon is that in the past there were rumors of the course being short but they fixed that a couple years back. Overall, this marathon was every bit as wonderful as everyone says it is! Well run, beautiful, mostly flat with some gentle hills, and very well managed. And I must say that my finishers medal from the race is the coolest medal I've ever received:
The only thing I wasn't prepared for or expecting was the unusual heat that graced us all on race day. Instead of the usual cloudy, cool and many times rainy early June weather on the coast, I woke up to a luke warm temperature that felt GREAT! I should have known that if I was comfortable in my shorts and tank at 5:30 in the morning then I might not be so comfortable 2-4 hours later! The average high of 50/60 degree weather turned out to be high 70's but felt kind of like 90's to me. But I have to say that the blue skies and sunshine were wonderful to see despite the negative effect they had on us marathon runners! It was a nice break from our cloudy, rainy, cool streak here in Oregon! The next day however, we were back to the typical weather of cool, grey,cloudy and scattered showers. This made me feel a little bit like God was playing a fun little trick on all of us! ha! Look how happy I look before the race started...I was thrilled with the warm weather:
|My awesome father in law before the race! He took all the pictures and he and my mother-in-law even made t-shirts that said "Go Amanda!"|
I've got many thoughts racing through my head here with regards to my race experience. Overall, GREAT race, GREAT learning experience, and a Boston Qualifier. There were also some disappointments and missing of the mark type feelings that came with it.
The Positives. What went RIGHT:
- Felt fabulous at the start. Strong, healthy, comfortable.
- Took a risk and went for it. Starting out faster than expected but in the back of my mind, I was okay with this and I was willing to take the chance. I think this is part of learning, dreaming, and setting BIG goals. Not always playing "Safe" is part of what helps us make our dreams come true and discover that the unexpected is POSSIBLE! I took a chance.
- I kept going! At mile 17 I wanted to QUIT! I was overheating, thirsty as all get out, and hitting the wall big time. But I kept going.
- I took care of myself and gently pushed myself but also allowed myself to stop and drink. I have never stopped in a race before. NEVER. But I stopped at ever water stop from mile 20 on. I put my head in between my legs, poured water over my body, hydrated and loved myself.
- I had LOTs of positive talk at the end. Every negative message of "you can't or You're dying" came with at least 2 positives. I thought of my family, my friends, and so many of YOU! I thought of your messages, mantras, and words of wisdom.
- I backed off of the GU when I knew it wasn't right for me.
- I ran my OWN race!! This is key!! With every person that caught me at the end, I found myself catching my old thinking and squashing it with "This is YOUR race Amanda! Don't compare yourself to them...run your OWN race!" This helped a ton!
- I didn't beat myself up.
What Was Less Than Wonderful! Things to Learn From for Next Time:
- I didn't start out at the 7:45-8 min pace that I had planned or at least told myself that I was planning.
- When my first mile was a 7:20 something I didn't slow down or pull back...I just kept going. This could be seen as a positive risk or chance I took or a really silly thing. Young Grasshopper learning here! :) I think this is something I needed to learn for myself so that next time I have the appetite for more strategy instead of just "going for it!" like a puppy.
- I underestimated the weather.
- I was so confused on what to do with my GU. I ended up taking one at mile 6, 11.8, 17ish, and then I don't remember. Next time I will try only taking 2 the entire race...In small amounts....half at mile 6 and half at mile 12 and so on. This seemed to work for me with my first marathon where I ran a 3:22 with only one GU packet.
- I missed the 3:15 goal. That's okay. I still think I have it in me. And I truly believe that I might have done it this time had I paced myself more wisely and prepared for the heat a bit more (mentally). I'll get it! And I'm still not counting that sub 3 hour marathon out for my five year plan! Dreaming big here.
- I found myself really wishing I had some tunes on those long open roads when I was running alone. In the past, my head has been so full of thinking that I've found it to be therapeutic to have the quiet time with my thoughts but next time I might reconsider this no music thing.
- Not knowing the course was a bit of a detriment to me. If I would have known how close the finish line was then I might have dug deep enough to run faster than a 9 min mile pace at the end there to get a sub 3:30. 3:30:17 just didn't feel the best...ha! I didn't want to push myself too hard at the end because I wasn't so sure I would make it without falling on my face! There were people falling down all around me those last few miles. Okay, only 2 or 3 people but it was more than I've ever seen. Poor guys...grabbing their legs that were cramping and not being able to go another step when the finish line was only just up ahead.
Here's the thing: Should have, could have, would have blah blah blah...it was what it was and I'm happy with it. I learned! I'm stronger for it. I Boston Qualified and I feel more determined than ever to go out there an try it again! I am excited to be able to try this progressive pacing again and hopefully finish STRONG instead of barely hanging in there. It would be way more fun to feel strength and confidence at the end rather than dragging, pushing and fighting for the last miles of the race. No fun! But a great lesson!
|Early miles! Way too happy for a 7:26 mile. Wish I would have stayed this happy and strong.|
|So much support from my family! My two year old ran right on to the course here at mile 13. |
|First race photo I officially bought. I never even bought my pictures from Boston! Not sure what mile this is but it was already pretty hot so it might have been mile 10ish.|
I've been embarrassed to post my splits only because I can see how silly they look with how fast I went out and how much I slowed down. At the same time that I might have gone out too fast and hit the wall because of it, I also don't know that I wouldn't do the same thing again. For the first time in my life, I'm not afraid to put it all out there and believe in myself fully! I'm willing to take risks that I have never done before. And the fear that used to control my every race, every decision, and most parts of my life, is no longer there. I think sometimes we have to take risks like this if we want to go for something BIG! On another given day (a cooler one perhaps), I might have held on to that pace and surprised myself! I do think that next time I will try starting with a 7:45 mile though! Here are the splits:
Mile 1: 7:28
Mile 2: 7:26
Mile 3: 7:25
Mile 4: 7:25
Mile 5: 7:34
Mile 6: 7:29
Mile 7: 7:21
Mile 8: 7:33
Mile 9: 7:25
Mile 10: 7:22
Mile 11: 7:34
Mile 12: 7:43
Mile 13: 7:38
Mile 14: 7:43
Mile 15: 8:15
Mile 16: 8:09
Mile 17: 7:59
Mile 18: 8:19
Mile 19: 8:21
Mile 20: 9:10--this is wear I thought I might just pass out and I stopped to cover myself in water. Wanted to Quit! But quitting isn't really in my vocab.
Mile 21: 8:54
Mile 22: 8:19
Mile 23: 8:40
Mile 24: 8:24
Mile 25: 8:56
Mile 26: 8:44
.2: Forgot to stop my Garmin so I'm unsure of that last .2 but not very fast!
So this is how NOT to run a progressive marathon. Flip this over and that would be more like it...Finishing with a 7:28 and starting with an 8...this will be my goal for next time!
|The Joy of knowing that I FINISHED, Boston Qualified and can eat pizza and drink beer!|
|So Happy to be DONE!|
I found that I was making some pretty big deals with myself at the end of this race. "If you can just make it one more mile then you can..." or "Just pretend this is a training run and give yourself the okay to run slower and take it easy..." and "If you just hold on to a sub 9 pace then you can still be sub 3:30..." "Once you are done with this, you will NEVER have to do this again!!". These were all some of the thoughts I was having. I did tell myself that I would never train for and race another marathon again. However, this didn't last long because 20 minutes after the race I was already plotting my next one. I was similar with childbirth.
A marathon is never easy. It isn't all about roses and sunshine. It's a marathon! If it was easy then everyone would be doing it. The important thing is that we take every race and experience in life and we LEARN and GROW from it! We use our "race residue" and life experiences to give us that push over the next hurdle in life and we keep climbing higher! This is Life and I'm thrilled to be living it!