Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Piggy Bonk

As brian said in a recent blog - the marathon is a distance that is intimidating and should be resepcted -- well at least he said something to that effect... and he is right. Going into the pig I didn't quite have my head on right. I went in there knowing that I had improved by great strides and that i was capable of doing big things - but i went in there also underestimating the marathon. In the one year and eight months since i completed my second marathon I seemed to gloss over the fact that a marathon is a mental challenge and that you have to be mentally tough. I need to work on my mental toughness - this race was the first race where I bonked and I was alone - i didn't have anyone there to pick me up an take me the rest of the way in. I was spoiled on my other two marathons to have that - but the experience of bonking when alone has taught me much more. I know that i will probably bonk at some point on my next marathon - but I know that i can get through it now - even by myself.
So quick run down....
Got down the race - stood in line for the bathrooms - got done with just enough time to run towards the start to try and find the pace team. The start was so packed and so tight that I sure there was no way we are going to find the pace team. Well the 3:50 and 4:00 pace teams were right at the front. I'm talking my chip time was only a minute off the clock time close to the front - which is ridiculous - but i wanted to make sure i was near the pace team - b/c i knew that was the only way i would maintain even pace. Well I get into the starting line and i can see the 3:50 pace team on the other side of the start - and there is no way i'm getting over there. ok - i'll just find them once i start running. Well the race director gets on the microphone and says we are going to be delayed by about 15 minutes -there is a fire around mile 20 and we are going to have to detour the course. The bad news is the course will be a little long - the good news is it will at least be as long as a marathon. everyone laughed b/c we thought he was joking. Nope - the course was some like a quarter mile too long -- they are apparently going to adjust everyone's times once they figure it out.
Well the gun finally goes off and my friend clare and I are off. It was 39 degrees when we got up that morning - and yet by 6:45 when the race finally started - it was warm enough to ditch my throw away shirt and mismatching pair of one red and one teal gloves. My plan was to follow my pace chart and go with the 3:50 team as they came up on me - b/c i was a little ahead of them at the start. First mile 8:45, perfect. second mile I was about a minute ahead of 3:50 pace, 3rd mile about 1.5 ahead of pace - figured that was ok- i had the hills coming up around mile 5 - so i figured it would be ok to have a little time in the bank. Lost clare around mile 6 in the middle of one of the hills. i have to say i was very happy with my hill training - I barely noticed the hills - and i felt great even as a i reached the top around mile 8.5. I saw my parents and my mother in law right before mile 7 - it was great to see them - and I felt really good - my mother in law took this picture at mile 7 - this is the top of one of the hills.

look pretty good i think. Well kept about a minute ahead of pace through the half. my official 13.1 time was 1:54 -- that's a personal best. Well around mile 14 i had to stop at the port o pot - and things got kind of ugly after that - never got back into my rythem. The 3:50 pace team caught up with me finally at mile 15 - and i was excited to see them - b/c i was needing someone to run with -- but they blew by me like i was standing still. That's when I think i became a head case. My stomach starting getting upset and I felt like i was going to throw up if i put another gatorade or gu in my face - so i started just rinising my mouth with water. Looking back i think I actually started to be dehydrated at that point. Training through the winter - i know i did not train to properly rehydrate myself - and although i felt i was putting too much in me - i wasn't putting in enough. Well around mile 16 i walked for a bit b/c i was tightening up big time - and i was getting upset at how far off pace i was falling. Well funny thing is - up until mile 19 or so I was still on pace to break 4 hrs. But things go worse - my hamstrings tightened up so badly that my back and calves locked up too. Walking hurt worse than running and the only thing i wanted to do was to lay flat on back and make the tightening spasming pain stop... which wasn't an option. I have never hurt that bad while running - ever and I don't know what caused things to tighten up that badly. Well i never saw the four hour group go by - heard the 4:15 group go by - maybe i would have had the energy to go with them - but the pacer was the loudest person i have ever heard in my life. She's is yammering on at the top of her lungs how we only have a 5k left - and although we are hurting and our muscles are in pain and we feel terrible, and we feel like we are not going to finish... it is only a 5k. Then she says i'll tell you my mile 23 pep talk.... when i was 13 my mother died of cancer - and as much as we hurt right now - this doesn't hurt as bad as she hurt when she was dying of cancer.

I couldn't take it anymore -- i was hurting so bad and feeling so sorry for myself that i couldn't speed up to get away from this women - so i started walking again. I made sure to finish my last mile strong - no walking no matter what. Steve literally caught me after i crossed the finish line. I cried. I was so upset at how dumb of a race i had run. how do you go into a race with hopes of breaking four hours - and end up walking as much as i did? but i learned a lot and finished in 4:25 -- well maybe 4:23 depending on how long the course actually was. But - I learned a lot - and even though i bonked bad - it was still over a 20 minute pr! can't beat that right?
So - what's next? I know i have better than a 4:25 in me right now - and i don't want to wait til fall. So - found a marathon in south bend indiana in four weeks. You finish in the notre dame stadium. So I will be yelling "Rudy Rudy Rudy" when i cross the finish line. The course is flat - but it will be hot. But here is the plan - suck it up bridget - it's going to hurt - you are going to probably bonk. I'm going to shoot for a more reasonable goal - like 4:00 - 4:10 - you know another p.r. by twenty minutes. Maybe i'm capable of more right now - but I think i'll ease into. Get a race in under my belt - were i actually pace myself and run smart... - and i'll revamp my training for a fall marathon - need to up my weekly mileage and my speedwork. eventually i'll get there - some things just take more time then you would like!


E-Speed said...

yeah you probably went out a wee too fast which can come back to bite you.

Just make sure in South Bend you stick to that 4 hours pacer like glue through 20 and then you can go fast if you feel good!

You still did a great job out there, you'll figure it out, marathoning is definitely not simple!

JenC said...

Way to stick it out and get the finish. It is still a huge PR! I hope to break 4:30 one day. Good luck in your next attempt in 4 weeks!

Brian said...

A pep talk at mile 23 would have drove me over the edge! I'm well into the "bite-me" zone by then.

Strange that it hit you so suddenly at mile 15. You'll learn a lot from this one.

Love the title of this post!

Brian said...

I get those cramps bad sometimes as well. they suck. Too fast in the start. Gotta hold back next time and work for negative splits.

DaisyDuc said...

Hey Bridget!!! That sounds like a rough day but you sucked it up and made it through!

Your time will come! Best of luck in 4 weeks!

TrainingtoTri said...

Sorry to hear you didn't have a great run, but it's a heck of a PR. Good luck in IN.

Marci said...

The marathon is a beast that should always be respected. Congrats on your half PB - thats awesome! I have always wanted to run the flying pig!