Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon - RunMarathon

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
United States
Milwaukee's Lakefront Marathon
55F / 13C
Total Time = 3h 40m 9s
Overall Rank = 439/2079
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 18/152
Pre-race routine:

The week prior to race day was rain, rain, rain but the race day forecast was looking beautiful. I started hydrating a couple of days before the race. All was going as planned. Woke up 4:30ish race morning, ate a samll bowl of cereal, 2 pieces of peanut butter toast with honey and a banana. Runs are so much easier to plan for then tri's. Nothing complicated to pack, just me and my running shoes. I filled a water bottle with a fizz to drink on the way. My husband and I loaded in the car and off we went. I felt relaxed and was ready to go. This was my first marathon and the taper was a real mental challenge. During the taper I was antsy, ready to run and feeling like I was losing fitness each day. I missed my runs! I just wanted to run!

I had some funny digestion noises early in the drive that were only the beginning. On the radio we heard an interview with the race director and I started getting nervous. My stomach was hatching butterflies, I was getting jumpy. My husband was so positive and sending me good thoughts about my preparation and training. We parked about 2 blocks from Grafton HS. On the walk it was clear I had to use the restroom so I waited in line. We went in the HS found a spot to rest. Yep, 10 minutes later I had to use the ladies room again. This was not going well. I've never had stomach upset before a race ever. In fact, I've never had stomach upset during a race. This was unchartered territory for me. I mosied back to our spot and my husband was talking with a buddy. Right when he left I said "This isn't good." They started announcing it was time to line up and, just to be sure, I thought I better make another trip to the bathroom. The lines were long and at 7:27am, yep just 3 minutes before the start, I was in the bathroom. Along with my supportive husband I jogged to the starting line not knowing what to expect. I had so many thoughts in my mind about pacing and times and this stomach upset was the last thing I wanted to worry about. Got to start right before the national anthem and then we were off.
Event warmup:

Running back and forth to the bathroom and jogging to the starting line.
  • 3h 40m 9s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 24s  min/mile

My plan was to run the first 5 miles at a 8:25 to warm up then hold the next 10-15 miles at a 8:15-8:20 and gut out the last 6 miles with what I had left. If all went well I was going for a 3:35 on a good day and a 3:45 on an acceptable day. Given the beginning of the race I had no idea if this plan was going to work. One thing positive that I haven't mentioned is the weather couldn't have been better. It was a perfect, beautiful morning for a run.

The first mile all I thought about was if I was going to be able to finish the race. As usual for any race, the pace at the beginning was faster than I wanted, 8:00/mile. I tried slowing down to my planned 8:25 but just couldn't. I eased in at a 8:15 pace and just went with it. My HR was in zone 2 and I was feeling good, skipped the first 2 aid stations (mistake). I saw my dad and stepmom around mile 4, which was a pleasant surprise. I didn't know they were going to be there! After 5 miles I was feeling good and just stuck with the 8:15 pace. Now I was taking gatorade at each aid station. I took my first Gu around mile 7 which set with me fine. I saw my husband at Concordia. As usual he had that great, positive smile! Ahhhh. I told him that I was feeling good. The crowd at Concondia was amazing and this is when I settled in to my run.

At 13 miles I was at 1 hour 48, holding a 8:15 pace. Somewhere around mile 15 or so I realized I was thirsty. Really thirsty. Mouth is dry thirsty. I've done 1/2 marathons and tri's before and never had hydration issues. Ever. What is going on? Then it hit me - I lost my fluids before the race even started. I can't believe it didn't occur to me before! I was so worried about just starting the race that I didn't even think about what impact it had on my hydration. Why did I skip those first 2 aid stations? Every athlete I saw with a fuel belt I dreamed of taking them down and taking a sip. I grabbed water and gatorade at each station. I asked volunteers at mile markers when the next aid station was. Once some nice guy told me "just around the next corner". The upcoming table was like an oasis until I realized they only stocked Gu, no fluids until around the next corner. That was deflating. My thoughts focused on fluids. Through it all I was keeping an 8:20-8:25 pace but my HR was climbing clearly in Z3. I saw my husband and dad along the way which is always a nice boost. My husband surprised me with a sign the kids made "marathon mom". It almost made me cry. Hit mile 20 still feeling thirsty but not much else wrong. Here I saw my dad AND my sister AND her kids! What a treat! I saw a sign that said "just a short 10K left" and I knew I was alright.

Then there was mile 22. A minor right calf issue. No big deal, I was expecting it and just thought of running through it. My pace slowed to 8:45. Mile 23, ouch. I thought about walking a little at mile 24. Mile 24 came and my minor calf issue started crossing over to a major issue and it was creeping to my hamstring. I dreamed of walking. Dreamed. But mentally I thought I can make it to 25. Made it to 25 and thought about walking, just 100-200 yards. But the cheering crowds urged me on. I thought, "I'll walk just a little at 25 1/2". Saw some old guy, with a walker, at 25 1/2 who said "only 600 yards left" and I thought, fine, I can made it. I saw my husband at the finishing shoot with a proud smile (I was so happy) and I ran hard to the finish. I was so happy to be done! 3:40:09, a BQ time for me!
What would you do differently?:

I think my nerves got the best of me. I can't figure any other reason for my early GI issues. I didn't have any issues during or after the race. I was clearly dehydrated with a high HR at the same effort. I hate running with a fuel belt and probably won't start now. I'll just keep hydration high on my list now. It has never been an issue before but now I know.
Post race
Warm down:

All I wanted to do was sit and lay down. My husband was awesome! Cracking jokes and making me relaxed and giving me that fabulous recovery drink. Yummy! Oh, and I love love love the foil blankets. They made me feel so warm and toasty.

Event comments:

For my first marathon I was really happy. I was right in the middle of my goal time and the 2nd half of my race was just 4 minutes slower than the first half. So maybe dehydration wasn't an issue and my time was right on. As a first time marathoner I really don't know.

A day after the race I am very very sore. More sore than I have ever been after 1/2 marathons or tri's. In face, I never get sore after races. I don't know if this soreness is normal or not. I can't understate how sore I am.

A very special thanks to my supportive family for making this a really great experience all around.

Last updated: 2011-10-03 12:00 AM
03:40:09 | 26.2 miles | 08m 24s  min/mile
Age Group: 18/152
Overall: 439/2079
Performance: Good
Course: This course is really nice, flat and fast. At the beginning runners have both lanes of the road, then it narrows to one lane the a bike path. Crowds and homewoners are wonderful. Plenty of kids along the way. The volunteers were great too. A very friendly race.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4