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Christmas Marathon - RunMarathon

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Olympia, Washington
United States
42F / 6C
Total Time = 5h 11m 39s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Saturday I woke up with a lot of plans. I needed to run some errands, finish some Christmas shopping, and carbo load! I was looking forward to a fun day, but it wasn't to be so. Hank hit again. I ended up spending much of the afternoon and evening with a high fever, moaning on the couch. On Tuesday I have surgery that will keep me in the hospital for 4-7 days and off running for six weeks. So this marathon was very important to me! I was so frustrated and flat out angry. Why do I have to deal with this? I'm a good person. I work SO hard to live a healthy life and limit the impact my diet might have on my health. And yet every 4-6 weeks (and sometimes more often) I end up with this.

But even so, I decided to prep for the race just in case. I set out my gu, running belt, mixed up the gatorade, and laid out my clothing. If I couldn't run the marathon, it wasn't going to be because I wasn't ready. Sometimes the next morning I'll wake up feeling totally normal. So I decided to go with that plan.

My pre-race routine was anything but normal. I was under-fueled the day before (I was feeling slightly better in the evening and downed some granola bars trying to get some carbs in). I was definitely under-hydrated. I was, however, very well rested!

Got up Sunday morning feeling great! Aches and pains and fever, gone! I knew the race started a little later, so I had a big bowl of cereal and brought a breakfast cookie with me so I could eat that an hour before the start.
Event warmup:

What a low-key event! My last race was the New York Marathon and this was the complete opposite. We arrived for packet pickup at 8:30 after driving around Millersylvania campground for awhile looking for the registration. Got my packet; a cute t-shirt with Santa on it, a generic race number, and that was it! Not elite runners signing autographs, no racks of goodies to buy, no free samples of Soy Joy (always a good thing, in my book...nothing like reconstituted cardboard for a snack). Just a shirt, a number, and the great outdoors!

I decided to take the early start since I wasn't entirely sure I would be able to run the entire thing at all, much less in under five hours. Curiously, about half the runners took the first start, and well over half were Marathon Maniacs. I was prepared to be one of the last, if not the last runner in.

At 9:30 we congregated around a chalk start line. No bands, no anthem, no Sinatra, no throngs. Just a bunch of people standing around, stepping aside for cars going through, and one guy saying, "Okay...Go." and we were off!
  • 5h 11m 39s
  • 26.1 miles
  • 11m 56s  min/mile

I am so glad I did this marathon. It was what it was. It wasn't flashy or fancy. It was just "nice". I loved my experiences this year in New York and San Diego. There was never a dull moment! There was also rarely a point where I could just get into my head and think. This was a thinking marathon. I ran alone for the first eight miles thinking about my upcoming surgery and how I was going to feel being off running for six weeks. I thought about people I love and dedicated miles to them. I try to do that in every marathon, but this one was "quiet" enough to really get to do that. I listened to music and the birds singing and looked at the scenery. (I did keep the volume low and one ear open to listen for traffic.)

At mile eight I ran past a man who commented on my hat. I was wearing a Stitch Santa Hat. He was running my pace so we fell in together and for the rest of the race I had a partner! I love running with other people, but I also love running alone. I was blessed to get to do both on this race. I particularly like meeting new people on races. I don't think we planned to finish the race together, but once we started talking we just kept a pace and kept going. My run/walk was out the window, but that was okay. His pace was very well matched to mine, although I imagine that I might not have slowed as much at the end if I'd kept the run/walk going. Oh well! He was an older man who had lots of great stories, so he was very pleasant to run with.

The last three miles were tough. Both of us were having significant knee pain. We hit the water stop at mile 24 and he asked if I minded walking for awhile. I didn't mind at all, so we walked much of the last two miles. At that point I wasn't going to abandon him!

Mile 26 we headed back into the park. My Roy was there to cheer me in! He was the ONLY cheer I got on the entire route (unless you count barking and mooing). What a welcome sight! We ran into the park and almost immediately took a wrong turn! It added almost half a mile to our race because we got completely turned around! It was only when I saw Roy's coat through the trees that I figured out where we went wrong. Oh well! It added about 5 minutes onto our time because we entered the park at 5:03 and ended at 5:11:39! Oh well!
What would you do differently?:

I think pace-wise I would have done the run/walk the entire time if the speed concerned me. It didn't. I actually just wanted to have one last hurrah before my surgery.
Post race
Warm down:

The finish was hilarious. We ran towards the "finish line" which was another chalk line on the ground. We kind of stood there looking around and a girl looked up and said, "Oh! Here! I need your tags." No cheers, not a single soul to welcome us. Just "Oh! Here! I need your tags." Roy was behind us, so he wasn't there to cheer me in (we passed him running in, which confused him since we were ahead of him when he started back, then behind him after we got lost...yes, he is still teasing me about this).

There was a table that had been mostly picked over (by the kids of volunteers and runners...thanks a lot. I'm sure the RACERS didn't need food you selfish bastards...bring your own damn food for your kids...that is one of my MAJOR pet peeves. Roy said he saw one lady take her two fat little boys back to the table THREE times where each time they filled up on cookies, candy, and chili). There was no chili left (thanks again, jerks), and very few cookies (another thank you). There was, however, lunch meats and bread so I slapped two pieces of Wonder Bread together with some ham and honey mustard and it was the BEST thing ever! It's a darn good thing that Mother of the Year wasn't too concerned that her little chubs get some nutritious food! There were also bananas and a giant bag of pretzels. There had been donuts, chips, and candy as well. Thanks again.

I don't blame the organizers for this. I blame the people who are ignorant and selfish and completely thoughtless. I swear if even ONE person reads my race reports and says to themselves, "Oh wow, I never thought of that. I won't feed my kids off the racers' food ever again" it thrills me. My own husband hadn't thought to bring food with him (because he thought I'd never run) and there was nothing around, so he sat in the car starving for five hours. He didn't eat anything! I even offered him something and he said "No, I didn't pay the entry fee so that's not for me." Exactly. If you didn't pay $70 to run the race, the food IS NOT FOR YOU!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Being slow, being sick yesterday, just having run a marathon in the last five weeks. Mostly being slow.

Event comments:

I am going to be laid up for the next six weeks so this race was very important to me. Running is more than just a way to keep my body fat low. It is my mental health break. It is my meditation. It is the time I think through problems, make plans, and reflect. It is also a big part of my personal identity. I am a runner.

So who will I be when I can't run? I know I'll suffer from a bit of depression. Even short term illnesses find me depressed. I know I'll feel a little lost. I know I'll be a lot cranky. You may want to pray for my poor husband. So running a marathon two days before surgery, and a day after my nasty bout of pancreatitis was a personal coup. I am going to take my shirt to the hospital to remind me that I am STILL a runner and marathoner.

I know in my head that I have years of running ahead of me. But my heart fears "this is it." I *know* that isn't true. I just wish I knew it weren't true.

Last updated: 2007-12-16 12:00 AM
05:11:39 | 26.1 miles | 11m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
I started out doing a run/walk combination with 1 mile run followed by 1 min walk. I decided to start out VERY conservatively because of the illness the day before. I figured if I had hopes of finishing, I would need to take it easy and just have a goal to finish. Unfortunately when I looked at my splits, I didn't do that. I started out with a 9:12 followed by a 9:40. Not "slow" for me at all. Oops! Oh well. Mile Pace +/- avg actual speed +/- avg elevation 1 9' 12 -2' 32 6.5 +1.4 +10 ft 2 9' 40 -2' 04 6.2 +1.1 0 ft 3 10' 21 -1' 23 5.8 +0.7 +39 ft 4 10' 37 -1' 07 5.7 +0.5 +13 ft 5 10' 45 -0' 59 5.6 +0.5 -6 ft 6 10' 45 -0' 59 5.6 +0.5 -23 ft 7 11' 09 -0' 35 5.4 +0.3 -9 ft 8 10' 42 -1' 02 5.6 +0.5 -3 ft 9 10' 46 -0' 58 5.6 +0.5 -16 ft 10 10' 55 -0' 49 5.5 +0.4 -9 ft 11 11' 54 +0' 10 5.0 -0.1 0 ft 12 10' 46 -0' 58 5.6 +0.5 +20 ft 13 10' 50 -0' 54 5.5 +0.4 +3 ft 14 11' 48 +0' 04 5.1 -0.0 -3 ft 15 11' 12 -0' 32 5.3 +0.2 -16 ft 16 11' 58 +0' 14 5.0 -0.1 -7 ft 17 11' 28 -0' 16 5.2 +0.1 +19 ft 18 11' 55 +0' 11 5.0 -0.1 -7 ft 19 13' 49 +2' 05 4.3 -0.8 +13 ft 20 12' 22 +0' 38 4.8 -0.3 +13 ft 21 11' 48 +0' 04 5.1 -0.0 +3 ft 22 13' 02 +1' 18 4.6 -0.5 +36 ft 23 11' 45 +0' 01 5.1 -0.0 -6 ft 24 13' 28 +1' 44 4.5 -0.7 -20 ft 25 13' 11 +1' 27 4.5 -0.6 -26 ft 26 15' 23 +3' 39 3.9 -1.2 -4 ft end 12' 42 +0' 58 4.7 -0.4 -13 ft
Course: The course was an out and back on open roads, so we did have traffic wizzing by us at some points, but not a lot. We started inside Millersylvania State Park and ran out into the countryside. The views were very nice, particularly between miles 18 and 19 when we were running straight on to Mt. Rainier so we could see the beautiful mountain in all its splendor. I love Mt. Rainier and felt blessed that it showed today. It's often hidden behind our PNW weather. The top was hidden, but the rest was showing. There were a few rolling hills, but nothing major. It was mostly flat, but just hilly enough to keep it from getting boring. Uphill on the way out in the first few miles translated to a nice downslope on the way in. Course support was non-existent for early starters, but I'd read that in someone else's race report, so I was prepared. I also figured that since it was such a small race, I'd need to bring my own fuel and water. We didn't see a water station until mile 8. But again, that was communicated prior to the race so most of us were ready. After mile 8 there were water stations every 1.5 miles and they were well stocked with smiles, water, different flavors of Gatorade, and most of them had Gu. I love that because if possible, I'd like to save mine. Fortunately they carried Espresso Love and that's my favorite!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2007-12-16 10:49 PM

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The Great Pacific Northwest
Subject: Christmas Marathon
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