Friday, June 18, 2010

Bear Lake Utah Marathon

The Mario Recap, Marathon #19:
Started off feeling okay! Died shortly after the halfway point. Wanted to commit runner suicide at mile 19. Double Done!

The Full Recap, Marathon #19:

Packet pick-up for the Utah race. Low, low-key.

Big pimpin' it with my gold safety pins. Have never gotten gold ones before!

Day 2 dawned bright and early again. The shuttle bus to the start line in Idaho (where we left off the day before) literally picked up right across the street from my motel which made things very easy. Once again I was amazed how long 26.2 miles feels when you're in a vehicle. My legs were feeling pretty good when I woke up. I didn't feel like I had run a marathon at all! There was some light, deep soreness but nothing terrible.

I knew that the weather was forecast to be nastier on Saturday than Friday. It was definitely chillier on Saturday. I had learned my lesson Friday and came to the dance in two layers of shirts, gloves, and my skirt with shorts underneath (vs. regular shorts the day before). It was not so much the temperature but it was much more likely to rain this day and was also supposed to be windier.

Once again, the start was low-key. The race director even waited for everyone to get through the portapotty lines before starting the race. There were probably double the number of people running the Utah edition vs. the Idaho race.

Once I got going I was immediately greeted by Altitude. I was gasping for air almost as soon as I started running. I think it was because the start was on a bit of an incline and I was probably going out faster than I thought with the crowd around me. I reined in the effort and my breathing returned to normal.

My strategy for day two? Walk 0.1 miles every mile from the very beginning of the race for as long as possible. It was sort of funny because as soon as the crowd spread out over the first mile, I found myself right next to my two leap frog friends from the day before! I got a good chuckle over that. Equally paced indeed!

For a while I felt as if the closest big pack of people in front of me was slowly pulling off into the distance. I kept up with my 0.1 mile walk every mile. Then something kind of funny happened. I slowly started to catch up to everyone. I guess it took a few miles to work out some stiffness from the day before and my legs started finding their groove. After about 5 or 6 miles, I actually left my leap frog friends behind and surprisingly never saw them again the rest of the race.

The race from day 1 ended with the hillier segments at the end. That sucked. But this meant that day 2 started with the hilliest segments in the beginning. I thought I may have to walk up some of the inclines, but I was able to keep plugging up the hills. I can't be sure, but I think I may have acclimated a teensy bit more to Altitude overnight. Hurrah!

For a few miles I was feeling pretty good! It was easy-peasy to run 0.9 miles before getting a break. My running pace was fairly slow (11:00 minute/miles) but I felt decent. I reminded myself I had felt pretty good until mile 7 the day before and that there was still plenty of time to start feeling bad.

On the drive up I wasn't sitting next to a window and didn't think to look for portapotties at the end of the course. I happened to look out a window at one point and saw 4 shiny blue portapotties in a row. I later felt as if we had driven a VERY far way afterwards and decided that those 4 portapotties must be at the half start (there was also a half marathon going on). I decided that no matter what, I would use the bathroom when I hit that row of 4 at mile 13ish. That way if there were no more restrooms the rest of the way or if they were very sparse like the day before I'd probably be okay.

I kept motoring on and kept feeling fairly decent. I passed mile 7 and still felt okay! Maybe today wouldn't suck nearly as bad as yesterday. Of course, I figured the extra 26.2 miles on my legs would probably catch up to me even if Altitude didn't.

The weather was cooler than the day before and I think with the looming rain it was also slightly more humid. I found myself drinking water slightly less than day 1 and even wiped a bead of sweat off my face at one point (the air was so dry up there perspiration evaporates immediately).

By the time I got to the halfway point, I had to pee a little but nothing too terrible. But I didn't want a repeat of the day before so I hopped into a portapotty. Then Altitude (or maybe the extra miles) caught up with me at about mile 14-15. Oh, well. I had a good run. I slowly slipped back into the walk when you need to, run when you can survival mode with which I had gotten familiar.

It also started to lightly rain at mile 14ish. Around mile 15 a wicked wind developed. First it was a headwind, and as the course wound it's way it became a side-wind. I'm not a very good judge of how high a wind is, but it was strong enough that I had to grab my hat for fear it would fly off. It was also strong enough that I had a hard time breathing. Thanks. As if it wasn't bad enough with Altitude.

The light rain continued and coupled with the wind I started to get very cold. Even under my gloves my hands started to feel the way they had the day before without gloves. The course turned slightly again and the side wind became a fun tailwind! I kicked things back up to a run to take advantage of this development.

At mile 17 we turned onto a dirt road. With the steady rain overnight and the current drizzle the road had devolved into a puddly, muddy, soggy mess. I noticed that everyone in front of me was walking the segment. I didn't need another excuse to walk instead of run! Walk it would be! Sadly the dirt road continued on for a little over a mile. Though I tried to run a few steps here and there I pretty much walked the entire thing. No need to fall flat in the mud or twist an ankle.

Once we left the dirt road we turned back onto the main road. Thus began my least favorite part of the races from the two days. There was hardly any shoulder on the road. The traffic was whizzing by next to us. And since it was rainy the cars just sounded scarier and often spritzed you with road water as they passed. I know the drivers must have thought we were nuts and since I was all alone and felt fairly far back in the pack I must have looked like marathon road-kill. How depressing.

I kept plugging away at the miles. Walk when I need to, run when I can. Though earlier in the day I thought it might have been possible to beat my first day time, my end-goal was to come in within 10 minutes of my previous day time (some arbitrary number put into my head by Marathon Maniac man the day before) and to hopefully come in under 5:30.

Somewhere around mile 19 I felt absolutely miserable. I decided it was the most miserable I have ever felt on a run ever. I was cold. I was wet. The cars were speeding by next to me. My legs were tired. Oh, and I had to pee. I had to pee so bad it actually hampered my ability to run. And my inability to run stopped me from getting my temperature up which made me feel even colder. I started thinking about how I could use the bathroom on the side of the road. I hadn't seen a blue portapotty for miles and miles and sort of doubted there were anymore to find. I don't remember the exact mile, but somewhere in the low 20's I saw a portapotty on the side of the road. It wasn't a race bathroom but I think one the city had set out for lake gazers. Heaven. I couldn't believe that I had peed TWICE in a race.

Now that my bladder was happy I was able to try to run a little more. But at this point I was still pretty much picking spots up ahead to run to before taking a walking break. I promised myself I would never run another race with Altitude again. I promised myself I would never do a double again. What was the point!? Of course you could make it, but it was going to be miserable.

Then an 18 wheeler tried to kill me. I saw him coming up ahead and was running on the white line of the road (there was no actual shoulder). Every other vehicle would cross over the yellow line a little to give us a bit more room. I fully expected this guy to do this, too. It became obvious, though, that he was playing chicken with me and when he was about 20 feet from me, I jumped off the road. I threw up an arm to say, "What the hell?!" to him. It was then I promised myself I'd never run another race on an open course again, either.

This must be right around mile 24 or so.

On this second day, instead of mile markers they had signs which told you how much farther you had to go before the finish. So at mile 1.2 the sign said, "25 miles to go." I'm not sure which I prefer. I can tell you it wasn't cute until it read "2 miles to go," though.

The last few miles are a blur now. I knew I was fairly safe for finishing within 10 minutes of my first day's time and wanted to be sure I'd make it under 5:30. I kept reminding myself I'd kick myself later if I missed this by seconds or even minutes. So I tried to run as much as I could for as far as I could. When I got to "1 mile to go" I tried to bolster my spirits. "You've run 51.4 miles over the last two days. What's one more?" I asked myself. 51.4 miles. I got a little teary.

I finally saw the last turn into Garden City Park up ahead. I crossed the line in 5:26. Only 5 minutes slower than my time the day before.

We ran clockwise the second day, too.

I stuck around to see a few more people cross the line but pretty much just grabbed a cookie and cup of water and headed back to my hotel. I had a half a mile walk home and knew I'd be feeling cold soon with the rain.

Another gender specific tech tee that fits. Win!

The medal from Day 2. Sort of anticlimactic to get all the cool swag the first day, though.

Post-race thoughts and wrap-up coming in the next post!


Southbaygirl said...

You are my hero!! I can not believe you ran 2 marathons in 2 days and at altitude!!! ROCKSTAR!!!!

I hope you flipped off the truck driver! What an ASS!! I HATE people like that! Think they own the road and that runners shouldn't be on the road-BITE me fat man sitting in a truck!!

Congrats! Fantastic job!

the dawn said...

You are seriously a beast of epic proportions!!!! I'm glad that you took that moment at 51.4 miles to acknowledge how amazing you are and what an incredible thing you were doing. Seriously.

I become more and more amazed at what our bodies will put up with and accomplish if we just ask...

Thanks for sharing your stories. It sounds like a wonderful/horrible experience and I am slightly jealous :)

bunnygirl said...

Congrats for sticking with it. Then again, what can you do? If there's no blood, we keep going, right? ;-)

cliff said...

great job! you should've taken 2 cookies!

Layla said...

Wow! Nice splits between the races! I admire your rational determination -- it's a fine line between knowing how far you can push yourself and completely blowing up.

So, after all these 2010 marathons, are you going to do ultras next year? ;-)

Sarah Woulfin said...

Wowzers!! I'm impressed with your gutsiness in those 2 marathons! Sorry about the open course. I agree that you got awesome & well deserved schwag from those races.

Rabbits' Guy said...

I suppose not 1 in 10,000 people can do that! Wow!

PunkRockRunner said...

You finally know how it feels to be me during a race :-)

Back-to-back marathons is serious and you should be beyond proud.

Well done.


EndorphinBuzz said...

Wow! This is amazing, you should be proud! Congrats and thanks for sharing your story of a difficult, dirty and dangerous race. Who wants to see a sign saying 25 miles to go 10 minutes into the race? Depressing. I can't believe they had you sharing the road with cars and trucks.

I may be a bit faster than you but you surely win for determination! Way to go!