Sunday, December 11, 2011

Run the plan, keep it simple.


You didn’t train for 28 weeks not to bring it on race day.

In one respect, truer words have never been written.  But in another respect, I felt as though I never trained for Rehoboth Beach Marathon.  I just ran a whole bunch between Richmond Marathon on 11/12 and RBm on 12/10.   

The why of the 2nd marathon in 28 days is simple.  I had to see if I sucked at running.  I had to know.  Because why was I out there doing this, if I actually sucked?

I don’t suck at running.  Did I run a sub 4 at RBm?  Nope.  But running a sub 4 marathon does not define the difference between sucking & not sucking.

For me to get a sub 4 marathon, I would need a PERFECT day.  I am fully aware of this.  And as beautiful of a day as it was on Saturday, the wind forecast definitely indicated that it wasn’t THE PERFECT DAY.

Pixie and I arrived at her friend’s house in Harbeson DE at exactly the same time on Friday afternoon.  We dropped our bags and hit the road for Rehoboth.  The Expo was tiny, but efficient.  Pixie was torn between doing the full or half.  She was trained for both.  We talked to the race director & decided decisions could be made in the morning.

In RB the wind was 9mph.  No problem right?  Well, the couple Pixie & I stayed with are a boat owning family, and Ben says, “But you’re not running in RB, you’re running up to the Ferry Terminal?  That’s not in RB.  The wind forecast up there will be different.

Weather Forecast for Rehoboth was 27 degrees at the start, 9mph wind.  Okay, that covers the first 4 miles and the last 3…

Weather for miles 10 – 20?
Wind Speed
14 mph


Gust Speed
21 mph



So I made a decision.  I would add 5 minutes to all my goals. 
The UBER goal 3:59:59 4:05:00
The Actual goal 4:05:00 4:10:00
The fall back goal 4:18:01 4:18:01... yeah, so?

My race plan = KISS.  Keep it simple stupid.
  1. Don’t rush, you’ve got all day.  Run the 1st mile at around a 9:30 – 9:40.
  2. Hit every water stop. I planned to walk every single water stop.
  3. Run even splits.  There’s no such thing as a bank in Marathon.  Anything you ‘put in the bank’ gets taken back at 2X the cost at the end of the race.  My idea was that I would just run 9:05 – 9:15’s for the rest of the race.  well, it was a plan anyway...
  4. ~Savor the run~

Pre-race Pixies

Overnight there was rain, which wasn’t in the forecast and I didn’t have clothing for…  it was on my mind as I was sleeping.  I had a pile of clothing… because the wind was going to be an issue and I have raynaud's disease.  I’ve never mentioned it here before because in all seriousness, it’s been years since I’ve had a flare up.  I’ve had 3 in the last 3 weeks.   I knew if I could keep my core warm, my hands would be OK.


I wore a base layer, a compression T-neck, a vest, a Lululemon skirt, compression socks, real gloves (UA – not throw away), and a running hat.  And because I’m me, I tossed a light-weight Santa Hat on top.

I ate ¼ PB&J sandwich, a large banana & 2 Tums.  Packed honey stingers, Tums, salt tabs in my skirt.

Pixie and I ran into MTT Kristi ~ who STILL needs a cute bloggy name as cute as she is ~ pre race & wished her luck.  I knew we would be no where near her in the start corral (she CRUSHED her Half).  Pixie decided to run the Half = smart.  I still dragged Pixie all the way to the back of the race pack.  I said, “we’re not getting sucked out too fast if we start back here.”  I had a great playlist, thanks to my friends... every now and then I noted a song as I passed a mile marker.

It's no surprise to me I am My Own Worst Enemy…  kick the living sh*t out of me…

Miles 1- 2 residential.  I cut the corners tight, ran tangents.  There was no weaving as the race was small.  By mile 3 my garmin said I was slightly ahead of the mile markers.  Determination and a laid back attitude combined to get me a nice easy relaxed marathon start.  mile 1 - 9:45, 2 - 9:08, 3 - 8:54.

Cow Bell spectator made me smile.

Walked the water stop at mile 4 and dropped my vest.  It was planned, but I worried I would need it later…  I was right to worry.
I didn't take this photo,
I found it on the net, but
this is mile 5 or 6 of RBm.

Pixie and I ran off and on together, but really, she was trying to find her pace.  At mile 5 the route picked up a path.  Yes, a tree lined path.  A spectator was holding a sign, “Run Like Zombies Are Chasing You”.  I thought of my little sister.

mile 4 - 9:13, 5 - 9:05, 6 - 8:59

Kesha~ if I keep it up like a love sick crack head!  I can never hear that song without thinking of Q.

I passed this guy dressed in all black and a santa hat, in my driest voice, “Nice Hat.”  He laughed.  I noted his bib was for the full and we settled in together.

It was comfortable.  People assumed we were together.  All black.  Santa hats.  There were not many spectators.  Occasionally we’d come to where the path ran near a street and a cluster of spectators would cheer us.  They were great. A shout out to the guy dressed as Will Ferrel complete with Cow Bell, and two women spectators who were EPIC, laughing, and cheering EVERY runner - they chased the course and were ALL over the place when we least expected it. 

miles 7- 9:04,8 - 9:09, 9- 8:47, 10- 9:10

anyone familiar with my recurring
marathon nightmare will find this
particularly interesting, because THIS
was on the marathon course.
At mile 9 the Half split off.  I introduced myself to my neighbor Rick, from CT.  A Patriots fan who grew up in RI. In Rehoboth to redeem himself after a poor showing in Philly.  We had that in common.  The pace was relaxed.  We talked in little bits.  I would lose him at each water stop and catch him about 1/3 mile into the next mile.  The wind started to become a factor.  I drafted a big runner.  But he was going too fast for me. 

11- 8:48, 12- 9:01, 13 - 9:07, 14 - 9:07

Rick and I hung together until well into Cape Henlopen Park.  Funny, I overheard someone say it was “hilly”.  After running the cities of San Francisco CA, Providence RI & Richmond VA ~ those aren’t hills.  Those are tiny little sand dunes.

After the mile 15 water stop I didn’t catch Rick.  I was about 10 feet behind him… and then 20.  I was being battered by the wind, my legs were tiring and I realized that I needed to let that go.  (He ran a beautiful race of 3:59:change)

15 - 9:24, 16 - 9:50, 17 - 9:23.

Beastie Boys ~ Whatcha whatcha whatcha want?  ... I said where'd you get your information from huh?

At 18, glanced at my watch and knew a 4:05 was do-able but going to be tough.  At 19 I turned the corner, a gust of wind funneled between two buildings smacked into my face and I was blown to a stop.  It was COLD.  I tugged my gloves back into place.

18- 9:22, 19.... 12:06,  20 - 10:04, 21 - 10:02

That mile was probably the physically hardest.  Wind from all directions.  But I was determined.  I kept thinking, “Dude, you knew it would be windy.  Be thankful that you’re here doing this and doing it well”.  Around now I got a bad cramp in my diaphragm.   It prevented me from drawing a full breath.  I choked a salt pill down, 2 tums, and spent a little extra time at the next water stop taking in 2 cups of liquid.  About a half mile (?) later it released and I could run well again.  I lost some time in that, but I wasn’t worried about my PR.  I was worried about my 4:10.

At mile 22ish we picked the trails back up again.  I was alone.  ~like~  I could see a runner about ½ mile ahead of me because she had pink sleeves on, I could hear a runner behind me.  

I tried hard to stay in the moment.  To not let my head get the best of me.  I've never run a marathon alone before.  I've always run at least part of it with a Posse.  Marathoning is one giant mind f*#k.  You’ve got to know that before you go in…  

I thought of KC & 3L:  Focus on Breathing. Steps. Shoulders.

I thought of Paulie & my form.  So I leaned into my run.

I thought of two women I consider friends.  On the east & west coasts.  Both knew I was out running.  And suddenly I felt a hand on each shoulder pushing me.  I was completely alone except for a man about 100 meters behind me.  But it felt as though someone was there carrying me.

So maybe all the good wishes from around the country came to me right then. Or maybe the gods of running touched me in the moment. Or maybe, probably, I was just hallucinating.  But for a few minutes, running was so easy, I wasn’t even working.

22 - 9:37

Super Freak … the kind you don’t take home to mother…. she's all right.

Mentally this was the hardest... 23 - 24.  Not because I hit the wall, but I started to dry heave as I was running.  Then I had a sensation of vertigo.  I couldn’t figure out if it was the shadows/light peeking through the trees, or real vertigo.  I walked for 49 seconds, and ran on, and walked again for 30 seconds a few minutes later.  The dry heaves stopped.  I didn't want to get discouraged.  I shook off the negative thoughts and grumbled aloud, "You don't suck.  Dry heaves while running suck, but you don't suck."

 23 - 11:41, 24 - 11:01, 25 - 10:15

At mile 24 we came back out to the road.  I was leapfrogging the pink sleeves and the guy.  I walked the mile 25ish water stop.  He did too.  I started to run, he was walking.  I turned to him as I passed him and said, “Dude, you didn’t train all this time to not bring it the last mile on Race Day.” (T rocks)  He smiled and said, “You’re right!”.  We introduced ourselves and slugged ahead.

Not 2 minutes later my new friend Joe, from NJ, invited me back to his hotel room to shower so I wouldn’t have to drive home all sweaty…  and I guess he was feeling gutsy so he went ahead and asked me to dinner… maybe some wine to celebrate?  

I thanked him for the offer, and explained that my husband would take a dim view on a dinner/wine/shower scenario, but that IF I was single it would have been an offer I would have seriously considered.  I don't know what to say here, it must be the socks/skirt... aka slightly naughty catholic school girl look...

26 - 9:35

Then we saw Pixie waiting for us at 25.2.. She was great.  Cheerful and bouncing, (HIGH OFF HER 1/2 PR) and we all enjoyed her energy.  Joe kicked it into gear, and I thought, “Go get it Joe!” and Pixie asked if I had anything to bring?  Well.  That was it.  I was bringing it. 

I ran 4:09:44.  

Two years ago I would have sold my soul for a sub 4:10.  A few weeks ago I would have probably had a tough time swallowing a 4:10.  It’s funny what 28 days and a reality check will do for a person.

I know there’s a 4:05 in me, and the sub 4 will happen.  But right now, today, I am satisfied with my 4:09. 

Because I ran the plan.  I didn’t rush, I walked my stops, I muscled through the wind, and I didn’t let the self doubt over take me.  I still added 10 minutes to the 2nd half of the marathon.  The wind, the cramp, the dry heaves, the vertigo… that all added up to just about 10 minutes.
the "boring" course passes this view.


SOME FINAL WORDS on RBMarathon:  

It's well organized.  The volunteers are STELLAR.  The course was pretty (I heard someone say boring, but I didn't find it to be particularly boring, just peaceful).  It's a small race, so they picked up all the discarded clothing and brought it to the finish, including my vest.  And the pancake breakfast/after party was fabulous.  I will do that race again.

22 comments:

MCM Mama said...

Congratulations! You rock!

And maybe we could hit that one next year. #justsayin

Jen said...

So in for this race next year! You didnt suck... And next year, maybe Joe will have room for both of us!

carrie said...

Saweeet! I told you you were a GBAGF!!! I am SO glad you ran this and SO glad you gave that 26.2 the bird!! You ROCK G!!!!!

momof3 @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner said...

@Jen - yeah, I think Joe had room for both of us THIS year... just saying. Did I not tell you he said, "Wow, THAT is your running partner?" right as we spotted you?

@MCM Mama - oh hellZ yeah. #justsayin.

Meredith said...

Where are the dang tissues??? Have I told you how proud I am of you???? Holy crap girl! Amazing, amazing race!!

Rene' said...

Perfect plan...I am intrigued by this race...except that I don't like cold, windy beach running.
So, So, So proud of you!!!

Nicole said...

Congratulations! You really rock, 2 marathons in 28 days is killer! I'm glad you stuck to the plan and were able to push through. I'm quite impressed that you got a dinner date invitation at mile 25 of a marathon, you are amazing!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

So great! I love your recall and the runners you encounter along the way.

Congrats on another great marathon!

That offer would have been flattering!!

A Double Deacon said...

I am so not worthy to post! Who need stats class when they can do that?

CJ said...

So great to meet you in the tent after RBM. You're fantastic! You fought through it and brought it at the end. Way to go & see you in Rehoboth next year! ~Corey

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

congrats congrats congrats! really great job and i love the recap. i grew up spending my summers in bethany beach and i will absolutely 100% definitely do this marathon some day. perhaps in 2012.
so happy for you!!

momof3 @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner said...

@ Corey ~ LOVED LOVED LOVED meeting you and your beautiful friend Karen after the marathon! You are a rock star! Bloggy meet-ups post race are THE BEST!

Jennifer said...

Great job!! :)

Earth Momma Mer said...

G - congrats! your write-ups bring me RIGHT THERE. be proud. be strong and continue to be GBA. *hugs* for my non-hugger.

Angel said...

I found your blog from reading Tonia's blog. I've been a lurker for months. I read your Richmond report and was heart broken for you. You can't control the things you can't control. From your post on last week.. I had a Strange feeling you were going to run Rehoboth. Short story...I ran the full on Saturday and would have loved to run into you on the course. Congrats on your awesome finsh!

Alex said...

Woooooo! So happy for you!

bobbi said...

"Yeah...you can't front on that."

Perfection - start to finish. You did it right, and because of that, you were rewarded, big time. Congratulations!

It struck me that this was your first solo marathon. I've always wondered (since I've ONLY run solo) what the differences would be running with a posse. I'm 100% impressed at how well you held it together mentally. That's no joke, and something you should be SO proud of...

momof3 @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner said...

@Angel, congrats on YOUR finish! I wish I'd known you were there too. If I'd known you would be there, I would've told you so we could meet for post race pancakes. Next time you get a hunch like that, feel free to e-mail me. There's an e-mail addy in my profile. Tho, that said, I'm not usually sneaking around running marathons.

Laura said...

Great race report! Way to push out the negative thoughts, they can have so much power. Sound like you def have potential to break 4 another time!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Congrats my friend.. you will find that PERFECT day...I have had 1 PERFECT Marathon out of 7... sorta like dating I guess huh??

HUGS to maintaining positive mental strength. you ROCK!

Allison said...

Congratulations! I'm glad that you enjoyed Rehoboth and pushed through some challenging conditions to not suck. :) That sub 4 is coming and I am guessing that someday soon it actually won't require a "perfect" day.

Neon Blonde Runner said...

AAAH CONGRATS on your marathon!! I was googling rehoboth beach marathon and came across your blog. Loved your recap.