My roommate Jesse and I headed over to the race expo on Saturday afternoon to pick up our bibs, shirts, and free samples of peanut butter, among other things. The weather in D.C. on Saturday was absolutely horrific - 35ish degrees with a snowy rainy freezing cold wintery mix. Not my idea of nice fall weather, nor marathon weather. We had been watching the weather for a few days and knew that it would probably be chilly on race day but no precipitation. At least the expo was inside and we only had to deal with the wintery mix getting to and from the Metro. The expo was packed. We squeezed through the crowds for a little bit of time and even stumbled upon the American Physical Therapy's booth with the Move Forward campaign. To our surprise the 2 PT's working the booth were 2011 GWU Grads, so nice to see familiar faces! The coolest thing about the booth was the free souvenir picture you could get, so of course Jesse and I struck a nice pose in front of our favorite neighbors house.
Saturday evening was calm. I did a bit of carb loading at my brother's house and figured out my race day plan. It seem so "easy" in comparison to planning for a triathlon. No bike to rack, no transition to set up, etc. - I was out of my element. I decided to take Metro to the Pentagon check a bag of my warm clothing about 30 min before race start and use the port-o-potty. My other option would have been to walk from my apartment (about a 40min walk). I was happy I chose this option as it allowed to dress warm, bring my wallet and phone, and have warm clothes at the finish line. I decided on my clothing for the race as well. I have always known I despise being cold so I went for the cold weather gear option. I work my spandex shorts under my running tights, a dri-fit top under my half zip, cheapo running gloves, and my 70.3 hat. I knew I could throw away the gloves on the course if need be and with a predicted high of only 46 and a starting temperature of 36 I wasn't worried about being too warm. I went to bed around 9:30 with a 5:30 alarm set and on the ready.
Race morning I woke without the alarm - ate my usual breakfast of champions - Special K Red Berries with banana and Almond milk. Got dressed and headed to the Metro. I was crazy see hoards of marathoners at the Metro stop both near me and as we rolled through Rosslyn. My plan went smoothly as I had plenty of time to use the port-o-potty and check my bag before race start and I didn't get to cold since I was able to keep my warm jacket on until checking the bag right before heading to the start line. The pre-start festivities included wounded warriors parachuting down and two MV-22 Osprey's flying over as well as the National Anthem and a moment of silence before sending off the wheelchair and hand-cycle athletes.
The last 10 minutes before the starting gun seemed to last forever. I was ready to get this thing underway. I decided to break the race up in my mind as two 10-milers and a 10k. It sounded like a great plan. In my mind I wanted the first 10-miler to feel easy, the second 10-miler to require focus and the last 10k to require a hard effort. Indeed these statements came true, just about as true as they could come. So I give you my race report as if you were in my mind.
|Runner's getting ready for the start with Maroon 5's|
Moves Like Jagger!
|So fast brother couldn't get a good pic!|
|The gorilla handing off performance enhancing PowerGel.|
Nothing prepares you for what the last 10k is going to feel like. My quads were barely working and mentally I was beginning to wonder if this would really be possible after a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride. I got my head back in the game and was ticking of the final 6.2 two miles at a time. I was aware my pace was slowing, a lot. I could only push as hard as I could push, which with two quads barely functioning is not hard. I didn't walk, I ran on through Crystal City. The Dunkin' Donut Munchkin stop was at miles 22 & 24 - I did not see a single runner take a Munchkin. The smell made me want to gag. Crystal city packed with spectators, cowbells, and voovoozelas, but no amount of encouragement or PowerGel was making my quads feeling any better. Around mile 25 I saw Hugh, thanks to another runner who said "Hey, Hugh". I promptly looked up and there was Hugh, by himself on the side of the highway cheering us on. My 40k split had dropped to a 9:06min/mile pace with an estimated finish of 3:58:35. I knew I could push on to take the Iwo but getting there under 4:00 was seeming to be a challenge. Finally some orange slices, mile 26, a slight down hill and a sharp turn later I was beginning the climb up to Iwo Jima. Running up hill actually felt better, probably because I used more glutes and less quads. My brother and Kara were right there on the hill cheering their butts off for my one last push to the finish line. 26.2 done.
Waiting in a line for the finisher's medal was difficult my legs wanted to crumble but I think it was good for them to be forced to stay slightly active. My mind was stuck on the fact that there was no way I would be able to do that at IM Louisville. If I had been given the option right then to drop out or stay with it I may have just dropped out. My lower portion of my face including mouth and jaw were numb, this a new sensation. I collected my medal and space blanket and followed the hoards toward the food table on onward. The spectators were kept to the other side of the fence from the athletes and I was not able to link back up with Rory and Kara at the finish line festival. I downed some water and 1/2 a Gatorade which seemed to help the numbness of the mouth and jaw. I continued making my way toward Rosslyn for the finish line festival while making a quick pit stop at a medical table for some Tylenol, though I really wanted Ibuprofen darn it. It was quite a walk to the baggage check but I made it there just in time as per my usual about 15 minutes post finish I started shivering uncontrollably. I promptly pulled out my fleece jacket and re-wrapped myself in my space blanket. I headed back up the road to get a finisher's shirt and got in touch with my brother on the phone. In Halloween fashion the first solid food I ate after the race was a small pack of Reeses Pieces :) The place was insanely crowded and I did not have much energy to do anything and seeing that my brother and Kara were walking toward home so we could all go to brunch I decided I would head that way too. At first I thought I would Metro but the line was crazy insane just to get into the station so I scoped out a Circulator bus that took me to Dupont Circle to meet up with the brother.
|Great photo of Rory at the finish with DC in background.|
What was you first marathon? How did you feel after?
36th Annual Marine Corps 2011! My quads are non-functioning. In PT language a large functional limitation for me would be sit --> stand. I'm proud of the accomplishment and 1 day later I'm ready to train for and complete IM Louisville (not physically but mentally).
What is your favorite way to recover?
I do love an ice bath but did not partake yesterday. I always recover with chocolate milk. Today I am headed into clinic to treat myself with e-stim and ice after a short 0 resistance elliptical session. The more I remind the legs to work the better off they are.
Did you race this weekend? Are you doing any turkey trots?
The DC Tri Turkey Trot is next weekend with a 5k and a 10k option. Depending on how I feel the 5k may be in the cards. I am also doing the Huntsville Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.