Third Marathon in 3 Months - Summer is Here and I Hate It
Short: A ran my third marathon in 3 months and hopefully I'll make Maniac status. No PR since it was plucking hot and humid but I'm happy with how my training has progressed.
Today I ran my third marathon in less than 90 days. This was supposed to be my first marathon but somewhere along the way I got antsy and decided to do one marathon before this one. Then I did another. So, what was supposed to be my 2012 goal (making it into the Maniacs) turned into a 2011 goal.
I was not expecting a PR on this one, although I hoped to run eventless and be able to run better than the ING. After all, this race is flat (when I mean by flat it's that the course is flat like a dead man's pulse) except for a little bridge at Mile 3. However, the temps today were 30 degrees warmer than the ING and with 100% humidity at the start, and it was bound to be a train wreck.
As you may have known, I always hurt myself while tapering. As in, falling down the stairs, falling up the stairs, and twisting ankles. This week was no exception. On Sunday I hit my patella with a table and on Wednesday I hit it again. I even bought a "runner's knee" strap to protect it but in the end I did not need it. I also felled going up the stairs. Oh, well.
In addition to those issues, the sliding door that was broken on Christmas Eve was delivered this week and they started installation on Friday. Unfortunately, there was so much dust in my bedroom that even though we cleaned a bit to be able to sleep there (they were continuing the next day), I woke up feeling ugh. I sneezed all day, the chest was tight, and the throat was sore. That, coupled with me being on my feet all of Saturday running errands and cleaning the house after the installation, made for a very tiring day before the marathon. None of these issues affected me today.
I had my usual chicken coconut curry with quinoa for dinner, did my usual epsom salt bath the night before and went to bed at midnight, sleeping a total of 3.5 hours before I had to wake up at 4am.
Fortunately, I had time to leave everything prepared, so I picked my breakfast smoothie, my water bottle, gels, garmin, iPod, keys, bags, etc., and left the house at 4:30am. The race starts in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale, a place I visit 3 times a week when I go to court, so I knew it would take me around 25 minutes to get there with no traffic. I was two blocks from the parking and the starting line when the traffic jam started. Last year, this was not an issue but this year it was (the marathon sold out this year plus there were a lot of halfers and volunteers).
I contacted Chiqui74, a fellow forumite, to tell her I would probably get there late. It took me 45 minutes to park and meet her at the bag check truck. We headed to the potty with 10 minutes to the start and of course there was a line. Not only was there a line but there was no toilet paper. I got a few strips from the roll but I was not amused.
We finally head to our corrals. I decided to go with the 11mm corral to keep it slow (yeah, right, that works every time). And off we went with not even a minute for me to find some inner peace.
As I saw the forecast for this weekend, I knew I was in trouble. It predicted 63-76F with 87%+ humidity. So, I wanted to wear something light to prevent any issues. Here's my outfit:
And here is me wearing it:
I did the half marathon last year and I ran it in awesome weather. It was in the mid 50s and perfect. See how happy this girl looks with her weather?
You can compare and see how hot it was. And how much weight I've lost too!
So I decided on my Summer strategy of sipping twice from my water bottle at every mile, then sipping twice from the water bottle at every half mile after Mile 15. Even that was not enough, as you'll see later. Gels would be at every 5 miles as usual.
Mile 1: I wanted to start slow and easy but at the same time I wanted to do some good miles before the heat started creeping in. We went through downtown on our way to the A1A avenue. I saw the 4:45 pace group ahead of me and noticed they were off because I was running at close to GMP which would put me at 4:28 according to McMillan. I was soaked in sweat by the first half of a mile even though it was 63F. Darn humidity. Pace: 10:36
Mile 2: We continued down Las Olas Boulevard towards the beach and there are still a huge number of people around me. I keep running strong at GMP and I decided to see how far that would go. Pace: 10:23.
Mile 3: We went through the drawbridge, the only "hill" on the course. I went over it fine, grateful that it was very short, especially compared to the ING course hills and the 13.1 Miami Beach which is coming in two weeks. Pace: 10:20.
Mile 4: We are already running the A1A avenue. Here I feel somebody touching my arm and it was Chiqui74. I asked her: what are you doing here? And she responded with: what are YOU doing here? I was asking because she was supposed to be far ahead and she asked me because I was supposed to be far behind. We complained about the humidity and the hill, we crossed the 5K mat at the same time and then we parted ways. Pace: 10:20.
Mile 5: At the end of Mile 4 we entered a park where the route gets tight and all of a sudden you have to slow your pace because you cannot pass people. I did pretty well, as I remembered the course from last year and knew what areas had enough space to pass. I passed a lot of runners and walk/runners and never saw them again. Pace: 10:17.
Mile 6: Existing from the park, we headed again to the A1A avenue. The sun has come out a few miles ago but the sun is not too bad yet. I really think I can pull this off, silly person that I am. I am running strong though. Pace: 10:21.
Mile 7: We continued down the A1A avenue together with the half runners. I saw plenty of funny things down the way, including the guy called "Coatman" running with a coat and a tray, as if he was a waiter. He beat me too, as I passed him at Mile 7 but he passed me at Mile 19. Pace: 10:05.
Mile 8: We split from the half runners but there are still plenty of people around. I continue running well, even though the sun is now shining bright. The heat has remained hidden for now, although the humidity is still the pits. Pace: 10:20.
Mile 9-13: We continue on down the A1A and I feel strong still, so I continued on at my GMP. Paces: 10:22, 10:15, 10:21, 10:18, 10:18.
Mile 14: I crossed the half mark at exactly 2:15:XX, according to my Garmin. I continue pushing on at my GMP, which did not feel hard at all. I had to stop to refill my water bottle here and I lost a good 40 seconds doing so, so the pace here was not as fast. Pace: 11:05.
Mile 15 & 16: I started feeling the heat a little here but felt strong to continue at my pace. We entered through a neighborhood on route to the turnaround. This neighborhood had some rolling hills but nothing major. Paces: 10:22 and 10:00.
THE TRAIN WRECK ARRIVES. Had the weather been better, I would have written a different RR from here on out. My splits so far were very consistent and I still felt strong but:
Mile 17: Although I've been feeling the heat a little bit, I still had not felt that the heat was affecting me much. Then, I felt nauseous. As in OMG, I'm going to puke. So, I slowed down a little to see whether it would pass. Pace: 11:46.
Mile 18: Every time I tried to fasten my pace to GMP, my stomach would just go haywire again. The last gel I took was at Mile 15, so I thought it was that remaining in my stomach rather than the heat. Now I am not sure. Pace: 11:47.
Mile 19: At this point, I decided to walk and see whether the nausea went away. The nausea went away when I walked and hydrated but as soon as I started running, my HR would shoot to 170-200 and the stomach just felt queasy, so I walked some more. Mr. Coatman passed me by during my walk. I then realized the nausea was the heat, so I decided to increase the hydration pace and started drinking from the ugly and nasty Title drink at the water stations. Please don't buy this product; it tastes like over the counter cough syrup. Pace: 14:14.
Mile 20: By mile 20, I started doing a run/walk not by choice. Every time I return to GMP (and believe me, I felt strong enough to run at GMP), the stomach went queasy and I walked some more. I risked it and take my 4th gel which went well. The sun was shining like a beacon and I was sweating like a pig. The route from Mile 18 to 26 was completely SHADELESS and HOT. I actually got a nice tan from it. I encountered the 4:45 pacing group leader and he's running by himself. I asked him where were his runners and he mumbled (I hope he's OK because he looked kinda dehydrated) that they had overheated and were far behind. I did not blame them, as I felt the same way. Pace: 12:22.
Mile 21: At this point I started seeing people all over walking and having death marches. My legs and chest felt OK, but the stomach still felt queasy, although better after the extra hydration I did. Every time I felt nauseous I walked. Every time I did not I ran at GMP or thereabouts. Pace: 13:04.
Mile 22 and 23: I continued the same strategy for Miles 22 and 23 as I did at Mile 21. By this time we hit the beach, the heat just entered through it in droves. I could barely see in front of me the glasses were super blurry and sweat was falling down my face like I was taking a shower. Paces: 13:40, 13:27.
Mile 24: Although I felt much better, I wanted to walk/run a little bit more just to make sure I was not having any issues. Besides, it was very hot and bright. Pace: 13:45.
Mile 25: I stopped at Mile 25 to use the potty and refill my bottle of water (it was gone by then). A wonderful volunteer gave me ice cubes and I put them inside my bra on my back. Oh, that felt so good. But the stop caused me some time. Pace: 15:06.
Mile 26: By then I had recovered from whatever heat related issue I was having and I started fully running. You can tell how strong I was still after 26 miles that I continued to run at almost GMP. Pace: 10:45.
Mile 0.20: I sprinted to the finish making sure I came in before the 5 hour mark. I did. Pace: 2:03 (9:22mm).
Official finish time was 4:57:57. The Garmin says I ran 26.24 which is almost perfect with the course, but since I weaved at the beginning and some parts of the course had a lot of curves, I think I did pretty well with the course.
Although this did not end the way I wanted to, I had fun. Even when I was queasy, I was smiling at the volunteers, listening to music, and just surviving. I knew this one would be tough due to weather and the more I stayed on the course the worse it would be. That's why I decided to go with the GMP I was running, to stay on the course for the shortest time possible. Maybe if I had run slower, my issues would not have happened, but I do not think so. They would have happened at Mile 14 or 15 instead of at Mile 17. I think I made a good choice considering.
And even though none of my marathons have been perfect (one was through illness and the second one I twisted my foot at Mile 11), I really love the distance and the challenge that it represents. Plus I really don't think there's a perfect marathon race out there for me. I already requested membership into the maniacs and will hopefully be wearing a yellow singlet by my next marathon in December.
I'm almost well recovered now. I am going up and down the stairs like they are not there and I'm barely sore. I have a little bit of soreness in one knee (the one where I hit the patella) and that calf but my massage tomorrow should take care of it.
Next? You'll think I'm crazy, but I have a 5 miler race next weekend and back to back races (5K and half marathon) the week after. Time to recover!