R.A.G. 26.2 & Fort Myers Beach Marathon RRs: When You are Searching for 3 Maniac Stars, Go For 4!!!!!
This weekend I finished my first double weekend, two marathons within the span of 2 days (really, in 24 hours counting finish 1 with start 2 or thereabouts). This was both easier and tougher than I expected. I did both of them strongly, although slower than I could attempt on a multiple marathon schedule, as you can imagine.
After the Chicago DNF, I only had MCM, NYCM, Ft. Myers, Space Coast and WPB, to finish my 12 in 2013 after Space Coast and getting my 3 stars. Only, LOL. But when I DNFd Chicago, I was bummed. I knew it was the right choice but my PR attempt for this season was over until I could figure out the pain source AND it would be certainly impossible to do with this schedule. Then, I got an email from one of the local event organizations. A marathon in Sarasota. I looked at the date and said, oh, too bad, I'm doing Ft. Myers that day. Wait, it is the day before!!!! Hmmmm. And my mind started convincing me of attempting a double to get 4 stars instead of 3. You know when you go binge eating or binge shopping? I think I did that after Chicago, ha!
Here is the category for the Iridium Level:
4 Marathons in 23 days.
19 - 25 Marathons within 365 days.
2 Marathons in 2 days (or 48 hours) must finish both races!
9 Marathons in 9 different US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) within 365 days.
The 4 marathon category would be out without RAG, so either 4 marathons or 2 marathons would give me the level with the R.A.G. 26.2 in Sarasota. I temptatively put it on my schedule pending MCM and NY and how my pain was going.
The next thing I did was email Lara (crazyrunninglady). Here is a race near you and it's perfect for your training for the indoor marathon you are planning! It's a 1/2 loop and 52 loops to complete the marathon! Sign in! She initially hesitated but knew it was perfect training for her marathon so she signed up for the HM. I'll let her tell her story but she did in fact switch to another distance and I'm very happy she did. I am sure she is as well. Hope she writes an RR here.
I registered right after but waited until after the NYCM to book a hotel to see how I felt after that race. Since I had no soreness and was able to run 5 with hubby on Wednesday without issue, I booked and planned on taking off from work at noon on Friday to make it to Sarasota. Apart from the 5 with hubby at his pace, I did not run nor exercise the rest of the week, neither did I carbo load.
Another unknown was my pain. We suspected it was the ruptured ovarian cyst and the doctor sent me for a sonogram to make sure. We got a little surprise on Thursday, as the lingering pain is the fault of a baby!
Just kidding, but we got surprised because one of my fibroids has grown to 5cm, making surgery imminent (although the doctor has not gotten the results yet to confirm, so maybe the tech was wrong? Not likely but still!). With that, I went to Sarasota thinking about doing as many races as I could before I had to go under the knife with 2-3 months of downtime. Sigh.
R.A.G. 26.2 (Saturday Race)
The race was to be held at Payne Park in Sarasota, had plenty of Maniacs and hopeful finishers to make me comfortable the race would count for the Maniacs. I stayed approximately a mile off from the park at a hotel recommended by the RD. Great choice! Free wifi, a bar and a little sandwich station downstairs with water and Gatorade, and a great Italian Restaurant nearby that was willing to deliver lots of food to my room. I was set.
Since work has been crazy and the kitties have felt lonely from all our traveling, I have not been able to sleep for more than 3-4 hours per day (normal is 5). I crashed by 8:30, was awoken by hubby who called, and crashed again until 5am. Grabbed my stuff, checked out of the hotel, bought a sandwich, Gatorade, ate a donut, the sandwich, and the G once I got there, picked my packet and was set. Compared to today's race, I was meh about it when I woke up. I even contemplated not doing it if Lara was not coming but since she said she was, I went forward. This was my mind playing tricks on me.
I was hoping Lara could make it before the start, since I have never met her in person even though we talked in FB almost every day. It was dark when she arrived but I recognized the outfit she planned on wearing (inknburn, my fault as well), and gave her a big hug. As you know, I'm not a hugger, but I do love hugging special people and she is a great lady, well deserving of a hug. I accompanied her on packet pickup and prepare to start while chatting with her a lot. We had some pics taken with us, the Maniacs, etc., and we began promptly at 7am.
I thought I would hate the loops, since I cannot do more than 8 miles at our park loop and that's a loop of 1 mile! But for the race, it was nice to know exactly where the water/Gatorade station was, when to move left, right, or center, to diminish the weaving of the course and the extra distance. The path was made of crushed gravel which I thought was perfect for race # 1 but it had a lot of loose gravel the consistency of loose sand, so the going was tough on some occasions and my feet must have moved within the shoe a lot because I hurt the balls of my feet (they should've blistered today, but more about this bad issue on the next RR). My strategy was to run 1 mile followed by a walk of 0.10, repeat until I was done. After Mile 11, when the loin pain started, I switched to the same plus a walk up the two hills in the course, run the rest. And I did that all through the last loop to finish at 5:31. I was hoping for a time like that so I did good.
Lara left when she was done but we did say goodbye and I cannot wait to see her again at Clearwater. As soon as I was done, I stayed a bit, had some beer, grabbed a banana and water and left. As soon as I left the park, I saw a Checkers and that was my lunch while I drove to Ft. Myers, close to 2 hours away.
Here is a picture of me during the race:
Oh, and Lara just sent me a link to more pictures and I just saw the best fucking picture of me ever:
Ft. Myers Beach Marathon:
As soon as I got into Ft. Myers, I went to the hotel, checked in, and asked about the expo which was held right there. The hotel has a spa, so I asked about making an appointment and one was set up for me for 4:30. Best decision I've made on this trip. I showered, went to the expo, had a drink by the pool and went to my appointment. This lady was good, understood what I needed, and left my legs with NO SORENESS WHATSOEVER. The only part that was a bit painful was the feet, with the balls of the feet both red and hurting.
After the massage, I ordered a pizza, kept eating Doritos, a nutritional bar, water, the pizza, ice cream, and more. People that have done doubles all recommend that I eat, eat, eat, all day, so I grazed and ate. I also had a beer before going to bed at 10pm. I found I couldn't sleep until then, but was able to sleep until 4:30am, and I waited until the alarm sounded at 5:15 without feeling tired or sleeping again. Got ready and left for the 1 mile walk to the start. Then, I read there was a shuttle service from a certain street, so I moved my car there and got on the shuttle to the start, arriving then by 6:20am for a 7am start. Met with Angie from our running group, and had the chance to meet a fellow forumite from the Marathoner Dailies, jaybar, by chance. We stroke a conversation and then he realized it was me, haha.
My plan was to run as much as I could on this race if I felt OK and to try to come in at around 5:30 as well. I thought of taping the balls of my feet but then said, hey, I'm sure they won't be a problem. BAD DECISION! When we started, I ran the first 9 miles at an average of 12:11 in pain. The pain on my feet got worse as I ran along but walking was more painful than running so I continued. Miles 10-18 were super painful, making walking the best choice. At this pace, I will not even break 6 hours, I thought. I was inside the state park where we ran Miles 11ish to 17ish and leaving walking in shame when I stopped to massage my right foot and someone asked me if I was OK. It was the guy from the medical "tent" (it was a medical bike, haha) and I asked him if he had tape. He did! He taped my right foot and left and the pain was gone, BUT he had taped my foot like a mummy, so after one mile, I had to untaped myself, cut half of the tape off and tape it again. Much better. Now I was running again at 10:47mm and walking as per my strategy. I felt great now and started passing people at Miles 19-26. A lot of people. I was maybe 10th from last inside the park but I probably passed the 5 that had passed me during those miles and around 20 more people. I was picking them like flies. There was one girl that passed me and stayed ahead of me, but she had stopped at the Medical "tent" to get some help, so I assume she was ready to go. I switched the tape with another one at Mile 22ish and felt great until I finished.
I finished with a personal worst of 5:56 but Miles 19 through 26 were my fastest and strongest of all. I just couldn't make up for all that time I lost between Miles 13 and 18 when I was in a lot of pain. So, I'm happy with the performance as well.
During my last walk across the motherfucking bridge back to the finish, I posted in FB that I was one mile from 4 stars. By Mile 19 I knew I would finish fine in sub-6 and tried to make it faster but I just couldn't. I crossed the finish and walked fine, met my friend, who took a couple of pics of me, got into the trolley, and drove back to Miami. The lunch of choice (first one I saw) was Taco Bell. Very nutritional weekend, I'm sure, ha!
Here are two pics of me after the race. You can tell how hot it was from my top:
I really feel fine right now. I am only walking like a duck because of some weird placed chafing and the balls of my feet, which didn't blister because I was lucky but they are close to that.
When I said this challenge was easier than I expected, I meant it. Today's race went better than yesterday in terms of how I felt, my energy, my speed. Mentally, I could've run a time closer to NY. But the challenge was also tougher than I expected because of the feet issue. Although my mind was ready to race, my body was telling me to take it slow and so I did.
So, there you go, I now have 4 stars and two marathons left in 2013. I now start a one week of no running, maybe a bit more, in preparation for Space Coast three weeks away. Whether I'll attempt a PR there will depend on my feet and my loins. We'll see.