Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Salt Lake Marathon 2010

Another marathon, another learning experience. I'm still not sure what I learned yet. It could just be that marathons are hard and painful. No matter how good the training is, no matter how prepared I feel, it's still going to be hard. It IS 26.2 miles. It's pushing my body to the very limits. And just because I've done it before doesn't mean it's going to be a breeze.

Gotta have a porta potty shot!

Getting ready to start!

The half marathoners (about 4600) and the marathoners (about 1100) start together and then split apart a few miles down the road.

The day started out well enough. In fact the first 17 miles felt really good. Our pace was good and I felt like I could keep it up the whole time. I was loving the rolling hills, beautiful parks and neighborhoods and just the general feeling of race day. It was good! I didn't put on my music right away. I just listened to others runners talking along the way and got in the groove.
Once I started the music however, it carried me. Especially on the closed freeway when the song "Highway to Hell" appropriately came on. I did the salt and really couldn't believe how well my calves were doing. But my hips were aching. And if there's one rule during a marathon it would be that whatever is hurting a little at the half will be hurting 20 times worse at mile 20.

It really started to come apart around mile 18. I did some mental concentration exercises and that worked for a while, but my body took over. That was especially disappointing. I held on until about mile 19 or 20 and then threw up. The last 6 miles were the longest of my life. Those electrical shocks that run through your calves warning you of immense cramping started to show up. And then the cramping started. I did more salt and they went away by the next mile. But my hips continued to get worse. Every step was pure torture. I wanted to quit. I wanted to sit down and cry. I could see my time goal flying out the window. I was holding back my loyal running partner. And really, that was worse than the time thing. She pushed me when I didn't want to be pushed. I was grateful. We finished. There were tears. I'm o.k. though. I will have new rules for Heather to run her own race next time.

My brother and his wife surprised me by being at the finish line. He's leaving in a month for Alabama to finish out his military training and become a helicopter pilot. He's one of those things I thought about during the hard miles. So to see him there brought tears to my eyes. And then there was my sweet family. My husband that was worried and my kids, mom and sister that were proud. Heather's mom really got the water works going when she hugged me and gave me words of encouragement. As she talked about friendship and loyalty the tears just flowed. What a sweet woman. Our time was 5:02. Exactly the same time as the last time I ran this marathon. 32 minutes slower than my time goal, 14 minutes from my best time and 32 minutes faster than my worst.

The only thing that keeps me thinking about the "next time" is that sooner or later I'm going to have a really good experience. When I do, it will make all these ones that fall short of expectations seem worthwhile. I have to keep believing in that or putting myself through this doesn't seem to make much sense.


Michael said...

Well done Jen. I know exactly how you feel. Revel in your success. You are a winner! Mike

Hannah said...

I just wanted to send you a big virtual hug, and to tell you that I think you did wonderfully! And you looked freaking gorgeous during the race, to boot! You're a great woman, and I'm so proud of you.

utmomof 5 said...

I actually thought of you on Saturday!! We don't know each other but I thought of you :)

Don't beat yourself up. For heavens sake YOU RAN A MARATHON!!!!! That in and of itself is amazing.

Sarai said...

I'm with utmomof5. You just ran a marathon! One of many, and you are probably going back for more one day. You are a beast! GREAT JOB JEN!

Sarai said...

And I got there late, the trax was full to it's limits so I had to wait for a couple to go by before I could get on one. Got there just on time for the countdown. I saw Erin and she said she saw you on the course. I guess I just missed you :(

Stacey said...

Yay for finishing another marathon! They are never easy.
I cramped on that race too, which is not normal for me, I usually feel nauseated..I will take the cramping over feeling sick any day of the week...
But, how did you use salt? Packets? Did the cramping stop all together?

Mel said...

Jen- I too am wondering about the salt. It sounds like it works for you. Do you purchase salt tablets, packets, or is it a salt liquid?

I admire you Jen! You are truly not lacking spirit, determination, or mental/physical preparation. I see you as a warrior in the running world and one who really has it together. These bodies of ours are definitely not perfect, darn it! We listened to "Born to Run" on cd as we traveled home from our vacation. Have you read it? As I was listening, I kept thinking about how there is so much information out there, so much knowledge, high-tech running shoes, gels, research yet a high percentage of runners continue to battle injuries year after year. Oh, why does everything have to be so complicated? I would really like some clear cut "how to's" to keep me running (and you) for many many more years. Problem is that we all have different genetic make-ups, different daily demands. There are no clear cut answers because everybody's body/mind/spirit are different.
I guess figuring out what works individually is part of the journey and part of the mystery that keeps so many runners going year after year.

I'm impressed with the deep friendship that you have with Heather. Friends like that are hard to find and I'm sure she is just reciprocating that which she has found in you. Some things are more treasured than a rockin' PR and I know you see it too. I'm looking forward to spending 24 hours in a van with the two of you come June.

One heart and mind said...

To have an amazing spirit is way better than getting a good time in a marathon. Your determination came through and is nothing short of inspiration to me. PR's come and go but friendships last forever. On to the next race!

Loved Mel's comments. She's totally right! Love ya!

Jill said...

Great RAce report and thank you so much for your honesty. I really appreciate you telling it like it is. Why do we think it will get easier...that can make it menatlly hard when it gets really tough. You did GREAT! Way to stick with it and not quit...not sure I could have done that.

I agree with the others...you look so beautiful. And you were running 26.2 miles...that's so AWESOME. Way to go.

Jill said...

I also wanted to say that I am running my first full in June and reading your report really is very helpful. Thanks again.

Bethany + Ryan said...

HI, just started following your blog, congrats on your marathon. you look great in the post-marathon picture! fresh as a daisy! nice job! :-) and how wonderful to have a friend to run with!

Doran & Jody said...

I am SO proud of you. I think I want to train for the next one with you......I'm sure you AND Heather will do well pulling me in the wagon. I will get some new tires on it. Then I could take pictures ALL along the way!

Woot! When do we start training?

Wendy said...

Loved reading about your race! You should be proud of yourself.

I know how hard it is to run another one and get almost exactly the same time though. That happened to me this fall in Chicago.

Next time you'll have a PR!

Wendy said...

PS - I read this shortly after your marathon. I thought I commented, but must not of. Anyway, I was thinking of you the day of your race! :)