Short Story: I finished in 3:00:07, eight seconds slow of my goal. I have never felt stronger during a run...unfortunately, my G-I tract didn't have a good day and I had to stop twice for potty breaks (using the porta-potty toilet paper then combined with sweat and produced Patten-like chafing in not-so-fun areas) and spend the better part of a minute in the last half mile dry heaving and puking. I LITERALLY was going to achieve my Sub-3 goal until mile 26, when I finally succumbed to a 15 second dry heaving convulsion that cost me precious time.
And now the long story...
As I mentioned, I've NEVER felt like I've been in better shape for a marathon. The "Sub-3" goal has been in the forefront of my mind since May, when I ran the Journeys Marathon in 3:02:21. Grandma's turned out to be way too hot, so I was hoping for a good run here at Fox Cities. The training this summer had me in great shape. I felt lean, light, and fast. The hill work I've been doing even had me noticing new muscles I didn't have before. I really felt good.
I slept like a rock last night, going to bed in my normal sleeping position (supine, no pillow, feet in a flexed position and held there by the sheets, our cat Grace near my left arm) and awoke to my alarm at 5:32 in the exact same position. Very rarely do I sleep that soundly. As I made my way to the bathroom, Ellie (who has been made aware countless times how good I thought this run was going to go) asked how I slept. I responded with a happy "Great!" and made my way into the shower.
The ride to the event was uneventful (outside of me feeling the need for a bathroom stop...number 3 of the morning...uh oh) and left me with about 30 minutes to loosen up and mentally prepare. I visualized myself in the finishing chute with "2:58:xx" on the clock. A couple yoga stretches and some stride work and I was chomping at the bit.
FINALLY, at 8 AM I was off. Despite knowing I had to keep things calm, I couldn't help it. As I said, I felt fast and the first mile showed it, clocking in at 6:35. I intentionally slowed the pace down a bit and still ran Mile 2 in 6:49. I felt amazing! Not having a heart rate monitor, I continued to run by feel, and clocked miles 3-6 from 6:33 (downhill) to 6:43, all under my goal 6:50 pace. In the middle of Mile 6 I started to feel something "brewing" downstairs. It continued to strengthen, so during the 7th mile I stopped off at a porta-john. Mile 7 was 7:05 because of the stop, but I felt great afterward and didn't allow for much worry to creep into my mind. I was running fast and free and didn't want to think about any G-I issues. Mile 8 went by at 6:34...perhaps a bit fast, but still I felt fine and my breathing was easy. It was a beautiful day with a wonderful breeze and the crowd, the course, everything was going great! Miles 9 to 13 continued to feel great, and I ran a 6:24 mile 11 (BIG downhill) and was under 6:40 for all of those miles. Still, my breathing was easy, relaxed, and my intermittent "body checks" for form, tightness, over-exertion all came back clear. I simply felt fantastic!
Not long into mile 13 (crossed half way in 1:27:42) my rear end started to feel "heavy" again. This was discouraging. My legs, my mind, my heart, were all having a great run. It was a bit of work to keep the pace under control, yet I was again feeling heavy in the last foot of my G-I tract. Again, to be safe, I stopped during mile 15 for the potty. 7:26 mile. And that one didn't feel so good after leaving the porta-potty. I was feeling even more chafe, too. Not so great. Mile 16 was a 7:03 mile (again, I'm aiming for 6:50 miles) and I was starting to feel some weakness.
I had taken a gel in the first 45 minutes, and another every 45 minutes after that, along with an SCap every hour. Still, I was starting to feel like the Gels were simply going straight through my body, and not really adding much sugar to the bloodstream. Despite this creep of negative thoughts, my legs still felt strong and my breathing rhythm was right where I wanted it to be. I still felt great...for now.
I went through mile 20 feeling just okay. The time read 2:15 and change, so I still had a lot of confidence in my ability to run a 10K in under 45 minutes. Even at this point, despite some SERIOUS issues "down low," my legs felt strong and my breathing was right on. I continued to plug away at a "safe" pace, at least to me, passing miles 20-23 in 6:42, 6:54, 6:49. Things are looking good! ...
Then, I started to run out of energy. Mile 23 was tough, and I knew I had a fight on my hands to avoid a serious bonk. Still, I only needed to run about 7:40 miles to meet my goal, and I knew I was up to it. Scratch that, I THOUGHT I was up to it.
At Mile 25, the crowd really gets heavy. the end of the marathon is kind of a "loop" where you pass within half a block of the finish with less than a mile to go, so the crowd is all over the place cheering. I love that. About half way through this segment (half a mile to go), though, you're at the end of the peninsula where the event finishes, and it gets a bit empty. Good thing for me, too, as that's where I started dry heaving.
The wheels are coming off...
With less than .5 miles to go, I was doubled over, dry heaving. There was an event photographer right there, too, and I told him "Can't wait to see that one!" I continued on in a shuffle...half bent over, eyes glazed over, still knowing I just had to hold...it...together...for a couple minutes...
I thought I had it. I turned the final corner and could see the finishing chute. Unfortunately, as I continued along in the final couple hundred feet, running on fumes, my stomach finally revolted completely. Literally 200 yards from the finish--amongst the finishing crowd--I was reduced to dry heaving and mild vomiting. I tried to simply push through it, running forward as the dry heaves started. At one point, in a small moment of self-dignity, I tried to wipe off my face with my jersey after an episode dry heaving, only to vomit a bit into my shirt. That. Was. Awesome.
That's not sweat that has dampened my shirt...and the guy in the background staring at me also witnessed the vomit...hence the strange look.
150 yards to go, and time is running out. I can vividly remember trying to push through it...but I finally had to put my hands on my knees, in the middle of the finishing chute, and barf. Man did that suck. It was mostly just dry heaving, as there wasn't much fluid that came out, but it was not something I could do while continuing to run--I had to stop, hands on my knees, and let 'er rip. I told a pair of guys leaning over the railing how much it sucked, not that they couldn't tell on their own. I'm pretty sure I included the F bomb at one point too.
After that final episode, things came together for me and I literally sprinted to the line. I can remember, in full stride, seeing the clock tick over from 2:59:59 to 3:00:00...
I already knew...Not Quite.
|overall place:||24 out of 1030|
|division place:||11 out of 75|
|gender place:||21 out of 614|
|half:||1:27:37 (I didn't get passed in the second half of the run, and actually moved up 5 spots. Not bad!)|
|last 10k:||44:58 (Looking at the race results, there are several 45-49 minute final 10k's among the people that finished in front of me. There was definitely a trend of fading as it got warmer.)|
Walking it off in Riverside Park. I wasn't real happy. Ellie's following me to make sure I don't end up jumping in the lake.