On April 27th I wrote a post about being so excited by Meb winning the Boston Marathon that I rashly signed up for the Ogden Marathon with only three weeks to put together what little training I could get in before the race. I stated my ambitious goal of trying to run under 4 hours in my post and in the back of my mind dreamed of a time around 3 hours 45 minutes. My furthest run of the year had been 17 miles on April 12th. I fully intended to get at least one 20-22 mile run in before the marathon, but I opted to race a half marathon instead (I don’t always make the best choices).
Due to my lack of training, the forecasted heat, and my uncertain race plan, my pre-race nerves were higher than usual in the days leading up to the event. I posted about the four race plans I was considering on Friday afternoon asking for guidance from all of my running friends on which plan they thought was the wisest. I got support for all four options, so as I got on the bus Saturday morning, I was still undecided on what my plan would be. I was leaning toward running as long as I could with my friend Jonathan Crampton, but as I tried to mentally picture it my nerves didn’t settle, they just increased. As I thought about the option of going out with the 3:45 pacer (around an 8:35 per mile pace) and seeing how I felt after mile 14 or 15, my nerves settled to a manageable level and I finally felt ready. The only thing left to worry about were miles 20 – 26.2.
When the gun went off, I stuck with my plan of going out with the 3:45 pacer for a solid 10 seconds. I’ve been called an adrenaline junky on race day, and yesterday was no different. The competitor in me came out and I settled in to executing race plan option number 1 (run by how my body feels and see what the day had in store for me). I ran through the first mile in 7 minutes 57 seconds. I felt good, but I decided that pulling my pace back by a few seconds was wise. By the time I came to the two mile marker, I had settled into a 8:12 – 8:14 pace and that is where I would stay for the next 24 miles. By mile 10 I caught the 3:35 pacer and I decided to stay with him through the large hill at mile 14. I stuck with this plan until we approached the half marathon mark in the race. The crowd support gave me a surge in energy and I pulled ahead of the 3:35 pacer not to see him again until he passed me in the middle of mile 25.
The forecasted heat was out in full force by the half marathon mark and the music they were playing at the aid station spoke to this. As I passed through the end of the station and headed for the hill that awaited me at mile 14, me and the other runners were treated to the Elvis song “Burning Love”…
Ooh, ooh, ooh,
I feel my temperature rising
Help me, I’m flaming
I must be a hundred and nine
The song fit perfectly with what was going on with my body at that point in the race. The race director is lucky I have a sense of humor and that the song is irresistibly catchy or I may have resorted to writing a complaint after the race. 🙂
I passed through the hill and pushed on to mile 17 where the most significant portion of downhill running on the course awaited me. I was excited for the downhill, but the heat was starting to take its toll as I entered the canyon at mile 17. I made sure to hydrate at every aid station and took an additional GU at mile 18.5 but by mile 22 I started to get waves of nausea. When I get severely dehydrated, I always get violently sick to my stomach. I was able to fight off this wave of nausea, but it returned for portions of miles 23-25.
Around the time I was battling off my final bout of nausea during mile 25, the 3:35 pacer passed me. I wanted to respond and match his pace but my body was spent. I did my best to chase him while my body started to give me my first warning of muscle cramps in my quads. It was about this time that I passed a poor gentleman who had given into the heat and was surrounded by four emergency volunteers who were holding him down while he hallucinated and screamed at the top of his lungs at people that were obviously not there to be found. This site did not inspire confidence as my body was melting down further with each step that I took.
I pushed into mile 26 using every method of positive self-talk I could to convince myself I had what it took to finish. My go to phrase? Make this course your bitch! Please forgive the coarse language. You see, it was at this point on the course in 2007 that a friend of mine that I had driven up to support was hurting. She stopped, bent over, put her hands on her knees and said “why would anyone do this???” I said the first thing that came to my mind at the time. “C’mon! You’ve got this! Make this course your bitch!” My friend started laughing and she started running again after my vulgar motivational speech. Make this course your bitch became the mantra that carried me through to the finish. With a half mile to go my quads started to cramp up, but with finish line approaching, I fought off the cramps and made one final push to the end.
I crossed the finish line in 3 hours 35 minutes and 40 seconds! I had beat the goal that seemed to be a long shot just three weeks earlier by 25 minutes and the best time I thought was possible for the day (3:45) by 10 minutes!
I realize that I am very fortunate to have fought off the heat and to have finished with this time. Nearly every post that I saw on Facebook last night mentioned the heat and the toll it had taken on the runner making the post. A lot of my friends had a very rough day and were not able to achieve the goals that they had set for themselves due to the adverse effects of the scorching temperatures. I was inspired by all of these posts. Without fail, every single runner that posted about how hard their day was in the same post talked about how they were so happy to have found the strength to finish and how they couldn’t have done it without the other supportive runners on the course. This is what I LOVE about this sport and the people who do it. We don’t let a bad day get us down, we find another gear, adjust our race plan, and give thanks for having the opportunity to test our body to its limit when so many others cannot. We also feed off of the unconditional support the other runners give us.
My running family (a portion of which is pictured above) was out in full force yesterday, and I can honestly say that without them, I would not have been able to accomplish the time that I am so happy with. Thank you to each and everyone of you who offered kind words, before, during, and after the race!
- Monday = 6.25 miles (running)
- Tuesday = 90 Minutes of Bikram Yoga
- Wednesday = 5 miles (running)
- Thursday = Rest
- Friday = Rest
- Saturday = 26.2 miles (running) – Ogden Marathon
- Sunday = Rest
- Running = 37.45 miles
- Elliptical = 0 miles
- Total Miles = 37.45 miles
- Weigh In = The weekly weigh in will resume next week.
- Running = 82.50 miles
- Elliptical = 0 miles
- Total Miles = 82.50 miles
- Weights = 1 hr 30 min