Monday, December 27, 2010

Fun with Meb in Vegas.

Meb and I "completed the heart" together. Awwwww. He's a good sport. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vegas, Baby. (Race Report)

Oh, Vegas. I had been planning months in advance for this day. Not only was it the final event in meeting my goal of running my first 6 marathons in 6 months (and earning a second star in the Marathon Maniacs), I was also aiming to crush my previous PR of 4:36:something. Forget a little PR, I wanted a 4:15.

The week leading up to Vegas, I panicked about having to use a port-a-potty during the run. I decided that Coach Scott (my pacer) needed to know I couldn't run a 4:15 pace. I needed some padding. He suggested 4:10 pace. Then I was silly and decided that I wanted in the single-digits, and that I wouldn't be happy with a PR unless it was below 4:10. I plugged in a 4:07:30 on the McMillan Running Calculator, and it showed a 9:27 pace. I knew it was a sign, as Coach Scott had just killed his 100 miler at a 9:27 pace. He disagreed, and told me I was stupid. (This is normal behavior. No harm done.)

The morning was beautiful. We stayed at Mandalay Bay, which was totally awesome. So nice to be right where the race started and finished. Good call on our part.

My Scott, myself, Coach Scott, and Jenn
Because I was actually trying to run at a faster pace than normal, I was not allowed to take pictures during the race. So sad. However, my friend Nickki was along and running the 1/2 with My Scott, and she was able to get some good pictures.

Having fun! 

We got in trouble for running and holding hands.
Apparently our pacer doesn't find that behavior
 to be conducive to running a PR.
Everything was great the first 1/2. Running in Vegas is very fun! I couldn't believe how quickly you can get down the strip when you're not in a cab and/or walking on a sidewalk full of people. There was, however, a lot of dodging in and out of people. We definitely needed to be in a different corral. It was exhausting.

The 1/2 marathon spilt at around 12 miles, and Coach Scott, Jenn and I continued on in our journey. Coach Scott was happy to hear that I wasn't as thrilled with marathoning as usual given my quicker pace. I stuck with Coach Scott and Jenn until around mile 14. I was having a hard time keeping pace, and I was getting concerned about needing to pee, so I went ahead. It was depressing. After I left them, I regretted it. I was lonely! Also, Coach Scott was less like a pacer and more like a butler. He was so nice (for once) and told us he'd get whatever we needed at water stops*, etc. It was very nice. I was missing that service he provided, too. He was totally awesome.

*Side note - I did not have my water bottle. I always carry my water bottle. I made a last minute decision that I did not need the bottle, given the number of water stops along the way. Stupid. At three water stops in a row, I did not get nearly enough fluid. Not good. Another difference this time around was not having my electrolyte tabs taped onto my gels. In fact, I didn't even plan to take any. I think I got two down, and gave up because it was too much of a pain to take them. Also not good. 

My spirits lifted when I saw Tall Mom and Amanda on one of the out-and-back sections. (The entire second half of the race was pretty much nothing but a series of out-and-back sections. It felt like it, anyway.) Just seeing familiar faces was just what I needed. So happy! Then I got sad again because I knew I'd never catch up with them. So lonely. I never ever thought I'd feel lonely in a marathon. Ever. For some reason, I really did in Vegas.

I can't remember what mile it was, but an angel came into my life in the form of a runner. She was keeping right with me, so I decided I'd make a new friend. Her name was Ann, from Portland. She was in town doing her very first marathon with several friends. She was coming back from an injury - she broke her back! She told me it was nearly the 1 year anniversary. We connected over how cool this marathon was for both of us - big goals on both ends. And, I looooooove first time marathoners. Love. It takes me back to my first, and that was such a special day.

At one point, I have no idea where, we did end up catching up to Tall Mom and Amanda. Seeing them again was fabulous. I remember Tall Mom saying "Nice ass!" to me. In response, I spanked myself for her. As if I could go an entire marathon without doing something silly.

We were keeping a pretty good clip. Around mile 22, I remember looking down at my legs...thought it through, and didn't know how on earth I could keep running for another 40 minutes. Or 45 if the wheels really started falling off the bus. Then I looked at Ann, and got myself together, and just kept going. I wasn't happy about it. My legs were tired. The out-and-back sections were getting to me, as everyone I saw were miles ahead. I believe it was my first time "hitting the wall" - sort of awesome experience, as I thought it was a big fallacy that people were over-dramatic about. Now I know it exists, and I get it, and can appreciate it.

I made a decision to take another gel at mile 24 (I had been taking them every 5 miles). Best idea ever. 20 minutes of running didn't seem so bad. My spirits lifted. I knew I was going to finish this bad boy, and meet all of my goals. The rest of the run was great! Finishing felt amazing.

Myself, and my Angel. Finished! 
And, I made that PR goal. My finishing time was 4:07:13. Sweet!

Coach Scott and Jenn were not far behind, and I met up with them for our official finishing picture. Jenn also crushed her previous PR. Way to go, Jenn!

I love running buddies.
My husband finished his first 1/2 Marathon - and is already signed up for another in March! I'm so glad he had Nickki to run with.

Way to go, My Scott and Nickki! 
All in all, it was a very fun day. Sadly, things went downhill afterward, and I started throwing up. So sick. Not fun. I felt bad enough that I wasn't sure how I'd ever do another marathon, as the thought of sucking down a gel ever again in my life wasn't anything I wanted to do. I'll spare you all the details, but I was hurting. Might have had something to do with my heart rate average for the marathon being 190. Or that I caught something. Or that I wasn't hydrated. Or not enough salt. Regardless, it wasn't fun. It took several days for me to feel better.

I am, however, better! And I have my entire next year + planned out. I'll spare you having to read any more...and I'll actually post a non-race report very soon. Thank you all for your support and kindness and love and encouragement. I DID IT!