Yesterday I ran the Lincoln, NE marathon. I was originally signed up to run the half. When I signed up, I was feeling pretty worn down and beat up from the previous races, and with my spring race schedule I thought the half would be a better idea. A few days before the race, they sent out an information email in which they indicated if you wanted to switch from the full to the half, or the HALF TO THE FULL, just to let them know and it could be done! WHAT??? That was a new one for this event! This of course got me thinking about the possibility of running the full. I’d been keeping up my weekly mileage; I just hadn’t done any runs longer than 13 miles since the Phoenix marathon in March. I talked it over with my hubby and decided I would run the full marathon and just keep it a fun run, always knowing I could bail at the half if I wasn’t feeling it. I had to quickly scramble to pick up some Honey Stinger gels and put together a playlist for race day the next day.
Race morning I was up early and going through my normal routine. My stomach was pretty upset from my dinner the night before. This had me a little worried about the race. Luckily, that all seemed to calm down by the time the race started. I met a few friends at the start area for some quick words or encouragement and a pre-race photo. I also saw several other friends as I wandered my way into my starting place. I had spent some time the night before discussing my timing strategy with my husband the night before. The past few races I’ve been going out too fast and really dying in the end, so this time I was approaching it differently. My husband helped me write out a timing chart that included a slower start, with faster middle, and then a slightly slower finish. I think it took us about 20 minutes to get over the start line from where I was because they were using a wave start. Wave starts = great idea, just hate the waiting part.
The first half of the race the full and half marathoners all run together through downtown and residential areas. They have a lot of great crowd support in the first half. I saw some of the best signage yesterday! One of my favorites said something about pooping your pants and then they had another one right next to it that had some little boy super hero underoos hanging from it saying underwear changing station. The first half of the race was pretty crowded through certain areas. This did make it difficult to get into a good stride and pace. It felt a little like cat and mouse.
The second half of the race you would think you were running a completely different event altogether. It’s out in open area and the wind was pretty brutal as we headed into mile 14. The crowd support is practically nil in the second half as well. I think out of the 10,000’ish runners, only 2,000 or so of us ran the full. I really started to lose ground time wise heading into that wind. I think I heard later in the day that the gusts were up to about 30mph. Aside from that, my legs were feeling great and I was in a good head space. I knew this wouldn’t be a PR event, but I was enjoying running again. The Lincoln marathon was the first marathon I ran in May 2011. I didn’t have a great first marathon experience so it was great to come back to this event and really enjoy it. My finish time ended up being 4:19; quite the improvement from 4:57 the first time around. This was also my third fastest marathon to date.
This was marathon number 12 for me. Each race is unique and I learn something from each one. Yesterday I tried out the different pacing strategy; my past marathons I used even splits for timing. I also tried a different pair of socks. I recently made a switch from Balega socks to Thorlo because my feet were pretty sore at the end of the marathons. Yesterday I didn’t have that issue at all! Thorlos performed great! So what did I learn this time around? Well, I know that I start to get cramps in my obliques when I try to maintain a 9 min mile pace for several miles. It’s not a normal side stitch, but more like my obliques seize up. So yesterday when my legs were ready to go, the sides said NOPE. This caused me to lose quite a bit of ground in my time in the last 6 miles. Once it starts, it doesn’t go away. I’ll be researching into this, but I’m thinking it’s a matter of doing more speed work at the specific paces I will be aiming for during my marathons. I’ve also been using a differently training plan since the Phoenix marathon. It’s the one I will be using for the Twin Cities marathon in October. I’ve been following a portion of it for the past 6 weeks to see how I like it. It defines more specific paces for each run. The other major difference in this from my previous plan is the change in the long run. The long Saturday or Sunday run only goes up to 18 miles, but the overall mileage for the weeks, is still consistent. This means longer mid-week runs. So far I like the results.
My hubby was able to snap a few photos of me. This one is around mile 22. I seriously don’t feel as bad as I look in the pictures. One of these days I’ll figure out to take some decent race photos!
My finish photo – I almost forgot to have him catch this one. We were half way back to the car when I remembered!
And finally, all cleaned up and proudly showing my medal.
What is your next race? Do you have any suggestions for taking a better race photo? Share your best or worst race day photos with me!