Some really great and blog worthy things have happened in the last month + that I haven't written. The first of which is that my little brother completed his first half marathon. This was a proud day in Big Sister Land. And of course, he was able to run it much faster than I ever have. Isn't that always the way? You inspire someone to try the thing that you do all the time, and they're instantly better than you at it. I'm still proud though. As a slow runner, I don't have much of an ego anymore. I just try to have a good time and get my money's worth.
|He's looking a little TOO chipper. Perhaps it's the excitement of being almost done.|
|There. He looks sufficiently exhausted. I feel better now.|
|At least I LOOK sort of fast here...|
|Nice shirt, nice medal, as always.|
I planned my nutrition a little differently for this marathon than I have for others. I know you're not supposed to try new things in a race but I did anyway. I ate a different pre-race dinner, a rice bowl with chicken instead of my usual pizza, which worked really well and will be my new go-to meal before an event of this nature. I packed a bag full of pain pills that also had caffeine in them. I don't usually take pain pills, but I knew I wouldn't make it the full distance without them and the caffeine boost definitely made a difference. I also had a wide variety of gels, shot blocks, and other tasty things, depending on what my stomach would allow. I made sure to fuel early and often as well as taking a pain pill or two when the slightest twinge would surface. Someday, I would like to be able to run this distance without the pill popping. It's good to have goals, right?
Because of the better fueling, I had less gastrointestinal issues this race. Thank goodness. At least this race had ample port-a-potties. I was more than a little thrilled to see so many of those blue boxes lining the course. After the Utah Valley Marathon port-a-potty debacle, it has become one of the top things on my list of what makes a good race.
I started out in the back of the pack, as usual. I knew I shouldn't push too hard at the beginning so I just tried to settle into a good rhythm and let the gradual downhill do its thing. I'm surprised at how the miles flew by. I felt fresh and good and happy to be running. From mile 9 to 10, I walked and ran with a guy who was having some trouble with his foot. He was staying upbeat and positive, so it was nice to share that mile with him. After the mile 10 aid station, I knew it was time for me to move on though; I was feeling good and wanted to keep putting those miles behind me. We wished each other well and I kept on trucking. I hit the halfway point around 2:40 and felt great about that. I hadn't pushed too fast but was still making good time. I was on track to beat six hours. Now in every other marathon, there has been a point when I WAS on track to break 6 hours and I have always missed the mark. So I tried not to get too caught up in that.
|Feeling strangely fine.|
We came out of the canyon around mile 17 and continued into town. We ran on a nice paved trail that was by the creepy old mill. It is haunted. I know, because even in the daytime, it makes you shudder. The mill was about mile 18. I was being awfully chipper and a man asked if I was having fun yet. I said "Of course! We're in the single digits now! And there's a creepy haunted mill! What could be better?!" He looked at me like I was a little crazy and tried to run a little faster. My chipper mood lasted all the way until about mile 22. I couldn't believe that I had felt that fine for so many miles, especially because of my lack of long training runs. I had to walk quite a lot of the last 4 miles, but when I was walking, I made sure to keep it at a brisk pace. I tried to maintain a 15 min/mile while walking. It paid off. I was able to complete this marathon in 5:53:11, a personal record by almost 16 minutes! I couldn't believe it. Sometimes, things actually work out, even if the training didn't.
|This is my favorite race picture ever. My mom snapped it just in time. She was yelling "You beat 6 hours!!!"|
|So happy with this race!|
|The medal is almost the size of a salad plate. My kind of bling.|
|Just happy to be done with this one.|
|Nicer medal and shirt this year than last. Good work, Huntsville!|
|The best zombie makeup I could put together in the last minute. I procrastinate sometimes...|
|The zombies and the humans, coexisting for a tiny moment.|
|How can you not like a race for charity that is also zombie themed?!|
I have two more half marathons coming up this month and then another Ragnar Relay plus a half for the month of November. Then things die down for the winter months. I did just find out that I got into the Ogden Marathon, so that training will begin in January, in concert with my training for my first 50K in June. Also, in the last two weeks, I have started to weight train seriously. I can feel a difference in my body already and I am hopeful it will lead to faster finish times next year. Here's the point in the blog where I promise to try and post more often and you all say "Yeah, right.". But I will try. I will.