Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Marathon #2


I woke up at 6am and it was already 70 degrees. There was NO breeze in the sky. I couldn’t believe it. Just a few days ago they were predicting thunderstorms all day! I ate my breakast and thanked my sleepy husband as he dropped me off at the shuttle parking lot. I could feel the energy and I was excited and nervous. I was doing this again!

I met up with my running team at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis and we all took photos and wrote our names on our arms. I lined up at the 5:00 mark with my friend Linda and we waited. The gun went off and we started walking about 6 minutes later. Prior to the start several people in my group said they were going to just run the first 2 miles or maybe just try walking the water stops. I was tempted, but I knew I wasjust going to do what I’d always done, run 4 minutes and walk 1 minute. My teammates passed me and one of them said.."Go Kerstin" (pronouning my name correctly!!) and laughing said "That's the only time today it will be prounounced correctly!!!" And she was right (aside from when I passed my family and friends that is....). After about 5 minutes my left shin started burning and throbbing. I started walking and massaging it thinking this is not good!! People kept telling me to keep running, thinking I was already tired... but my leg was killing me. I tried to calm myself down, and tried to run in out, but it still hurt. This was not the marathon start I was hoping for!!! I just kept moving, trying to breath and relax. Only at about mile 3 did I finally realize I couldn’t feel it anymore-thankfully!

But, I kept going. I was super hot and drenched with sweat almost instantly. Thinking, maybe not carrying my own water was not a good idea, but it was so nice to not have the weight of the water on my waist. The first few water stops were totally chaotic. The volunteers were not prepared and they didn’t have any cups full of water or PowerAde and they were running out of water. I didn’t understand why all the water and PowerAde was on one side of the street, so all the runners were crowded in, stacked up 5-6 people waiting, pushing for fluids. It was really frustrating and I was tempted to just skip them, but I knew it was too hot to do that. I had to get a little aggressive to get my water, but I just did what I had to do. Some of the volunteers were so overwhelmed and knocking cups over trying to pour the water so fast. I almost wanted to hop around the water table and help! By mile 6 I was already feeling that Grandma’s marathon was much better run and organized. The next two water stops were equally as chaotic and frustrating, many people were skipping them. I didn't understand why they didn't have water stations on both sides of the street, especially in the early section of the race until the runners had thinned out.

I was feeling good, but started to tire early, around mile 7-8, I wasn’t sure why. My left hamstring and hip was so tight from falling down the stairs the previous week due to my cute cat Pinot, I was hoping it would stay loose longer, but no such luck. I may have started out a bit fast, but my Garmin said I was right on target, but I felt fatigued as if I was going faster. By mile 10 I was feeling pretty nauseous, perhaps the GU and all the fluids I was taking because it was so hot. This had only happened once before, and that was a really hot training run. The nausea lasted about 2 hours, until about mile 20. That was a really lone time to not feel so hot! But I just kept moving. Thinking about the next mile marker. I had to make two bio breaks which was new for me. I kept running, looking for a short bathroom line but they were all really long. Still hoping to get under 5 hours I followed another runner into the yard of a house undergoing remodeling that had a porta potty on the side lawn. Luckily it was open. No line there!! The second time I had to wait about 6 minutes to go, but there is nothing worse then running when you have to go!

I kept looking for my family and friends who I thought would be out there, and that really kept me going. I didn’t see any of them until about mile 20-21…and I was so glad they were there. They gave me energy. I kissed my husband and hugged my sister and my friend Katie ran along side me for a bit. I ran up onto the Lake street bridge, finally making the turn into Saint Paul. I was hoping to get a second wind, waiting for it to come, but it didn't. Not this time. I was disappointed, but I finally had to let the 5 hour pacer go, and adjusted my time expectations. It took me a few minutes to mentally get in a positive zone again. I kept up my walk/run cycle the whole time and walked all the water stops. I could definitely tell the gradual hills were taking a toll on my legs. A women I skied with in college ran with me a bit and my super fast coworker saw me on Summit and ran with me a bit, that really helped. (Thanks Sage!!)

Once I got to Summit avenue about 22 miles…I was in survival mode, but still having fun. I was so glad people were out with their hoses and oranges and bananas. I wished I had salt tablets with me. Around mile 22 my fingers started to swell, turned white around the knuckles, and I knew that wasn’t a good sign and I started drinking everything I could. In the past, when that has happened to me I know that’s the first signs of heat stress and dehydration in me. I was able to stop the swelling, but I could barely bend my fingers, and my wedding rings were stuck on! I learned never to run in my rings again!! I kept going, up the gradual hill of Summit Ave. Those 3-4 miles of gradual uphill were sure a killer especially after you’ve run 20 miles!

I kept up my running and walking, saying I could do anything for 4 minutes. I thought, I’ll just keep running when I have 2 miles to go, but couldn’t do it. I thought I’ll keep running until I have 1 mile to go…but even that was to hard. As soon as I saw the hill arc down and I could see the state capitol and a guy said only 1/3 mile to go…I kept running. I sure hoped he was right, I didn’t think I could do much more!! And then I could see the finish line. I passed my coach (and Melissa-Supermel who was right next to her), passed my in-laws, and just kept pushing to the finish line. I crossed it and staggered on in. Exhausted, but knowing I had given it my all. My chip time as 5:02:18. and although I had wanted to go under 5 hours I was proud to have finished! I was hoping to be able to go faster given that Grandma’s was also really hot and humid, but that’s ok. Now I have a Twin Cities time to beat next year!

I was also really disappointed in the food after…there was no source of protein at all and I was too tired to peel an orange. But, the chicken/veggie broth was probably a sodium lifesaver!! I wish they would give runners little food bags because I kept dropping my food and water on the ground because I was so tired I couldn’t’ hold it all and eat and drink and the same time and didn’t want to stop moving. I finally used my space blanket as a sort of makeshift carrying vessel!! I sat on the grass, watching people come in and then we headed to our favorite diner for some much needed lunch. I also think I learned I can’t really indulge like I want to after a marathon, the burger and milkshake I ate also made be very nauseous. So…I had a great time the second time around, and learned a lot too. I am proud I did it and can’t wait for my next marathon.

It's been 10 days post marathon and I still like them. I must be crazy!!! I'm about ready to start back into my regular workout regimen. I am so proud of myself for doing it again, but now I am going to focus on losing the 10 lbs I've gained in training for the past 2 marathons. I'll definately feel much more like myself when I'm back to my goal. I'm looking forwar to cooler weather, snow and winter sports!

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