5 of 12 in 2010 – OC Marathon
Overall: 75 out of 1495
Women: 10 out of 544
F 30-34: 3 out of 72
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5 of 12…THE END
This marathon weekend was really great – close to home, lots of friends, great weather and zero pressure. I was happy that I had decided to ditch Avenue of the Giants Marathon to run this race instead.
Leading up to the race and reflecting on my recent training, I felt comfortable running with a 3:15 finishing goal. The plan was for me and Dom to run together – we’d each carry 12 oz. disposable bottles filled with Heed, hoping to save a few extra minutes by skipping fueling stations and doing everything we could to stay at a 7:26 pace mile after mile. Staying on pace seemed like the biggest challenge of the day with a flat course and fast downhill start, it is much harder than you think. The last thing we wanted to do was hit any wall because we foolishly took off too soon – 3:15 would be an accomplishment we would be proud of so why kill ourselves? When we arrived to the start line, we were a little disappointed to find that the fastest pace group was 3:20, so we just tucked in near the front and waited.
Almost immediately after starting, Dom was gone, I could see him ahead of me but at least 10 seconds ahead of pace. It wasn’t until after the race I found out that he misunderstood something I said earlier before the race — he thought I wanted to run alone because of a suggestion I made to him about taking his phone with him instead of putting it in bag check in case we couldn’t find each other at the finish (Translation: We aren’t running together so call me when you finish. Silly).
I stayed on pace clear through mile 13 where I finally caught up to Dom. He wasn’t feeling so hot but we ran together for a while longer and I picked up the pace as we headed towards a female runner in front of us. Passing a spectator, I was told that I was 8th woman to pass but that obviously couldn’t be right since I passed a total of two women after the half and finished 10th.
Around mile 15, the toes on my right foot were on the verge of cramping, reminding me how I felt around the last few miles of LA Marathon, saying to myself, “not now.” At 17, I decided it was time to pick up the pace, besides the annoying toes, I felt like the race had been pretty easy, I didn’t feel like I was laboring whatsoever. Even though I didn’t want to run fast, saving that for Rock N Roll San Diego in June, I felt it was a waste of energy to hold back when I felt this good. I still had my water bottle with me and although I did drop it at mile 9 and even grabbed a few cups of water from the stations since to rinse my hands of the sticky drink from my own bottle, I thought it was a great decision to take it along – I’d ditch it soon enough if it got annoying or when it ran out, whichever came first.
I want to note that I always find it interesting to find many runners walking ahead of me or completely stopped very late into the race. I always try to encourage them to keep going or wish them well because that is the saddest sight. It is actually one of my biggest fears of marathon racing – to either hit that wall or cramp up, so naturally I felt a little concerned about my own toe cramps.
Passing several runners in front of me and feeling the pain getting progressively worse, I stopped at mile 20. Panic in my mind – I couldn’t believe this was happening, I wished I was stopping because I had hit the wall, under trained but not because I had a cramp. Pathetic. I could see the minutes passing by on my watch and I was losing my calm. During this short stop I removed my right shoe massaged my foot. I started to see the runners I had recently passed approaching so I ran ahead for what seemed like 200 yards, and then stopped again. This time I took off both shoes, ditched the water bottle and ran for about a quarter mile barefoot – an idea that I knew was stupid, especially since it wasn’t alleviating any pain and very dangerous. So many things went through my mind and the biggest concern was thinking how long it would take to get to the finish if I decided to drop out. I didn’t carry my phone this time in my ifitness belt because I wasn’t planning on running alone. I put my shoes back on and decided I would make it to the finish the most pain-free way (walking, jogging, running, whatever). Unfortunately, no matter how I got to the finish, the pain didn’t go away, it only got worse.
Limping, run-walking and still moving forward, I was still in the vicinity of all the other runners I had passed around mile 17 – not one of them gave me any words of encouragement, not a big surprise since most men I know don’t want me to beat them either. I questioned my stubbornness – was I still running because I was debuting my Marathon Maniacs jersey and I didn’t want to be caught walking, was I really concerned about my time, or was I just fighting all those people who continually doubt what I am doing? I’d say all of those and plenty more.
At 22 I ran across a young guy (later I’d find out his name was Teague) who had originally passed me around the 5K mark – very inquisitive and kind of a happy-go-lucky guy. I remember when he passed me he wanted to know which Fleet Feet group I trained with – I guess he saw the logo on the back of my jersey and didn’t know about the Marathon Maniacs group. When I caught up to him he was walking, I told him to keep going – we were almost there. His hips had “opened up” and he was cramping, I told him my feet were too and to keep going. It was during this last stretch he shared his disappointment – it was his FIRST marathon and he was missing his BQ. I assured him he was doing great under the circumstances and the race was almost over. We ran together for almost the entire rest of the way and he would have gotten further ahead of me if I would have stopped for water but I only wanted to get to the finish, I didn’t need any stinking water. As he caught up to me for the last time, he comfortingly said, “I can’t let a good pacer get away from me,” and he forged ahead.
I finished the race in pain and in total disbelief – the clock was showing a time I thought was impossible for struggling the last 6 miles, 3:16-something, less than 10 seconds off my PR. My foot hurt and I was a little scared, as I took my medal from the awards tent, I hoped everything would be OK. Soon I would find out it wasn’t. I am glad I decided on a race close to home.
I should have started this post like this:
Another month, another marathon. 5 of 12. There will not be a sixth marathon in June or a seventh in July…you get the picture. I fractured my right 2nd metatarsal because I mistook a toe cramp for a more serious injury…
I’ll be back, not soon enough, but I will be back.
The end (of 12 in 12).