New York City Marathon 2012 Race Report
Focused, while picking up the pace
Oh wait! Now what? What do I do with all that fitness??
Space Coast Marathon 2012 Race Report
Way back in the summer I filled out an application to be a race reporter for Marathon Nation. I was registered for NY Marathon 2012. Seven of us decided to register for NY since we had run a qualifying marathon or half marathon the previous year, and knew the standards would be tightening up. This would be the perfect opportunity for us all to race together once again. This would be my 7th marathon.
I received the Marathon Nation plan, and looked over the schedule and thought it looked tough, but I felt I could definitely do it. I read everything I received. I reviewed the pacing strategies and watched all the videos. I did the tests and marked my paces. Did I mention yet I love being on a plan?!
Week 7 of 24, a tough build week. I completed all my workouts for the week, hit all my times, and was feeling good. I had a tough Saturday long run, but nailed the paces. Oh yea, and by the way, it’s July in Florida!! Holy Humidity!! Sunday, after my short run, I joined some friends for an easy 2 hour bike ride. This was going to be an easy ride, and everyone was on the same page! I hung back chatting effortlessly, up and down from aero, staying away from the bike in front of me – complacent. I hit some debris in the road, was thrown from my bike, and landed hard. Oh dear, it didn’t look good. I couldn’t move. I knew my shoulder was a mess; but that wasn’t the ugliest looking injury. My femur didn’t look ‘well’ either. The paramedics decided to call life flight because of ‘multiple injuries’…..really?? I have a marathon in 3 ½ months. It’s NY! All my friends are going! I’m doing a really cool training plan. I’m hitting all my times. I don’t have time for this! After a day and a half in a trauma unit, a fractured scapula (closed thankfully, no surgery), NO fractured femur, just some trauma to the quad muscles (which looked like my femur might be popping out my thigh); I was released…….with lots of pain meds! I slept and took pain meds around the clock for the first 48 hours at home. I went for a follow up appointment; told the doc I needed to run a marathon in 3 ½ months…..He said “No problem”…..boy was I excited! I was in a sling, I couldn’t move my arm, and it hurt to breathe but I was excited that I could run NY! The doctor basically said I could do whatever felt ok, and not do what hurt……..hmmm…….I’m probably not the best person for those instructions. I rested the entire week, stopped all the pain meds after 4 days, drank tons of fluids, learned to sleep on my back with pillows propped, and started PT on day 4. Day 6 and 7 I went for 3 mile walks on the beach; day 8 through 12 I went to the gym and rode the recumbent bike, bracing my arm in my shirt. After 13 days I went for a 4 mile run. I went right back to the training plan; just running miles for about 2 weeks, then adding the speed back in. Did my shoulder hurt? Heck yeah, but my soul hurt more to not run! And the doctors and PT all agreed that I could run as long as I didn’t need to “sling” my arm to do it! So, on to the rest of training!
Ready for New York! Trust the Training! Taper, Taper, Taper…..
The Tuesday of race week superstorm Sandy hit NYC. We watched and waited all week, listened to the news, kept up to date on the internet. All systems were a go for the race. They weren’t canceling!! No way. New Yorkers are resilient! This will be good for the people. The race must go on…..until 8 hours after we landed in NYC…….until 7 hours after we checked into our East Side Manhattan hotel…..until 5 hours after the last press conference saying the marathon would go on as scheduled…..until 4 hours after I dropped $350 on NYC marathon clothes at the expo! I received an email from a friend. “I’m sooo sorry, I bet you’re sooo pissed” Really? At what? Hmmm. And then a phone call, “your friend posted the marathon is cancelled”. What?? No way, except the TV said “yes way”…..”….a decision has been made; it’s time to move on!” Really? That’s it? Move on? We’re in NYC, most of the 47,000 runners are in NYC, and we’re moving onto where? I know, I know….all those people, who lost all their homes, and you know the cancellation is the right thing to do, but seriously?? Of course it’s the right thing, but I don’t want to hear what the right thing is. I flew to NY! I want to run the NYC marathon with 47,000 other marathoners. I want to stand on top of the Verrazano Bridge and see all of New York City, I want to suffer through the hills of Central Park, I want to cross that damn finish line! But it is not to be, and cancelling really is the right thing. It’s just too bad the right thing couldn’t have come 12 hours earlier!
So regroup, discuss what to do, make decisions………..but first let’s enjoy NY a bit. A run through Central Park in 40 degrees, freezing by our standards. We meet our new bff…………Meb! Wow he’s there just hanging out running a bit. He encourages us to take pictures, he shakes all our hands individually, tells each of us he’s sorry they cancelled our marathon – what an ambassador to our sport!
We finish about 10 miles, see Ryan Hall (hauling butt I might add), we hollered “Hey Ryan“, he turned and waved!
We drink Starbucks coffee at the Trump Tower.
Then we fly home, 2 days early.
I get up early on Sunday (NY marathon day)……..and run, and run, and run, along the river, in the Florida sunshine. It’s hot for November, and I’m sweaty. I don’t have a plan. I don’t know what to do. I run 20 miles, and it feels so good!
Now to really regroup. We need to figure out what to do. My friend makes fun of the fact that I don’t want to “waste fitness”……..how absurd. We have fitness all year, but this is special fitness. We all agree on Space Coast Marathon. Its 3 weeks away, just in time for a little build back up and a little taper back down! It’s in our back yard. The course is where we run every single Sunday (and half the days in between)!! It’s our PR course, every one of us! We don’t need to travel, we don’t need to get up too early, and we could probably run the course with our eyes closed!
The weather is looking better and better. November in Florida is a toss up. You just never know what mother nature will hand you. It looks like it’s going to be a low of 50 and a high of 72, with a slight north wind and no humidity! Perfect by our standards!!
Race Day – 11/25/2012 (are we really going to get to run a marathon??)
I had gone to bed at 8:30 the night before and I think I was asleep by 9. I slept like a baby….that never happens! My alarm is set for 415am; I woke up at 4am. No chance I was going back to sleep. My first waking thought is “I feel amazing, it’s going to be a good day! Just a Sunday long run with 3500 of my closest friends!” I decide I might as well get up and eat so I can digest my breakfast. I’m tiny, under 100 pounds, but I can put away some food! I ate a whole white bagel with peanut butter and a whole banana. I drank a half of cup of black coffee and 1 bottle of water, after all, it‘s still Florida, you learn to hydrate well here. I bring another bottle of water with me to drink before the race start.
We all meet at a predetermined location about a block from the start and strategize. Gels….check (6 of them, one brand, one flavor, with caffeine), chapstick….check. My go-to tattoo – “DIG DEEP” in black sharpie on my left inside forearm (my Marine son wrote me a letter prior to my first marathon and reminded me I could push my body farther than I thought, and I just needed to DIG DEEP!)…..check! One last bathroom stop before heading to meet some other friends at the start!
The gun goes off………..I rip open the first of 6 gels, chug it with water and toss it and the empty water bottle in a nearby trash can! The remaining 5 gels, my 5, 10, 14, 18, and 22 mile gels are tucked in my sports bra! And we’re off!
I had decided I would be running an 8:30 pace. I don’t care what my finish time is. My PR is 3:49, I’m shooting for 3:45, but will take whatever my 8:30 miles give me! I’m going to go out slow – yeah right, somehow in my past 6 marathons I’ve NEVER accomplished that. But this time, I’m really going to do it. I’m usually a spot on pace runner; but when I marathon run, at some point around miles 8-14, that stupid “I feel so good” thought gets in my head, and I shoot myself in the feet before I can figure out what I’m doing. Not this time!! I set my Garmin screen to 2 data elements – ONLY! I set current pace and lap (mile) pace. Nothing else! This is really reaching for me. I’m a data freak. I like to see everything during my run. I like to know exactly where I am on the course; at what tenth of what mile I’m at; and how long it’s going to take me to get to the next mile! But not today. If I run my miles, and only my miles, my finish time will take care of itself.
All that said, that’s exactly what I did. There was a group of 4 of us girls running 830s. We had to keep ourselves in check often. My first mile was my slowest mile at 8:42! Miles 2-20 were within 5 seconds of each other. Mile 21-26 were FASTER by 10-15 seconds. I had decided that if I felt good at mile 20, I would let myself just run. At mile 18 I let myself go just a little faster. At mile 20 I stopped looking at my pace and just ran. I passed a LOT of people. I was super focused, but felt very relaxed. This is where I began using my go-to tattoo! I touched it, I rubbed it. I relished the feeling that I hadn’t hit the wall; and I didn’t think it was anywhere in sight. At one point, around mile 24, I started to wonder what my finish time might be. There were clocks on the course, but they weren’t every mile, just at random places, 5k, 10k, etc. I purposely had NO idea what time I crossed the start line, or how far off the race clock I was. I wanted to switch my garmin to the elapsed time screen…..NO WAY! That wasn’t important at this point. I would see the elapsed time when I crossed the finish line. I didn’t want the distraction! The thought left as quick as it came.
I took water at EVERY water station, except the first; just enough to get a couple swallows in. I never had to stop to get water. just grabbed and rolled through. My nutrition was spot on. I was able to down each gel at my pre-determined miles, without any issues and chase with a little water from the aid stations. Around mile 25 I was getting a little tired (go-to tattoo!), but I was almost there! I passed mile 26 and was on the home stretch. My last 10k was 51:56 for an 8:21 pace. I crossed the finish line in 3:42:17, a PR by 7 minutes, but most importantly my first ever negative split marathon. And an added bonus…….my only goal for the day was to run 8:30 miles and let the end time take care of itself. Race Results – Pace 8:30 – I’m not sure how that worked out like that, but sometimes things just fall into place.
Focused, while picking up the pace
Met Meg in NY
Theresa, in blue, with a group of fast ladies
20 mile 2:50:21
2nd age group female 50-54
3rd overall female Space Coast Runners
Sometimes crappy things happen to make way for good things! I’m sad New York was cancelled, but it might have been the best thing for my marathon! I still haven’t run NY, but I’ll definitely go back some day!
Ps…. A big shout out to Mother Nature, she is not usually this kind to us on Space Coast Marathon day here in Florida J