3:38:52, or The Weekend That Was Just Totally Freaking Awesome (Part 2)

18 Oct

I’m back!  Sleep No More was good, but sadly I think you get out of it what you put in, and I was pretty tired.  Oh well.

Anyhow… so I met up with my brother, Michael, in the lobby of The Westin, where he was staying.  He informed me right off the bat that he was pretty sick with a fever and hadn’t slept at all.  I admitted I wasn’t feeling so hot either, thanks to my idiotic garlic intake the night before.  I peed in the Westin’s lobby bathroom and we were on our way.  My mouth was feeling dry, which made me slightly nervous, since I didn’t have any water on me.

We made our way to the start and I stopped again to pee at a port-o-potty on the way.  The Westin is a short distance from the start– only about a 5 minute walk.  Once at the start, we were able to get into the proper corral– the 2nd one!– much more easily than we had been in years past, and we remarked at how happy we were they had cleaned up the corrals situation.  I noticed the 3:35 pace group a bit in front of me and was delighted to see that a woman was leading them.  YEAH, GIRL!  Michael and I talked about how difficult it would be to run that pace AND carry the big sign with the balloons on it!  I was feeling a bit nervous, but mostly chill.  I felt bad for Michael, because he just couldn’t seem to get amped up.

Before long, they started the National Anthem and I quietly removed my long sleeved tee.  I was kind of bummed because it wasn’t one I had planned on ditching, but it was one from an NYRR race– and I have literally at least 20 of them– so it’s OK.  I hadn’t planned very well because the wait at the start for Columbus usually isn’t so long and I can normally tough it out in just a singlet, but it was pretty chilly.  (Which is always a GOOD thing for this sweaty girl!)

Then they set off fireworks, which was pretty neat:

And off we went!  My tentative plan was to try and keep it around an 8:23 steady pace and hope for a 3:40 and then take it back a bit if I needed to.  Everyone had been asking me all weekend what my goal time was and I said, “3:40 would be a dream, but I’m thinking more 3:45ish.”  But secretly, I REALLY wanted to sub-3:40.  Anyhow, the first thing that struck me was how NOT effortless this 8:23 pace felt.  I was slightly alarmed, but tried to keep it light and positive.  The other thing that struck me right away was the knowledge that I was gonna have to tinkle at least one more time in order to finish this race without pi$$ing myself.  No judgement here if you are a runner who pi$$es herself, but I am not that girl.  (I do plenty of other disgusting things, though.  Hit me up.  We’ll talk.)  Anyhow, around mile 3ish(?) I saw a line of port-o-potties that looked fairly deserted, so I found an empty one and took care of business.  Then I gunned it and caught up with Michael shortly up the course.  This, by the way, is EXACTLY what I did last year in Columbus, too.  Maybe even the same line of pots.

Typically, Michael and I will chat nonstop for the duration of a run, but neither one of us was feeling awesome, so there were some words exchanged between the 2 of us, but mostly gritted teeth.  But I was happy to be keeping it on pace without too much difficulty (but again, not effortless either!)

Oh, I should mention that since I’ve had so much trouble with my stupid Garmin giving me not-accurate paces, I printed out a pace band from runnersworld.com and taped it to the back of my cell phone (which I always take on marathons for texting purposes.)  I started my watch the second I crossed the start and matched up the time on the pace band with my running timer on my Garmin at the end of each mile marker.  It worked out really well, although I’m sure I looked like a lunatic, squinting at the back of my cell phone at the end of each mile, trying to make out what time I should be at!  I could tell I was running the tangents pretty poorly, since my watch was beeping for miles’ ends pretty far ahead of the mile markers.  I’m sure my li’l veer to the potty didn’t help, but just wait ’til you see what my Garmin gave me as my distance at the end of the race.  Spoiler– it was nearly an extra freakin’ mile!  (Not possible.)

Anyhow… I have to be honest and say a lot of this race was a blur for me.  One foot in front of the other, still pretty much on-pace for a 3:40 mile after mile, much to my shock.  We made a lot of water stops.  Miles 1-6 went as follows (according to my wonky Garmin): 8:33, 8:15, 8:12, 8:40, 8:27, 8:04.  I think I lost Michael around the 6 mile water stop and texted him a bit down the road asking if he was OK.  “Fine.  Sick.  Run fast!” was his response.  I felt bad for him, but did as he said.

At this point, I started wondering if I should eat something.  I don’t eat before marathons– only gulp down my Starbucks Doubleshot– and I generally don’t feel hungry while running.  I very rarely have much more to eat than one gu per race.   But I knew I needed fuel.  I broke open one of these bad boys and nursed it over the course of about a half mile.  (I also can’t shoot ’em like you’re supposed to.  I am a wuss.)

Some dude ran up next to me and said, “How’s that gu tasting?” which gave me a bit of a chuckle and I started thinking about how funny it would be to do a blog post about pickup lines at a marathon/race, as opposed to a bar.  “You come here often?” = “you done this race before?”  “What are you drinking?”= “How’s that gu?”  BTW, T has informed that this is not as funny as I think it is….

Anyhow, T texted me at one point after my “snack” saying he and his parents were around mile 8.5, which gave me a boost and lifted my spirits after having lost my bro.  Just before I saw them, some dude running near me totally bit it and my heart went out to him.  His hand water bottle went flying.  He got up and seemed a bit shaken, but OK.  After having lost my poor sick bro and watching this poor guy bite it, I was a little dazed by the time I saw T and his mom and dad.  I tried to wipe as much sweat as possible from my sweaty sexy upper lip and brow as I approached them.  I gave him T big hug, waved to his parents, and was on my way!  I sent him a text saying I was sorry I was a bit dazed and that I wasn’t feeling awesome and he responded saying that they thought I looked great. 🙂

I got a text from my mom around this time saying she and my dad, sis-in-law, niece, and nephew were around mile 12, which gave me another boost.  One foot in front of the other, still miraculously on pace.  I was delighted to see the Westin and the 12 mile water stop approaching– just where mom said they were!  I was so excited to see everyone.  I’m not sure that’s conveyed in this picture… in fact, I’m not sure what the heck is going on in this picture… but this is a picture mom took at that point.

sneezing? coughing? your guess is as good as mine!

ta-da! I'm running a marathon!

This sight definitely gave me a huge boost, though.  Can we say CUTEST KIDS EVER?

"Hello, please forgive us for being the f-bomb cutest beings to ever exist."

Then T texted saying he and his parents were just down the road, which gave me another boost!  So many boosts! 🙂  I again attempted to look attractive and not like a disgusting disaster as I approached them.  I’m not sure I succeeded:

This time, he came out and ran a bit with me, which was a lot of fun. 🙂

I kind of couldn’t believe it when I hit the half mark.  The race had been mostly a blur thus far.  My half split was 1:49:56, which, by the way, was a PR for me.  Haha, I suck at halves and never actually race them.  I always kind of feel a surge of pride and power when I pass the half point of a marathon that has a half marathon option– because I’m going the DISTANCE!

The next few miles are a complete blur for me, as was obviously the case for the majority of this race.  I do remember mentally prepping myself by recalling that in years past, this back part of the marathon (miles 15-20ish) has always been tough for me.  Kind of a desolate area and a bit of a lull in the crowd support.  I should say that this marathon is, for the most part, AWESOME with crowd support and that there is live music at every single mile!  AMAZING!!! ❤

There had been a lot of sort of sloping downhills thus far in the course, and I had been really enjoying them, but also feeling a bit guilty and almost like I was cheating.  But the wind picked up and there were some significant uphills in these miles, and I thought, “this is only fair!  I can do this!  I school the hills in Central Park ALL THE TIME!”  I passed the point, around mile 17, where Michael and I split up last year and I thought of him and hoped he was doing OK.  I sent him a text and he responded saying he had finished in 1:56:55.  I responded that was an amazing time, especially for a sick fella!

I was now on pace for a slightly sub-3:40 finish and was feeling cautiously giddy– especially since I was feeling like the rest of this race was really going to be no problem– NOT easy by any means, but manageable.  As I passed mile 20, I thought to myself, “from here on out is the furthest you have gone since your last marathon– you have this; you can DO it!”  Whenever I started feeling tired, I repeated in my head, “3:40, 3:40, 3:40.  I CAN DO THIS.”

T and my mom started texting me about their positions for the finish and I was in amazement that I was almost done.  T said they were positioned to get a great picture of me as I finished and I responded– only half joking– that I hoped I wasn’t vom’ing in said picture.  Again, I’ve said I was feeling good, but this is all relative!  “Good” for miles 20-26 in a marathon can still equal “slightly queasy,” or “might burst into tears at any moment, due to over-exertion.”  I responded to everyone’s requests for my mental/physical state by saying variations of “feeling beat up, but holding steady.”  As I passed mile 22, I thought, “4 miles– this is NOTHING!  4 miles is a snooze!”  T texted me asking for me to let him know when I passed mile 25, but by that point I had ditched my pace band and was just trying to run fast without thinking about what that pace was, and I didn’t want to text any more either.  I wrote back, “just passed 22.  no more texts.  tired.”  Then I realized I had just passed mile 23 and followed up with a giddy, “wait!  i meant 23!”

I ran as hard as I could those last 3 miles.  I passed T and his mom.  I passed my family.  I felt awesome.  My mom snapped this pic, which I love.  I look like I’m flying!

25 yards to the finish! YESSSS!

I vaguely recall some dude coming up from behind me and gunning it and totally chicking him just before I passed the finish.  And they announced my name!  “All the way from New York City,” they said!

I had no idea what my chip time was, but I knew it was in the 3:38 range (thanks, btw, to the dude who came near me– maybe I would have been in the 3:39 range if it weren’t for him!)  And I saw my friend Mary Ellen!  She lives in Columbus and was out to cheer on another friend.  She heard them announce my name as she herself was getting to the finish.  So that was a pleasant surprise– I hadn’t seen her in something like 6 years!  We had a little chat on opposite sides of the fence separating the finish area from the civilians. 🙂  Then, I went and got my space blanket, my medal(!) and got my official finish photo snapped.  I’ve never done that after at a race, but I figured my tenth marathon merited a photo.  (I’ll post a few professional photos when they’re out– if they’re not totally heinous!)  I received a couple of nice, congratulatory texts from some awesome friends who had been tracking me online (holler, Boin and Lori!!!!) and then I had to sit down on the curb.  I was happy and lucky that T and his mom found me pretty easily!

my man is the best!

T's mom is awesome and forced her coat upon me when she saw my shivering body.

I love my folks so much!! They're the BEST!

I went back to T’s parents’ hotel room and showered and got ready and then we headed out to meet up with my parents and my girl Jen for lunch.  I ate half a turkey burger, some fries, and drank a Bells 2-Hearted Ale (yum!) before I was too full to eat any more.  I am strangely never hungry immediately following marathons.  Then we said goodbye to all and settled in at the Columbus airport in our usual fashion:

T gives Columbus Brewing Company IPAs thumbs up

The Columbus Brewing Company was serendipitously located directly across from our gate. 🙂

A few addendums.  Here is what my Garmin said after the race.  8:32 average pace, REALLY, Garmin?

26.9 miles? Riiiiight

And here is a screenshot of my results.  You can’t see the entire page, but the Columbus marathon has this really cool feature that tells you how many people you passed, and how many passed you, from the 20 mile mark to the end.  And– this is kind of awesome– apparently I passed a grand total of 215 runners(!!!) in that time and was only passed by 8!!!!  I’m not sure how that is possible, but that makes me feel like a freaking bada$$!!!

And… thus concludes my epic race report!  I am generally fairly averse to hubris, but somehow I’ve gotten a big ole kick out of writing this doozy.  Thanks for reading it! 😉

(Oh yeah, and one more thing– I should mention I’m doing this whole thing all over again in less than 3 weeks.  Haha)

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20 Responses to “3:38:52, or The Weekend That Was Just Totally Freaking Awesome (Part 2)”

  1. Ben Jackson October 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    It’s so great to read all the details of the race! Thanks for the writeup and for continuing to inspire everyone who knows you… and probably a lot who don’t!

    Ten marathons. That’s unbelievable. And 3:38 is pretty fantastic as well! Do you feel a bit more friendly toward Mr. Pfitzinger now?

    • Katie October 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      Thanks so much, Ben!! Can’t wait to celebrate with you and R on Weds! And– since you asked– P.Pfitz is m’DAWG! Haha.

  2. thethinksicanthink October 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    Awesome job, again! Are you doing NYC, too? You’re texting and running abilities are impressive – I can’t even carry my phone without dropping it.

    • Katie October 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

      Thanks, Meggie! I have to say, I take great pride in my texting and running abilities– and they have served me well in that I almost NEVER miss a spectator! Also keeps my mind occupied when it’s getting rough. Practice makes perfect! 😉
      Yep, I’m doing NYC– I will see you there! Green start… you?

  3. Lori October 18, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    I got the chills reading this, just like I did when I was stalking, I mean watching, your time online Sunday morning…truly, truly amazing! Congratulations on your incredible 10th marathon, your awesome PR and also for getting on an airplane after said marathon and back to the office the following day after said marathon. You are the wind beneath my wings, Baber!! You know I’ll be there in spirit for the NYC Marathon!!

    • Katie October 18, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

      I loved getting your congratulations text! You are the bomb, baber!

  4. runningseal October 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    Just found your blog through Meggie’s. Congrats on your sub3:40!!! Awesome! And very nicely paced race! Are you running NYC too? More crazy people out there running many marathons in a row like me 🙂

    • Katie October 18, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

      Hi! Thanks for writing and for the congrats! I am going to add your blog to my list and I look forward to checking it out! I am running NYC, too. I agree, we are both crazy, but it’s fun, isn’t it? 😉 Best of luck to you!

  5. Alli October 18, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    Congrats, Katie!!!!! Amazing two part blog and race! Love hearing all the details as a non marathon, yah I jog a little sorta girl. Ps. Your niece and nephew…still the freakin cutest. Way to go, Katie!! Xo

    • Katie October 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      Thanks, Alli! Love ya! 🙂

  6. Kelly October 19, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    yay! Great recap Katie! And congrats again! You are my sub 3:40 hero. And, hooray for being in the green corral! I think we all are – pre marathon party? Also, I thought your part about the pick-up lines was funny 🙂

    • Katie October 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

      Yay, thanks, Kelly! And yay for the green corral!
      Thanks for indulging my oh-so-corny “humor,” too! 😉

  7. Cheryl Allison James October 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Katie, you are my hero! Way to kick some serious ass. I hope to be a super speedy marathoner like you one day 🙂

    • Katie October 20, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

      Thanks, Cheryl! You are going to kick some serious ass come Nov 6! I can’t wait to celebrate with you! 🙂

  8. Kristy October 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    I think we are running twins (and I so hope that doesn’t freak you out!). But you are speedier 😉 I just finished my 9th marathon in 3:43:46. It took me FOREVER to get there…but it made it that much sweeter!!!! I just looked through your marathon history and it seems we have the same story. I can’t wait to read more.

    CONGRATS on an awesome PR! That’s exactly what I want to run in Boston next year!

    • Katie October 20, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

      Hi Kristy! Thanks! Def doesn’t freak me out! Nice to “meet” you, running twin! 😉 I hear you on taking forever to get to a finish time you feel proud of! Congrats again and yay both of us! I agree, it did make it so much sweeter.
      I’m so jealous you get to run Boston! You can totally meet your goal! I look forward to reading about your training!

  9. Rach@ Girl on the Run October 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    Congrats! I hope I can run a speedy marathon like that one day…:)

    • Katie October 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

      Thank you! You can! This was my 10th! 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Farewell, 2011! Bring it, 2012! « Katie's Sweaty Life - December 30, 2011

    […] So yeah.  One of the highest points of my life was on October 16, 2011 […]

  2. 8:00 and “I Can’t” « Katie's Sweaty Life - December 13, 2012

    […] And anyway, I didn’t think I could ever, EVER run a sub 4:00 marathon.  Much less a sub-3:40 marathon.  Maybe I should try believing in myself a bit […]

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