Thursday, May 3, 2012

Illinois Marathon Thoughts Via Anna Kinkade

"Never again!" "This ****ing sucks" "This was a stupid idea!" those were just a few of the "colorful" things that came out of my mouth running my first marathon this past weekend.

The marathon, 26.2 miles, pretty much lived up to all the descriptions you've heard; "the last 6 miles is the hardest", "you have ups/downs", "you hit a wall around mile 20" but when your done the sense of accomplishment is pretty sweet ass. I have earned that 26.2 badge and can now count myself as one of that .2% of Americans that have ran a marathon.

Proudly displaying the badge of 26.2!

The weather conditions were not ideal for race day in fact just minutes before the race it was down pouring in Champaign, IL but come race time it was dry, cloudy, windy and a bit cool. I could work with that! From start to finish I knew it wasn't going to be my ideal race day, but I wasn't about to let that stop me. I knew as we were waiting for our wave to start that I was going to be plagued with bathroom issues. The first half of the race I really felt great, had a consistent pace and never once felt my cardiovascular side labored. My legs didn't even feel the effects of the mileage until about mile 15 but once I hit mile 19 I was definitely counting down. Still even with the tired, heavy legs I kept my pace roughly a mid 9 all the way through. I've seen lots of marathon splits and one thing that they all have in common is the last half mileage pace gets slower and slower, mine didn't. Some miles were faster, some slower but consistency was my name, it's the one thing I do well with distance running.

 I really was thankful that my friend Karla ran with me not only for having a granola bar for me to eat at mile 19 but also because she is a talker. With out her non stop conversation I would have faltered long before I did. I don't even remember one single thing she told me other than "this one time I swalloed a bug". Despite the weather, the GI problems and the hard parts, I always tried to remain positive. I knew as much as a physical battle this was the  mental battle would be tougher. To keep positive I thanked nearly every single volunteer and made sure all the volunteers directing traffic knew I appreciated them and what they were doing. Then there was the city of Champaign, WOW! It's hard to believe this race has only been around for four years because they are pros! The spectators and supporters love this race and they show it. The signs were fantastic, my personal favorite was the one that said "good job runner I don't know" and "Beer only 5.9 miles ahead" then there was the "beerathon" drive way party or the guy offering bacon and beer or the lady offering mimosas. I really enjoyed running in this race just for the massive amounts of support along the course.
Karla and I about to cross the finish line.

My final race time was 4:17:13, my goal was 4:15 and my wish was closer to 4, which I would have made had it not been for my GI issues. From the start of the race to the every end I had the RT's (you remember what those are right?) I held it for 8 miles until I finally had to give in. After the 3rd stop I said I wasn't going to go anymore but then right after mile 25 if I didn't stop I was going to shit myself (sorry for the bluntness) so I had to stop. I was pissed too! I had changed my goal mid-race (which is something you need to do because each run is different) and my goal was to stay ahead of the 4:20 pacer, that last pit stop put me behind!

I think the marathon should come with the disclaimer that states "running 26.2 miles will make you temporally stupid" as there were so many times Saturday an Sunday that I was saying things that made no sense. There are points of the race and day that I still cannot recollect. And let's not forget the odd things that would come out of our mouths. But I survived, I ran the whole thing, and
I'm also recovering quite quickly, it's been three days and I have no soreness in my legs. I'm still saying never again but all my friends beg to differ.


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