race recap

Boston Marathon 2017

Hey Guys! Long time no talk! Maybe one day I’ll get around to explaining my absence when I can put it into words better, but for now, let’s get to this post! It's hilarious reading this post in comparison to the marathon post before this one when things went the exact opposite direction!

So, THE BOSTON MARATHON!! It’s currently 4am and I always have the biggest trouble sleeping the day after a marathon for whatever reason. I’m going to talk about everything, but if you want just the race recap, you’ll see where I begin talking about Mile 1 forward! :) 

Last year, I shared all about the Boston experience so I’m going to link that up here, so that you are able to read all about what goes down as all of that was the same this year. I knew going into this race that I had just had my PR therefore I was treating this like a long run and just going to enjoy the day like I wasn’t able to do last year. If you are someone that already knows half of this story, I actually DID enjoy the day much more than last year crazy enough and I’m SO glad that I ran Boston this year. It gave me a new appreciation for Boston that I didn’t have before, and actually stepping out of the blogger/running world also gave me perspective for it. Some people at the gym in my hometown came up to tell me congrats before I left and said “We can’t lie that we aren’t envious but so excited for someone from Shelby to be going.” That hit home for me. Boston is a big BIG deal, and I’m going to go when I can!! Next year, I’ll have a red bib and be in the first corral because of my finishing time at Myrtle Beach so there’s no way I will miss that! :) Tanner will also be coming which he wasn’t able to this year, and I missed him so much. He also was DYING to be here but sometimes life happens! :) 

I had planned to stay with a friend/client who lives in Boston (who I will be staying with tonight) but last minute she decided to go home for Easter before she moves states. I texted Bethany and of course she immediately was like “Um come stay with me!” She’s the best. Seriously. So, I ended up having a slumber party for the past 3 nights with my best friend so that was freakin awesome, and I loved how it all worked out for the absolute best. 

You see how well that went! lololol! 

You see how well that went! lololol! 

We also are in the same hotel (Sheraton near the finish line) with another best friend of ours, Sarah. Fun story: Sarah found me through another blogger who she is real life friends with (powercakes) like 3 years ago. She liked all of my posts so I looked her up and we became friends. A year later I got close to Bethany. A year after that, I realized that Bethany and Sarah live in the same town and introduced them. Nowwww, Sarah and Bethany are best friends in Pittsburgh and run together all the time. Haha! I love how small the world can be. We met up with her yesterday morning to walk to the buses for the ride to Hopkinton. That ride takes approximately an hour. It’s 30 miles that they are driving you out and a bunch of yellow school buses so it takes forever, which is one of the reasons the start time is so late always and we have to run in the heat of the day. 

PRE-RACE

We got to Athlete’s Village, which is a few acres of grass that they set up tents, music, food, etc while we all wait until we walk to the start line. We had about 45 minutes until start at that point, so we all just rested and ate cliff bars and bagels. 

Walking to the start line is about another mile, so our start time was 10:25 but they had us begin walking at 9:45 just because it takes a while for 30,000 people to walk in the same direction and then they have a final stop for the porta-potty. If you’re thinking it’s a huge mission to even begin this race, you’d be right! ;) I walked 4.1 miles before the start! (which if we are all honest makes it extremely difficult to do well in this race which is why it will never be an A goal PR course for me-I think we know that from my previous two attempts haaa). 

My time yesterday was 4:05:30 which is almost exactly ONE HOUR from my PR 6 weeks earlier. That doesn’t happen. That’s a RIDICULOUS gap in times, but I am SO SO LUCKY I even finished this race and I literally walked the final 2 miles with run/walking the last 5. It was a hot mess express the second half, but I still loved what I could and I was pulling deep inside to do just that. 

There were 5 of us that started together (me, Sarah, Bethany, Mel and then Michelle who I didn't know until the start ) and it was seriously such a powerful run squad. We all talked about how we are so lucky that we have found close friends in the marathoning world as we used to all do this alone. 

Miles 1-4: 

The race is downhill at the start so this always feels pretty good for the most part. It’s always super difficult because you are trying to weave in and out of people and it’s a MAD HOUSE but we were keeping a really great pace and feeling strong through it. I always tell Tanner that I know the course of my day by the first 5K but yesterday was not that. I genuinely thought I’d keep the 7:35-7:45 for the entire race and be TOTALLY fine and was thinking how easy the pace felt with having done 7:10 for an entire marathon six weeks ago. I was excited to get around a 3:23ish time and had that as this semi time goal in my head. 

Miles 5-8: 

We were still running 4 deep with our run squad and we all commented on how that never happens and how it was helping us all so much to keep the pace nice and easy and we all agreed that we felt great!! No issues! The heat was there, the pavement was hot, the humidity was HIGH, we were sweating like crazy but at every single water aid station I took water (which I never do lets be real) and I would grab a second and pour it all over me. So every time I’d pour a cup of water all over me and would cool off.

Miles 9-10: 

I thought to myself “Eh I probably won’t make it with the run squad all day but it’s all good. I’ll let them do 7:45s and I’ll do 8’s. I also thought to myself for the first time, “I don’t think I handle heat well.” Ha! I run in the heat at home sometimes and I don’t feel awful. I ran awful last year at Boston but thought it was just a fluke, but this year kind of confirmed that I need to be careful in the heat. It’s also INSANE to me that 7:45’s can begin to feel hard as that’s not a hard pace for me to hold ever. Heat is a crazy thing. 

Miles 10-14: 

We all continued to stay together. It truly was amazing how well we all were doing running together. We weren’t chatting. We all were in our zones and running our races with the quiet reassurance that the other one was right beside us. I absolutely loved it. So much. 

From the start until the finish, there are ALWAYS people lining the sides of Boston. It’s simply unreal. There’s never anything else like it, and people are screaming for you the entire way.

At mile 13, I dropped back a little but eventually caught back up to the girls. I felt a wave of nausea but it subsided. Up to this point, I’m still honestly pretty good. 

Miles 14-16:

At mile 14, I decided to officially leave the run squad. Mel went out ahead and then Bethany and Sarah continued to run together while I dropped back. It pretty much went down SUPER fast from there. 

I want to interject here that I knowwwww that sometimes these stories can look like excuses and just plain annoying. I want to just simply share my story and not some big conjured up story of why my time was not my best. I’m NOT NOT NOT a time/PR focused girl. It’s always freakin amazing when it happens, but we all know there are good days and bad days, so I’m just sharing one of my bad days so that you have a mixture of this sprinkled in. I’ve actually had loving people in my life tell me to just not share stories like this because people judge. Can I just say HOW SILLY?! So, then all we see are the PR’s and then when people don’t PR, they are terrified to even tell the story so then it is the constant comparison trap of thinking everything is perfect in everyone else’s lives. And it’s not and we all need to not be ridiculous and know that THAT’S OKAY TOO. 

At mile 14ish, from what I’m remembering, there is the screaming “Kiss me” girls section in which girls make these signs that say things like “Kiss me. I won’t tell your wife.” Or “Kiss me. I’m lesbian.” Or just simply “Kiss Me” and there are people that legit go over there and kiss them. I know this sounds hella awkward and I don’t partake (ha) but it’s tradition and we can’t break that! ;)

I pulled back to an 8:10 minute pace which quickly dropped to an 8:40-9 pace going into mile 16. Miles 15-16 is when all of the hills began and I just wanted to be able to go by effort and not even look at my watch, so that’s what I did and when I would look down, the pace that felt REALLY hard was 8:40 and then 9:30’s started to feel labored. OH.BOY. I always know that when I’m struggling to hit an 8minute pace then something is seriously wrong with me. But I didn’t think too much of it and just readjusted my goal to go 9’s for the rest of the marathon and still get like a 3:35.

Nope. 

Miles 17-20: 

I don’t really remember mile 17 and then at mile 18, I had to pull to the side and started dry heaving. I had been taking water and energy/electrolyte chews, but I knew if I was dry heaving then I didn’t have anything in me, so I asked someone for water and chugged. Mistake. Haha! 

Right when I started back up, which I basically like dry heaved then quickly started back, I knew that water wasn’t going to stay down. I can’t remember exactly but I want to say I threw up 5-6 times on the course. Fantastic I know. Haha! I kept trying to get in Gatorade and water, but it wasn’t happening. I knew I had to keep trying though.

At mile 19, the cramping began. It started like in my quads (left to be exact), which I’ve never had a Charlie horse in my quad. Supppppper weird feeling. It makes your leg straighten out completely, so I was trying to run with a straight leg. I had to pull over. I worked out the soreness and began on my way again (at like the slowest that I could be considered running at this point).

At mile 20, the cramping began to fully be the biggest issue. Both of my quads seized up and I was trying to run with two straight legs. I just wanted to keep moving forward. I would be danged if I was going to walk 6 freakin miles. Yuck. I would stretch them, ask for Gatorade, throw up Gatorade, try to walk with straight legs, try to jog with straight legs, new cramp. This was on repeat for the next 6 miles. I actually would take Gatorade at the aid stations but then ask the people cheering if they had anything and this one girl handed me a Snickers. HA!! I was like BARF no thanks! 

Miles 21-24: 

Mile 21 was probably my longest mile although not sure of the split. My splits are crazy. I could not stop the cramping. It moved into my back (yes my back which was bizarre and unexpected) so I would have to stop, calm the muscle spasms down in my back and quads, and try to shuffle step forward. I realized at this point of course that any time goals were absolutely 100% out the window and I wasn’t sure I would finish. Every time I’d throw up, they’d ask me to go to the med tent, but like seriously I have a “few” miles left, and I didn’t go through this sufferfest to stop now before I get my medal. 

At mile 23, I had a missed call from Bethany so I called her back and she asked where I was thinking that I was finished. I was crying and blubbering hearing her voice and explained I was not doing well and just going to have to walk/hobble the rest of the way. So, that’s what I continued to do for what felt like forever. I also was truly not being reckless out there. Like, I was walking. It's not like I was trying to push pace or do anything crazy. I just wanted my medal. ha! 

Miles 24-26: 

This is when the crowd gets insane. My head was throbbing and the screams were deafening, but it was just what I needed to get me through. My body would go into cramping (calves, back, quads) and when I would slowly work them out and continue forward, the people would go nuts for me. Then I’m like crying as they cheer. 

At mile 25, you see the Citgo sign, and I knew I was almost there. I remembered on last year when Tanner and my mom and best friend Brandy were sitting at the top of the bridge and I was able to see them. I envisioned them waving and I was pretty delusional at this point so the hallucination was pretty real and gave me strength. Hahaha! 

At mile 25.5, Bethany calls me again to see if I’m okay. I thought she had seen me doing the death straight leg march so I answered. I don’t just like take calls on the course normally FYI. Haha! She was like “YOU ARE NOT OKAY! MED TENT!” and I was of course, through slurred speech, telling her that she was crazy if she thought I wasn’t going to walk the rest of it. She said later she knew she would have done the same exact thing, so she of course understood. 

I could finally see the right on Hereford and thought AND THEN JUST A LEFT ON BOYLSTON AND I’M THERE! So, that’s what I did. I was able to straight leg run (my legs just would NOT bend). Right about at the finish line, the full out cramping happened again and I wanted to yell “SON OF A BISCUIT JUST LET ME GO TWO MORE STEPS BODY!! GOODNESS GRACIOUS!!!!” 

I look in front of me and I see the ex marine carrying the American flag and with a prosthetic from stepping on an IED in Afghanistan. I start crying. I thought if he can do it, I can do it. I put my hand on his shoulder just like runner lingo of YOU INSPIRE ME SO MUCH!!!

This is literally seconds after my finish 

This is literally seconds after my finish 

 

Of course, I began again and the crowd went crazyy. This made me super emotional, and a lady came up and did what you see on those viral videos. She put her hand on me and I told her to run her race and she refused. She helped me hobble to the finish which of course then I start crying. 

POST RACE DRAMA DIVA FESTIVAL 2017

I lean down (head between legs) because I felt dizzy and when I stood back up my chest started hurting really bad. I zombie stiff leg walked forward, and they watch for you so a guy immediately grabs my arm and says “Maam are you okay?” I didn’t speak and then I felt my chest and couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating. They asked if I had asthma as I’m gasping for air. Two people grab me and start coaching me “IN THROUGH YOUR NOSE OUT THROUGH YOUR MOUTH” and I was able to calm down. They put me in a wheelchair (but I couldn’t bend my legs so they had to hold them as I went into the med tent.)

They took vitals (super high heart rate but I had just got done hyperventilating post marathon so it was 200) and my BP was like 90/60 at this point. They asked me questions and I laid down for a bit. I couldn’t take Gatorade as I knew I’d throw it up but a banana sounded good so I ate one and a bag of chips. I started to feel better and they let me walk/hobble. After I got a little way, I started feeling super light headed, nauseous and asked for a banana. I laid down like on the floor while they got me back on the bed because I knew if not I was going to pass out. That’s when my BP dropped to 80/60 but my HR had come down at that point. They let me lay there some more (still confused why everyone around me is getting IV’s and I’m like “uh I’m fairly certain I qualify but whatevs.” After a bit, I was okay/not okay but wanted to leave. I felt awful because I knew everyone was waiting on me. I was alone at this point. 

I had to walk maybe like 0.5 mile to them and it felt so awful. I don’t know how to explain it, but just everything was off. I knew I wasn’t okay, but I thought it was carbs, so I ate another banana. I couldn’t find Starbucks then I finally do. I walk inside, they aren’t there, and things are getting really blurry. I called Bethany, then went outside to find them. I ask to sit down. 

Robby comes over and asks how I’m doing. And that’s when my entire body went into full out cramping like I’ve never felt in my entire life. I can’t even explain my calf on the right that moved into my groin. I tensed up so much as they are yelling to get me a wheelchair. They tried to grab my legs/bend them to put them in the chair and I screamed DO NOT TOUCH MY LEGS!!! I can’t explain groin cramping. It’s unreal. Everything went black. I told them “I’m going to pass out” and I don’t remember the ride to the med tent. They said they were yelling clearing people, and asking me questions that I did in fact answer. I came to more once in the med tent, and I honestly don’t remember getting on the bed, but I was in it. My back cramps so I’m like in this weird contorted position. 

Not even gonna lie folks, and I’m totally not dogging the volunteer care but they basically did nothing but give me a bed to lie on. They called PT over to massage my legs and just had me lay there. They asked me if I wanted liquids..NOPE. But they got me water to sip through a straw that Bethany held there for me. I kept it down for maybe 15 minutes then threw it all up with the bananas. Still no one is concerned or asking me questions or saying anything. Sarah is a nurse and was finally like “Um, what does she need to do for an IV? She clearly needs one.” 

The doctor comes over and like asks me if I want an IV. It was super awkward. I was like “Well if it will make me feel better???” I’m still so confused how they determine the need because blacking out, low BP, full out body cramps, and throwing up seems to be enough cause, and so finally Sarah was my mediator and was like YES YES SHE DOES PLEASE.

They took vitals and did the IV and within 10 minutes of the IV, I started feeling better. It was like I could feel the cold liquid going into me and I immediately came out of this fog. I could speak normal again, my cramping was there but manageable and all was okay again. I finished up the bag of fluids (like could we not have done that an hour before and saved the drama, I mean really?). We were on our way!!! 

We get outside and of course my calf is still cramping so Sarah and Bethany were like SCREW THIS PIGGY BACK RIDE TO THE HOTEL AND ROOM SERVICE. So they switch and carry me. That gets hard because it was a mile back so then they both like double carry me. Eventually, I’m finally able to walk on my own. 

Wow. What a day!!!! It will be a memory that I never forget, but one that I’m taking very seriously. I’m going to really look into what happened, and avoid it all costs because I wasn’t reckless. I took plenty of fluids before, early on in the race and ate well (probably my best ever pre race food) and so I don’t know what happened. I know you can’t help the heat, but if my body does that bad then I will have to reconsider summer marathons. I have decided that a marathon that I was going to do in July just for fun with Shelby people, I’m going to simply cheer for them. I can’t be doing this again in the heat. This is the kind of day that makes you question running marathons in general, but that won’t happen for me. I’ll continue, but just smarter. My next marathon will be Chicago in October. I’m taking two weeks (maybe more depending on how I feel) completely 100% off. There’s no reason at all that I need to be running anytime soon. But for today, I’m going to try to enjoy it the best that I can with friends that are still in the city (which I'm not posting this a day later and I did have a wonderful day in Boston yesterday with friends)

I’m so thankful for the Boston experience once again, and for the memories that I’ll hold dear in my heart forever. 

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Myrtle Beach Marathon 2017

ISN'T LIFE SURREAL Y'ALL!? Man oh man. I kind of can't believe that I have sat down to write this post. I genuinely just keep asking Tanner if that was me and my body that crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 5 minutes and 59 seconds, and while we are talking about this time, can we discuss something? When someone asks me what my PR is, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY? I mean CLEARLY my PR is a 3:06 now, but it's in that 3:05 window and who likes to round up??! 

HAHAHA! 

Okay, I know I know it's 3:06! ;) Also, who asks people what their PR's are? That's right. No one. MOVING ON! 

I will say, if you're prepared for all the antics that Katiesfitscript normally brings on race day, you might be disappointed. There's one detail that's typical me, but I think I'm finally maturing in this racing business, and not acting like an idiot. After yesterday, in all seriousness, I'm feeling very motivated for my eventual goal that I've shared of a sub 3 and ready to really take things to the next level with training and documentation. I skip too many runs, I don't track data enough, I know y'all will think I'm lying but I eat SO SO bad sometimes that I then feel really crappy on runs, and I literally didn't do any speed work for this training cycle, and that's embarrassing but I was scared with my hamstring issue.

So, I am hoping and praying and praying some more that I can keep miles steady, slow, and build up a heavy heavy base (using Boston as simply a slow easy long run) to go into Chicago this year and going to push higher mileage than I've ever done before with MOSTLY slow easy miles and then to add in those tempos and speed work. I DO NOT want to be one of "those people" that doesn't do the training and then gets the times on race day. I want to do the work. There are 3 take aways from yesterday. 

1 - YOU ARE CAPABLE OF FAR MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE 

2- MAYBE A SUB 3 IS ACTUALLY POSSIBLE

3- I QUALIFIED FOR NYC MARATHON AND THAT MEANT THE WORLD TO ME!!!! 

If you've followed my journey, you know that qualifying for NYC was my A goal and has been for a long time, and I love New York City with my entire full heart, so being able to qualify for the race is just one of my biggest dreams, and if I'm being honest, probably more than Boston. EEK, I said that out loud. I feel that's blasphemous. 

Let's get to this recap before things get too long!!! :) 

This is for good measure to show what this PR really looked like HAHA! 

This is for good measure to show what this PR really looked like HAHA! 

Okay, so if y'all will remember last Thursday, there was the tornado-ish thing that happened in North Carolina, and it cooled the air from all the heat we have been having #byewinter #iloveyou #seeyounext year. The start of Myrtle Beach Marathon (which I will now abbreviate as MBM for the rest of this blog) was supposed to be 35 degrees. Y'all know I love cold, but I absolutely HATE freezing while I'm standing in a starting line corral pondering life like "Why do I do this to myself again?" hahaha! So, I wasn't thrilled about the change, but as usual, it was a good thing and I take it back and I'm thankful it happened. 

The start time was 6:30am but I don't like to wake up and immediately run, so I woke up at 4am to make sure that I was WIDE awake by start. I ate my typical bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, and I was still hungry so I made a peanut butter sandwich and then had some chocolate. I realized I had no gloves or a head wrap and just knew I was going to freeze. I am SO thankful for what we did next. We left the house at 5am and stopped at Walmart. I went in and looked all around finding NO winter stuff. SHOOT. I asked the workers and they said they had just put the gloves up and handed me a pair of kids gloves that were on sale for 25 cents and I'm so so thankful I had them. My hands FROZE even with them on. I don't generate heat well, and so I stayed cold the entire marathon to be honest, but I run well in cold so it's okay. 

I got to the start super early so we got a parking spot close, and just sat in the car (and ate a cliff bar). When I see Facebook groups and people talk about what they eat on race morning, I am shocked at the answers people say. I eat A LOT on race mornings, much more than normal, but everyone finds what works for them. I took 4 Gus with me, only used 2 and savagely ate a banana on the course. I'll explain later why I only took two. 

I like to get out of the car RIGHT before start, but I judged that wrong, so I ended up in the corral about 15 minutes early. I had asked a friend (Brad Mckee) the Thursday before to run with me, and we live 4.5 hours away from MBM so I didn't expect him. I did know there were tons of runners from Shelby there, and I looked EVERYWHERE for them, and could not find one single runner. I know my friend George will read this (Hi George) and I knew he was running the half. I wanted to run with him, but just couldn't find him, so I just accepted that I'd be doing this one solo. Right about that moment, Brad walks up and I gave him a big hug like THANK GOODNESS someone to pace me. I told him my plan which was to do 7:30 for the first two miles then settle into 7:15 pace. Yeaaaaa, I basically never did either one of those paces. Oopsies. 

Miles 1-6

There's was a 3:10 pacer, and I thought I'd keep my sites on her, but race how I felt. I took off and felt great and kept looking down at my watch and kept slowing myself down. My first mile was 7:05. I honestly was mad at myself like KATIE SERIOUSLY DO NOT DO THE STUPID RUN TOO FAST THING! But I majorly believe in going by feel. So I kept running by feel. At about mile 2, Brad was like "Do you want me to slow you down because I can?" And I said yes. And then we hit 6:59 for the second mile (again totally my fault as I roll my eyes at myself lol). I really thought I would never be able to hold that. Brad was chatting, and I caught a cramp. Yes, at mile 2-3, I had a side stitch and thought how I could have probably done without the PB sandwich. So, I just ran by feel and started taking deep breaths. 

Let me stop right there for a second. I talk about PR's, and I go for them. I show up on race day with my mind focused. HOWEVER, I really really am not emotionally invested, and never have been with PR's. If I had not got the time that I had, I would NOT have cared, and I mean that. I love to run. Period. Stressing over PR's DOES NOT AND WILL NEVER wake me up in the morning to run. Stressing over PR's will never get me to the finish line. Enjoying running and pushing myself to the best that I CAN BE in those moments is what does it. Bottom line. I seriously mean that or I wouldn't say it. That also doesn't mean that PR's can't motivate you, but I've realized that having that pressure on me actually makes me dislike it, so I try to really not focus on it.

When I got the cramp, I told Brad that I was just going to do whatever and that if I have a cramp that early, it would probably be a bad day. He told me to hush (in a nicer way hehe), to breathe in through my nose and out of my mouth and that it would go away. He kept talking, and the side stitch was there until about mile 5-6. I was so focused on my cramp and breathing that I just didn't look at my watch and kept running. At the end of mile 6, I took my first gu (salted caramel is my one and only choice of gu). My splits for Mile 3-6 were: 

3- 7:04:55                  4-7:07:33                    5-7:10:29                     6-7:07:89

Miles 7-11

At mile 7-8, Brad and I were still talking and I told him that I thought that I should probably just go into quiet mode to focus. I really wanted to see what I was capable of without playing around. I told him that I wanted to hold the 7:10 pace and that I felt perfectly content there. Right about this time, we ran into a pack of guys who said that their goal was 3:05-3:10. I was EASILY hanging with them, so I thought to myself that I would hang until I couldn't and then I'd let them trail out ahead. {Spoiler: we finished within one minute of one another}

Brad talked to them. I just stayed behind them and let them chat while I listened to their conversation and just kept my breathing. I never focus on breathing. Details are not my forte, but I was scared of another cramp. I started chatting with this guy beside me and YEP INSTANT CRAMP AGAIN. UH. 

At mile 8, I stopped talking pretty much for good. 

Let me remind you guys of my previous PR (3:15 at Thunder Road which was 1.5 years ago) where I was being a ham the entire race shouting things like I LOVE RUNNING while dancing. Don't get me wrong. In my mind, I felt these things on Saturday but I just felt much more in a zone of solitude if you will. 

At mile 11, I spotted people from Shelby on the side walk. The reason I saw them is because they had made signs of a sweet lady in our town named Lisa who was doing her first marathon, and put her face on the sign. hahaha!! They had SO many made, and it just made my day to see this sign and be able to laugh and they cheered for me, so that gave me a boost. I knew Tanner was in between miles 12-13 so I was excited to see him! 

My splits were: 

7- 7:09:06          8-6:58:69             9-7:10:50        10-7:11:92           11-7:04:97

You can see after mile 8, I got mad at myself and told myself to stop being reckless and slowed down. HAHA! 

Miles 12- 18

At mile 12.5, we passed someone that said "Wow, you go girls" and it's always an indicator of like "Wow, how are you up here with all of these guys?" haha! The girl behind me that ended up in 3rd place ended up being a friend of a friend of mine and went to the same church as me from NYC so that was a CRAZY CRAZY small world.

Right about that time, I spot Tanner, and he has the camera out. I smiled of course, but for whatever reason, again, this race I just felt laser focused, I asked him to stop taking pictures. LOL! Not rudely but just asked him not to. He said he was shocked when I said that. HAHA! Clearly, I always want the camera apparently! ;) He asked how I was, offered me Starbucks (haaa) and ran with me for a hot second, then we were on our way. Brad said "relationship goals" which he doesn't know made my day brighter, but it did. haha!! 

This is when I saw Tanner! ha!

This is when I saw Tanner! ha!

At the half marathon mark, it said 1:31, and I was just in complete shock. My half PR is a 1:32!! The guys with me talked about how we were on track for a 3:05 and I thought to myself how that was a cute plan for them, but that I would never make it that far. I knew that 20 mile wall would hit me like it always does...like it has EVERY single marathon before except one. I anticipated it. I was prepared for the mental and physical pain of it (which is something I had never done before-prep for the pain). [I took my second gu at this point. I had two Gus in each pocket of my vest. I realized that it was a little difficult to get into my right hand pocket and my hands were cold so whatever I got out of the left.]

I told myself to keep breathing like I was, keep focused, and just keep doing by effort the pace that I could. I know the exact feeling of my body's movement just from so much running where I know I'm right at the brink of a heart rate that I can sustain for long periods of time and I wanted to hang there. 

This was also where the head wind was of about 20mph. We knew that if we could just get to the turn around point then we would be fine, but it was a good 10 miles I want to say of just straight wind. I don't want to say it was brutal. Everyone kept mentioning it but I legit just kept thinking how I didn't think it was slowing my 7:05 average pace, so I was fine with it. 

At mile 15, Brad had decided that was where he would split off. He had planned a 15 mile long run, so that was perfect for him. At this point, two of the guys with us had dropped back, and it was just me and this guy who Brad had been talking to who was shooting for 3:05 and ended up with 3:04. YAY! I never even got his name, but we chatted for a little bit.

At mile 16, I started approaching the second place female which ended up being my sweet dear friend Rhea!!! (Let me just plug in here that Rhea's plan was 100000% what she planned and what she did but she's TOTALLY one BEAST of a runner and her PR is a 2:53. She's incredible, and wayyyyyy better runner than me. She has been coming back from injury as well.) When I was approaching her, the guy I was with said "I think second place female is slowing up" and I said "No! I don't want that! She's my friend!!!" And he was like "oh oops sorry!" LOL! Don't mess with my friends HAAA! I actually had never MET Rhea in person until that moment when I saw her side profile and was like "Is that her? I can't tell." And then she recognized me, and we did the whole OMG OMG HIII (But also it's mile 16 and we are running fast paces so let's talk later) kind of thing. HA! 

But at that point, I went into 2nd place. The third place girl was right behind me still. Reminder everyone that I actually KNOW the girl behind me. I just don't know that I know her, and she doesn't know that she knows me. HAHA!

RHEAAAA! FINISH LINE HUGS!

RHEAAAA! FINISH LINE HUGS!

At mile 18, the guy that I was with says "GIRL YOU ARE GONNA GET THAT 3:05. EIGHT MILES LEFT?!" And I literally said out loud, "Heck Yes. Let's do this!" 

I reach down to get a third gu from the right hand pocket and my hands were warmed up by this point. I come to realize (and this is the only hilarious OMG moment of the race) that when I had put the bib on, I had put the safety pin through the zipper of my vest so I had literally locked my Gus into my pocket and could not get to them. I start panicking a little, and start trying to un-do my bib. My hands were warm-ish but not warm enough to do that. I try to take off my glove, and still couldn't get it (all while I'm trying to run 7min/miles here). I just said "Forget it. I'll start taking Gatoraid at aid stations, not water and it'll have to do."

The splits for this segment were:

Mile 12- 7:05: 73     13-6:58:40.     14: 6:59:84    15-7:05:02 16-7:00:29    17-7:00:84   18-7:02:88

Miles 19-23

I think that my friend I had made on the course had his plan for mile 19, and that was for him to take off his top shirt, throw it into the bushes, and then take off. And that is exactly what he did. For a split second, I thought I had slowed up without realizing it, as the girl behind me took second and I went into third. I was like "Shoot! Am I slowing up because that SUCKS! I always hit this stupid wall!" And then I looked at my clock and for miles 19 and 20, I clocked in at 6:53 and 6:54! No no no. I was NOT slowing up. They had sped up, which was AWESOME for them, but I knew better for me. I slowed back down to what felt comfortable. That was when I texted Tanner at mile 20, "Send En" which the phone autocorrected to exactly what I wanted which was "Send Encouragement". YES I TEXTED WHILE RUNNING. CUE EVERYONE FREAKING OUT THAT I SHOULDN'T DO THAT! lol!! This is the result and my husband officially is the cutest ever. 

It was EXACTLY what I needed. He just kept blowing up my phone to the point where I was like "okay dude love ya but enough encouragement. My phone is gonna vibrate off my hand" but it distracted me with sweet texts while I kept running. I also got a text from Bethany "I know you have your phone"... she knows me so well and then she started sending encouragement too. It.Was.Great.

Yes, the dog saving one is the best! Glad you think so too! :P 

I could NOT believe my paces were still consistent going into mile 21-22. I stopped looking at my watch mid miles, and just would run at what I felt to be even consistent pacing with heart rates I could handle, and each time I would look down and it would STILL be on target. I was freaking out with excitement. It was right around mile 22, when we were running through this park, and we hit 22 and my watch read that I had done a 7:10:80 that I just knew. I knew I had a huge PR and I was so giddy inside. I had had this intuition that I rounded the corner and the clock read 3:09 and I sprinted to get under the 3:10 mark. I thought in that moment how awesome that would be (so clearly STILL completelyyyyy not expecting what I ended up with and happy as a clam regardless). 

Splits were: 

19-6:53:57          20-6:54:59              21-7:05:50           22-7:10:80

Miles 23-26.2

At mile 23, we went through this really fun aid station. I decided I wanted to dance with the volunteers as I couldn't believe how great I felt so late in the game. They, of course loved it and danced with me. I was able to grab a banana and I just sunk my teeth into the entire half (hard to explain in a blog) and ate it in one swift bite. YAY CARBS AND THE LOCKED IN VEST POCKET! 

I started to be able to see the second place female. Placing is really fun and cool, but me racing for me personally is all I care about. I've had so many people ask me about like sprinting down the girl to get second vs third and that is literally not what happened at all. I just kept running the same consistent pace I had been running, and it just happened. 100% truth right there. Also, the girl who got third is about the sweetest chick on the planet, who got the BIGGEST PR and I am so so excited for how awesome her day was as well. But either way, at mile 23-24, I went back into second place. 

At mile 24, I just was in shock and awe at how well my body felt and then my calf like grabbed. I joked with my family after that I like yelled at my calves like 'DON'T YOU EVEN THINK FOR ONE SECOND YOU WILL FAIL ME NOW. YOU BETTER HANG TIGHT!' and they did!!! YAY thanks calf muscles!!! However, I kept that pacing started to fall. I started looking at my clock every two seconds and it was falling into the 7:30 range. I thought to myself at that point how I had been keeping the 7:10-7:15 range and 3:05 was SO SO CLOSE, I just couldn't let it slip through my finger tips. I could do anything for 2 miles. So, I prepared my mind and went into that over drive, fight or flight mode. 

I went into the deepest place I had and started cranking my arms. Volunteers were yelling and holding out water and I was to the point where I can't smile at them. I can't tell them 'thank you' like I always do at every aid station. I just had to ignore them, and focus. I hit the brick wall...straight to the face. That's always how it comes but it wasn't awful like usual. It was just semi awful. I hit the end of mile 24 at 2:50:00. I thought to myself, "Could I make under 3?" Clearly, brain wasn't functioning at that moment because DUH, NO. LOL! But I COULD DO 3:05! I hit the end of mile 25 at 7:24. 

KEEP. MOVING. KATIE. PUMP ARMS AND KEEP MOVING. 

I was alone. I didn't have George yelling at me like my last PR. There were minimal people at this point on the sidelines as we went through this park. And my minimal, I mean literally zero. It was me. That was it. My clock hits 3:00 in the middle of my last full mile, and I almost start crying that moment. It was so surreal, and I'll never forget that moment. I'm in my FINAL mile and I just NOW hit 3 hours. How? How did I run this fast? OH.MY.GOSH.KATIE.

I gave it everything I had, and ended up finishing mile 26 at 7:23 as we rounded the corner into the crowd for the final 0.2 where everyone was yelling. 

I could see the clock. It read 3:05:20 (I think-my vision was blurry). I HAD TO MAKE UNDER 3:05. I started sprinting with everything in me. I could hear people who must have known me screaming on the sidelines. I heard Tanner's voice. I heard my mom's voice in the distance going absolutely insane yelling "GO KATIE GO!!!!" I hit the time chip at 3:05:59, and I went off to the side and did my usual "crying while I catch my breath and all volunteers ask if I need a med tent moment." 

I look over and can see my mom and Tanner and I start yelling and they have their arms in the air yelling "WOOOO!!!! YEAAA!!!" and I run/hobble over to them and give them the biggest hug. I knew Rhea would be coming through soon though so I told them I was going to stay in the corral for her to finish and give her a hug! She finished shortly after me and I got a cute video of her crossing the finish line and got to give her a big hug!!! YAY!! 

Splits were: 

23- 7:10:40            24-7:14:64         25-7:24:34             26-7:23:66     26.2 (sprint to finish)-6:15

This is what walking looks like post marathon HA! 

This is what walking looks like post marathon HA! 

WHAT A RACE. WHAT A MOMENT!

It has given me SO much confidence in myself, and as I tell Tanner I don't mean that arrogantly but objectively. As they say, we are our own worst critic and this just opened my eyes to what could happen if I could get all of the pieces to fall into place. I cannot WAIT to see what happens in the next year with running!

I love this sport.

Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if everyone ran! <3 

Maybe like this? ;)&nbsp;

Maybe like this? ;) 

Here's some data for those interested, and obviously this marathon was FLAT AS CAN BE...JUST LIKE I LIKE IT!!! lol!

Avg heart rate: 172 Max Speed @ finish line: 5:22min/mile 

If you want to read my other recaps, you can find them HERE!

 

And this for good measure because who doesn't LOVE adorable teacup yorkies falling asleep on the ride home from exhaustion from mommy's marathon? Peyton, I'd sprint to that finish line to save you (context: Read texts from Tanner above). HEHE! ;) 

 

 

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North Face Endurance Series 50K Race Recap

Okay, first things first, drop what you're doing and sign up for one of the North Face Endurance Series challenges because this race was seriously amazing. The story of my day is of no reflection of how wonderful this race was and I would TOTALLY do it again and have hopes to maybe come back to San Fran next year and do it.

If you're wondering the story of who I ran the race with, it will make you love the running community. While Bethany and I were running the Boston marathon, at mile 24, a girl ran up to us and was like "OMG I FOLLOW BOTH OF YOU!" and so we laughed, hugged and kept running together. We all know I was dying at that point of the race but she was the reason we kept a smile on and we crossed the finish line all holding hands. After running only two miles together, we became great friends, exchanged numbers and have been friends ever since. She lives in San Fran so it was only perfect that we stay with her to come and do this race! :) She has been the most perfect hostess and we are so lucky to have so many wonderful friends across the US. I'll talk about our trip and all there is to love about San Fran for tomorrow's blog, but today I thought I'd tell about race day.

Tanner and I have had bad jet lag but it's worked in our favor for getting up super early. I woke up at 4am race morning wide eyed, and we ate breakfast and left the house at 5:15 to run and catch the shuttle bus to the start line. The last bus left at 5:45, and we got to the race start at 6am. I will admit that this was somewhat awful because we had an hour to stand in the cold before the race started. It was wonderful however of North Face to have the standing heaters that we could all stand around and chat.

We were in wave 3 however the waves were very close together and right at around 7:10, we started. As I have stated, I was completely under trained for this event but knew that I would warm up, get going and be fine which I was. We knew we would walk the steep uphills and jog the other parts and make our way. After standing in the cold for an hour, everything was frozen so it took a while to get moving, but otherwise it was beautiful. The sun was rising over the Pacific and everyone was geeking out as we made our way into the mountains. It was funny how many cameras were out when that sun was coming up.

NOT EVEN CLOSE TO WHAT WE SAW lol!

NOT EVEN CLOSE TO WHAT WE SAW lol!

Starting at mile 2, STEEP elevation started (we did 3300ft of climb over the 15 miles). It was very weird to be walking at mile 2. I kinda wanted to jog but I knew that if I was about to run 30 miles, I had to conserve so I listened to the fact that everyone else was walking and walked. From mile 2-5, it was switching between jogging downhill and steep steep uphills. The elevation was INTENSE and there was no way we were running up this. We laughed later because Meredith said she looked over and I was like doing the push-my-knees-as-I-walk type walking up this incline, but you can imagine that we weren't really all that gassed because we weren't running. Haha!

Once we got to the 5 mile mark, I won't lie, I was in a bad place mentally. I was thinking how I wasn't even that tired but I just could not fathom running another 25 miles. I also was thinking how this was SO slow moving because of the elevation that I was almost bored. I like to run not walk so the walking was KILLING me. I kept telling myself to sink into it like I do every other run but all I could think about was how Tanner was alone in San Fran with nothing to do because I was running all day. I know he supports everything and he NEVER complained about me racing but these were just my honest thoughts.  (Negative Nancy Saturday lol)

Meredith and I finally got in a groove and started talking about other things. We started discussing deep things in life because that's what always happens when you run with someone long enough and that's something that I really love about it. haha! It's like "We are in the mountains kind of alone. We might as well really get to know each other." Before I knew it, we were coming on the ten mile mark and I felt awesome. I couldn't believe we had made it that far so fast, and the weather was finally turning to sun and I was warming up finally.

We had a lull in conversation and for some reason, I again thought about how there were 20 miles left. I started thinking about my training. I thought how little I had trained for this event, how I get little niggles really easily, and how I wanted SO badly to get back from San Fran and start seriously training intensely for Myrtle Beach Marathon (March 4) for my next attempt at a PR. Getting a marathon PR is some of the hardest training and can really tax your body. I knew that if I ran 30 miles Saturday then I was going to have to rest for a full week to make sure that I came back safely. This is NOT to say you can't run the week after a long endurance event but I know how my body responds. EVERY single time I try to run the week after, I get something that keeps me out for a month. I didn't like the thought of that. It made me not want to put my body in that place. So, mentally, I was done at mile 10.

I turned to Meredith and said "If you were being 100% honest with me, what are your thoughts on finishing this race?" Part of me wanted her to say "WE CAN DO IT!" and the other part was praying she was in my state of mind. She was like "Girl, we could stop right now and I wouldn't care." I was so relieved. We decided in that moment that we weren't going to finish. We weren't injured. We weren't hurting or breathing hard. It was just a conscious decision.

We were whispering as we didn't want the others around us to hear. hahaha! We said we would get to the next aid station (which was actually the actual mile 10 mark) then see where the next aid station was. We knew mile 10 was a literal straight up climb. I told her I at least wanted to do a half marathon distance. At mile 10 they told us that it was 5 miles to the next aid station. I remember Mere grabbing my arm and saying "FIVE MILES!?" which is hilarious because we were so done that 5 miles up a mountain sounded like a really long distance.

However, that turned out to be some of the most beautiful moments. The course map makes it look like it's straight up but it's actually switch backs so we just did all the switch backs through the mountains and made our way to the top of this mountain for the most beautiful views of the ocean and the golden gate bridge. When we got to the top, we pulled to the side and told the race officials that we were dropping. We feel as if dropping was normal because they didn't ask questions or encourage us to keep going. Ha! It was just like "okay what's your number?"

At that point, we asked where to go because we were on top of a mountain. They told us to walk to the nearest ranger station and that we could have someone pick us up there. So, we ate some food and headed on our way. We called Tanner who was super shocked but also excited to come get us early. He texted me that he would have NEVER EVER believed I'd ever stop in a race, and I can't either really, but there's a first time for everything! :)

We made it to the ranger station and had to wait on Tanner for 45 minutes where we laughed about the fact that we should have kept running and we COULD.NOT.BELIEVE what we had just done. I imagine the emotions of someone who quits a job and when you leave, you feel exhilarated like you did something wrong but also freedom but also this weird "I kinda feel a lot of regret but I'm glad I did it anyway because it was a smart decision for today" emotion.

I knew I had to explain why I didn't finish and I felt this weird emotion of needing to explain myself and then I thought, "but why?" Why do I feel the need like this is such a bad thing? I made a decision for myself that was GOOD for me...really really good for me mentally and physically, so there is nothing to apologize or explain for. I got to know a friend on a deep level in the mountains, I got to run in a beautiful place with a beautiful sunrise, and clocked FIFTEEN MILES for the day. How amazing!!!

As we left the ranger station, Meredith took us to a look out to see the Golden Gate Bridge and as I was no longer running and walking through the mountains to this lookout with Tanner and as I'm standing there looking out at the vast ocean and the world thinking how I can not imagine not believing in a God that is SO much bigger than me, I knew I had made the right decision. I almost got emotional and told Meredith how amazing it was that we were able to complete fifteen miles when there are so many people who couldn't do that.

That's Tanner and I walking out to the lookout holding hands that Meredith took right after we stopped.

That's Tanner and I walking out to the lookout holding hands that Meredith took right after we stopped.

I am so thankful for my health and this journey and for those days that turn out way different than we intend for them too..

Today started training for Myrtle Beach Marathon. I will start with a 30 mile week this week increasing by 10% each week with a peak at 60 miles/week. It's exactly three months away and after such an awesome "long run" this weekend, I feel on top of the world to really start training. I had been in a funk and this weekend was JUST what I needed.

 

 

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