Saturday, November 2, 2013

Monumental Marathon

Well, what can I say, it just didn't happen today...

I ran really well for almost 16 miles. Then I collided with another runner at a water stop. It wasn't even a full on collision but I had to stop suddenly and my left hamstring immediately seized up. After that, I tried to run on it but it got tighter and tighter to the point where I was grunting with every step. I knew it was all over at mile 17 when I had to start walking.

My leg hurt so bad I looked around to see if there was a way to drop out of the race. I have never DNF'd a race but I was afraid I was going to rupture my hamstring or do some kind of permanent damage if I kept running on it - it hurt that bad. Problem was, there was no one around. Lots of runners but no race official looking people. The water stops at this point were mostly manned by little kids and their parents. I'm sure if someone fell to the ground with a true medical emergency they could get someone, but I was still moving - just in a lot of pain. I knew there was a SAG wagon that would pick up stragglers but since I had been moving at a 8:45 pace, I figured I could crawl across the finish line before the wagon caught up with me as they were picking up people that could not maintain a 15:00 mile pace, so I just kept moving; I didn't know what else to do!

So here's what happened...

The PLAN had been to go out with the 3:50 pace runner (8:46 pace) and stick to him like glue. Problem was that I got pushed so far back at the start that I couldn't even see the 3:50 pace runner anymore by the time I crossed the starting line. I knew that if I caught up with the pace runner, I'd actually be a little fast since I started behind him. I also realized I'd have to run faster to catch him but I told myself I just wouldn't go crazy fast; it was more important that I caught up with the pace runner to run WITH him.

Mile 1 - 8:38
Mile 2 - 8:44
Mile 3 - 8:27

I caught up with the pace runner at this point

Mile 4 - 8:33
Mile 5 - 8:46
Mile 6 - 8:47
Mile 7 - 8:34

I feel great and I think running with a pacer ROCKS!!

Mile 8 - 8:45
Mile 9 - 8:43
Mile 10 - 8:45
Mile 11 - 8:39
Mile 12 - 8:44
Mile 13 - 8:53
Mile 14 - 8:44
Mile 15 - 8:46

Still feeling great...

Mile 16 - 9:04

I collided just before the 16 mile marker

Mile 17 - 10:57

I tried to keep running. The whole course is pretty flat but the only slight rise in the road also happened to be at this point and I had to start walking. I knew my qualifying time was gone the minute I started walking.

Mile 18 - 14:25

Now I'm trying to figure out how to drop out...

Mile 19 - 13:17

... still trying to figure out how to drop out

Mile 20 - 14:29

Now I'm on White River Parkway. It's a pretty desolate stretch. The only other people around me are other runners, many who are in the same situation I'm in. We stretch, then slog, then walk, then stretch some more. The other problem I had was that once I stopped running, I got really cold. The weather today was PERFECT, as long as you were running. I was so frustrated. There was nothing wrong with my heart or lungs. I hadn't even started sucking air when my hamstring seized up. When I started getting cold, my right hamstring decided it was going to tighten up too... then my feet decided to join the mutiny and started cramping up. Arghhh!!

Mile 21 - 11:50

The 4:15 pace group passed me at this point and I tried to move and keep up. I couldn't keep up. I had a really really short choppy "stride" if you can call it at this point but I was determined to keep moving. I just wanted to be done!

Mile 22 - 11:04
Mile 23 - 10:45

My leg FINALLY started loosening up.

Mile 24 - 10:37
Mile 25 - 10:36
Mile 26 - 9:42
Last 0.2 - 2:59

Official time - 4:20:07. Average mile pace - 9:56

Yes, I'm very disappointed. I did, however, have 3 goals for this race - 1) qualify for Boston (3:55), 2) if not, break 4:00,  and 3) if not, run a PR (personal record).

Today I lowered my PR by a little over 30 minutes. My previous best had been 4:50:18 at Chicago in 2011.

Plan now is to rehab my legs and try again in the Spring. I was not tired at all when my leg seized up. As I said, heart and lungs felt great. My legs just didn't want to participate!

The day didn't turn out like I wanted, but overall, I had fun. I am walking away today ready to do it again. Some other things about today...

I started the race with my friends Trena and Bob. Trena ran her first marathon 3 weeks ago in Chicago and blew it away in 3:48 (check out her blog HERE). She ran 3:39:44 today and qualified for Boston (her qualifying time was 3:40). Her husband Bob ran a PR 3:49:05. He and I ran together for awhile after Trena left us in the dust.

It's good to have connections. Trena has a friend that ran the half. He also happens to work at the State Capitol building right by the starting line. He let us in the building this morning so we stayed warm and had real bathrooms all to ourselves to frequent multiple times before the race.

The Monumental is not nearly as big or crowded as the Mini. I got to my favorite parking garage at 6 am like I do for the Mini. Me and the 50 other people that were just as anal as I sat in our cars and napped for an hour. The race started at 8 am. The other cars started filling the garage at 7.

I crossed the finish line and was greeted by my former high school cross-country and track coach... or at least I'm 99% sure it was him. I was a bit glassy-eyed after running 26.2 miles and I had my name plastered on my race bib but he said my name without hesitation, grabbed my hand for a handshake, and we just held on a bit longer than usual in recognition. I tried to talk to him after I got out of the finish corral but he was still busy catching runners as they finished and shaking their hands.

My chiropractor was working the massage tent. I went to see him and he gave me a longer than usual complimentary massage and tried to get my leg unknotted. I'm glad I waited around to see him!

How was your Saturday?


  1. OH MY GOODNESS! you should be so proud! Most people would have quit and gave up! YOU FINISHED! That is awesome :)

  2. I am totally and completely in awe of you, girl. I would have sat my hiney down on a curb and cried until someone else figured out how to get me home.