Monday, November 12, 2012

A 32 Minute Marathon PR!

Where can I possibly start with this post? I feel like I could write a novella recapping the experience. However, since most of you have jobs and would probably mop your floors than read a 20+ page recap of my marathon, I'll try to keep it short.  Try, of course, being the operative word there. On Saturday I ran the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. It was my second marathon and my second time running the course. And yes, I beat my time from last year - by 32 minutes.

The event started out with a bang - literally. A cannon shoots off at the start of the race, and Tim got an amazing photo:


Although I'm a solo runner roughly 99% of the time, this race was completely atypical for me. I started the race running with lovely fellow blogger Twila. It was wonderful to meet her! I would say we ran together for about 25 minutes before I realized I was going just a little too fast. I waved her on ahead and settled into my perfect pace, just under 9 minute miles. I ran alone for another hour or so, just admiring the scenery (you run through a historic Civil War battlefield/national park).

Still feeling good...

Around mile 9, a woman running right around me introduced herself as Bettina and asked if we could run together. I said yes, but explained that I wasn't the chattiest runner. We stuck together for nearly two hours, and I'm so grateful that we were running together. It turned out that our husbands were both on the course at the same spot standing next to each other waiting for us to pass, so we introduced them to each other at mile 15. What are the odds of that happening, honestly?

Around this point, we picked up a third runner - my friend Jonathan who was aiming for a sub-4 marathon. He was completely on pace and the three of us ran together perfectly. Sadly, around 20 my new friend Bettina needed to drop back. (Spoiler alert: she still finished STRONG with a PR and a time of 4:12!) The last few miles Jonathan and I ran side by side, although we were both barely talking by this point. Although I had passed the halfway mark under 2 hours, I knew a sub-4 wasn't happening. My miles slowed every so slightly along the way, with my final mile coming in at 10:05. Negative splits continue to elude me.

Around mile 24
It's a weird feeling to be running next to someone else during the last few miles of a marathon. It's an extra layer of motivation and encouragement, but it's almost a little extra pressure, too. Only a few minutes from the finish, during an uphill trail segment (a very, very small portion of the course was on trail, although it wasn't challenging terrain) I had to stop and walk. Can you imagine how defeated I felt to stop just 5-6 minutes from the end of the marathon? I didn't stop to walk ONCE until that point at 25.5 miles- and I honestly felt like I could give up there and then. I waved Jonathan ahead, but he didn't go. Had he gone ahead, I probably would have kept walking. But he didn't, so I just kept running. And running. And running. And then, there it was. The finish line, with the last .2 miles going perfectly downhill.

Relearning how to walk at the finish line
There are three ways that you can feel about a race, in my experience.
1) You can feel fine at the end, but have a nagging feeling that you didn't leave EVERYTHING out there on the course.
2) You can feel exhausted and miserable, having peaked and crashed too early.
3) You can feel spent - knowing that you gave the race everything and you performed to the best of your ability.

My race was the third option. I could not have asked for better conditions, better running partners, better support from Tim or better pacing overall. I don't think I could have finished that race any faster - I truly feel like I left it all out there. And it's a wonderful feeling. The temperatures were cold at the start and about 60 degrees at the finish - perfect. I felt exhausted but with no injuries-perfect. Intestinal distress?  Fuhgettaboutit. I beat last year's time by 32 minutes, coming in with a chip time of 4:05:28-perfect.

Although I certainly was secretly aiming for a sub-4 race, and really wish it could have happened, I have no regrets. This was a perfect day, and I'm still on cloud nine about it. Thanks to everyone who sent me Tweets, Facebook messages, texts and emails with encouragement and congratulations! And of course, thanks to Tim. Seriously, what husband gets up at 5am to watch his wife race? And hands out fuel along the way? And takes amazing photos? And deals with a cranky, tired wife for a few days AFTER the race? This guy:

Best husband ever!

Amazingly, I feel fine now. I stretched an insane amount on Saturday, and then went for a slow 2 mile walk that night with lots of stretching and foam rolling - and then the same again on Sunday. I feel great today, albeit tired, but I'm going to stick to cycling for a few more days to give my joints a break.

Stretching post-race

And to the winner, the spoils! Random.org picked #38 as the winner for the Oakley sunglasses, which is.... Marel Pease!


Marel, email me at gourmetrunnerblog@gmail.com with your shipping information so that Sunglasses Shop can send you your new pair of Oakley Radar Edge sunglasses!

And with that, I bid you adieu. I'm going to take a little hiatus from blogging for a while. After thinking about it a lot, I've simply invested too much time, effort and emotion into this blog to give it up entirely. I think some time off will remind me of why I loved it in the first place. I'll still be on Facebook and Twitter, and of course you can always email me! As Arnie would say....I'll be back! (Bonus points if you said that out loud in an Austrian accent.)

60 comments:

  1. 32 minute PR is a good way to take a blogging break, methinks. Now go PR by 32 minutes again next year, right?

    ReplyDelete
  2. THAT'S AWESOME, V!!!! Congratulations!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great job!

    To answer the questions "Seriously, what husband gets up at 5am to watch his wife race? And hands out fuel along the way? And takes amazing photos? And deals with a cranky, tired wife for a few days AFTER the race?" MY guy as well! He was on his mountain bike on Saturday, finding me along the way of my second marathon. I'd say we're both blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations! That is an AMAZING time :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. CONGRATS! so excited for you!! 32 minutes is huge. glad you’ve decided a break is what is best. see you at the end of the month! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Vanessa I am so proud of you! I just knew you had a super fast marathon in you. I'm glad you feel like you left it all out there and ran the best race you could. That's what it's all about, isn't it?! Enjoy the break from blogging!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Okay totally said that out loud with an accent!
    Congrats on an AMAZING time! You seriously rock! This was a great recap and a great post to leave us with. I am so happy to have you as a Facebook friend so we can still keep in touch! I'll miss your posts but I know you'll be back ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Pretty much amazing. Amazing. It's awesome to see all your hard work paying off.

    Maybe we should have more races that start off with a cannon explosion. I can see how that could lead to a faster pace.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congrats on a great race and PR! Sounds like running with people worked out well.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 32 minutes is such a huge PR! Option 3 is definitely the way to go, even without negative splits it sounds like you nailed it. What would we do without those wonderful husbands? Now I need to run a race that starts with a canon. I'm going to start placing bets on when you will miss us all too much and come back.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You are amazing! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  12. That's awesome! Nice job on your second marathon & your PR.

    ReplyDelete
  13. AMAZING!!!!! AND you stretched after a race! double impressed....I'm always so high on life that I forget. I am so proud of you :) xox

    ps: Tim is pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nice job! That's so awesome! I'm hoping I can do the something next year to my marathon time.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Congratulations! I agree on having someone next to you, even if you're not talking. The first three halfs I did I started walking around mile 11 (I had a serious problem going out too fast), and the ONLY thing that got me moving again was friends catching up to me. I couldn't let them beat me!

    Enjoy your hiatus!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congratulations on the PR! That's amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great job on the PR! Enjoy your time off. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Bad ass!! Congrats, I love that you feel so SATISFIED about it, I hate seeing great PR's and then people complaining about it, it makes me so sad. Enjoy it!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congrats on PR! Loved reading your recap. Def motivating. Looks like perfect day for run - complete w/ crunchy Fall leaves. (I miss Fall in the South.) Look fwd to testing out the Oakley sunglasses; So cool to win. Thanks a ton & have a great 'hiatus.'

    ReplyDelete
  20. So excited for you! Sometime the random strangers are incredibly encouraging.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Congratulations on your huge PR!

    ReplyDelete
  22. CONGRATS on the PR.

    And that cannon photo is amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Super inspiring! Congratulations on your PR!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Congratulations, Vanessa! What a great PR. You will get under 4 hours in the next one, for sure! Love the picture of you and Tim after.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Great job on the PR. And of course I said it in an Austrian accent! IT'S NOT A TUMOR!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Such a SWEET job on this race! I am so, so happy for you :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Huge PR...I know everything.g doesn't always go as planned / hoped on race day, but yours seemed to workout fabulous

    ReplyDelete
  28. Way to kick some MAJOR asphalt Vanessa! Congrats on the PR!!!!! I will miss you. Keep in touch and let me know if you make it into the city or close to E Cobb.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Congratulations!!! That's an insane PR!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. congrats on that PR! well deserved my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  31. So happy and proud of you dear Friend! This is such a huge improvement ...shoes how good you have prepared... I noticed that since we met you are now the running machine...it HAS to be because of me..I mean clearly.... I kid of course !!!!

    So husband of the year.....mine is in the running....does get up...does take pictures...does hand put new handheld bottle....and with two kids under 8.... :)
    I do appreciate that a lot. More than a lot. Good job Tim!

    I will miss your clever posts...there is only one like you on my blog roll... You know....
    But I get it.
    Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  32. It took me more than one day to get through reading this, but I think it was a PR for me for race recap reading. I'm so proud of myself.

    Oh yeah, and you too. I guess you deserve congrats too.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Amazing race! Congrats on the huge PR and for putting it all out there :).

    ReplyDelete
  34. Congrats - you're so freakin awesome!!!! I'm so insanely proud of you, I knew you had it in you :) That sub-4 is yours next time….or this weekend if you want to come out for White River? Just kidding! BTW - I love that you "made introductions" mid-race :)

    I'm also glad you're not going away forever, I would miss you!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Huge huge congrats on the PR! SO amazing to be able to say you finished and didn't feel too exhausted or like you had more in your tank to give :)

    So awesome when our spouses or families come out to watch us race! It feels so special! :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. u are a freaking ROCK STAR!! a 32 min PR...NO ONE does that!!! seriously, i am soooo proud of u and i want to yell at u, "be quiet over that water stopping thing in the end!!" seriously, u have not one single thing to regret on that run, u put it all out there and that is evident!! be incredibly stoked for that pr girl, it came from all that hard work! :)

    how u stretch like gumby post-race is also beyond me. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Congrats! That is so awesome. Often times when i am running with my buddy we don't talk but having someone there is just enough motivation! Congrats on the PR! So happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
  38. You ran a really amazing race!! So excited for you! You're making huge gains in your running and I can't wait to see what's next! :)
    Congrats, girl!!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Amazing! Congrats on the PR! You are an animal and I will see you on facebook and twitter!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Who cares about negative splits! Awesome race, Vanessa. Wahooooo! So happy for you. Hope you are still resting and having fun. Happy Birthday Saturday!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Awesome job! Congratulations... I bet that feels great that you FEEL great! haha.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hey! Congratulations on your PR! I ran Chickamauga this year as a pacer for the 4:15 group. I used to blog but then had a baby and ended up taking 18 months off... I just started back blogging and am enjoying it again but don't know how long I'll keep it up. Enjoy your break!

    ReplyDelete
  43. A little late, but congrats on the run! Thanks for sharing your stories, they are interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I'm late, too, but a huge congrats to you! You had an awesome time. I notice you haven't posted in awhile. Hope everything's good. Miss you ~ you're always very entertaining.
    ❀Barbara❀
    My Running Shortz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, I see that you're taking a little break. Good for you. Everyone needs that once in awhile:)

      Delete
    2. UMMMM hello?!?!?!? what is this! it's been months and frankly. I've had enough of your slacking. ;)

      Delete
  45. i loved reading your blog, it was very motivating. i wish you would still do an occasional post. hope all is well.

    ReplyDelete
  46. It is a great picture. There are two ways to get it. One with luck and another with a special camera or mode. It is a great way to announce or start a race.

    ReplyDelete