7 Bridges Marathon Recap

 

I did it!  I finished my third marathon…and I can still walk!

I planned for this race.  I followed a training plan down to the very last fartlek….that is until the 20 mile run. The week of my 20 miler, my bestie landed herself in the hospital (don’t worry, everything is fine).  I spent the entire weekend either at work or at the hospital and the 20 mile run had to be sidelined.  The next weekend was the Women’s Half Marathon.  It was unseasonably hot in the upper 80s and I had a very tough and humbling run.

The closer I got to the Marathon, the more I began to doubt myself.  I threw around the idea of switching to the half several times but I didn’t want to waste that 19 mile run.  I trained for a marathon and darn it I was going to run one!

It takes a lot of GU to run 26 miles!

gu

Knowing that I was nervous about this race, a friend had agreed to meet me at mile 20 and run the last 6 in with me, and my friends running the half were going to find me on the course when they were done to cheer.  I was set! Then, the day before the race, I found out that my friend who was going to do the last 6 with me got injured and wasn’t coming at all…whomp, whomp, whomp.

I laid out my gear and hoped for a restful night’s sleep.

flat me

I got to the start line with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I managed to find some half fanatics for a pre-race photo.

hf photo

But then I fell apart.  Its usually not a good thing when there are tears at the start line of a race.  The truth is, I didn’t feel ready.  I had such high asparations for this race and nothing in the last few weeks had worked out the way it was supposed to.  Work was crazy…family was crazy…I didn’t feel prepared…and then the starting gun went off.  Luckily, these two fabulous ladies hung with me for the first nine miles.

jana and ivette 7 bridges

Mile 9 was the half marathon turn around point.  All of my friends turned around and I kept running.  It was a small race, and I am slow so mile 9-10 I was completely alone.  I didn’t see another single runner until mile 10 when the really fast started coming toward me.  They were at mile 21 and I was only at mile 10…ouch.

I saw lots of faster runners coming back at miles 10-12.  These were the 3 – 4 hour guys and they were pretty awesome.  I got several thumbs up, good jobs, and keep it ups and when I passed mile 13 at 3:05, I was feeling pretty good.

I chuckled as I passed mile 14 and there was a guy loading up the port-a-potties.  The course had a 7 hour time limit and I hoped there were people behind me but I wasn’t really sure.  The very nice man asked if I needed to “use the facility” before he loaded the last one on the truck….luckily, I didn’t have to go.

Mile 15 sucked!  This was the point that I had to run over what I not so fondly refer to as the “dam bridge.”  The course runs over a ginormous bridge that crosses the Chickamauga Dam.

dam bridge

Miles 16-21, I was still feeling good but definitely slowing down.  I stopped at the aid station at mile 21 and found that the decision between M&Ms and Goldfish Crackers was just too much.  After a brief moment of panic over deciding on a snack, I grabed a cup of gold fish and two orange slices and continued on.

At mile 21.5 I ran smack into “the wall.”  The greenway we were on divided and there was no sign telling which way to go.  I came to a dead stop, and wanted to cry.  I remember saying out loud “but I don’t know which way to go.”  This did no good whatsoever since I was still completely alone.  At this point I was convinced I was dead last in the race and just wanted to make it to the end.  I picked a direction and just went for it.  It turns out, the two paths reconnected just feet ahead so it didn’t matter which way I went.

At mile 23, three of my friends (who had no business still running after doing the half) began to run with me.  One would run a half mile and then trade out with another.

I had to walk miles 24-25 because I just couldn’t seem to catch my breath.

I ran mile 25 and was feeling good.  I got to the end of the last bridge…mile 26…only .2 left to go…and I turned the wrong way…whomp…whomp…whomp.

There was no sign.  Apparently a volunteer had been there earlier directing runners but had already left by the time I got there.  M and her mom were driving back to finish to meet me and luckily saw me and told me to turn around.  I once again wanted to cry but I powered through and made it across the finish line. With a 4 minute PR of 6 hours 35 minutes!

finish line

The only photos I have at the finish line were taken by a friend’s cell phone.  The photographers at the finish had already packed up and left…as had Noodles and Co. with the post race food.  All that was left at the finsh was water.  I am not usually one to complain, but it turns out, I was not the last one on the course and there were actually a few people behind me.  If the course has a 7 hour time limit, why was everything already gone?   I got an email yesterday with a link to my race photos….I clicked through, entered my bib number, and it told me there were no photos of me.  How is it that I ran 26.3 (with the wrong turn) and there were no photos?!

Besides my issues at the finish line, this was a great race!  It is a good course, there are tons of aid stations, and the volunteers were awesome!  I would recommend it to anyone…and I might recommend they use a different photographer next time :)

finished

Oh, and did I mention, the medal rocks!

 

 

Surviving the Really Long Run

The mileage is in the upper teens – aka the time that I start questioning my sanity and swear I will never run another marathon.  Each time the alarm goes off all I can think is “if I were doing the half, I could sleep for another hour.”

My most recent 19 mile run took a little over 5 hours…a long time to spend with yourself!  I had a variety of podcasts lined up so I headed out into this georgous sunrise.

sunrise

I saw this little guy.

deer

And these berries are everywhere.

berries

Along with the first signs of fall.

first signs of fall

Two podcasts in, I started getting grumpy.  I was sick of them, so I switched over to an audio book.  What better for a long run than Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness.

I added a few trails to mix it up.

Trail Run

At this point my fingers were starting to swell.

fat fingers

And by mile 16, I wanted to quit.

ready to quit

But then I saw the an entire deer family.

Deer family

And by the time I finished, I was glad I did it!

Refuel with chocolate milk

Plus…you know…chocolate milk!

One more long run and then its taper time!

How do you get through your long run?

 

 

Observations from the long run

whats-2-2-again-dude-i-dont-know-but-i-think-im-chaffeingand-its-hilarious-d0221

Marathon training is in full swing and my long runs are now officially above 15 miles…yikes!  When you are running that many miles, you (well at least I) are on the road for a long time, so today I thought I would share some observations from my latest training run.

You completely lose the ability to do math.
I’m not talking calculus here, not even algebra.  Any run over 12 miles renders me unable to do even the simplest arithmetic.  It usually goes something like this:  Ok, so I’m 12 miles in. I need to do fifteen total so if I run out 1.5 miles and back then I will be at 15…but wait, I’m not at the car so I really need to run out 1.3 miles and back and then I will be almost to the car….or is it 1.7 miles and back?  Wait a minute…where am I again?  Needless to say, I am always either over my planned mileage and irritated, or under my mileage and am forced to walk circles around the parking lot because lets face it….the Garmin must say 15.0!

Everything starts to seem hilarious
I was lucky enough to have a couple of friends help me out with my 15 miler this past week and 13 miles in, we were struggling.  We had passed a tree that had blue, pink, and purple berries on it.  I made a comment about how I thought the berries were pretty….apparently that was hilarious.  My friends started to laugh and soon I couldn’t stop laughing either….the delirium had set in.

Everyone starts to look miserable
At 6:00am, runners are happy, smiling, and waving at each other, but by 10:00am runners have a grimace on their face and a look of exhaustion.  You begin to think why do they look so miserable, only to realize that you look just like them…because you are all in the same boat.  4 hours of running is not kind to anyone…marathon training sucks!

Things I have seen recently while running in my neighborhood:

A lady putting on lipstick….seriously?!  It can’t wait until you get to the office?

A woman texting on the phone….its 6:00am….who do you have to talk to?

A man driving down the street while turned around dealing with his child.  I get that children need attention, but they are going to need even more attention when you crash the car because you just spent the last 45 seconds looking into the back seat….seriously, both of his hands were off the wheel.

A man steering with his elbow while plugging his phone into the charger….once again, its 6:00am.  Why didn’t you charge it overnight?

And then there is always this!

Run pic 2

The best thing about a long run though, is when your friend shows up at the finish with donuts!

donuts

Whats the strangest thing you have ever seen?

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has trouble with math!

I conqured the Triathlon

bike

Oh look!  I remembered I have a blog.  Life has a funny way of turning you upside down and shaking you by your ankles.  This summer, after much contemplation, I decided to leave higher education (for a variety of personal and professional reasons).  So I resigned from my position at the university and after thinking “now what?” for a few weeks, I decided to open my very own arts academy.  Unfortunately, that meant I had to abandon my own blog in order to write a business plan, find a location for the school, interview teachers, design and develop marketing materials, and learn how to build a website.  Well, after many hours of wanting to pull my hair out hard work, it is all finally coming together and I finally have time to sit down and tell you about the triathlon.  Oh, and if you want to check out my new business and the website I had to learn how to build feel free to check out Middle Tennesssee Arts Academy!

I went up the night before to drop my bike off and attend the beginner’s meeting for the Girls-tri-it-on triathlon.

tri bike

And I decided exactly how I was going to lay out my gear.

tri gear

The morning of the race I got up bright and early to head to the start line.

tri morning

I got in line to get my body markings…which took three days to get off by the way.

body marking

Waiting in line to get into the pool, I really felt like I might throw up.  What was I thinking when I signed up?

pool wait

Once in the water, my mantra became “get through the swim”

swim

Several people passed me but then, it thinned out and I somehow managed to backstroke my way to the swim finish.

Then it was on to the bike.

bike

I was on my mountain bike, on a rather hilly course, and many people on road bikes (that cost as much as my car) were passing me right and left, but I kept on going.  At one point I saw another girl get off her bike and walk it up one of the hills and I must admit, I almost joined her!

And finally the run.

run

The run is where I finally started passing people, instead of being the one passed.  The water stops used The Water Bag, which is really cool.  It is exactly what it sounds like, a bag of water.  You bite off the corner and drink it down.

I finished! 30 minutes faster than I thought I would.

celebrate

Enjoyed some post race watermelon.

watermelon

And it turns out I came in third in my division….my first ever podium!

tri podium

After all the worries, I had a blast and will definitely do another!

I ate my way through New York City

This past week I had the pleasure of going to New York to hear M’s mom sing in Carnegie Hall!  I basically spent five days eating my way through the city!

The first night, we had Ray’s pizza. Unfortunately, I was so hungry I didn’t remember to take a picture until I was half way through it.

ny pizza

We ran in Central Park (ignore the thumb in the bottom of the photo…so not a photo blogger)

central park

Where I also had a street food fail

street food fail

I geeked out at the Julliard Bookstore

Juilliard

My view from our Mexican food (no photo…I was too busy eating)

mexican food

5 pound chocolate bare = love at first sight

hershey

Running through the city

subway

M and I had to have a Carnegie Hall Selfie

carnegie

And finally we ate our hearts out at the post concert reception at the Manhattan Room

reception

It was an awesome trip but completely exhausting.  I need a vacation from my vacation.

The triathlon is tomorrow…wish me luck!