Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sugarloaf Marathon Race Report

I am eating these hard-earned Milano cookies as I type.  Race is done, now for the race report! Munch. Munch. Munch.

My mom (the sherpa), Beth, and I all left my parents house at 4:30 am to get to the race start.  It was cool in the morning, but the day promised to be a super nice one.  We were at the start around 6am.  My pre-race routine consisted of using The Stick on my calf, eating a bagel and banana, and popping a few Advil.  Pretty intense, I know.  I popped a few more Advil a few minutes before the race.

I love this photo of Beth and I at the start line early in the morning.
We are both pretty excited on race morning.

This is a pretty small race, about 330 participants.  It is no frills, little swag, not even a timing chip to be found.  Oh, and I should just say this now.  The famous sticker was not in the swag bag.  As a matter of fact, there we couldn't even buy a sticker at check-in.  Beth and I were devastated. Since I have the JPEG, we plan on making our own somehow.  Actually, we are going to make magnets instead.  If anyone has any ideas how to take this:
and make it into a magnet that can withstand the elements, let me know.

The Race:
So Beth, my buddy Steve W. and I were talking at the start line when this gun went off.  We started laughing, because there wasn't much announcing, just a gun going off.    They both ran ahead fairly quickly, I had a plan to take it easy (~ 10 minute miles or so) right from the start, baby that calf (which until I Advil'd up, wasn't feeling great) and just enjoy the day.  Plus, I haven't really run any distance since early April, so I really wanted to just make sure I finished.

So much for plans.

I ran into these 3 girls who were super nice and we started chatting.  Before I knew it, we were climbing the hill at mile 7 and my watch read 1:00  Oops.  I know that isn't blazing up the pavement for many of you, but for me on almost no training, it was a lot faster than I had hoped to be at the start of a marathon.

So I kept going, because those girls were really nice.  The hills come at you for about 3 solid miles, some steep and long, some gradual and long.  Around mile 9 I gained some sense and decided to dial it back a lot.  I said good bye to my new friends and started running my own race (as I should have from the start).

The highest point of the race is around mile 10 or so.  These are really some tough hills, and the awesome views of the Bigelow Range off to your left do lessen the sting a little.  Then it drops steeply for a mile down to mile 11 where you pass by the Sugarloaf access road.  

My moment of darkness came so early it kind of scared me.  If you have run a marathon, you know what I am talking about.  It is when you get to that point where you need to push past a wall.  This happens to most folks around mile 21-24.  It happened to me from mile 13-15 and kind of came out of nowhere.

I kept running, even though I really didn't want to.  I started getting frustrated and discouraged when people kept passing me like I wasn't moving. I finally pushed through when I reached inside my head and pulled out one of my favorite Randy Pausch quotes from The Last Lecture:

Brick walls are there for a reason.  They give us a chance to show how badly we want something. ~ Randy Pausch

I came through the back end of mile 15 running strong, passing the people who had passed me.  By mile 20, I was feeling pretty good about a 4:20 finish time, as long as I could keep up the 10 minute miles.  It was at that time that my calf started growling.  At first a soft rumble, it eventually became really angry. I stopped to massage it a little, but then decided that keeping moving was my best bet. I think it was a smart move, because I could have wasted a lot of time wallowing in misery trying to make it feel better.  Accepting it was going to hurt and moving forward seemed to work.

I was pretty happy to see the mile 26 sign, I wasn't really hobbling but I was ready to get done.  Steve W. greeted me and ran the last .2 with me, which was awesome.  I finished doing the Blais roll across the finishline, which baffled all who were watching.  I hope someone got a photo of it.

I just wanted to end with some photos.  Here is Beth crossing the finish line.  Congrats Beth on a strong finish!

And here I am, coming into the finish.  Final time 4:35:01 - not bad for a gimp.
No question, I would do this race again. I would love to run it healthy, I think I would definitely PR if things went OK for me, considering I basically ran on one leg today.  The only slightly negative thing to say about this race (besides the lack of sticker) is that it was not chip timed.  I think they managed it extremely well, but I am just not used to races without chip timing.  The volunteers and organization of this race were awesome, top notch for sure, and the scenery is amazing.   

Congratulations Steve W and KC!!

Congrats to my buddy Steve W. (the person who started my endurance addiction - thank you Steve!) Here is is, all pumped and ready to go in the morning.  Steve BQ'd AND PR'd on this race with a 3:31 - congrats Steve!  That was a hard-earned BQ and PR my friend, you totally deserve it.  WOOT!

Congrats to KC on her super finish on Saturday, placing 3rd in her age group! Check out her awesome race report here!  Way to go KC, you are a rock star!


Velma said...

Nice work - I am glad you made it though. You NEED to get one of those stickers!!

Julie said...

Wow, you did great!! I love the picture of you at the look so happy:) Nice work, congrats on a strong finish!

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

Thanks for the rock star props but you my friend are the rock star for running a marathon with a calf injury. That is just incredible what you were able to do today. Mind over matter. I hope they got you rolling across that finishline. That would be priceless! Way to tough it out Mandy!

Jon said...

Awesome job Mandy! You get the BADASS award for the day for doing such a great job with a bum calf and no running for 3 weeks. Totally inspiring!

Regina said...

Congrats on pushing through and a great race! For real, to push through that blackness is a great mental triumph, you should feel proud.

as to your magnet question: If you google "print magnets" there are places who will make them. I'd venture to guess even Shutterfly (is that the name?) makes them, they seem to make everything. It would only be a matter of uploading the image as a jpg to the site. good luck!

misszippy said...

Awesome job. I think you are amazing--you just spent more than 8 hrs on a trainer a week ago and today you ran a marathon! Take some time off now crazy girl! Congrats.

AM! said...

You did it! get the sticker...and magnet too, and maybe a t-shirt? or is that overkill?

nice! oh, and those cookies rock;-)

Bryan Payne said...

Nice job, great time gimp. haha.

Aimee said...

Woohoo! You did awesome! You did it!

That's a bummer about the sticker! But, you could probably make one using Snapfish or Shutterfly.

RockStarTri said...

Not bad for a Gimp?

Well done!


OH to be young again!! I remember when I used to do 4:30s a couple decades ago.
Great job!

KovasP said...

Nice job Mandy! Always a positive sign when you want to run the race again.

Johan Stemmet said...

Well done, awesome result.
Sounds like you had a great day.

Maria said...

congrats on the race! way to finish despite the calf! that really sucks about the sticker...but it got you to finish the race, didn't it! can't wait to hear how the magnets turn out. recover well!

Unknown said...

Wonderful job Mandy! The pics with the Milano's and the medal cracked me up! And you guys looked like you were having such a fun time in the pics!

Patrick Mahoney said...

great race and great report. should be able to sort you out with a magnet. In fact:

Whitarican (White-A-Rican) said...

awesome race report! Congrats on the overall race and pushing through all the hard parts (calf etc...) of a race this long! Time to recover! Also I wear compression calf guards and I have not gotten any more calf issues since.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

A true ROCKSTAR!! Nice work and congrats.

Mina said...

Amazing first time withOUT a hurting calf! Congrats on an awesome finish - you earned more than those Milanos!

ShirleyPerly said...

Congrats on your finish!!

What a bummer, though, about no sticker. I hope you're able to get magnet made as you surely deserve it, and the Milanos.

Hope your recovery is going well!

Anonymous said...

Right on, Mandy + Beth! Thoroughly enjoyed reading the race up's and down's. I bet that trek into Mt. Katahdin sure did help you train :)

Way to Kick Off Spring, Melissa Raftery

DRog said...

Congrats on your marathon! I always hit the wall around 14 or 15. Just reading about it today, it occurred to me I should be PREPARED for it next time!

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