Sunday, September 1, 2013

On the Run: Marquette Marathon 2013

So many thoughts went through my head as I crossed the finish line yesterday at the Marquette Marathon.  I finished a marathon!  I qualified for Boston!  I beat my qualifying time!  OMG I can't walk!  Where are the bananas?  

Just to finish a marathon - something I SWORE I would never ever EVER do - is a huge accomplishment and an emotional event.  Then add to that running fast enough to qualify for Boston and it just piles on a whole other layer that made all my training that much more worth it.  My mom was there with me to cheer me on and see me cross the finish line, which was so special to me.  Although Brian was over 7 hours away at home, he was following my splits online and knew my unofficial time even before I did!  I knew all my friends and family were thinking of me as I ran.  I was feeling the love!

And I was especially lucky to have my friend Mike from GLR with me for the first 18 miles.  Not only did he help those miles pass quickly but he gave me great tips and advice (he's a seasoned marathon pro).  He was able to help me keep my pace when I wanted to run too fast, especially in the first 10 miles when I kept trying to do 7:30's instead of my planned 7:50's.  Thanks, Mike!

This marathon is not your fast and flat course that I would think people typically look for in a BQ.  About half of it is flat but the rest is hilly, with a long gradual uphill from miles 4-6 and a steep incline at mile 12.  And then you get round two if you're doing the marathon because it's the same loop twice!  There are also sections with grass, dirt, and gravel plus wind resistance from running near the lake.  Phew!

This was an amazing experience from start to finish.  Was it easy?  No.  But it wasn't the hardest thing I've ever done.  (That would be the GLR, which helped prepare me for this!)  In fact, the first 22 miles really weren't bad.  Because I'd already run 20 I went into it with the mindset that it would be easy up to that point.  I knew I could do that much and my body knew what to expect from that amount of mileage.  After that I would take it one mile at a time.

Surprisingly 20 wasn't a big deal.  Neither was 21.  But mile 22 hit me hard.  That's when my muscles started to feel tight and I realized I still had 4 miles to go.  FOUR.  Which isn't a lot but after running 22 its enough.  At mile 23 I caught up to a girl who was running really strong and we ran together for a mile.  We didn't talk but just running next to someone else helped.  Then I got ahead of her.  

At mile 24 the nausea hit.  I'd had 2 CLIF Shots (miles 13 and 19) but nothing else since 6am so I was starving and needing something other than sugar.  I willed myself not to throw up and eventually the nausea passed slightly.  I definitely slowed down in those last few miles but other than mile 25 (where there was a steep hill and I crept up to an 8:10) I stayed below 7:50/min miles.

After I crossed the finish line I could barely walk.  I've never experienced such immediate and intense post-race pain!  I downed a few cups of water and went straight to the massage tent where I got a wonderful 15-minute leg massage.  A quick jump in icy Lake Superior would have been smart for my muscles but it just seemed too cold!  My mom and I wanted to get on the road so after the massage I crawled on the bus and we took that back to our car, where I changed in the parking lot (much to my mother's horror - although I think she was also impressed) and we headed back home.  


    7:46 min/mile

Chia pudding, banana (pre-race)
2 CLIF Shots (mid-race @ miles 13 and 19)


*54 songs - Just refer to all my other playlists and you'll get the idea!

More good news!  Not only did I meet my BQ standard by more than 10 minutes, I also placed 1st in my age group and was the 4th woman overall.  I didn't stick around for awards but was told mine will be mailed.  I can't wait to see what it is!  

All in all, this was an amazing first marathon and I'm so glad I chose it at the last minute! Its small (194 in the marathon, 15 relay teams, 355 in the half), it was organized (aid stations every mile, well-marked course, busing to Presque Isle, and easy packet pick-up), the course was beautiful, and everyone was incredibly friendly (race volunteers, runners, and spectators alike!).  It was worth the drive for sure.  I also like that the medals are made of wood instead of metal.  

My only tiny complaint is that there were no bananas after the race.  Did all the half marathoners eat them?  Didn't they know how many more runners still had to finish?  I will not complain, however, because the expo provided numerous pre-race snacks including perfect bananas and I still had 4 of those left.  Yes, I was ogling over the bananas so much that the guy at the banana stand gave me a grocery bag with 5 bananas!* race ever! 

*Brian is convinced THIS is the reason there were no post-race bananas!  Maybe.

Now I reverse taper for a week or so and then it's back to training for the Detroit Marathon - with several other races between now and then, of course! 

Next Race: Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo 10K, September 15th


  1. It was really not all that horrifying although 25 years ago had anyone told me you would be so blase about stripping down in the parking lot, I would have thought them insane. It was a grand weekend and such fun to see you run your legs off!

  2. Great time on your marathon! I impressed with the time and the ist place trophy in your age group and 4th women overall. Wow!