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I (mostly) ran my first marathon ever this past Sunday, the Mountains 2 Beach that runs from Ojai to Ventura. It begins in Ojai at Nordhoff High School for an approximately 10K loop and then winds down the Santa Clara River basin until it hits the ocean, where it runs along Harbor Blvd. and briefly into the Pierpont neighborhood until a U-ey brings runners/walkers/hobblers/sailor-mouthed runners back up to the bike path that runs straight under the Ventura Pier, finishing at one of my favorite surf spots in the county.

The elevation profile is favorable with a net elevation loss of over 700 feet. Perfect BQ potential.

Race day morning, I woke up at 4 AM to find that my Garmin actually hadn’t been charging all night like the good refurbished 210 that it is. Instead of letting me panic it out, the huz brought the charger and plugged it in to an electrical outlet in the back of his truck for the ride from Thousand Oaks to Ojai.

We arrived at 5:40, and instead of waiting five or so minutes for the porta potties, this was what I found:

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That’s the line. It took about 20 minutes to get through, so for someone who likes to use the potties 2-3 times before a race, I was SOL.

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At about ten minutes after 6, the gun went off, and I immediately felt the struggle to slow down.

Miles 1, 2, and 3: 7:51, 7:55, and 7:51

It was a bit crowded at the start, and because I knew that there were climbs between around 3.5 and 6, I felt okay going out a little faster than planned, knowing that I’d slow my pace for the next three miles.

Miles 4, 5, and 6: 8:10, 8:00, 7:45

The little climbs weren’t really that big a deal, but once the descent down to Ventura began, I found it really hard to put on the breaks. I felt good, and just went with it.

Miles 7, 8, and 9: 7:51, 7:42, and 7:49

Still felt good. In my mind, though, I knew I had to slow it down. Or else.

Miles 10, 11, 12, and 13: 7:55, 7:47, 7:49, and 7:53

At mile 11, I first felt the fatigue set in to my quads. Not once in my training had I run descents like this, and I was becoming concerned that if I was feeling the hurt at 11, I was not going to be in good shape in the last 10K unless I reigned it in. At mile 13, I took my second gel and saw HauteRunningMama pass me while I stopped briefly to pour some more water in my handheld. (I found her blog the night before the race, and recognized her because of her super cute Lululemon bra! She MAJORLY PRed!). I caught up a bit and thought about saying hey, but she looked so damn strong at that point, and I thought maybe for a second if I trailed her, I might absorb some of her awesomeness. It didn’t happen. I was in too much pain already.

Miles 14, 15, and 16: 8:07, 8:00, 8:03

I just wanted to make it to mile 16 before I turned on my music. I didn’t feel like my Gus were helping any, and even though I took one at 13.5, by mile 15, I wasn’t feeling any energy, so I spent that mile working on three Margarita Shot Blocks, which seemed to help a little. Then, I made the mistake of stopping to put in my headphones at 16. Moving time for mile 16=7:51. That’s unnecessary seconds lost. Inexperience at its finest. My quads were feeling it, but I told myself to stick it out until I reached the beach and see how I felt there.

Miles 17, 18, 19, and 20: 8:42, 7:49, 8:02, and 8:07

These miles were more like God, I can’t do this, Yes, I sped it up, Good, right on target, Okay, maybe I can do this and still BQ. My quads were KILLING me at this point, and the flat land at 20 felt more uphill than pancake. I wanted to give up so badly, but I knew my chances of BQing were still there.

Mile 21: 8:34

So hard. This is where I threw down the first of many F-bombs. Loudly. Hopefully no children were in earshot. I hurt in a major way.

Mile 22: 9:15

I saw my husband on his bike, and asked him to hold my bottle. I fartlekked walked some, ran some, and begged the water station for the electrolyte drink, but there was none. Only water. I was hallucinating, feeling vomitty, and overall in need of electrolytes.

Miles 23 and 24: 8:35 and 8:45

What’s more painful? Childbirth or the marathon? Dying, but I thought I could still make it in under 3:35. Still no electrolyte beverage on the course. At least that’s what the volunteers told me. Maybe I was on the wrong side of the station?

Mile 25: 10:20

I stopped to walk to avoid throwing up. And encouraged a woman who cramped and fell to get the fartlek up because she’s almost there. Meanwhile I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. This is where I lost the race.

Mile 26: 8:13

I picked it up, but it was super painful. And f-bomb laced.

Last 0.33 (need to run tangents better): 2:23

It hurt.

 

Number
Division
First Name
Last Name
Age
Sex
Time
Pace
Overall
Sex Place
Div Place
City
State
1355 30-34 F Emily Stone 31 F 3:35:21.8 8:13 396 109 33 Thousand Oaks CA

In more ways than one. Physically, my quads have never been the impetus for wearing Depends until now. Kidding. Also, I have never had my middle toes blister up like they did. From mile 11 on, the blistering felt more like my toes were tingling. Not a good feeling.

Mentally, after analyzing my run, I lost precious seconds in stupid places. I didn’t BQ by 21 seconds. 21 SECONDS.

I spent a good amount of time crying over my inability to suck it up. I almost feel like I would have felt better having ran a 3:40 instead of a 3:35:21. It’s a shitty feeling.

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After spending the last few days pining over what could have been, I’m still not sure how to feel about my race. I said a couple times before that there were gaps in my training (big injury at the beginning of the cycle followed by fewer speed days and nonexistent tempo days, a couple gnarly colds, and a broken treadmill), and while I wanted so badly to BQ and even thought it super possible to BQ and was pretty much aiming to BQ, my lack of experience did me in. I need to up my mileage, increase my speed, and dial in my nutrition.

Thankfully I have the most supportive family and friends in the world, including these two girls who PRed in the half!

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I honestly felt like I had it. I was THISCLOSE.

I made the resolve to attempt to BQ back in January. I’m still going to do it. I actually didn’t mind the long runs in training, and if I hadn’t been so naive in my attempt to BQ, I would have enjoyed the mary as well.

So, minutes after crossing the finish line, my best runningfriend and I promptly made an important decision. We are now registered for this race:

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It’s on September 8th, and tentatively runs from the Ventura Pier to the Hueneme Pier and back. There’s also a half and a 5K. Who’s in?

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