Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Marathon #3

Wow, time sure can fly. It seems like just last month I signed up for the Omaha Marathon instead of waaaay back at the start of February.  It seemed like I had all the time in the world to train for my A race. The year started out so positively, but then things happen and it seems like you're saying, "another run" and sometimes you have to fight the mental monster that says, "go for a long run" when all you want to do is nothing and hang out on the couch watching movies. . . but, that's what DVD/tv is for set up in front of the treadmill on rainy and lightning filled days!  Here's my write-up from my second marathon this past March. That day was hot, hot, hot and so not in a good way that early in the year. Even for spectators, it was too hot.

This September race day promised to be beautiful.  The forecast was calling for near freezing temps, in the mid 30s with a high of 70 and the sunshine.  Even though I had PR'd in June for my hilly half, I haven't kept up with yoga this summer and my core was suffering. I wasn't sure about this run, even though I was trusting in my training. I know the last few long runs I've had have been a mix of good and bad.

Friday night we arrived at my parents' after they had retired.  Headed to bed and hoped for a good night's sleep--which was accomplished! Saturday, I made mom and dad an apple cobbler. I don't have a photo of it (sorry), but I peeled and cored apples, then sliced them and tossed them in a mixing bowl with 3/4 cup sugar, about a tablespoon of apple pie spice, plus another dash or so of nutmeg and cinnamon.  I poured these into a pyrex pie plate.  Next I mixed about a cup of tapioca flour with about 1/3 cup of quinoa flakes , tossed in some brown sugar (about 1/2 cup) and then butter (about a 3/4 a stick) and mixed together. I had a bit much of this mixture, so about 1/4 cup of it went into the freezer.  I poured this mixture over the top and then moved around some of the apple slices so the topping would fall into the apple mixture.

Mom and dad had some for Sunday "brunch" and they said it was really good. Dad mixed up the whip cream for it, since I had to dash out of their house for O-town and didn't have time to make that for them.

In addition to whipping up this fabulous dessert for them, I also killed a "cricket" for mom. . . Thanks to her stroke last year, she can't see out the left side of either eye and she's in one of those electric wheelchairs.  She had come into the house via the ramp and thought she'd seen a 'cricket' by the outside door and asked me to get it.  Cricket it was not. It was a gigantic spider reminiscent of a tarantula in Iowa. Okay, okay, I have some arachnophobia issues.  Mom always use to kill the spiders for me as a kid and now here I was doing it for her.  I got out the extra hold hairspray and opened the exterior door and, yeah, I killed that spider with a lot of heebee jeebee dancing afterwards.  Killed the dang thing dead as a driven nail.   (shudders).  Hubby said it was "character building". I think it also means he didn't want to be the one to smack the thing. ;-)

I headed to Omaha to get my race packet and to ride the bus on the race route.  They were providing three different times for this, and all free to the racer ($5 each for add'l family members, support). I haven't been on a school bus in a couple decades:  what a trip down memory lane!  I also took a front row seat so I'd have an excellent view of the "hill" which turned out to not be 'a' hill, but rather three separate jaunts.  Up one for about three or four blocks, then it leveled off a bit and rose another block and a half.
"The Hill"
Then we would turn the corner, go a block on even ground and turn the corner and increase in elevation some more. It actually didn't seem quite so bad as what I had envisioned, so I can only assume that meant my training was paying off and I'm not quite so petrified of hills any longer.  

Getting my race number in and of itself turned out to be difficult. Having worked and helped coordinate bicycle races and been at plenty of packet pickups, I can say that having a number misplaced is quite rare, but does occasionally happen. Thus, I wound up with a different number than I was suppose to have.
Gear is ready
All ready the night before.  Tights, ifitness fuel belt, tank, long sleeve throwaway shirt (which I've never managed to actually throw away), visor for sweat-line and keeping the sun out, GU and I'm ready to go!  . . . or so I think.
Race Course
Race Day: As I had said, race day was suppose to be ideal running weather, but one also had to prep for standing around at the start waiting to go.  The Start was in front of the fairly new TD Ameritrade baseball stadium, home to the college world series now that Rosenblatt stadium was demolished.
Photo from "Rosenblatt Stadium" page on facebook  

Thankful I was that I ran a 5K in this area back in June, so I had an idea of the first few small hills in the Old Market area of Omaha.  The Mike suggested we stay at a hotel the night before the race and for that I am thankful.  I don't think I'd have had an issue with getting up at 4:30am instead of 5:30 for a drive in, but figuring parking, etc with the road closures and all it was definitely easier to just spend the night.

But now I had to figure out how to account for my exposed calves.  I need to carry some Vaseline in the overnight bag for occasions like this, but decided to put the "Glide" on my calves and that worked well, it still protected the skin from the 37º weather.  At the start there were military personnel, the anthem being sung, etc, but I couldn't hear any of it. It seemed there was only one speaker system set up and that was near the front; we heard it just fine as we walked on the sidewalk, but we couldn't hear anything in the way back. The Mike was going to ride the course on one of his Salsa bikes and meet me/cheer for me at random places on the course.  It is always fun for me to see someone cheering for just me, rather than "just another random stranger" cheering. You know what I mean, right?

The pace started off jackrabbit fast as always and I was making an effort to reel myself back in and not go out all turbo, as everyone seems to want to do.  I was feeling really good heading into mile 7  and 8 and knowing there was that power hill coming up.  I didn't run the whole thing, but surprisingly to me I managed to keep at it with a job more than I thought I might have and with that behind me, I felt free to let loose :-) though I still had nineteen miles to go.  Around mile 12 my lower right abdomen started hurting something awful. I started freaking out that my appendix was giving me fits.  I had no idea what was happening, but I pushed in on the spot as I do with side aches and then started walking and proceeded to do some walk/running and see what happens. About this time I saw The Mike and he said, "KEEP GOING". What a great cheerleader :-)   I saw him again up almost to mile 16 and I handed off my ifitness fuel belt/holder. It was aggravating my side, I had moved it up to my belly and the bottles were hitting my elbows and ruining my concentration.  I took out my GUs and put them in my pants pocket and continued with the run, in this residential area. Seemed to be going well, then as I moved towards the inner curb on a boulevard I had to do the heebee jeebee dance all over again, fairly recent dead (or was it?) racoon laying against the curb.  Geesh! ick.  heebee jeebees.  I was trying to be good with not taking in too much sugar and energy, but when I got to the park area (mile18) I realized I probably should have had some earlier and I stupidly didn't. [note: I probably should write on my hands the times I should take a GU]!   I took some here and then then headed on.  The hill back up to about 22.2 was longer, but I just kept chugging away at it, like a train going up a hill. . . grinding and grinding and grinding and getting there. I did pause/walk to collect myself and then started up again.  The Mike was up there at the top, enjoying the lively polka band that was playing here. They were playing some stuff that was great tempo for running! It was probably my favorite band of the whole race.

I really wish we could have our own little drill sergeant out here at this point of a race, miles 17 to 22 seem to be mentally the toughest. I could have used some of R. Lee Ermey out there yelling at me to keep MOVING and get GOING.  I wonder if Motoactv could put his voice in there for us. . . or if he has a clip of something I could download to the MP3 player to motivate me when needed.  Seriously, this needs to be investigated! When I was in DC, I walked with an ARMY soldier for part of it. He'd done a few back to back marathons and was getting ready to go back to the desert, and there I was feeling sorry for myself at mile 22 and this man was going to be in serious harms way in a week or two.

Back to the Omaha Marathon, I had to put some laughter in where I was able to.  Heading down to Carter Lake (oxbow lake of the Missouri River and officially part of Iowa within the city of Omaha) the aid station was handing out "fresh water".  Thankfully it wasn't 'fresh from the lake'.  .  I was running on the shoulder at this point, there was so very much concrete and not as much asphalt, my legs were definitely taking a beating.  As I was running along, another running started chatting. She was on her 219th marathon! WOW.   We ran for a mile or so together and then she slowly pulled away from me. (I know, sad right?). Mr. Runner caught up to me and did a run/walk too and then he stayed with Ms. 219.  It was his 89th marathon and he didn't seem much older than myself.

We had one more slight climb and then a straight away for over a mile. I was really hoping for more water in this stretch but none was to be had until just after mile 25. The Alzheimer's aid station was a wonderful sight for me.  Two cups of water and I was ready to knock out the remaining one mile.  As I got up to the last turn, I passed Ms. 219 and Mr. 89. WOOO!   Power was coming to me. . . I was feeling good, even though this last straight away and then the ever so slight turn into the parking lot for a finish was ALL on concrete I just kept plugging away.  . . Near about 25.99 mile spot Mr. intersection police officer literally turned his back on me and started moving traffic across the intersection. I slowed my gait thinking, "he's going to be looking over his shoulder at our progress".  No sireee bob.  Instead, I yelled "STOP" and he stopped the cars, the first one did the whole slam on its brakes and visibly move backwards from the force. [this is the part of the race where I love the half marathon finishers, when I see the 13 miles marker I know I have just a tenth of a mile left!]   I passed a guy walking at mile marker 26.15 or so who had on one of those Marathon Maniac shirts and I just kept going, thinking, I've got to turn into the parking lot and it's got to be HERE!. I turned the corner and put on a little extra and just wanted to get to the finish before another minute was turned on the clock.

Three of the Marine Corps finest were lined up in their full uniform handing out the beautiful recycled glass medals. The medals were much larger than all of us thought, about 3.5 " in diameter and so beautiful, but so fragile as well. Mike wore mine while I stretched and recovered for a bit afterwards.

This  shot is for Carla

How many calories were burned?  From midnight to 1:09pm on 9/23 I burned 4048 calories and took 52,865 steps.

What I learned: 
In looking through my mile times last night, Mike and I realized that I needed to be taking in energy/GU before I actually did in order to maintain the calories in my system that were ready for me to burn. While I had a PR in the first half marathon on this course, I still slowed down by first a minute and then two minutes per mile pace by the finish :-(   It is definitely one of those things of live and learn!  I'm happy with a seven minute PR, I'd be happier with a fifteen minute one ;-)

Am I happy with my time: I am happy that I finally improved my time, but I'm not happy in that I didn't take care of myself when running in terms of my energy source and that my second half time really seemed to suffer for it. However, I know I did improve with my running ability and all and I finished, so I am happy with myself.

the Medal, mine  was purple and blue swirls.

After the race and cleanup, we headed over to meet mom and dad at Sam & Louie's on Cumings street. . . only, it turned out to be closed, contrary to their website, so we then headed to Mama's Pizza on Saddlecreek, a place we discovered when mom was in the hospital, and they have gluten free pizza!!!!! Fabulous pizza, as always. I only managed to get three slices down, but the others never made it over three hours in the car. My stomach just kept digesting the food.

On the ride home, the Mike drove for good reason. . .  . my attention span was worse than a sugar addict in a Christmas candy store!  I decided to take a pic of my toenails. My left index toe nail keeps falling off. Almost a year since my first marathon and it finally looks normal again, but the way it felt at mile 18, I'm sure it will turn black here shortly.  
As the night comes to an end and the Quirky is home for bed, she's up to having burned 4697 calories (at a minimum) and taken at least 55,029 steps over the course of the day (actually a few more, since I didn't wear it all the time). 

Anything else I should add, or answer for you?   I know it's a long post and more photos will come later from the race. 

Hope ya'll had a great weekend. 


  1. Wahoo! Congrats on your third marathon - congrats!

    1. Thank you, Vanessa. I definitely learned a lot on this race. Interestingly, my index toe nail is still in one piece; however, I acquired a blister after a four mile run and yoga the other day!

  2. Belated congratulations on your 3rd marathon finish! Nicely done.