There is just so much going through my mind and emotions today. It's actually tough to be writing here. Seems I've been staring at the screen for hours. I haven't read any of my fellow runner's blogs yet, because I really want to process my feelings first. I'll start with the first thought that comes to me: "Well - marathon #2 is officially in the books. The results were a little disappointing but the experience wasn't."
This has been a difficult blog to write. There is just sooooo much to talk about and share - whether you want it or not. To be honest, I haven't had a chance to fully process all my thoughts and emotions yet. Today I thought I would just document my initial thoughts before time heals all wounds:
The things that worked:
() Preparing the night before: Definitely the way to go. *Everything* was predone. Bib pinned to shirt. D-Tag on shoe. Gels/electrolytes in belts. Water bottled filled. Put everything on to make sure that it fit and looked right. Cell phone charged. Garmin charged. iPod charged. Towel, dry shirt, sandals in bag. Headphones, iPod armband in bag. Double check everything. Then dump bag out and check it all again. All I had to do in the AM was get up, grab coffee, put on clothes and shoes and head out the door.
() Nothing new on race day: I ran this one unscathed. No chafing. No blisters. Believe me, at mile 23, you don't need any of those other problems.
() Leaving early enough that you have some time to relax before the race: I was on the freeway at 5AM for a 7AM start. Got to Long Beach, parked, walked to start, checked bag, socialized and still had time to find a seat and meditate for about 15 minutes before the hubbub began. Call it Zen. I call it not tossing my cookies.
() Gel and Endurolytes every three miles: This was *THE BOMB* idea. This marathon became a series of three mile races. I *never* thought about how far and long this race was. All I thought about was the next gel break. At mile 10 it was about mile 12. At mile 16 it was about mile 18. I was amazed how mile 20 just came and went because I was focused on 21. Same with miles 22 and 23 (even though I had to resort to a brisk walk by that point). And at mile 24, it was about two more miles. Amazing.
() Having the right mindset: On Saturday I said I would go with the flow. So I went with the flow. When it was apparent that I wasn't going to hit my goal time, I backed off and enjoyed the experience. I was able to stop and chat with friends on the course. I enjoyed the entertainment. I enjoyed the peanut butter sandwiches (thanks Ingrid!). This made the *entire* difference from a pain filled torture session to a pain filled run in the park.
Things that didn't work:
() Too much running the final week: My legs were shot by mile 9. If it wasn't for focusing on every three miles, this would have been a *looong* miserable race.
() Starting at the back of the wave: By the time I got to the 10K split, I was about 15 seconds behind my goal pace. I caught up by the half, but when you think about it that means I was running 30 seconds faster than goal pace for 7 miles. That's where I lost making my goal.
Bottom line is yesterday as a *totally* different experience from San Diego 2008. I am disappointed that I didn't make my goal. I am disappointed I didn't break 5 hours. But - Long Beach has some really quaint neighborhoods! And I saw my kids as I ran past the finish!
Starting tomorrow I'll provide a much more detailed race report. For right now I'll leave you with a couple of pictures.
At least I don't look like death warmed over:
Here's what the final .2 looked like from my unique perspective:
Sorry I didn't get crossing the finish line in the video. This watery stuff kept falling out of my eyes.
Final stats: 5:16:31 - 28 minute PR. Looking for the elusive 5 hour mark in March. And this time, I'm not thinking ahead to my next marathon as "get even" for the last one. Can you say "I Love LA!"