The last two weeks have been my version of a "2-for-1" deal: two marathons for one training cycle.
Saturday started with a 4:45 am wake-up. After breakfast and packing up, Grandma (my mom), the little ones, and I drove 2 hours to the Blue Ox Marathon.
After running the Grand Forks Marathon two weeks ago, my mom said, "So what about running in Bemidji (Blue Ox)?" At first I laughed a little. I had never entertained the idea of running two marathons so close together. Meh, no thanks. Mom, you're crazy!
A few days later, my legs were feeling much better and the idea sounded more appealing. I could always use another marathon under my belt. And if she's volunteering childcare, why not!?
We arrived about an hour before the race and I hurried off with little W in tow to grab my number. Grandma and E made their way at a slow toddler pace because E was in awe of all the action.
Number on, kids settled, and it was time to line up.
Unlike the Grand Forks Marathon, there was no pacer for 3:25 but we managed to make our own "pace group". Honestly, I didn't know what pace my body could handle after only partially recovering from the last race. My flexible goal was to run around 7:45-8:00 for the first 13 miles and then either slow down to "enjoy" the race or keep on pace.
Ready, set, go!
Mile 1 - 7:28
Mile 2 - 7:50
Mile 3 - 7:52
Mile 4 - 7:44
Mile 5 - 7:48
Mile 6 - 7:32
I was with quite a few other runners but the group was starting to space out. I had been watching one of the marathon's biking guys for a while and realized he was leading the way for our female group.
[Light bulb moment]
If I can keep up with that bike for 20 more miles, I can win this race! The prospect of being the first female finisher seemed real but we had a long way to go. Just 20 more miles... ha.
Whatever the outcome, I prayed that God would help me to be content. Winning would be great but that's not why I run.
Psalm 119:18 was the verse that kept my perspective in this race — to focus my eyes on what God is doing right now and not get stuck in my own little tunnel vision. I want to soak in all of God's work, what He has put on my heart, and where He has me at this very moment in my life.
Mile 7 - 7:28Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.PSALM 119:18
Mile 8 - 7:29
Mile 9 - 7:32
Mile 10 - 7:33
Mile 11 - 7:41
By now I really could have used a cheeseburger. I took in calories at almost every station whether it was a sports drink or gel because I was just plain old hungry. Actually, I had felt hungry the whole week! (Forget pregnancy cravings, howabout marathon cravings?!)
The aid stations were not as frequent in this race but it didn't cause any issues for me. They did have the Salted Caramel GU at a couple aid stations and they were SO good! I have always wanted to try that flavor :)
Mile 12 - 7:43
Mile 13 - 7:41
Mile 14 - 7:42
Mile 15 - 7:40
Mile 16 - 7:40
Mile 17 - 7:50
Mile 18 - 8:03
Mile 19 - 7:56
The field was spread out and I was very thankful to be running with my iPod. That was something new I did in the Grand Forks Marathon and this race and I really like it!
Between chasing the lead bike and listening to music, I needed to keep my mind off the paincave that is the last 6.2 miles of the Blue Ox. This was my college town and I remember the Birchmont Drive hills well. My hope was that I ran fast enough earlier in the race to make up for hill troubles later in the race.
By now, my legs were very much remembering that they had ran a marathon two weeks ago. On the last few hills, I power-walked a few strides to loosen up my muscles. Those muscles that were "aflame" during the Grand Forks Marathon were burning once again but the power-walk strides seemed to help.
Mile 20 - 8:05
Mile 21 - 8:10
Mile 22 - 8:27
Mile 23 - 8:38
Mile 24 - 8:11
Mile 25 - 8:01
Mile 26 - 7:47
.29 Mile - 7:26
I really wanted to walk at mile 24. Like really, really bad. I kept a decent pace through the finish but I honestly didn't have any "kick" left in me. I was spent.
3:25:36. I beat my two-weeks-ago self on a harder course and that felt awesome.
Crossing the line as first female and breaking the tape was icing on the cake!
|Photo Credit: Bemidji Pioneer|
Finish Time - 03:25:36Here ends all of my racing endeavours for 2016. I am thankful to end the year on a good note and I do look forward to returning to the marathon again after a year or two break. I still need to break that 3:15 barrier someday. And, who knows, maybe 3:00 after that? A girl's gotta dream!
Average Pace - 7:51/mile
Placing - Overall: 9th/124. Females: 1st/54, AG: 1st/14
Thank you all for your support and encouragement!
Praise the Lord for the ridiculously awesome sport of marathon running and thank you to my mom (a.k.a. "Grandma") for basically running her own marathon while watching the kids that day! And, of course, thank you to my amazing husband who supports my love for running long distance, even if he doesn't understand it!