Monday, October 6, 2008

Take that, Katie Holmes!!!

Wow wow wow! I did it! And it was incredible and one of the best experiences of my life so far!

I was sure I'd finish in 5 and a half hours. My super secret goal was to finish before Katie Holmes. What I (and I'll bet Katie) didn't realize, is that she set the bar for a lot of young women. I couldn't believe how many other gals I talked to that had the same goal!

I was also preparing myself for two hours of sheer agony. If this race was going to be anything like my training runs, it was going to be long, slow, and excutiatingly painful.

Much to my surprise, I finished in 5:03:38!!!

And I felt great! I was able to sprint the last part before the finish line! I was definitely in pain afterward. My ankle is totally swollen (pic below, promise I'm icing! Or it just looks like I have one kankle). But I'm not too stiff! We didn't have a bath tub in our hotel room, so I had to rotate ice packs. And Matt helped rub my legs and feet afterward. Then we pretty much stayed in bed and watched Food Network and football until I fell asleep.

I'm walking like a normal person, for the most part. :)

I had so much support from my friends who were there in person, and also there in spirit! And I really couldn't have done it without them. I really appreciate all the supporting phone messages and emails I received. My in person crew was Matt, Holly, Sarah, Michael, Jess, Chris, Simon, and Deb and Raj drove up the morning of.

And here's the break down:

MILES 1-6:
Off to an okay start! I see Deb and Raj right away! Shortly after I hear Matt yell, "Go Wac!" Which made me tear up a little, but I knew I had to breathe slowly if I'm going to get through this thing. I see the 5-hour pace group, and kind of just hang with them. It feels a little fast, but I look down at my Garmin, and we're only going a little over an 11-minute mile. I can't decide if this is too fast to me, or not. But my heart rate is only in the 150s, so I stick with them. Even though I'm kind of thirsty, I don't stop for water or fuel until mile 6, which is what I did in my training runs. I'm prone to cramping when I have too much water.

Mile 5/6: Seeing everyone on the side again

Mile 2: Noticed my sock on the left had fallen and was only half way around my foot
Mile 3-ish: The top of my ankle on my right foot began to hurt (and didn't quit)
Mile 6: Pain on the outside of my left foot

MILES 6-13
Coming into mile 7 I was in a lot of pain. Both my feet are killing me, in very different ways. It's also that time of the month, so I was having the occasional menstrual cramp, and it was catching up with me. I managed to stay with the 5-hour pace group through this entire time. Around mile 10 I started falling behind. I was thinking, "I made my body into this machine, that means I can will it to go faster..." and this woman came up beside me and asked if I was okay! hahah... I must have been very pensive looking. We chatted for a bit, this was not her first time doing this marathon and she said the real hump is the bridge at mile 17. Her scheduled walk break was about to take place. I would have stopped with her, but I noticed the few minutes we ran together slowed me down. So I told her I'd catch up with her later... but I never saw her again.

I did, however, catch up to the 5 hour pace group again!

- There was a family on the street handing out jelly beans. I had to stop and give a high-five to this one kid. :)
- The miles were really just flying by!

Mile 13: This is totally nit-picky, but they had the 13-mile marker, then the water tables, THEN the timing chip mat! I had stopped at the water tables, and was totally bummed to see the timing mat.

MILES 14- 20
I had to be smart. I had enough energy to to speed up, but I knew that would wipe me out. Instead I tried to slowly increase my pace. I decided to pull ahead of the 5-hour pace group so when I chose to stop and walk, I wouldn't fall behind. Having the bridge as a major landmark to work towards, getting to mile 17 was what I was focusing on. I had some fuel at 16, and began the ascent around 16.5. I made a point of climbing the hill slowly, and not letting my heart rate get too high.

Around mile 19, the pain set in. I expected it to come sooner. I remembered something Deborah told me about "accepting the pain." Maybe it's because I was anticipating it, or imagined it would be much worse, either way... it wasn't awful, but it definitely slowed me down. I couldn't seem to pick up the pace.

I started chatting with Dave the walker. He's probably late 60's or early 70's and walking a marathon in all 50 states. (He did manage to finish before I did)

Then mile 20, I saw Sarah and Michael! Sarah ran with me for a bit

Miles 14: Pulling ahead of the 5:00 pace group and maintaining a lead
Mile 17: Passing people up the hill to the bridge
The bridge: I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and there was such a beautiful view of Portland
Mile 20: Seeing Sarah and Michael waiting for me, and having Sarah run with me for a few minutes

MILES 21-26.2
Sarah let me know the whole crew was just around the corner at mile 21, which really helped me get to the next mile. Then only 5 miles to go! This was the point where I knew I was going to finish. My legs hurt, but they only felt like I had run for 10 miles instead of 20. I was also super close to finishing in under 5 hours, if I just pushed hard enough! I did what I could, and mile 25 was one of my fastest miles! Here are the highs and lows:

Mile 21: My whole crew came out and ran with me for a few minutes! I was the envy of all the runners around me
Mile 22: Meeting Jenny from Texas. We were talking about how much we enjoyed beer, and we passed the Widmer brewery, which was handing out free beer!
Mile 25: Meeting Victoria, originally from LA, who had been training with Portland Fit
Mile 26: Helping this guy who had a bad thigh cramp by giving him a shot block with sodium, and some water
- Seeing Holly and she let me know the finish line was around the corner
- Seeing Deb and Raj and having the energy to wave at the camera
- Hearing Matt's voice cheering for me as I approached the finish line
Crossing the finish line: Victoria and I hugged, I got my cape, medal, and rose. I found my crew and there was chocolate milk waiting for me

(Here's a photo Deb snapped of me... I'm still in a lot of pain, if that smile looks intense... :)

Mile 26: Helping thigh-cramp guy seriously slowed me down ;)

Here's the Garmin report:

And here's the link to view the whole report, but you need to view it in IE.

I really can't believe the whole thing is over. It seemed to go by so quickly. I did it! I ran a marathon. I'm pretty sure I thought about each and every person in my life and how much I appreciate them. It's like everyone was running with me. It was incredibly touching when they came to run with me. (photo coming of the crew soon!) And I am super grateful for how encouraging and supportive Matt has been. He really is my biggest fan! Hearing his voice while I was running brought a smile to my face no matter what my legs were feeling.

I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted. I think I came into this race trying to prove that it can be done. That anyone can run a marathon, all you have to do is train. Through training you learn so much about yourself. You learn that you are capable than so much more than you imagined. You also learn it's okay push yourself, but also to be kind to your body.

Although it felt like I was bearing a torch those 26 miles, I wanted to do it for all the people out there who think a marathon is something they could never do. I started running when I was almost 300 pounds (hence that opening picture), and one mile at a time I made it! I've had the help of many encouraging people along the way, and I hope that my story can one day inspire others to get out there and do it, too!

Finishing a half hour before I expected... that was for me. I just wanted to see if I could do it. Part of me knew I was going faster than I should. I figured if I lost the 5 hour group I would still finish at a decent time. But I could have lost it, and dropped into my slow mopey pace I experienced at the end of my 18-mile and 20-mile training runs. I am really proud of my time, and I know I can knock a few minutes off it next time...

That's right, next time!


loafingcactus said...

You do extremely rule!! Oh, I am SOOOOOO excited for you!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! (Gee, I've been refreshing your blog all day!)

Gina said...

Congratulations Wac!!!!! I'm so happy for you. You did it, girl!

Sarah said...

Pardon my French, but you are a FUCKING ROCK STAR!!!!!!!!!!

I'm in total awe of you... way to go!!!!!!!

ChrisM said...

I have to agree with Sarah. Fucking Rock Star is the only way to describe you. You are also my hero. Congrats.

Bridget said...

SAWEEEEEET! I'm going to do the Seattle half marathon if you want a running buddy. :)

Deborah said...

You earned some serious karma points with shot-block guy. Congrats on kicking Katie Holmes' ass (although I have my doubts about the legitimacy of her marathon participation ;) and for achieving such a tremendous goal!

Sarah said...

awww are so awesome! I am mega proud of you....looks like we are getting a real crew going for the Seattle half!

John said...

Congrats!! You are a true inspiration.

Heather said...

Wacarra - I am so proud of you! Reading this made me teary. You are a total rock star and an inspiration to us all! Honestly - you are amazing. Great job!!!

Alison said...

Congratulations!! I'm up at 4am b/c I can't sleep.. and now I have tears!!! I'll be thinking about you Sunday when I'm running mine! You look fantastic in your pictures!

Christi said...


Congratulations!!!! You are amazing and an inspiration to all of us! I am so happy for you. NICE JOB!!

Christi Masi

Runner Leana said...

What a fantastic race, congratulations!!!! And a smoking time to boot! I'm glad to hear your first marathon went so well. Take care of your cankle now!

Miss Jessica said...

You're amazing! I'm so happy for you!

kelli said...

suck on that, katie holmes! you are amazing and i can't wait to celebrate SOON!

Road Warrior said...

Congratulations! You completed something that humans aren't supposed to be able to do. You are a changed person and it shows you that you can do anything.

Great race report!