first marathon day — Carlsbad Marathon 2005

So Sunday was the day I'd been anticipating for a while. My first
marathon. I'd done some halves, but this was the first full. I started
with the 4:30 pace team. Figuring that I could be around there if it
was a really good day, so I might as well see how it felt to start. It
felt good. Too good, in fact. I ended up just going on my own without
them. I slowed a bit later, and they picked it up some, so I ended up
with them for much of the race. The pace leader, a woman who's done
some Ironman races, was fun to talk to, so that was nice. There was
also some good stories and chat with the other people aiming for that
time. Things were good. Some of my favorite bits for the race up to
that point:

Mile 1ish: Ass-smacking by a cute boy *mmm triathletes*
Miles 2 – 5 ish: Great view of pacific ocean and the smell of said ocean
Mile 7ish: Andy cheering for me
Mile 12ish: Andy there again (yay out and back sections that have spectators I know)

Things were good.
10k split time: 1:02:09
1/2 marathon (13.1 mile) split time: 2:14:11
20 mile split time (~4 miles farther than I'd ever ran): 3:23:29

Yet then there was the final time: 4:56:53 at 26.2 miles.

what happened? Not the wall, my muscles and mind were fine. It was my
knee. My Iliotibial band (IT band) to be more precise. And ITB
Syndrome. Basically, the tendons for the muscle attach just below the
knee. At the point they cross the knee, cushioning small sacs of fluid
stop it rubbing against the bone. The sacs or the band may become
inflamed if you run really far, hard or uneven surfaces, etc. Well,
this course was lots of hills, and lots of stretches of uneven road (ie
banked turns, roads that slope down towards the edges, etc). I felt it
a bit at mile 12 when I walked a water stop. So I didn't walk another
one. But at mile 21, I got a cramp in my side that I knew I could (and
did) relieve by changing my pace a bit and matching my breathing with
it. However, it just happened that this change was enough that when I
tried to run again, I couldn't get up to the speed where my knee didn't
hurt. By experimenting while walking the next 3 miles (where by walking
I mean walking with one leg and walking without bending the other) I
found that if I tried to walk faster than 3.7 miles per hour, there was
serious pain. If I tried to jog, I wasn't able to get going long enough
to get back to my pace where it had been ok. And when it hurt the knee
was basically rejecting all weight-bearing as a plausible concept. The
fun part of my experiments? The pain was the kind that made me feel I
was about to pass out. Not so good.

At mile 24, I was getting
so tired of being out on the course (and was at the time I was
expecting to have finished) so I just made myself run. There was enough
adrenaline and natural painkillers of emotion running through me that
the cool lights and such I saw for a bit were just "neat". I made it up
to the pace that was (less) painful and jogged the last 2.2 miles,
knowing that I'd probably have issues even walking the rest if I
stopped again.

But I finished. And under 5 hours. And I saw
Holly as I turned the final corner and the finish line was in sight. So
I ran. Right to her and into her arms! Wheee! And she medal'ed me. And
then told her not to let go for a while, cause I'd probably fall over.
And finishing, yes, that was a good feeling. Marc and Andy were with
here, and Bjorn was on the other side of the fence waiting. And I did
it (and then went to the kaiser tent after gathering my sweatshirt,
etc. where I got some wonderful ice and ibuprofen).

I am going
to try some stretches to strengthen that muscle (once I can figure them
out). But for today, I'm icing and working from home (I drive a
manual… makes the hour drive to work not so doable without massive
pain right now). Well, and I did about 30 min of stretching and 30 of
karate, but I won't mention that part.

It was a good
experience. I now know I can do the distance, no problem. Without the
silly muscle, probably in my ideal-world goal time of 4:30. And I know
I can keep going in pain, which will probably be good to know at the
Ironman in a few months….

The rest of the
day was spent with wonderful people. Marc drove Holly's car back to my
place, and she drove mine (they had carpooled from my apartment), and
Andy drove his. And we vegged. And ate. My god did we eat! But damn, it
was good. And I got muscles rubbed and another IV of The OC and then
some Zim. And ice. And it was good.

More race stats:
11:19 overall pace
33/47 in age group
313/595 women that finished
910/1391 finishers
event on Motionbased

And race goal #1 for the year is completed 🙂

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