Monday, June 12, 2006

It’s a Celebration!

We arrived in Port Angeles on Saturday afternoon so my son could run in the kids mile. Before the kids run, the announcer reminded everyone a number of times that it wasn’t a race, but rather, a celebration. So that became our theme for the weekend, in both good times and bad, with all seriousness and in jest.

On race morning everything went as planned. I feel like I’ve figured out what works well for me. I had a great night’s sleep and woke up at 6 am. I followed my plan and had a bowl of dry cereal and my can of Starbuck’s Doubleshot and then 20 oz of HEED. I didn’t have anything else to eat or drink until 15 minutes before race time. We left the hotel at 7:15, dropped our friend M off at the half marathon start and got to the marathon start just before 8. It was foggy, but not cold. Perfect running weather. We managed 2 (or was it 3?) bathroom breaks without having to stand in line very long. (I love small races!) At 8:45 I ate my espresso Hammer gel, chased with 6 oz of water. At the starting line we were able to meet up with another running blogger, Kurt. Then at 9 am sharp we were off.

S’s ankle was better, but it still hurt a bit and she was unsure she’d be able to go the distance. But it turned out the marathon cured her ankle. I’ve been pretty wishy-washy about what I wanted from this race. At first it was all about time and getting a PR, then it was more about training…but it turned out to be all about friendship. We committed to finishing together no matter what.

As you can see from our splits we had a pretty good first two thirds. We started out a bit quicker than I had anticipated. But we felt good and didn’t feel like we were pushing it. We walked though all the aid stations where I alternated between water and HEED. In addition to the pre-race gel, I ate 2 Hammer gels and 6 SUCCEED! Caps. I never felt nauseated or light-headed. S likes to dump water on her head and I started doing that too. I think it helped us get through the sunny parts.

Unfortunately, around mile 20, S really battled with painful ITBs. And despite the early fog, the clouds lifted and a lot of the race was humid and sunny. As you can see from our slower splits we walked a lot from mile 20-24. My PR was gone but I really didn’t care. All I cared about was helping S finish. I was feeling pretty good at this point, and a few times S apologized for holding me back and told me to go on. But I didn’t care about a PR any longer. I just wanted to finish together. When feeling her worst, S would yell out “It’s a celebration!”, and we would crack up. As we went though the aid stations we’d cry “It’s a celebration!” One volunteer asked what we were celebrating. She just didn’t get it.

At mile 25, she was still in a lot of pain, but S got her second (third?, fourth?) wind and we were able to pick it up. The last few miles are along the strait and it was foggy again. But just about ½ mile from the finish the fog lifted and we could see the hotel and the finish line. About 50 feet from the line we grabbed each other’s hand and then lifted our arms as we crossed the finish. Cheesy, I know. But an apt way to finish. It was neither my fastest marathon, nor my slowest. But it was one of my best.

Mile 1: 10:16 First mile had a gradual hill, but we were right on target pace.
Mile 2: 9:39 Faster than planned, but it didn’t feel like we were pushing it.
Mile 3: 9:10
Mile 4: 10:41 Aid station #2 at mile 4
Mile 5: 9:05
Mile 6: 10:53 Aid station #3 at mile 6
Mile 7: 9:09
Mile 8: 10:34
Mile 9: 9:52
Mile 10: 10:32
Mile 11: 11:20 Aid station #6 at mile 10.7
Mile 12: 10:09 The next few miles felt really easy
Mile 13: 9:58 Aid station #7 at mile 13 had towels soaked in ice water. Awwww!
Mile 14: 9:37
Mile 15: 10:16
Mile 16: 9:57
This was a turning point for us. As we came to the first big downhill, I developed a searing side stitch, which lasted for about 2 miles and never fully went away. S’s IT bands started to ache.

Mile 17: 12:53
We spent a lot of time at the mile 16.7 aid station at the top of the hill. This is also the first time we saw our cheering crew.
Mile 18: 11:37
Mile 19: 11:19
Mile 20: 13:07
Mile 21: 14:17
Mile 22: 14:01
Mile 23: 14:29
Mile 24: 14:28

Mile 25: 11:36 (approximate---forgot to hit lap at mile 25)
Mile 26: 11:36 (approximate)
Last .2: 2:09
Finish: 4:53:43

A celebration of friendship, of family, of good health, of movement. A celebration of life.


Anonymous said...

what an incredible friend you are, sarah! I am just blown away by your race experience are the exactly the kind of friend that everyone should have during a race and in life. thank you for a beautiful report...great job by the way...considering you had to slow down to help your friend, you still ran a great race.

you're awesome, sarah :)

- matt

robtherunner said...


What a great way to celebrate running by sticking with your friend and enjoying the race. Congratulations!

Feminist Runner said...

Nice job enjoying the race! Congratulations, and, to be as corny as possible, it sounds like you made your fun PR.

backofpack said...

Having a friend like you to run with is what makes it worthwhile! A good race and a fine celebration.

olga said...

Great run with a friend, Sarah! Way to go!

Donald said...

Nice job to hang in there and finish the race. You and your friend will remember that day for a long time to come.

psbowe said...

Sarah, you are one amazing friend and congratulations to the both of you!

I so would have love to run in that race..the half though but you know, it wasn't the right time for me.

It would be so awesome to run in a race together..someday.

But great job again.

Rafael said...

Awesome report Sarah, you rule!

Kim said...

Great race report, Sarah, I was waiting to hear how you did! Sometimes it isn't the PR that you remember from the race, it's the friendship and experiences from the race!

Good job!!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Sarah, what a great race and report!!! It sounds like a fantastic celebration.

GraceD said...

Agree with everyone here - you are an astonishing friend. And you got in a great workout!

I'm inspired by your wonderful running fellowship. This is what makes our sport so awesome.

Many blessings to you, Sarah.

Ginger Breadman said...

What a great run. How inspiring to switch gears that late in the game for the purpose of helping to motivate a friend, and then slugging through it together. I don't think your finish was cheezy - I love watching when people do that holding hands thing - well-deserved is more like it.