This past weekend was the Brian Mickelson Marathon in Cottonwood, Arizona. I picked this marathon out about a month before I had Oliver as one I wanted to try to train for. So, I had Oliver, and after waiting the 6 weeks (okay, I lie, I started running at 5 weeks post-Oliver), I started training. I followed a training plan I found online and decided that once I get up to the larger runs I would decide if I could handle an actual marathon or not.
About a month ago, I decided I was all in. I registered and reserved a hotel.
A few days prior to the race, I received an informational email regarding the upcoming race. In in, it said: "This year is the inaugural marathon event and we have nearly 50 registered to take on the 26.2 miles!" *Nearly*? In my vocabulary, that means "less than". When I ran the Sedona Marathon last year, there were between 100-200 runners, and I remember thinking that was small. 50 is tiny. So, I decided to try not to think about the size.
Saturday morning, we got up bright and early (thanks to Oliver, who saved the day by waking us up at 5 o'clock when we slept through the 4 o'clock alarm), and headed to the start. It was a little chilly at the beginning, but felt nice.
I was happy to find out that one of my runners was an engineering friend, Ox. He was running his first marathon and had his dad (who happens to be our pediatrician) was there to support him. It was fun seeing a friendly face in the race (even if I only saw his face for a few minutes and then he was off ahead of me).
I had a plan for this race. My plan was to run a lot slower at the beginning so that I could keep a steady pace for the entire race. My goal was to run in less than 5 hours, so my goal pace was 10:45 min/ miles. That is a lot slower than my training runs, so I thought it would be doable. I borrowed a friend's garmin (Thank you Lybi) and kept track.
The first 17 miles were super easy and flew by. Ironically, that's were all the hard climbs were. But I had my family as a cheer team every once in a while, and my music was keeping me excited and jamming. After mile 4, I really didn't see anyone until mile 9 (when the people that were faster than me were coming back from the long 6.75 mile there and back segment). Really, the only people I saw were the ad station workers and my cute family.
At mile 18, I realized I passed a porta-potty, but by time I made that realization, I was going down hill and didn't want to go back up. I didn't really *need* to use it, so I thought I'd use the next one. Ha Ha!!! What next one? I started asking ad workers at mile 19 if they knew where the next restroom would be. All I got was blank stares and "I don't know". At mile 22, I was directed by the ad station to go off course a quarter mile (half mile round trip) to use an outhouse. I did as he directed, but after getting of the restroom, I was momentarily lost. They only markings on this race were little pink flags and pink painted arrows on the ground. And have I mentioned that there are no other runners around? yikes!
Thankfully, I found the trail, but unfortunately, after that, I lost my momentum. I still was able to run, and made it past the mile marker 23. Until this point, I had kept my goal pace, and was on track to make my goal of running the whole marathon in less than 5 hours. Then something happened... I got so sick. Can we say DeHyDrAtIoN?!?! It was 95 degrees in Cottonwood on Saturday. So, even though I had been drinking and re-fueling like a crazy girl the entire race, it still happened. There really wasn't anything I think I could have done differently. I had turned onto a dirt trail around mile 18.5 and never saw the family on the course again. I decided I was determined to finish, so started walking (though dizzily). I tried calling the family after I passed mile 24 to see if that would encourage me (my music stopped working, stinkin' ear phones), but I didn't get through to them. Before I got to mile 25, I was on another dirt trail and got the feeling I should sit down. I sat. Then I got a feeling I should lay... then a strong feeling came over me that perhaps laying would be a bad idea because no one would ever find me. (Have I mentioned that I hadn't seen any runners in a LONG LONG time). I got back up and kept going. I passed mile 25 and was on the main road again. I started speed walking. I passed mile 26... I started jogging... I ran through the finish.
Did I make my goal of finishing in less than 5 hours? Heck no! (My official time was 5:25:58). Did I finish? Heck yes! And I happy with it. Yes. (Though I will admit to mixed feelings at first, but I have gone over it again and again in my head, and I don't think I could have changed my approach at all to prevent my dehydration).
So, how am I feeling now, 2 days later... just fine! I'm already planning my next marathon. I'm thinking Phoenix Marathon, March 2, 2013 (and probably one or 2 others early next year) Until then, I'm thinking it's time to take on some half marathons! But believe me, I'm definitely not running another long race in 90+ weather any time soon. Yikes!
Random question... turns out that there was only 2 people in my age group, so technically I took second. If you were me, would you ask for your reward? I didn't stay for the ceremony because I had to hurry back, shower and feed Mr. Oliver. I didn't realize I had "placed" until just now looking at the results.