Race Recap: New Year's Eve Marathon

1.04.2014


***Public Service Announcement***
Be sure and check out the post I wrote for Samantha over at Elah Tree: 
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I announced this new year's eve marathon on my blog as my victory lap. Two thousand thirteen was a tough year for me, and I needed running this year. It was something I could take ownership of, even succeed at. Set personal goals and achieve them. It provided me structure, time to get out of my apartment instead of sitting on the couch moaning about my lack of a job. I did something that was good for my body, and I loved (almost) every minute. Plus it provided a dang good way to work off the calories from all the cupcakes. So sending 2013 out with my second marathon sounded like the perfect idea.

Here's the truth: training wore me out this time around, and my heart just wasn't in it.
I'd probably give myself a B- for effort. One weekend I skipped a 15-mile long run for no other reason than because I didn't feel like it. And I didn't even make it up later! I just sat on my butt all day and didn't go running. I didn't even feel bad about it.

All that to say, going into this race, I was not nearly as mentally or physically prepared as I was for my first marathon in April. Based on the training and overall mental preparation, my goals were as such:

Good: 4:30 or under
Great: 4:20 or under
Awesome: PR (4:14 or under) and/or place in the top three of my age group (<--this was a possibility because it was a smaller race with less than 200 total marathon participants)

As I think back on the race, for me it breaks down into four mileage chunks.

1. Miles 1-14
These were pretty easy. I kept a 9:45 average and kind of just enjoyed the day. The weather was beautiful. A runner's dream, really. The temp started out in the 20s but very soon rose into the 40s. I had elected to not wear my Old Navy compression tights knowing the temperatures would rise throughout the day, and this was a VERY good decision (thanks for the advice, Dad!).

2. Miles 15-20
During these miles I sped up to around a 9:20-9:15 average. The pace felt good, and I started to do mental math, realizing that I actually did have a shot at a PR if I could keep up this pace. I kept waiting to hit The Wall but was still feeling very strong overall. I actually had to hold myself back a few times from pacing in the high 8s!

3. Miles 21-24
This is where my training (or lack thereof) came back to haunt me. These miles were extremely difficult. You would think that after running 22 miles, a measly 3 wouldn't seem too terrible, but during these miles I honestly wondered if I would ever be able to stop running. All I wanted was to stop running

The finish seemed so far away, and there was actually a straightaway where I ran with my eyes closed for a bit because I couldn't bear to look ahead and see the long road stretching out before me. Obviously running with your eyes closed is not an idea I would recommend to anyone, but it was almost like that feeling you get when you're so tired, and your eyelids seem to close on their own.

I think the photographer took this picture during that time. I love my face. I'm like, How dare you take pictures of me!!!!

4. Mile 25-26.2

I hit mile 25 and wanted to be done so bad. My dad was so encouraging at this point and kept telling me I was almost finished and just to give it everything I had. He yelled, "I'll see you at the finish!" as he sprinted off. My mom and brother were there cheering for me too, and I really don't know if I could have done this without them. It's pretty boring to stand around for half a day watching people run, but if you're a runner, you know how much it means to have family and friends come out and cheer you on.

This helped give me a much-needed boost, and I tried to pump my arms and pick up my legs as much as I could. Thankfully, mile 25 went by quickly, and soon I saw the 26-mile marker. My dad got a sweet picture (see below) as I sprinted to the finish.

Once I was finished, I lay on the ground and thought I was going to throw up. I was legitimately surprised to be finished! I know that sounds weird, but there were a few times during the race when I honestly did not think I would ever get to the finish line. I was just so happy to be not running anymore! I felt nauseous most of the day, which did not happen during the OKC marathon, and overall I felt much worse.


* * *
Now, I know not all races are equal. Some go better than others, some feel easier or harder or whatever, but I think my marathon days are over for now. Maybe if a friend decides to run one with me, or if I can save up enough to run the Chicago marathon one day (that sucker is $175!), but in 2014 I'm sticking to 10ks and half marathons. And I'm already signed up to run a 5k with my mom in April! 

I'm so glad I tackled the full 26.2 in 2013--and twice no less!--but during this race I realized that while I love running, I don't love the marathon distance. It's hard and long, and it's just not fun for me.

I don't write this to scare you off from doing a marathon. Heck, who knows? Maybe you'll love it. But I guess what I'm trying to say to all of my runner friends out there is that it's okay if you prefer one distance over another. That's one thing I like about running: there's a distance for everyone. You don't have to like them all, and you don't even have to complete them all to call yourself a runner.

Running these two marathons this year was no doubt one of the best things I've ever done, and I don't regret one minute I spent at those races. Maybe some day I'll run one again, but for now, I'll hang my 2 marathon medals up and wear my shirts proudly... 

...and then go sign up for my next half marathon.

Official chip time: 4:15:57
Average pace: 9:46
Age group placement: 4/15 <--
[I was a little bummed. So close!]
Overall: 55/178

Made it on the leader board. Top 15 at finish!
__________________

Do you have a favorite running distance?

45 comments:

  1. YAY! This was an awesome recap and I'm so happy that you had a good time overall. I'm so impressed! Which halfs would you like to do next year?

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    1. I haven't registered for any yet! I have a 10k scheduled for April, and I'm running a 5k with my mom in April too :)

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  2. Way to go Amanda!! I'm curious to see if I'm going to love or dislike the marathon distance - definitely part of my reason for signing up. That's awesome your family could be there to cheer you on! I'm doing a local race in hopes of lots of family and friends coming out to support me!

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  3. How exciting Amanda. Congrats. I always smile when I see your runnin' post. You betta werk! I did that 5k I told you about and I was just happy I ran 2 miles of it. I finished in the middle. I've been thinking of starting running again. I did a few years back in college but not for long. My sister showed the whole family up and place in the top 50 females and 142 out of almost 1500 people. She's not a runner either. Someone approached her about training for a triathlon but she can't swim to save her life. Ha I told her she could learn and might actually think its fun.

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  4. omg!!! you are a beast!! seriously, that's so awesome! what a great time!

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  5. Congrats!!! You're awesome, as always!

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  6. You are seriously such a rockstar. I need to stalk your blog way more often as I am in the very early stages of getting ready for my first ever HALF-marathon!

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  7. CONGRATS to you! What a huge accomplishments. You are SO right about not having to LOVE every distance. I don't have a desire yet to run a full marathon because anything over 10 miles is just not that fun for me, I like the challenge of a half but doing that TWICE makes me want to vomit. YOU ARE AWESOME.

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  8. way to go, lady! that's amazing. i wish i live a healthy life. haha.

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  9. Your marathon totally snuck up on me! You did awesome!

    I'm also super jealous of your legs in your Mile 26 picture....like...super jealous

    -Em

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  10. Way to go! Hitting your Great goal is awesome especially how difficult you had towards the end.

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  11. this is fantastic!!
    you should be SO proud of yourself. honestly I don't know how I could ever, ever do this. I'd probably die. (not at all exaggerating). reading your mile-by-mile breakdown was so interesting. you have such FOCUS! i am seriously impressed. congratulations! what a phenomenal way to start your year.
    xoxo

    taylor
    bloganticipation.blogspot.com

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  12. Congratulations! You are a bad ass! You inspired me to train for a full marathon. I love that you only run three days a week too.

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  13. Way to go! Running a marathon is actually my New Year's resolution... and not going to lie, I'm really scared. I've run several half marathons and love that distance, so I'm worried this might be too much. But I have to at least try it and see, right?

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  14. Awesome job!! I am trying to get motivated to put down my camera and make running a priority this year...but it had to start the year so cold! You are great motivation, though!

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    1. Thanks so much, Brandi! I guess we're inspiring each other in different ways... me to take more pictures and you to run :)

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  15. Wow you look so amazing!! That's hardcore.

    Happy New Year btw.

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    1. Happy new year to you too! Thanks so much. I'm just glad it's all over! haha.

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  16. Your recaps are so great! Love your analysis…I definitely will try a marathon, but I have a feeling that I will feel the same way about them. But first. The first half! :)

    Congrats, you were amazing! Love the picture of you running past mile 26!

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  17. Love this recap!! You did pretty dang good for not being ready lady!! And you came super close to two goals! So proud of you friend!

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  18. Congratulations!! I loved reading this..and I hear you about the marathon distance. I haven't ever done a full, but I do halves "regularly" (minus being pregnant)...and I love the distance of a half. When I finished my first, I remember thinking...."I never want to do a full!". lol.

    So impressed with all you accomplished in 2013! Two fulls? Way to go!

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  19. I think you did awesome!!! I am working on being good at doing a 5k so you're just wowing me!

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  20. It never ceases to impress me when people can run a marathon - especially when they do more than one.
    I'm sure that if I worked hard enough, I could do one. But I have no desire to! I enjoyed running a half (i think..), and I'm ok with the fact that they may just be my chosen distance. :P

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  21. Wahoo! You go, lady. I'm jealous that you're getting to run right now. Can't wait to get back to it.

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  22. wow!!!! Congrats sweetie!!!!!
    Happy Monday Lady Okie.
    Kisses
    The Indian Savage Diary

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  23. That's AWESOME! I haven't done any marathons yet...just 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons. I think my favorite is 10ks...it's the perfect distance to me!

    I decided this weekend I am going to do a marathon..one day..I'll probably hate it and be miserable ,but one day I want to do it ha

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  24. Oh my gosh, I've closed my eyes when running too!!

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  25. my goodness!!! you rock! :) i love the first proof picture with your funny face! you really are an inspiration because i can't imagine running for that long!

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  26. You are a rockstar! I'm inspired. Not to do a marathon though. I'll stick to 5K's most likely. :)

    Seriously - good job. What an awesome accomplishment - not just one but TWO marathons in a year.

    -Amy

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  27. Winter is a tough time of year for marathoning--for a number of reasons. My slowest one ever was a December effort, my best an October one (summer training and comfortable autumn racing). It's also quite a feat to do two in one year. You did REALLY well in spite of feeling a little unprepared. Congrats on your finish!

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  28. Girl. The fact that you ran on New Year's Eve alone is enough to make me bow down. That's awesome :)

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  29. For not thinking your training was all that great, I think you did AMAZING!!!! Congrats, Amanda!!! You are truly an inspiration :)

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  30. Great job! I love what you said about preferring one distance over others. Definitely agree!

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  31. Congrats! It's awesome you did it. Im going to try and do my first 5k in spring time :) fingers cross that I can do it.

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  32. I have not run a full yet and honestly I don't know if I ever will. I really do love the half distance and whenever I finish a half, I think, 'I can not imagine doing that all over again right now'.

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  33. Congratulations Amanda! Such a huge accomplishment. I know what you mean about loving some distances more than others! Finding your best distance is a great thing!

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  34. Yay! You have inspired me and I signed up for my first 5k!

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  35. Yay! I know what you're saying when you just don't have your heart into a race. I've felt that way before and with reaching higher numbers for my marathon (March 2nd!) I'm pretty much over it. I'm ready to just focus on 5ks and 10ks!

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  36. Fourth?! That's awesome!! Also, I've only run one half and I already know that's too long for me haha. I was thinking 10K might be a nice distance, because I feel like I could actually be competitive at that length. I know I'll never want to run a half as fast as I can haha, but 6.2 miles? I feel like I could actually do some speed training for that.

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