Monday, May 20, 2013

Cleveland Marathon Recap

Marathon #5 has come and gone, where is time going these days?
After a fun weekend in Cleveland (Weekend in Pictures--here),
it was finally time...Marathon morning.

I've said before, I am really bad about getting up in the morning and usually require multiple alarms.  I believe I had 10 set for yesterday morning, and also had John set a few on his phone. But of course, my nerves got me up around 3 and I laid there freaking out staring at the ceiling until my first set alarm went off. Shower, food, and trying to relax in compression gear while I chugged my cold coffee.  Stared at the city lights, fine tuned my playlist, and got myself ready slowly but surely.

Boston Tribute Ribbon #BostonStrong

The outfit (All Saucony)
Ignite Singlet (Not shown here) 
Speed-Run Visor (Thanks @SauconyRacing!)

Gear (Not shown)
Road ID
Garmin 405
Black/Hot Pink Spibelt

Around 5:15 we made our way to Cleveland Browns Stadium where the start/finish was.
A million few bathroom stops, bag check, gearing up and it was finally time to get to the start.

My man and I before the race :)

At 6:15 I made my way to the start and found a place to stand for 45 minutes. Actually there was no standing, there was pacing back and forth, random stretching, and bobbing my head to tunes trying to zone out. Ate a handful of Bits, drank some water and continued pacing.

A race photographer asked if he could take my picture, I said sure knowing this was probably the only race photo I would be smiling in. 

As the start got closer I watched the crowds of people filter in...all 22,000 people...there were no starting corrals, just flags for paces (because people are so good at following those...). A man lined up next to me, who was about 400 pounds and sounded like he was a pack-a-day guy for 30 years. Now I am happy this man chose to take up something like running to get into a healthy lifestyle, but he damn well knows he wouldn't be running anything close to the paces he was standing at. The paces are there for a reason, to allow everyone to get into a groove quicker and run a smoother race. 

Finally it was time to go, and I stood facing a wall. It was the worst bottleneck start (combined with no seeded corrals), I literally walked across the start line because I couldn't go anywhere (I'm sure my rage was apparent). I didn't take a running step until at least 50 feet after the start line, and it was a ways after that before I was able to get into a groove.
Cleveland Source
The First 13
It was about 65 at the start, but cloudy with a breeze so it was pretty comfortable. I knew even before the race I was going to ditch my tank top early on, luckily I saw John around mile 2 and was able to pass it off. I wasn't sure of my plan for the race so I decided to just kind of go with the flow pace wise. I found a comfortable pace and kind of stuck in that range. The miles rolled on, and I even took time to look around and enjoy some great views of the city going over the bridges. I high-fived every kid I could on the side, this made me really happy. The roads were packed, because we had the half marathoners with us at the time. Around mile 12, a girl in the half started chatting with me, telling me it was her first half. I encouraged her and told her she was doing awesome, she worried she was fading though. I told her I would push her for a bit (until the course splits), she gave me a big smile and we pushed forward...hence the faster mile for 13. At this point my watch was consistently off on the mile markers. So I was either running really bad about tangents or course was off...I'm assuming shitty tangents on my part.
notable thoughts during this time: your welcome dude (as the man next to me stared awkwardly as I stripped my tank top off while running), pshh I wasn't even getting paid for the semi-adult entertainment I was providing. Cheap bastard.

Somewhere around mile 10, I realized I had to pee, it wasn't too bad so I figured it would just go away. Around 14 it got worse but at this point I was still thinking "If I can pick up a little bit and hold it, I can PR", so I decided to press on. Finally around 15.5 I knew I couldn't hold it. I saw a port-o-potty coming up at a water stop in the distance, so I started loosening up my spi-belt, moved my Ipod clip, and got myself as ready as possible while still running. I saw someone come out of it right as I was coming up so I knew it was empty. I lost about a minute so I could pee (this affected mile 15 &16 times), came out and re-situated my gear while running. I tried to settle back into my pace, but was discouraged when I saw that the 3:25 pace group had caught up to me. Mentally this was hard, I pushed forward trying not to let them get ahead of me. 7:29,7:41,8:17
notable thoughts during this time: I legitimately considered peeing my pants so I wouldn't have to stop. Thank goodness for common sense kicking in. 

Mentally and physically these miles were hard. I was still trying to hold off the 3:25 pace group, and I hit the point I knew I wasn't going to PR. It felt like Tonya Harding took out my knees and I had to ignore the pain as best I could. The heat cranked up during this time, and I spent a few seconds at each water stop drinking, dumping water on me, and dancing in the hoses that kids were spraying at runners. I am really not sure who enjoyed it more, the kids who got to spray people or the runners who basked in the cold water. Some of these miles were down hill and through a wooded area so there was shade which was a huge help. I started doing math in my head, knowing I couldn't PR but also knowing it would be my second fastest hands down.
notable thoughts during this time: WTF I am 25 my knees aren't supposed to hurt like this, marathons suck, I wonder if they'd mind if I just sit on the ground and let them keep the hose spraying at me for the next 15 minutes. oh and I wonder if the owner of that road-killed cat knows it's missing?
Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon
Cleveland Source
Physically I was feeling okay, but mentally I was struggling. I hadn't seen John since mile 5 (Which was expected...he was following his brother around on the bike as his brother was trying to BQ, so I wasn't planning on seeing him a ton), but I knew that since it had been so long that something was up. I didn't need to see him at this point, but I wanted to...just give me a little boost to get through last few miles. Around 21.5 there he was, my knight in red&black on his bike. I yelled his name and he stopped and waved and as I passed he said "They aren't far ahead of you". I knew what this meant, as much as I didn't want it to be the case. Around 22 I caught up to John's brother David and his GF Katie (she ran the last 10 miles with him). I contemplated staying with them, I have my BQ & I knew I wasn't going to PR. But then I knew that he wouldn't want me to do that, so I said "hi" and carried on. The sun was brutal at this point, no clouds, no shade, no wind...just a hot road (my feet were on fire through my shoes) and the sun blazing down. I stood for a good 30 seconds under a hose at a water stop around 23, I didn't care...I needed it.
7:25, 7:38, 8:04
notable thoughts during this time: damn my man has a nice rear on that bike, am I an asshole for passing my soon to be brother in law?, I wonder if there will be ice cream at the finish?

I did something I hate having to do, but I knew was smart. I walked. Not a lot, but I walked a few times, and stopped at hoses/water stops a few times. My mind was getting "foggy", and I knew I needed to try and cool down, I couldn't replace the fluids/salt as fast as I was losing them. Around mile 25 the 3:25 pace group finally caught me and I didn't care. I watched them get further away and thought, it's another marathon, I'm still going to finish with a solid time, but I want to finish on my feet, not on a stretcher. I'm not saying I would have passed out had I not walked, but I knew those walk breaks/water stops were the smart thing to do, I had nothing to gain by not doing it.
notable thoughts during this time: I'm really bad at doing math while running, why is that girl running with a sucker in her mouth, did her mother teach her nothing! Sucker will not beat me.

Final Push
Instead of finishing 0.2 miles, I finished 0.5 miles after mile 26. Like I said, I just assume it was my shitty tangent running. At about 25.5 I said to myself "no more breaks" and just started running. Picked off a few girls, cranked up the tunes and pushed forward. The last 2 turns were nice, there was a lot of people, and very loud drums with a beat that forced you to finish strong. 
The last 0.5 was at 7:10 pace.
notable thoughts during this time: finish strong, don't get passed, ohhhh I see chocolate milk must run faster!

The clock said 3:26:10 as I crossed. 
I did it, marathon #5 and my second fastest.

My watch said 26.5 miles in 3:25:38 which would be 7:46 average.
According to my Garmin data, my "moving time" was 3:23 so that's almost 3 minutes of peeing, and standing under hoses...oh well. 

Chip time gave me 7:51 average, solid.
Happy with my placing...especially for such a big race.


Am I happy with my time?
You bet, its my second fastest marathon and considering this wasn't my be-all-end-all goal race this year, I can't complain. Another BQ under my belt, Boston 2014 you will be mine.

Am I disappointed I didn't go sub-3:20?
Yep, there were a few points I thought I could do it yesterday, but I'm not going to beat myself up. I didn't train to run sub 3:20 this time. Hell, I personally don't even think I trained to run what I did. Not every race is going to be a PR, and that's okay it gives me something to work for. I ran smart and strong and I can't diminish that success with "what if's". This makes me excited for Wineglass Marathon in the fall, I have good goals to work for. 

I was overwhelmed with support leading up to the race and even more so after. Between texts, twitter, and Facebook it was huge to see so many kind words. I love this community of runners, I love my family & friends and I love my fiance who is always there to support me. 

Big congrats to Jamie and her husband Mike. Jamie ran this as her 2nd marathon and beat her goal by over 10 minutes, and this was her hubby's 1st time finishing a full and on a brutally hot day! The 2 of them also used the marathon to raise money for Project R12, you can still donate to their efforts here.

Thoughts on the race itself:
Very well run, and they were well prepared for the heat
(good amount of water stops, hoses frequently, lots of cold stuff at finish)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start doing seeded corrals. Way too many people not to.

Crappy road conditions, lots of post holes and many sections of running through roads under construction (exposed pipes in the road...come on people)

Great volunteers/spectators, amazing signs and cheering crowds. A little scarce in second half (as expected) but the ones that were there, were great.

A special thanks to all the kids/adults that were in charge of spraying hoses.
 I can't tell you how much that helped. 

Loved having pre/post race at the stadium, no shortage of space or bathrooms. 
(Only thing I would say about this is don't put bag check on top floor on far side of stadium...getting up there after finishing was rough (even with escalators))

Love the medal

 Oh, and for your viewing pleasure....

No officer, I didn't drink a very large blue slushie on the way back to the hotel from the race.
What are you talking about, what blue tongue?

Thanks for all of the well wishes and support :)
I'm excited to be volunteering for 2 races this week, 
I know how much volunteers and spectators made a difference yesterday and I am happy to be giving some love back!


  1. Glad you had such a great time in Cleveland and ran a good race. I loved all the support along the way. Very proud of my hometown race. The start line was the best that it has been in years. They used to start the 10K with the half and full marathoners but they changed that this year. There are corrals but you have to be pretty fast to be seeded in them. They do A, B, and C.
    I started with the 3:30 group and once we crossed the start line we were running and had no issues. I saw 1 walker that people had to go around but that's it, in the past there were TONS! I hate when people don't line up where they should be.
    Congrats on another BQ and good luck at Wineglass.

    1. Your hometown did a great job. It really was a good race that I would consider doing again. I know they had the ABC corrals but they were only for elite runners/sponsored runners. I just feel like they should have specified corrals for people who submit times and then unseeded corrals following. It's just so many people to have all at once.

      How did the race go for you? Glad you had a smooth start, hopefully the rest went smoothly for you too!

      P.S. come do Wineglass :)

    2. The corrals are not for elite/sponsored runners, they go in front of corral A or in corral A, I had many friends in corrals B and C. Sub 3 marathoners in B and Sub 1:20 half marathoners in Corral C. I hope they continue with the corrals and seed them even more in the future.
      I contacted the stomach bug flu thing going around. My fiancé had it all last week and I came down with it that morning. I started the race but dropped out at mile 12.8. I've never had to drop out before so I was bummed. Hoping to get over the flu and get back out there soon.
      I can't make it to Wineglass this year but it is a well run race and cute little town. Visit the finger lakes on your way home from the race. That's what I did and brought home lots of wine to enjoy.

    3. Boo to the stomach bug :( Sorry you were unable to finish, I'm sure that has to be hard. I hope you and your fiance feel better soon, and you'll be back at the running grind in no time. And congrats on the upcoming wedding!!

      I actually grew up in the Finger lakes so I am excited to be doing a race down in that area. I am only about 1.5 hours from the start line and my sister lives very close to the finish so it will be a good day :)

  2. I was spectating at the race was certainly too hot to chase down PRs! Great job an having a smart race! I was one of the few spectators in that evil, hot stretch at the end (mile 25). My friends and I knew how hard it must have been in those conditions so we were were doing our best to "throw" some energy to everyone!

    1. Thank you for showing support and spectating, I can't tell you how much of a difference it made having so many people out there....especially in that last stretch!

  3. Great job out there! It's hard to run the race you want to when the weather gets a bit too hot. It seems silly to have such a large race with no seeded times. You did great though!

    PS. I also experience the "where is the ice cream?" talk during miles 22, and think it is hilarious that chocolate milk is also your motivation to finish the race!!

    1. Thanks Danielle! Ice cream is ALWAYS motivation for me :)

  4. Let's see where to begin my comment LOL. I guess I'll start with the semi adult entertainment musing...I seriously couldn't stop laughing. It took me a second to recover from that.

    You ran such a strong race in that heat and humidity. Like I have said in every way possible, I am so so so proud of you. In the heat, I honestly think it's a stronger time and I cannot wait to see how Wineglass goes. True Story, I already told Heather but I had thought about coming back for that and realized it was Tim's graduation day from flight school...blerg. Just means more races.

    I cannot believe you ran a marathon and took such cute post race photos. Onward to rocking the 70.3! ;)

    1. FYI I couldn't have done this without you.

  5. Great job on the race!!!! Sounds like it was a great trip!! Bet it was nice seeing people with water hoses and that it felt wonderful to run thru.

    1. Thanks Shelley, those hoses were like heaven!

  6. Nice recap! Glad your marathon went well; and a BQ to boot!

    1. Thanks!Getting a second BQ time definitely was gravy on top!

  7. Woah, amazing job!! That is a warm race- it makes such a difference. You really held onto your pace, despite some walking and feeling fuzzy at the end. Hope we can both run Boston next year!!

    1. I can't wait to run Boston next year, and I seriously hope we can meet up!!! :):):):)

  8. Congrats on #5! Sounds like you ran a smart race. It's nice to just kind of go with the flow during a marathon and not feel stressed about your time. I'm really enjoying that this year. :)

    congrats again!

  9. Congratulations Laura and thanks for the shout outs!

  10. So awesome to read this! Way to go Laura! Number 5 under your belt. I'm looking forward to doing my first half in Oct.

  11. Congrats on #5, and an awesome time!!

    1. Thanks Laura! P.S. awesome job at Corp Challenge last night!

  12. Congratulations girl!!!! I loved reading your recap...especially the thoughts you were having at each mile!

    1. Thanks Mindy, there were so many other thoughts and I can't even remember them all. I'm sure there were super funny ones I am forgetting about!

  13. You did amazing Laura! I was totally cheering for you and so happy to see you do so well in the heat. A friend of mine who is very definitely in sub-3:10 shape ran also and was happy to finish with a 3:22, so on a better weather day I can't even imagine what you could do. You absolutely rock! Hope I get to see you at Buffalo this weekend and maybe during some training adventures over the summer :) I can't wait for Wineglass!

    1. Buffalo is going to be great this weekend. I am volunteering in early section on the course, so my plan is to ride around on my bike and cheer people on when I'm done and then head to finish to catch you and then ride back to second half of the full to cheer on my cousin and help get her to the finish!

      As for training this summer, we are going to HAVE to get some training runs in together for Wineglass!! :)


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