Okay, Saturday was special.
It has been a very emotional few weeks, and the race had been the last thing on my brain leading up to it.
Somehow, the marathon gods gave me the day I needed. I had an absolute blast for the majority of the race and felt a tremendous amount of love along the way.
From seeing Andrew and my kids a few times, seeing my brother and his family, the dozens of times I looked down and saw Mer’s ring on my finger and felt the biggest boost from her (wondering if she was there cheering me on), chatting with some of my favorite friends along the way, cheers from people there to watch the race, texts/messages/comments from the best humans before the race, and fantastic race volunteers doing what they do for complete strangers like me… I truly felt like I was being hugged over and over throughout the 26.2.
This was my 18th marathon, but now one of my most memorable running memories because it was like a blanket of peace and comfort that I needed. I don’t ever want to forget how that felt.
I slept amazingly and woke up naturally at 4 a.m. I got up at 4:30 and started eating a Belvita bar (230 calories then and then another 230 calories of the bars + a banana at 5:30 am). I took a shower and got ready. We got the kids ready, and we were out the door at 5:20 to drive to the start; they let Andrew drive me to the start because I get carsick in busses.
I left my phone with Andrew and walked over to the start to find some friends. I was thrilled to feel cold (I brought a blanket to the start!) and to see a huge tailwind happening (they always have a ton of flags out along the starting line so you can see clearly which way the wind is going).
I sat next to the fires with some friends and took a Maurten caffeine gel at 6:40 (the race started at 7) before using the restroom and getting into the corral. I didn’t do any type of warm-up (oops).
This was the first year this marathon did a light show with drones before it started. I wish I would have had my camera. It was dark out, and the drone lights formed incredible pictures in the sky, along with a countdown for the race start. Everyone’s jaws dropped. Now, I really need you guys to do this race!
I started with these friends for the first 10 miles. It was so much fun. We chatted, caught up on life, laughed, and built each other up.
We have 19 kids between the four of us:)
I took a Maurten gel at miles 4 & 8 and got my first bottle of liquid IV at mile 7. I feel like Gatorade doesn’t work great for me, and the liquid IV was excellent for getting in the electrolytes I needed because Maurtens don’t have enough in them for a marathon.
At mile 8, we lost 2 of my friends, and at mile 11, my friend Kassi pulled ahead. At mile 13, my friend Amy caught up, and we chatted for about 2 miles.
Getting to do something hard with friends is my favorite top 10 life activities.
Can you handle these views?
Once Amy went ahead, I turned on my music (it connects to my watch) in one ear, and I may have sung a bit too…
I kept up with my gels every four miles until mile 20ish when I fully puked (TMI?) the gel I took as I ran (I made sure no one was near me). Maybe I was over-fueled or over-hydrated (I was downing my bottles), but I could not get another calorie. I felt depleted in those last two miles of the marathon. I love to try to analyze why things happen the way they do during the marathon, but sometimes, I need to remember that I’m asking my body to do something ridiculous (run 26.2 miles), and the possibility of it revolting with a specific reason is high.
The last two miles were tough, but as you turn to the final stretch, I heard my brother’s voice booming. Never has there been a human that can project more volume than him. It was just what I needed to finish strong.
I love them all so much. Seeing this crew at mile 26 was everything.
I hit 13.1 miles at 1:24:15ish and finished at 2:48:11, so the halves were pretty even splits. Considering both halves were faster than my half in August made me pretty happy!
The first half of St George is much more challenging with the climbing (miles 7-11), but on some of the steep downhills in the second half, I felt my hamstring acting up. I took it back a notch on those downhills because I did not want to cause an injury and miss out on running the Budapest Marathon with Andrew. But I also felt completely done in the last two miles, so I think I was right where my fitness was for the day.
DOWNHILL course, but some burning uphills occur throughout the course at points, too:
6:14, 6:28, 6:10, 6:09, 6:12, 6:01, 5:59, 7:07, 6:44, 6:31, 6:56, 6:29, 6:16, 6:13, 6:03, 6:04, 6:12, 6:18, 6:49, 6:31, 6:11, 6:36, 6:24, 6:18, 6:37, 6:40, 6:29 pace for last .2.
1st in my age group and 9th woman overall! $275 cash prize🤍
Now for way too many additional thoughts:
*I’m learning more and more that life isn’t just about results. Sure, results are really fun, but if I lose the joy running brings me in the process, I’m doing things wrong. I thought about this a lot at the starting line. I was there to find joy along the 26.2 miles; anything else was just extra credit.
*I wanted to finish wanting to do it again, not retire (like how I finished in 2022) and on the ground. Mission accomplished.
*I’m so grateful for another awesome training block from my coach!
*One of my favorite marathon tips. Run where you are–> Not in 10 miles, the next hill, or 30 minutes… Focus on running where you are at that very moment.
*For the last forever, I’ve really thought about my time goals for the marathon. A course PR sounded fabulous going into the race, but I felt strongly this time that I wanted to focus on running by feel and with friends as much as possible without an exact number in my head. A time goal is so fun, but I have found that my marathoning depends on the day. I wanted to give my best I had for the day and be proud of that. During Boston, a few months earlier, it was hard to watch my time goal slip farther and farther away throughout the race even though I was doing my best… I want to be proud of my efforts on days like that, not disappointed that I didn’t hit an exact number. Those magic marathon days are rare and few, so I thought either I would get one of those magical days (hallelujah) or I could focus (and be proud) on doing my absolute best if it wasn’t my day. Going into the race with zero pressure on myself and very little nerves was SO nice. It allowed me to let go of what I couldn’t control and focus on what I could control.
*Andrew. He is so good to us all.
*I flipped my watch around and didn’t look much at it. It was freeing not to be checking it all of the time. My friend told me before the race to get to the finish line as fast as I could without staring at my watch… I love simplicity, and that made it so fun.
*My other two goals for the day were to try not to feel and to look for the good. The less I focus on every little thing that is hurting or going wrong, the better I run. I find myself getting caught up in wasting energy thinking about how my breathing is feeling or my hamstring or how tired my muscles are, and when those thoughts pop up, I told myself to think about anything other than how I was feeling (which kind of contradicts my goal of running by feel haha but it somehow worked).
*Looking for the good always makes my runs/races go better. Whether it is a red mountain along the course, the cutest little kids cheering on the sides who are so excited to see their parents run by, or how grateful I am to have found a gel that makes my stomach very happy (most of the time;)… finding the small (but significant) good along the way makes the biggest difference for me mentally.
*Also, looking OUTWARD helped me so much. I focused on how nice the volunteers were, how my friends felt, how to cheer on a runner next to me, etc. It’s always amazing to me how much focusing on others helps us when experiencing pain in a race or in life.
*Stuffing ice in my sports bra is a simple thing that brings so much joy during a marathon.
*I used my inhalers before the race and was so thankful for them! My lips were blue at the end of the race, but I didn’t have my normal coughing attack, where I feel like my airways are closing off. Those coughing attacks scare me, and I was so grateful not to have one again.
*I forced the carb load this year (I didn’t have much appetite last week due to emotions), and I really can’t believe how much of a difference it makes. An effective carb load makes the most significant difference on race day.
*I love the marathon experience when I feel like I show up a little undercooked than even a millimeter overcooked. This was a short training block (9-10 weeks), and I felt so springy for most of the race, which is just how I want to feel.
Thank you for reading my novel! Now, onto BUDAPEST!
Who raced over the weekend? Tell me everything!
What was one of your happiest races?
What is your favorite type of electrolyte hydration during a long race?
Does anyone else get motion sickness? Any tips on how to help it?