Our Daily (G)races

Training to be the best wife, mom, runner, and person I can be each and every day....

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Woodlands Marathon

Every single time I get ready to cross the starting line of a marathon I feel several emotions....

Fear....it's a long, long, long way to run
Excitement that the day is finally here
Nerves....no explanation needed I think
Calm....there's nothing left to do but run
Sadness....I really like the training part
Happiness....Glad the training is over because it's exhausting

I decided to run The Woodlands Marathon in December.  Philly so was horrific for me that I wanted a better experience and I knew I could have a better day.  Drew was very supportive of the decision because me running a marathon is a family commitment.  My weekday runs don't interfere with family life, but my long runs do each and every week.  Drew willingly takes care of all the Saturday or Sunday things when I'm running.  I am so thankful for that! 

I felt super prepared for the marathon.  I was calm all week.  No nerves at all until race day.  Saturday morning was crazy because I literally thought I would vomit on the way to the race.  I was so glad that Drew drove me to the race so I didn't have to think about parking.   I have never felt that nervous before a race and I was a little shocked.  As soon as I got out of the truck I was calm as could be.  Weird!  I just wanted to get the race started.

This is the third time I have run The Woodlands Marathon, but the first time on the single loop course.  I studied the course map and can still say that I have no idea where we ran for most of the race.  The back of The Woodlands just goes on forever.  I'm not sure people live back there either because there was hardly a person cheering along the course.

My plan was to run between 8:30 and 8:40 pace.  I planned to take in fuel every five miles or so depending on the location of the water stops.  Then between mile 18-20 I would get my own water bottle from Drew.  I always want more fuel and water at the end of a marathon and I want it when I want it.  The fueling plan went really well.  The running plan went really well until about mile 20.

I started in Corral A just behind the fast people....so exciting to see them run.  The weather was perfect to start, but it warmed up quickly.  I was thankful I was at mile 8 before the fog lifted and it became sunny.  From that point on it was just hot.  The day warmed quickly and I would guess the last 10 or so miles were run with temps in the 70's and mostly in the sun.  I have quite the unattractive sunburn on my back and chest.  Thankfully it wasn't humid, but it was still way too warm for me.

Everything for me felt great until about mile 13.  I could tell I was hitting a slump and so I just kept focusing on one mile at a time.  A slump generally always comes. I focused more on my music and kept thinking "I am ready for this."   I was still hitting my pace range and overall I felt good. 
still happy and feeling good around mile 9
At mile 18 I happily saw my family.  I was thinking that would happen around mile 20 so it was quite a surprise.  Elena gave me my water bottle and I thought just push on to mile 23 when I would see them again.  My times were slowing down and I was really feeling the heat.  Thinking back I think I stopped sweating sometime around mile 20.  That is never good.  I had 10 ounces of water in my bottle and it was gone within two miles.  I started taking little bits of the Gatorade at the water stations too and I think it helped some.  Also at that time my left hamstring tightened up so much that I figured I pulled it.  Having recovered for several days I didn't pull it.  It is crazy sore, but I think it was cramping.  The pain was crazy bad at times and it forced to me walk.  I tried to stretch my hip and calf hoping that would help, but it didn't much.  I was now running 9+ minute miles and I felt so defeated.

I cried when I saw Drew and the kids at mile 24.  I barely looked at them because I knew I would stop.  I told Drew I was hurting badly and I just kept moving forward.  With 1.5 miles to go I decided it was gut check time.  Everything in my left leg hurt and there was nothing I could do to change that.  So, I figured run as fast as I could so I could be finished.  The last mile marker was a welcomed site.  There were more people cheering and I could literally feel the finish line pulling me to it.  Crazy as it is I ran my fastest mile for mile 25.  It was all about the will to finish.  I squeaked out a tiny PR, but all I could do was cry sad tears.  Even that was hard because I was exhausted.  I could only walk a few steps at a time and then I needed to rest.  The race crew was so nice and I must have been asked 10 times if I needed help or treatment.  All I wanted was to see Drew.

dying as I finished
I don't even know how I managed to look this happy
Finally hearing him call my name was the best feeling of the day.  I just clung to him as I tried to cry, but my body wouldn't really let me too much.  I was having such trouble standing so Jonah got me a chair.  I have to say that my family is the best.  Elena prayed for me to have "stamina".  Jonah told me he was proud of me.  Emma texted me good luck and a message after as well.  Samuel was just Samuel and smiled at me.  Drew kept me together until I could get myself together.

Still several days later I am so sad when I think about this marathon.  I did not accomplish what I felt I was ready to accomplish.  At the same time I am really proud of myself for gutting out another marathon.  I am also on the right path to achieving my marathon goal.  I ran more miles in my target pace range than I ever have previously.  It will happen.  The marathon is the biggest emotional roller coaster I have ever experienced.  On Sunday one of my favorite bloggers posted this and it is total truth.

My official time was 3:49.29.

My time break down was 8:39 pace for 10K; 8:35 pace for 13.1; 8:11 pace for 18.6 and 9:25 to the finish.  I took some comfort in these stats when I really looked at them.  Not a single female in my AG held their pace for the last 10 miles.  Every single person slowed by at least 45 seconds to 4 minutes.  The heat and sun were killer.  So, I took some small comfort in knowing that even the speedier people had trouble with the temperatures. 

I finished 7/50 in my AG and 40/323 for women. 

I am thankful for marathon #7.  It's taken me a couple of days to feel that way, but I am.  I worked hard for this medal.  I learn things about myself each and every time I ran 26.2.  Until next time because there will be a #8.


  1. I know you're sad and nothing I can say will change that, but I think you're amazing and am so proud of you on so many levels. Congrats on your PR.

  2. A marathon is such an emotional and physical race. Congrats on the PR even if it is a small PR. : ) No matter how it went you would definitely remind yourself that you just ran a MARATHON!! That in itself is awesome!!