Thursday, March 8, 2012

Surf City Marathon Race Report

Katie is's buyer and resident triathlete extraordinaire. Katie works hard to bring you the extensive and thoughtful selection of apparel you've come to expect from TE. She is also a two time finisher of Ironman Canada, and continues to see success in the sport she loves. Katie is our go-to gal for advice on wetsuits, swimwear, goggles, and all things triathlon. She recently raced the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach, CA. You can read her race report below!

by Katie, TE Buyer

My initial goal was to get through the training and run the event injury free. Being injury prone for the last couple years made this goal feel lofty.

Once I accomplished my training goal I decided to up the ante and set my sights higher. How would I know what I was capable of if I didn't push my limits? I decided to “race” the marathon and give it everything I had. At my first marathon (3 ½ years prior), I successfully ran and even qualified for the Boston Marathon, so I knew my goal wasn't far fetched.

When running a marathon (either Ironman or stand alone) I never think of the full distance because that would just be overwhelming and rather terrifying. Instead, I think of each mile I am going to run down.
Passing one mile marker after another, I remind myself of the training and hard work that have gotten me here.

I've never needed help finding motivation. My momma made sure I was stocked at birth. I am a person who has been humbled by injuries (let's also not ignore the fact I keep aging up). What I needed was help finding confidence that had faded over time. I found this confidence from my friends and family. They kept me company on long runs that scared me, listened to my worries and complaints, and provided positive, loving support. They joined me in post training feasts, although I don't think I had to twist anyone's arm. I'm now rambling on. What I'm getting at is they believed in me and gave me the tools I needed to believe in myself. Although I was running this marathon solo, I felt my friends were running with me. As corny as it sounds – My friends and family are the wind beneath my wings.

Back to the race!

Race day came and I felt confident. I walked up to the starting corral and waited with friends until the final count down. Bang! The gun went off and my engine went from idle to cruise control. I knew not to push the throttle. I stayed focused on breathing calm, keeping my upper body relaxed, and trying my best to run efficiently.

Everything felt good until mile 10 or 11. At this point, the course took a U-Turn and I ran directly in to the rising sun. Oy! My eyes! I wore sunglasses but ignored advice to wear a hat or visor. Sweat poured down my face and stung my eyes, blinding me as I ran towards the orange flaming ball. I ran without sight for a good five minutes while rubbing my eyes and prayed that I wouldn't run into someone. Thankfully, it passed and I regained my vision without needing to stop.

The run went on comfortably until right after mile marker 20. In a matter of seconds, my stomach wrenched and I spewed out my insides. Holy Moly! That was a disgusting first! My Gamin vibrated to alert me that I had stopped moving. Really?! So, on I continued . Now, my goal was to pick up my pace and reach the next aid station. I seriously needed to wash my mouth out or I was going to get sick again from the taste. As I approached the aid station, I grabbed whatever sports drink they offered and used it as mouth wash.

The last 10k felt like an eternity. I had thrown up all my GU and electrolytes and was now running on empty. I tried to channel caloric reserves from my rendezvous at Coldstone the night before. Once I lost nutrition, it was hard to keep a positive outlook. My legs wanted to run, but my body and mind did not. The darkness set in and I started to walk. I could only stand walking for a few seconds, I couldn't stand moving sooooo slow. I started to run again. This would only last a matter of minutes. I was too tired. I grabbed a banana from an aid station. I knew solid food would upset my stomach, but it didn't matter. If I didn't eat something I would have ended up walking all of it. The banana wasn't exactly rocket fuel, but it did allow me to pull my head out of my a** and run in the last bit.

I crossed the finish line at 3:43 – 7 minutes longer then my revised goal and a PW (personal worst). Although I didn't technically achieve my new goal; I still felt like a success. I did race the marathon, I continued to run after I puked, and I did not DNF (even though I secretly wanted to in the end). I stayed healthy training, during the race, and after into marathon recovery. I accomplished so much this day. I am a very grateful and proud woman for this experience.