Last marathon of 2016! What a year it has been. Getting prepared for this event I knew I was in for a battle, but I love this race and would not miss it for the world. Coming off my 1st 50 mile race 2 weeks prior to Milwaukee Running Festival the chance that this was going to hurt was high. Luckily I had friends that were also running and would make the suffering totally worth it.
Heading down to the expo I had a chance to chat with Nora about a game plan…basically finish. I know that sounds obvious, but I was not recovered fully yet from the Fall 50 and doubting my ability to pull 26.2 miles off. Last year the MRF was a challenge and one of my slowest marathons. I knew the course was going to push me to the limit as it had last year. On the bright side though MRF is where I met Amanda and for that I am grateful. She has become a wonderful friend and now is an Oiselle team member. That is what I love about running, I meet the coolest people.
Packet pick up was quick and easy. I was in and out within 10 minutes. With a 5 minute drive to my hotel I was settled in and comfy 20 minutes after picking up my bib. Since I was flying solo to this event I connected with Kassy a fellow Oiselle who lives in the Milwaukee area and was also running the marathon. She came and stayed the night to keep me company and talk strategy. Kassy is amazing and one of the most unique individuals I have ever met. I could listen to her life stories all night, but eventually we had to call it a night and get some rest. We both had out clothes laid out and race gear ready to go.
Our alarms went off early the following day. Up bright and early we were both filled with nerves. This was Kassy’s 1st marathon. She had trained hard all summer and was ready to rock and roll. We ate some breakfast, dressed, and packed up our gear. Leaving the hotel ended up being an adventure…we lost my car. I did not realize that there were 2 parking structures attached to hotel. After driving around we finally found it, unloaded my stuff, and headed to the start.
Parked and headed to the Oiselle meet up location. I needed to look for Mason, a former student, who was also running the full marathon. After a few pictures the full marathoners headed to the start. The half marathoners were starting after us. You could cut the tension with a knife. Runners were stretching, chatting, and saying good bye to loved ones. We listened to last minute instructions and the national anthem before the gun went off and we were ready to go.
Mason was under the weather and I was hurting within the 1st mile so we planned to stick together and take walk breaks up all the hills. I thought this would be a “good enough” plan to get me through the race. Boy was I wrong! Within 2 miles I knew I was in over my head. I jokingly said to Mason I should just turn around and head back to the start. In all honesty that is probably what I should have done. My legs were heavy and cramping. We stayed together (he felt bad for me and I appreciate him sticking with me for so long) for several more miles, but I knew he had it in him to go faster and do well. At mile 11 I encouraged him to leave me. I knew I would be miserable, but fine. After a little arguing he went ahead. As I hit the halfway point I burst into tears…holy crap, I was only 1/2 way there. At this point I was looking for a way to bail. Here is the crazy thing I have never DNF’d and did not know how to do that. I know that sounds stupid to say, but I was not sure how to quit. Trust me I wanted to. For the next 2 miles I contemplated how to quit. This kept my mind occupied and my body moving forward.
Throughout the race I had been checking in with my husband to let him know how I was doing. He knew I was nervous about being able to pull this off. I carry my phone for safety when I run, but I rarely pull it out of my Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest. You know I am struggling if I am walking long enough to send a text message, not exactly great race strategy…but who is kidding who, I was moving like a turtle at this point. Between mile 15-16 I called Derek to ask him to find out how I could quit. He checked the website and there was not information on that. I was heartbroken and at my lowest point ever in a race. I put my sunglasses on and sobbed. I was vulnerable and raw with emotions. I did not believe that I could do continue and finish 10 miles. There have been times I have felt like I wanted to quit, but I have NEVER doubted that I could finish. I let it all out. All my fears had risen to the surface. I have always questioned what my limits are and wondered had I reached them.
Mile 17 sort of snuck up on my. I had been sitting in my self-pity for long enough and had to come to terms with the fact that the only way to get this done was to move faster. As I came to this conclusion I met up with another runner in a similar situation. We chatted for a mile and in that mile we realized we both taught AP Psychology…what a small world! The conversation with Jillian saved me big time. My mind no longer was fighting me as it had been. My body was having none of this marathon and continued to hurt, but I was going to finish.
Miles 18-22 sucked! They hurt and I dropped my fair share of f-bombs, but the course was beautiful and the cheering crowds at the aid stations made things tolerable. Jillian and I hung together and powered through those miles. It was fun to swap stories about running and teaching. Miles 22-25 we had to buckle down. The last mile we were along the lake and could hear the post race party booming. My Oiselle girls were cheering and helped to fuel my last few steps.
Date – November 6, 2016
Finish Time – 5:24
Gear Used –
- Orange Mud HydraQuiver VP1 –Best hydration vest EVER. I have worn this vest all summer for training and races. It fits like a glove and allows for me to carry everything I need.
- FitSok – My feet stayed dry, cool, and blister free.
- Tailwind Nutrition – I filled my bottle 3 scoops of Tropical Buzz (caffeine) with 24 oz of water. I was able to refill my bottle with water easily at aid stations and mix up more Tailwind throughout the day. The Orange Mud VP1 back pockets allow for me to carry 4 sticks of Tailwind powder which was the perfect amount to keep me fueled and hydrated.
- Oiselle – Black Distance shorts, Black Wazelle short sleeve, and team singlet.
- Run Gum – I popped this in about 30 minutes before the start of the race. I also carried another pack with me in my hydration vest.
- Trail Toes Cream – I slather this stuff on before I put my socks on to prevent hot spots. Worked awesome!
- Salt Stick Caps – My game plan did not change from my previous events…stay on a regular schedule with my salt tabs to prevent cramping. Worked like a charm.
- Altra One 2.5 – I have switched to a zero drop shoe to combat my SI joint inflammation after my fall at the Ice Age 50k . I love the wide toe box and lightness of these shoes. I wore the same pair for this race as I did the Fall 50. I love these shoes. Comfy and can go the distance.