National Guard Marathon Report

What a great weekend! So much to say about the race, weekend, and fun times.

I rented a car from Houghton and drove down to Madison, Wisconsin to meet up with my great friends, Leslie and Jess. Thursday night, we ate at Bluephies, and I had some delicious gluten-free vegetarian risotto! We went for an easy run to Picnic Point in the morning, and drove down to Omaha on Friday afternoon, where we stayed with Sarah, my roommate from Bozeman. All four of us were entered in this year’s National Guard races in Lincoln, Nebraska- the other three ladies did the half, and I went all-out for the marathon. We cooked a gluten-free spaghetti dinner on Friday night, and went for a nice walk around Omaha. On Saturday morning, we walked around the Omaha Farmer’s Market for a little bit, and I bought some delicious local chevre cheese! Then, we headed off to Lincoln for the race expo and some relaxation time. We picked up our race packets and headed to the hotel, where we napped for a bit. We had dinner at Lincoln’s Venue, an elegant restaurant on the south-west side of town. I had the sea scallops and cheddar mashed potatoes… so good!

Race day started with us waking up at 5am and making some Starbucks coffee in the hotel. I was nervous all day on Saturday, and started to get excited and anticipated the race to come. We headed to the race a little after 6, and parked only a few blocks from the start. Lines were long for the toilets, but we all made it. I didn’t want to start too far back from the starting line, but also didn’t want to get swept away with the speedsters, so I started between the 7 and 8 min pace groups. I felt good, stayed relaxed, but noticed my heart rate was a little high even before the 1-mile-mark. I had started my watch a little after I crossed the starting line, but I was still around 8min pace, which was slower than the goal pace. I was ok with that, because if I stayed conservative in the beginning, then I’d hopefully have more at the end, but my heart rate rose to 170+. Weird… but I didn’t want to slow down too much more than 8min pace, so I hung on. I ran for a few miles with a girl that goes to school in Omaha, and it was nice to control my breathing by taking my mind off the race a little and being able to chat. I was taking aid (Roctane) every half hour, and water/gatorade at every station. Unfortunately, my heart rate continued to stay high. I got a little carried away a few times, where I ran a few 7:40s and my heart rate rose to 180+. Ooops, so I held back more, relaxed on the downhills, and tried to stay focused.

After the half marathoners split off to the finish, I tried to regroup again, but the heart rate drift started to take its toll. I was now in the 181-185 range and, regardless of slowing down, couldn’t get my heart rate to drop. The sun started to peak above the buildings, and I started to get passed more and more. I stopped to use a porta-john (I was drinking a lot of water) but wasn’t satisfied with how little fluids came out. I stopped again a few miles down to stretch and regain control of my heart rate, but it was too late. I eventually got so frustrated with the whole hr thing that I just took off my monitor from my chest. I pushed through the last few miles, in a lot of pain, and when I crossed the finish, I wanted to cry. I drank two bottles of water and was still thirsty, but didn’t pee until three hours or so later.

As far as the race organization and course goes, I couldn’t have imagined a better event. I enjoyed the post-race massage and great food (local pork roast). The support crews were phenomenal, and there were spectators everywhere. The aid stations were consistently full of volunteers and VERY frequent, nearly every 2 miles in the second half.

Leslie did exceptionally well, finishing 4th overall in the half. Jess and Sarah both PRd, and I qualified for Boston next year. Going to spend the week on recovery and perhaps pick up a new training plan. I’ll talk about that more later.

Special thanks to Brooks Running for picking me up as an ID athlete.