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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Race Report: Windermere Marathon: an emotional and physical ADVENTURE:)

I'm a bit sad that I am stuck in BED unable to walk on this beautiful day....but it gives me a chance to write while my husband takes some pictures of nearby waterfalls:)

Okay....wow! well..this marathon went nothing as planned just like a lot of people told me COULD happen. I guess I was hoping it would go EXACTLY as planned but that's okay.
I do feel blessed I was able to run today, but there will always be that little part of me that wishes conditions had been better...
The weather the last 2 days was showing 80 degrees today with thunderstorms and lightening...but when I woke this beautiful morning it was all blue skies!
I got up, and got ready....I was so excited and SURE everything was going to be PERFECT!

When we started the race it was already 60degrees:) at 7am!!!! I THOUGHT this was good thing. WRONG.
I have been training in sub 50 degree weather for the last 7 months and I had NO idea what it felt like to run in warm warm weather. The weather got up to 75 degrees during our race and I have never felt heat effect me like that before.
I started off slow like my coach told me to do....did the first 2 miles at 7:55 and 7:45 pace. it was just perfect! I was smiling and SO HAPPY!!!!!
then I cut down to 5 -10 seconds slower than race pace. I could feel that Yes, it did FEEL a bit harder with the elevation but I thought thats okay!
I was in the 7:25-7:30 pace until mile 12 and it felt great!
By mile 12 I was REALLY hot. This path had no shade at all..just wide open under hot sun and I could FEEL it. (I actually have a sun burn on my face:)).
it was SO nice to see my family! at Mile 2, 4, 8 and 12.5:)

At mile 12 I started to notice my pace dropping....I couldn't really figure out WHY to be honest? I had felt fine, wasn't tired...just extremely HOT. Again...I have never run or raced in heat so I didn't really know what to make of it...but my pace just kept getting slower and slower. it was a really strange feeling b/c I had done so many training runs much faster than this at longer distances. I was feeling a bit confused and starting to wonder what the next half of this race was going to be like???

by mile 14, My pace was dropping more.... the course felt really hilly to me starting around this point.....and not a lot of down hill like I was expecting.
By mile 17 I felt inside like something was wrong. I was TRYING to embrace the experience and let go of time goals b/c I was now running all my miles between 9 and 9:30 min miles which is normally a recovery pace for me and it felt really difficult.
As the miles past I continued to see my 3:20 slipping away. The goal moved to 3:25...then 3:30...then 3:35....then to JUST FINISHING.

I know my body was capable of SO MUCH MORE! I have run 7:29 pace for 20 straight miles for peets sake! but all I could control was my attitude....which became a feet in itself:)

The winds picked up and were coming from the side and sometimes from the front. (as I stare out my window right now it looks like a hurricane is a brewing by the way the trees are swaying).
From mile 16 or so on, I had to walk through the aid stations so that I could guzzle TWO full cups of water at each one. I have never felt so thirsty in all my life! I kept thinking..."why can't I stay and drink 2 more?" lol....

At mile 22, that silly muscle that runs up the outside of my calf (attached to the toe flexers) was giving me sharp pain. This is the one that made me walk home from my run on Wednesday.

for a moment I thought "oh my gosh, this better not prevent me from finishing?"...I stopped to try and stretch it but then when I tried to run again, it hurt more so I thought it better to keep moving even if it was slow.
I was 4th female in line they told me at Mile 20 but I got passed by 3 girls and ended up 7th female overall:) I honestly didn't even care anymore...I was just praying I didn't pass out from heat exhuastion:)

Anyway....so at mile 25 I see my husband and I just start to cry, I felt like I was dragging along, in pain and completely beaten. I had missed my goal by oohh.... 15 minutes! lol and I just wanted to stop.
He was so sweet and encouraging and ran with me to the finish! I cried half the way there but I did it.
I hit 26.24 miles and couldn't even SEE the finish line! damn race has been off every year except in the past they were too short...seems like they OVER compensated by .20 miles this year to make up for it.
My finishing time for 26.4 miles according to MY garmin and 26.2 according to them was 3:35:33.
I sat down and CRIED. ....and cried and cried......I felt so bad for crying. I felt ashamed that I wasn't happy with my time. I promised myself I would be happy no matter what but it was hard to swallow.
My coach was so great, I thought he would be disappointed in me, but he said he was amazed that I ran a 3:35 in those conditions and that he wanted to send me an article to read about how heat and elevation affects long distance performance.

I also admit my wonderful family and friends on face book made me feel SO good about it and that helped a lot. My sisters wrote the sweetest things to me and then My mom called me and just to HEAR how proud she was of me for FINISHING made me realize that I had done something really GREAT and that I could just accept that and be at peace.

I am trying to remind myself of the heat, the wind, the injury and illnesses I've had recently and be PROUD but it is hard for me.
To my non-running friends and family they are AMAZED at 3:35 and it's VERY sweet but to me who KNEW i could run a 3:20.....well..you get it.
I just don't understand my body and how it stopped "working" as it seemed at mile 12:(
I am proud that I never gave up and that I did my very best for TODAY:)

I placed 29th overall for the race, 7th overall for females and 3rd in my age group. I got a cute cup too:):)

* interesting fact * I compared this years results to last 2 years results and the winning times were about 20min slower than the past with men and women. first female was only 3:20:/
AND the guy who won the race THIS year ran it 6min FASTER LAST YEAR.

and the 3rd place female LAST year ran it in 3:22 and this year ran it in 3:46!! that's a huge difference and actually makes me feel better and know that I am not the ONLY one who was extremely affected by the heat.*

Anyway, I won't be running any marathons for at least a year (Steve is thanking me for that!) but I KNOW I will run that 3:20, i'm just too determined to stop now. (in fact, i will bet I can run better than a 3:20 on my next one! I'm so stubborn and competitive:) lol). At least this marathon means I can get a HUGE PR next time:)

In the mean time I will continue to work on 5k,10k and half marathon distances:) and PRAY I heal in 2 weeks so I can WALK PROPERLY IN MAUI!!!!

I am thankful to my God for holding off that calf pain as long as He did. For my husband, dad and Susan who came all this way to support me and for all my friends who have made me feel so great about what I did today.

I am sure as I absorb this experience over the next few days I will be even more grateful for it.

I will post pictures (we have A LOT OF THEM!) when I get home tomorrow night. I probably have the most beautifully documented first marathon ever b/c of my loving husband and his awesome Photog skillz! thanks baby!


  1. Can't wait to see pictures. Nicole, this is a great marathon time. Period. And then with all that you were dealing with during this training! Well done! And Maui!! I'm so wishing I was going to Maui. The heat can be rough when you are not used to it. When I trained for Boston, it was cool all season and then on race day it ended up being like 80plus degrees...a record for that marathon...crazy! But enough about me, YOU...You should be so proud and I hope your calf feels better soon girl! Can't wait to see you smash those 5k, 10k and half marathon times!

  2. Nicole, as we talked about it so many times...great runners have bad races, there are so many things we cannot control... I understand when you say you cried, I understand when you cannot be happy about it but everyone is telling you that you should be. This is number one, there will be many more and yes, next one will be a big PR. I am very proud of you. I cannot wait to see pictures and go running with you again. I hope we can choose a race that we can train for together. With longer and warmer days, I am ready to wake up early on some days :) Have a nice drive home.

  3. Just found your blog and I am now a follower.

    Sorry that your time didn't turn out the way you wanted, but I have to be honest... I'm pretty much in awe of your speed. With where I'm at right now, I can hardly even fathom what running that quickly for that long would be like.

  4. I've tried calling and have been stalking you on FACEBOOK for the last hour so I am so glad you poasted this. I'm so proud of you. You did amazingly well. I know it wasn't what you were hoping but YOU FINISHED... I'm SUPER EXCITED TO SEE WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR YOU!!! Can't wait to talk to you! xoxox

  5. That is a great time to begin with, but add the heat and elevation makes it FANTASTIC! You did a great job. Enjoy your recovery!

  6. Right now I am crying too hard to share. Your sisters and I have been bragging all day to anyone that would listen! I love you baby girl! Talk soon, only 13 more sleeps!
    Mom xo

  7. I just found your blog. You are amazing, don't beat yourself up. Your experience sounds a lot like my 1st marathon experience. There are only so many things that are in our control, unfortunately:) I live in Portland also. Would love to run together sometime. You are amazing!

  8. You did an absolutely fantastic job!! That is a GREAT first marathon- especially with the heat and the altitude.
    I live in Western Oregon and we had that weather yesterday....definitely got warm.
    Congratulations on your AWESOME race. I hope you go for a second one sooner than another year :)

  9. You did fantastic! I totally understand the heat thing. I will be going into my race in June knowing that it will likely be a really tough race and I won't be close to my goal time - simply because we train here in Portland in cold and rain and have maybe a few days of 70 degree workouts and then we get to Pac Crest and race in 90 degree weather. It is so frustrating what heat does to my performance - especially as I get older...grrrr.

    Girl, you did GREAT! You are an amazing runner!

  10. First of all love you...because you call me "doll"! Felt like crying while reading your race report. I felt those same feelings of confusion and wondering how the heck things could go so wrong. You so have a 3:20 in you!! Be proud of yourself!!! You have inspired me and I feel so blessed to have shared part of this memory with you! It was fun...chatting by the elevator and meeting my 5'4 buddy!! Rest up dear and look forward to staying connected!!

  11. Nicole!!
    I only just read your blog for the first time yesterday, but you are truly a runner to be reckoned with! I am inspired by your strength and resilience. I was supposed to run the Cleveland Marathon today and was also shooting for a 3:20, but came down with strep on Friday and have been in bed for 24 hours. Now I'm contemplating a different race in 2 weeks, but have no idea how to run in these two weeks to go into the marathon feeling prepared...

    Anyway, you ran a fantastic race yesterday. I've been told by so many that "you cannot appreciate the good races without having the bad ones." Funny that you consider a 3:35 "bad," but I do get it. It just was not what you know you are capable of. You demonstrated such composure and grace. You should be truly proud. Sending you wishes for a quick recovery:)

  12. Hey! I'm so impressed with your run - your 1st marathon and a BQ! I know it didn't go quite as planned, but life doesn't always work that way. YOU finished the race (YOUR 1st MARATHON) and YOU BQ'ed!! You rock!! Enjoy your day off :) So proud of you!

  13. Great Job! Even though it didnt turn out how you wanted it to the important thing is that you finished!! You're awesome and such an inspiration.

  14. Wish it, Dream it, Do it. You did it friend. You found the strength to finish that race when everything was stacked against you. You should be proud of yourself. Way to go! I can't wait to hear all about this is person. love ya girl. XOXO

  15. Wow is all I can say, you're a marathoner girl! There are a lot of things we can control in our lives and in our training, and I myself was even reminded today that the one thing that we do not have control of is the weather. Damn weather that is unwilling to cooperate, grrr.

    The good news is that after this amazing first performance, there is only up to go from here! You have given yourself an amazing starting point with a stellar performance, and that 3:20 and then some will come. Enjoy the road to recovery!

  16. I can't imagine those three hours, running, thinking, pushing, trying, hoping, competing, crying....what a moment in your life. what an accomplishment. Love you so much. so very proud of your physical and inner strength.

  17. Nicole it was so nice to meet u at the start!! You pulled a fantastic time for your first marathon...topped off with poor conditions. It's nice to know I wasnt alone in my assessment of the day! I bet that was so special to finish with your husband!

    You are a marathoner! Congrats!!

  18. Congrats, Nicole! New to your blog. After reading Jess, H's and now your race report---sounds like you all had the same struggles. the conditions sound brutal!! You did amazing considering what you were up against. I understand coming in slower than you anticipated but know that you gave 110 percent and that is what the marathon is all about!! CONGRATS!!

  19. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! I can't believe the heat and elevation change that you ran in!!! Girl, you are a SUPERSTAR and I can't wait for all the pictures. How are you now? It is the best to see family along the way!!!

  20. Heat & elevation really do make it hard. Congrats on finishing your first marathon!


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