As Ashley pointed out - I never did a marathon RR, so here we go!
Marathon #3, OKC Memorial Marathon - all 26.2 miles of it. Swore I would never do this one, and I swear I will never do it again!
So I was talked into this race by the race team leader. They were starting a training group for people to join and needed coaches. I agreed and found out later that it was for the full, not the half!!! Well here we go. 16 weeks of fun group runs and training, how hard can the 26.2 be, I mean I was doing the 20 mile training runs anyways!
The training was brutal. If you live in America and lived through the winter you will know that this was a terrible winter for training. We never did a long run in temps warmer then 45*, it snowed twice and there was one serious ice day. We did speed training, into 30+mph winds and hill repeats in 80 degrees. It was an adventure and we felt we had trained for it all.
Race day - it was suppose to storm overnight and clear up at gun time with projected highs of 85* plus. Well the storms moved in late and we were storm delayed for 2 hours! It was brutal, sitting in a parking garage on the ground waiting for the all clear. All the breakfast I had eaten, water I had drank, all for not. Everyone was off for fueling and restroom breaks. Now instead of the race starting at 6:30am, it was starting at 8:30am. Remember that I said the temperature was suppose to reach 85*...
The first 8 miles I ran with a good friend that was running the half. We jumped in and out of heavy traffic and slowly picked up the pace, ending around a 10 min pace. It was humid but still a lot of cloud cover so it didn't feel too bad. Once my friend turned off I set out to finish the race alone. At mile 9 I saw my family and was feeling pretty good. Mile 11 the hours of sitting in the parking garage caught up with the gatorade and I had to take a break. Around mile 12 the sun came out. The temperature jumped drastically and quickly. I could immediately feel it in my running and in my body.
I was wishing I had someone to run with and the mental started taking over and I thought if I just did some run walking another friend behind me would catch up (I passed these people at 5, you do the math of how long it is going to take them to catch up). So I started some simple run walking, just walking the water stops. I hit the half mark in about 2:12, which I thought was a great pace, a little slower then my last marathon but not bad. After this we got to the worst part of the course, and the reason I swore never to run it - running around the windy side of the lake. This is when things feel apart. I changed to a 4:1 ratio run walk and finally acknowledge the fact that friends wouldn't catch up since there was a mile switch back and never saw any of them as I ran by.
At mile 17 I saw my family again, put on a pair of capris because the shorts I was wearing were riding up in the humidity. I really started to feel the heat and I was feeling very discouraged. Everyone around me was run walking and looked dejected. It was really hard to keep a positive attitude. I caught the 4:45 pace group at this point (I started behind the 5:30 pacer because of the messy start) and since he didn't have anyone left he reverted to just helping people stay motivated and run. Everyone was fading fast and we all were just trying to help each other. With 10 miles left, lots of heat, and little shade - I switched back and forth between a 4:1, 3:2, and walk as much as I want. It was brutal and I just wanted to finish so bad but I couldn't make my legs go anymore. Not to mention that the wind was blowing 20mph from the south - we were running 10 miles straight south...
Finally at mile 24 I got a break from the wind and ran about a mile, sucked up the pain and ran walk through 25, and finally saw the finish line. Friends cheering gave me a huge burst of energy and I was able to sprint (at an 8 min pace) to the finish line. I finished with 41 seconds to spare...for being under 5 hours that is. It was the second worse day in my life...for the worst day of my life refer to the blog on marathon #1. I am pretty sure I poisoned myself with powerade and water during the race trying to stay hydrated. I was incredibly sick the rest of the day, and I am also pretty sure I had second degree burns on my shoulders and back.
So I survived, I don't know that I have many full marathons left. I am already signed up for the Dopey Challenge, and I would still love to do NYC - but I think I will probably stick to the half marathon as my choice for running distance.