Race Report: 2012 Woman’s Half Marathon

Let me preface this by saying the only training I did for this race was the half-marathon I did in October. Seriously, the only running I’ve done since then was a few laps around a tennis court during boot camp. And even that was before Thanksgiving. So in light of that, I’d say I did pretty darn good!

This race was in Baton Rouge, my hometown. So that meant we had to spend the night in Baton Rouge, and I had to get a decent night’s sleep, which is difficult at my mom’s house. Miles wakes up about 4,501 times per night at my mom’s, just to confirm I’m still there. So that doesn’t make for the most restful slumber, alas. But I managed to snatch a few hours, and got up at 5 am to get ready. (I can’t totally blame Miles for my tortured sleep, though. I also was afraid my new iPhone alarm wouldn’t actually work, so I kept waking up to check the clock. Argh.)

Got up, made a protein shake/energy drink combo (I’ve been doing an Advocare challenge for the past few weeks) and ate a bagel (mmm, carbs) and drove my mom’s car to the start. It took me longer than I’d hoped to get out of the house because my mom’s car is one of those fancy push-button ones and I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. Yeesh. And then when I got downtown, I couldn’t find the key fob, and it was just v stressful. But I survived. Got to the start. I’ll spare you the details of the start. At least I made it through the port-a-potty line before the race started, unlike at the Jazz Half.

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The start line – a sea of pink

So, okay, the race starts. I had my interval timer set to a 2 minute run: 1 minute walk cycle, and I felt pretty good. One of the great things about this race is that it was small (about 425 runners) and so I didn’t have to weave in and out of people. But it was unseasonably warm. I was very worried about this. Fortunately, the sun never really came out, and that helped tremendously.

I was having a good time. People always love my shirt, and I get lots of fun compliments on it. And since I was running for a family friend who is getting treated for leukemia, I had a sign on my back saying I was running for Laine Z. And a woman passed me and said she went to high school with her! (Or maybe it was her sister, I can’t remember now.) Anyway, it was neat to meet a mutual friend in such a small crowd.

Sometime after the first mile, I decided to try a 3:1 run:walk ratio. Why not? I was feeling good. But {spoiler alert} I probably shouldn’t have done that. I know not to go out too fast, but I reasoned that I’d finished the Jazz Half strong doing a 2:1 the entire time, so why not try to push myself? (Because it was 20 degrees warmer today, that’s why.)

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Along the river at the beginning

At around mile 3, you could decide whether you wanted to do a 10K or a half marathon. I was kind of worried that I would see the 10K turnoff and not be able to resist it. But frankly, I wasn’t even tempted. Whew. And this was my tenth half-marathon, so I wanted to hit that milestone.

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Tiger Stadium, and the turnoff for the 10k/half

So from then on, I ran and ran and ran. And walked, I mean. Ran and walked. We went through the LSU campus (where I spent, ahem, six years – and no, I didn’t go to grad school) and around the lakes. It was a really beautiful course. And there were TONS of water stations. I really appreciated this. I don’t expect more than one station every couple of miles, but I would guess there were at least a dozen stops throughout the race. I didn’t even have to stop at all of them, because they were so plentiful. The support was fantastic.

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My freshman dorm was on the other side of those trees. Memories!

At about mile 7, I started to feel the heat. And probably the consequences of going out too fast in the beginning. And the hills (you laugh, but New Orleans is SO flat that it makes Baton Rouge look positively mountainous.) So I decided to set my timer to about 1:30 run to 1:00 walk. And I continued for a while at this pace. Until I decided, to hell with the timer and turned it off. And just ran when I felt like it (mostly on “downhills”) and walked when I felt like it. I just wanted to finish in under three hours. I knew I wasn’t going to do better than the Jazz Half (2:33), but I was totally fine with that.

And so on I went. I was taking pictures with my iPhone, posting to Facebook, texting my mom to see if they were at the finish line yet, and just having fun. No pressure.

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We ran around the state capital, through some pretty parks and then back to downtown.

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Was SO happy to see this! 1.1 to go!

I was SO happy to get back on River Road, where it was ending. I could see the finish line, and there in the chute was my mom, the boys, and Larry. Woo! Larry recorded me finishing…

Done! And in 2:44:59, my second/third best time! See, after all that walking, I still finished fifteen minutes faster than the one I did in March! Not too shabby.

Afterwards, I got my picture taken, got some snacks for me and the boys, and ran into a few old friends. I was also able to get my results immediately, including my splits from all the chip mats. Very nice!

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All in all, a very good race. Well-organized, great course, fantastic support. I’ll be doing it again next year!

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Race Report: Crescent City Fall Classic 5K

Subtitle: “So Close”

I haven’t done a serious 5K in a while. About a year ago, I did one to benefit a friend’s cousin, but I wasn’t running much then, so I don’t even think I kept track of my time. And before that, I don’t think I’d done one since before the boys were born. Maybe even longer ago than that. As much as I love 5Ks, they’re kind of pricey when you’re on a budget, and when the boys were infants, I couldn’t really leave them. So I was happy when there was a Living Social deal for this race, which made it way more affordable.

I had hoped that it would be cool, since it’s, hello, November, but it was in the high 60s when I left the house and only getting warmer. At least there were some clouds in the sky to keep the sun at bay. But not enough.

When I got to City Park, I found the verrrrry long line to pick up my number (there were 400 Living Social entrants and only one person getting them registered. Ugh.) and eventually got it. They had to delay the start of the race by 20 minutes to account for all of the people in line.

I ran into my friend Heather from our neighborhood, and we lined up at the start together, but agreed to do our own thing and meet up at the finish. When we started, she was a few paces ahead of me, and I thought, if I could keep up with her the whole time, I’d be doing well. (She has not only the benefit of youth, but let’s just say a more running-friendly build than I do.) There were a lot of people walking in front of us, so no doubt I lost some time weaving in and out, but it wasn’t too bad.

The first mile was fine, and I finished it in 10:23. Ooh, that’s pretty fast! There was one underpass (read: giant mountain hill) and I figured that wouldn’t be the only one. Mile two was better – completely flat – and I finished it in 10:09. Oooh, negative splits! I was getting pretty hot at this point, but kept going, even through another underpass. When I hit mile three (10:05!) I really thought I might pass out, but I was so close to the end – surely I could get a PR! I couldn’t remember exactly what that PR was – it was very old – but I was thinking it was a bit over 32:30. So when I crossed the finish line at 32:30 on the nose (I crossed the start line at 2:30 and the finish line at 35:00 exactly) I thought I may have shaved a few seconds off my PR. That last tenth of a mile was killer. It was around a track (which was kinda neat – I’ve never run on a track before) but I was giving it everything I had. I mean, I was barely getting enough oxygen in, and I was hot, hot, hot. But as you can see, I was going at practically the speed of sound. Srsly. Look at that…that spike at the end is 7:14 pace! Ha ha!

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Heather was a few seconds behind me, and as agreed, we met up at the Nutella truck. Yes, Nutella truck. Can you imagine? Heavenly. They were giving out slices of french bread with Nutella slathered on. Heavenly.

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When I got back to my car, I looked up my race report from the race I got my PR at back in January 2005 and was saddened to see that my PR was actually 32:26, so I missed it by four stinkin’ seconds. Oh well. I honestly don’t think I could have shaved off four seconds at the end, but that’s okay. This race was undoubtedly hotter and probably more crowded. So I’ll call it even. 🙂

All in all, a good race and hopefully I’ll be able to do more 5Ks soon. I do have another half next month, but after that…5Ks only!

Race Report – 2012 Jazz Half Marathon

I haven’t done a real race report in ages, but this race definitely merited one. As I mentioned in a previous post, my personal best heading into this race was 2:44. I didn’t know if I could beat that – I was nine years younger when I set that time. But I figured, why not try? I thought if the pace I’d maintained during my 9.5 mile training run last weekend was any indication, it would be possible, at least.

But Friday was still so warm – too warm to run fast. And I took the boys to Boo at the Zoo, where my legs got pretty tired. But I got a good night’s sleep that night, and when I was up at 5am on Saturday morning, I felt pretty good. Had some coffee and a little breakfast, and headed to catch the ferry. I was very happy to be hit with a wall of cold air when I opened the door to go outside.

{to keep this from being a solid block of text, here are a few pictures George took of the boys while they waited for me.}
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I took the ferry over and then walked to the race start, where there were a couple thousand people milling about. I had plenty of time before the race started, so I sat on a bench for a little while before getting in the port-a-potty line. I didn’t want to use it, and then have to go again before the race started (I have a tiny bladder, okay?) so I waited a bit. And then once I saw the line, I regretted that immediately. On the bright side, I ran into our friend Dawn in the line, and we chatted for the thirty minutes we had to wait in line. The starting gun went off when there were still several people in front of us in line, but by that point, I was not going to get out of line.

Finally I was done, and then I had to drop my bag off at the gear check, and get my phone all set up. I had a running playlist, an interval timer, and a GPS mapping program going on to track my pace. So by the time I got to the start, the masses were all well into their first or second mile. But that was okay, the only person I was racing was myself. I started my run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute intervals from the start. The interval timer I was using would tell me which interval I was at, and each “set” was 3 minutes, so I knew if I could finish each mile by the end of every fourth interval, I would be doing a better than 12 minute mile, which was all I needed to set a personal best.

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I should mention that the weather was absolutely perfect. I mean, the best running weather I can imagine. (Well, slightly less wind would have been fine, but it wasn’t bad.) It was cool and cloudy. Perfect.

Mile three hits when I was in something like my tenth interval, so I knew I was going much faster than a 12 minute pace. Much faster. Like, an 11 minute pace? (That’s blistering for me!) And I knew if George got to the finish line at 9:45, which was the earliest time I told him, they might miss me. So I sent him a text saying I might finish a bit earlier than expected. Fortunately, since I started six or seven minutes late, that built in a little buffer for me. But still – didn’t want to take any chances.

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A few miles go by, and I’m maintaining my pace. My hamstrings are a little tight, but I feel good. And then I hear my name being called, and I turn around and see an old high school friend, Emily. She was actually doing a 16 mile run that day, using a 3:1 run:walk ratio, but since she wasn’t trying to set any records, she stuck with me at my pace. It was nice to have someone to chat with, it definitely made the miles go by faster! A few times I would go ahead when she had to make a phone call or something, but she caught up. It’s kind of unbelievable how fast the whole race went by. Before we knew it, we were at mile 12 and we passed the guys giving out free shots of whiskeys and beer chasers. A woman running near us took one, while I got heartburn just thinking of it. Emily told me when she went back to do her additional miles, she got her whiskey shot in. Hee!

We turn the corner onto Camp Street, which is where the finish line is. I’m feeling a bit worn out and when my interval timer tells me to walk, I do. But then the finish line is in sight, and I decided to ignore it after that. And then I see the boys, George, Dawn, and Teresa on the sidelines, cheering me on. I was so happy to see them, I just ran faster so I could finish as quickly as possible.

Pointing out the boys to Emily:
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Come on boys, gimme five!
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They were a tad distracted by the Spiderman on the other side of the road:
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Imagine how surprised I was to see 2:34 on the timer when I stopped it. That’s ten minutes faster than the time I set in 2003! I went back to where everyone was standing and got big hugs from my boys. They kept asking if I won, and I said, no. I came in second. Ha!

Me and the boys and my sparkle skirt:
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Later, I checked my official time and it was actually better than I thought…2:33:16! That’s 11 minutes faster than my 2003 time, and a whopping 32 minutes off my official time from the half I did in March!

Overall, just a great race. I felt great, the weather was great, I beat my time…and then seeing the boys at the end was the icing on the cake. So happy!

(And Dawn got fourth in her age group, so she did even better!)

Mardi Gras Half-Marathon Race Report

It’s weird to think that the first one of these I wrote was ten years ago, in the lead up to my first marathon. Which means that was almost ten years ago. And I met George a few days after I got back from London, so it’s been almost ten years since I met him. Crazy.

Anyway, this is going to be in no way as detailed as those race reports, but I do want to make sure I write down some of the details.

My friend Stephanie and her friend from Washington, Allison, were planning to do the race together. Allison was training for a marathon, but promised to stay at our pace. She was training using the Galloway method, which involves running and walking at intervals. She informed us that our intervals would be one minute running, one minute walking. Seemed fair.

The race started at 7 am, but since we were waaaaaay at the back, we didn’t get to the start line until 7:40.

Waiting…(me and Steph)
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Once we got to the start line, we immediately started running for one minute, walking for one minute. It was super easy, even though Steph and I hadn’t run too much during our “long” training run/walks. I had to pee, though, and there weren’t any port-a-potties until mile 2 or so. Tiny bladder strikes again! Once we got to them, we had to wait several minutes in line, but whatever. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Good thing about being in the back of the pack is seeing all the people in costume!
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As you can see, it was a gorgeous day. Well, it would have been gorgeous if I hadn’t been running. It was a tad sunnier than I’d like, and so we did get hot along the way, but it was too lovely to complain much otherwise.

I can’t say too much exciting happened during the race. We chugged along at our 1/1 pace pretty much the entire time. At one point, a woman saw my tank top and said, “Pam? I’m Amy K’s friend…she said to tell you hi!” That was fun. Pretty cool that she found me in a field of 20,000 runners!

I will say that near the end, Steph and I were cursing the woman on Allison’s phone who would tell us when to start running again, but then again, we’d sing her praises when she’d say it was time to walk. We decided that someone needs an app that uses more inspirational voices. Like, say, Ewan McGregor, or Liam Neeson, or similar. Pierce Brosnan telling me I was doing great would be a hell of a lot more motivational than that robotic phone voice.

15K! No idea how many miles that is. 9ish?
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We crossed the finish line officially in 3:04:55, but I know we were in line for the bathroom more than 5 minutes (we stopped twice) so I’m going to go ahead and say I met my goal of finishing in under three hours. Heh.

As I mentioned, my entire reason for signing up for this race was so that the boys could watch me cross the finish line. We even made flags a la car races for them to wave when I crossed. So I was getting pretty excited and emotional as we approached the finish line. Sadly, the combination of tens of thousands of people and three cranky little boys meant we missed each other at the end. But that just means I’ll have to sign up for another race! This time, a smaller, shorter one. 🙂

So happy to be done!
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New PR!

Race this morning – beat my personal best time for the 5K! Previously 33:09, now it’s 32:26, thankyouverymuch. Yay!

Last night we had a yummy steak dinner with Polly and Colin, and then saw The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I liked it a lot, only not as much as the Royal Tenenbaums.

Tomorrow I’m going to see my baby cousin Sara star in her high school production of Oklahoma. I can’t believe she’s 18 and all grown up! And she can sing. She must’ve gotten that from the other side of the family.

Race

Just got home from a 5K race I did with Polly. 34:03, which is I think 25 seconds slower than my fastest time. Which sucks. I don’t think I could’ve gone that much faster. And it was finally cold during a race. Which was very nice. So all in all, I’m not disappointed, seeing as I haven’t really been training, but it would’ve been nice to have beat my PR. (And the only reason I think I could’ve is because of the weight I’ve lost since I set my PR.)

10/26/04

I have yet more wedding pictures to post, but I’m being lazy. As if anyone (including, possibly, my sister) wants to see yet more pictures of the nuptials of Jenny and Rob. But post I will.

Had a fun weekend. Fun! Saturday morning Polly and I ran in a 5K. It was a teeny tiny 5K, maybe 30 people total. We didn’t even get numbers, it was so teeny. But the upside to teeny races is you get a better chance of finishing with a good-sounding place. (Or you could easily finish last.) Fortunately, I didn’t finish last, but I was the 5th female! That is terribly exciting to someone who is usually the 286th female. Okay, so this time there were maybe 10 or 15 females, but still! It was exciting! I didn’t get a medal or anything because they only gave out one award in each age group and a 27 year old girl (who, Polly and I couldn’t help but notice was wearing a THONG under her MESH RUNNING SHORTS) finished ahead of me. Ah well. I even beat Polly! Miracles do happen. She probably let me, but I don’t care!

So the race ends (and I finish in a miserable time of 37:12 – hey, we’re still having a heat wave, in fact the warmest October on record) and then they have door prizes. And this race had lots of door prizes, and since there were only about 30 participants, Polly and I each got prizes! Yay! I won a $20 gift certificate to an Italian restaurant and Polly won two sets of Halloween potholders and dishtowels. She very generously gave me one set of them. Tee hee. Okay, I came out ahead twice in this race. Sorry, Polly.

Anyway, so later, George and I and Polly and Colin went to Six Flags to use the free tickets Polly and I got at a race we did back in April. It was fun. I ate a massive waffle cone of ice cream. I didn’t ride too many rides because I am a wuss but I didn’t care. The log ride really was fun! And we got really wet! And then we rode another ride and got nauseous! And I didn’t realize George really doesn’t like rides that go upside down, until we were strapped into a ride, whirling around and I wondered aloud when we were going to go upside down. Well, the panic in his voice made me laugh, I’m sorry. So I’m an insensitive girlfriend, but it really was funny. Anyway, we only flipped around once or twice.

Saturday night was pub time and I ate HALF of a pizza. God, I love pizza. Pizza is why I will never get to my goal weight. Sigh. It’s worth it, though. Pizza or being thin? Pizza. I would rather have pizza and be fat. (I know, I know, it doesn’t have to be one or the other.)

Sunday was relaxing. Was going to work in the yard, but it is TOO DAMN HOT and I was worn out from Saturday. Then we went and ate Mexican food (hello, lots more points!) and watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. What a great movie. That reminds me, I have to return it tonight. Damn. I hate Blockbuster.

Symphony Run 5K

Last night at the 5K Symphony Run race:

Cool picture, eh? I actually look like I’m running! I mean, I was running. Fast. For me. Finished the race in 34:59. Not a PR for me, but I’m pretty damn proud of that, seeing as the only running I’ve really done since May was last weekend at the bridge race.

And I ran (har har not literally) into Emily, one of the women I trained for the Marine Corps Marathon with. Although she didn’t get to do it. But that’s another story.

So I’m starting Core today. Went to the store after the race and bought a bunch of fruits and vegs and some soups. So I’ll try it for a week and a half (until next Wednesday’s weigh in, the one next week) and see how it goes.

Molarthon ’03

So on the spur of the moment, I decided to do a 5K yesterday in Audubon Park. Here’s the report I posted to the drs list:

So here’s my race report for the Molarthon ’03 5K.

(and DON’T SKIP TO THE BOTTOM! that’d be cheating!)

…I get to Audubon Park at about 8:45 am, the race starts at 9. I register, use the restroom, and then go line up. It’s a small race, and I line up in the middle, behind the obvious walkers but behind the speedy runners. It’s warm, 70 degrees, sunny, a little humid – great weather for a picnic, but not ideal when one is trying to break a PR. (33:38, for the record, set at the Fat Boy 5K back in April.)

So the gun goes off, I start to run. Not too fast, not too slow. The great thing about doing a 5K in this park is that I’m very very familiar with it. I know where all the quarter mile splits are painted on the path, so I can easily see how I’m doing (since there isn’t anyone calling out mile splits). I hit the first quarter mile in 2:35. Whoops, a bit faster than I wanted, but it feels fine. I wanted to stick with 2:45 for 11 minute miles. I slow down a tiny bit and finish the first mile in 10:33. Dang!

I’m getting hot, blah blah blah. The turnaround is at 1.55 miles, which is kind of a pain because the middle mile splits are kinda weird. There’s water at the halfway point, and the guy giving out water gives it to the two people in front of me, but not me. Nice. So I try to grab some off the table, can’t get a hold on any. Spill.

Ooops. The guy apologizes and hands me some. I manage to toss a bit in the direction of my mouth. Fine. Two point one miles comes at 22:30, that’s a 11:57 1.1 mile. Whatever that means. I have a little over 11 minutes to finish with a PR and I’m hot. And breathing hard.

But I think of Julia and that I’m not going to die or anything! I think of what EB said too. So I push on.

I pass a woman who is thin. Yay! (I’m not thin, nowhere close, so this is a small victory for the erm, “large-boned” among us.)

Next three quarter miles in under 2:45. This is good. I might PR by a few seconds. Better than nothing, I figure.

Nearing the end. I look at my watch. I speed up, somehow. (I can collapse when it’s over, just get to the end, dangit!)

I see the clock. It still says 32:xx. I’m not very far!

Gaaa! Now I’m excited! I get to the finish line at 33:09. yay! yay!

yay! Last mile in 10:40! Dang! Woah!

Now I think I’ll definitely PR in the 2 mile race on Dec 13. Just my first and last miles add up to a PR, and maybe then it’ll be even cooler.

This was a great race, not just because of my new PR, but also because of the goody bag. This being the Molarthon, and put on by the New Orleans Dental Hygenists Association, I got two nice toothbrushes, three things of toothpaste, floss out the wazoo, listerine, etc, etc. Ya!

After the race, George, Polly, Colin and I went to Abita Springs to the Abita brewery tour. It was very fun – and lots of free beer. We got there, they let you into the taproom, drink, drink, drink, then tour (which was maybe 15 minutes) then back to the taproom, drink, drink, drink. As I was the driver, I didn’t drink as much as the others, but it was nevertheless fun fun fun. We went and ate at the Abita Brewpub, appropriately enough, after the tour.

Marine Corps Marathon Race Report

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Overall time: 5:49:33, PR of 8:03

So here’s how the whole weekend went…

I had planned to work until noon on Thursday, as our flight didn’t leave until nearly four. I switched shifts with Janice, one of my colleagues, and was to go in at 7:30 a.m. instead of my customary 9:30 or 10:30 start. But by the time everyone got into the office by 10:30, I was too excited to sit in my chair and do any work whatsoever. So my boss Irene said I could leave early. We had a group hug (a silly group hug, not a cheesy group hug) and I left at around 11. I had packed the night before, but I repacked that morning, just to make sure I wasn’t bringing too much stuff, and to make sure I brought the right stuff. Fortunately, I didn’t have any problems forgetting anything vital. And I still had plenty of room to pack my IKEA purchases.

Lindsay drove George and me to the airport, my mom and Alice met us there. Checked in, blah blah blah, nothing exciting to say about our journey to DC. Kristina and Anne picked up George and me and Jenny (my sister) picked up Mom and Alice. George and I stayed at Kristina’s that night (I’d say “slept there” but Kristina’s cat is pretty erm, energetic, so sleep wasn’t really an option.) The next morning, we went with Kristina to her office, then George and I met Jenny, Mom, and Alice at Jenny’s office to go on a Capital tour. Nothing terribly exciting about that, either. Pretty building. Blah blah.

George and I went to the Air and Space Museum (Smithsonian) after lunch but didn’t stay too too long as we were both exhausted from lack of sleep. Made it to the Hyatt, where I was staying, and checked in, rested, went to the expo. Got my number. Yay!

Met everyone for dinner at an Asian restaurant in Cleveland Park, wherever that is. Somewhere near where Kristina lives, which is near Georgetown. Whatever. Kristina brought me to my hotel while everyone else went to an Irish pub across the street. Slept reasonably well that night.

Saturday morning, Peggy and I got up early for a meeting with our TNT people and a short group run. Naturally, Peggy and I were the slowest of the bunch, but the run went well. My ankle barely hurt, and the run really helped my confidence. The weather was nice and cool, which I hoped would hold for the marathon. After that, we went back to the expo, I got a few running shirts (courtesy of my mom) and then we had a TNT pasta lunch. The Penguin guy was the speaker. He was funny. The food was fine, ate some pasta, ate some bread, drank lots of water.

After lunch, Kristina came and picked me up for a trip to Woodbridge to see a friend, and then to IKEA. Yeah! Bought lots of cool stuff, for like 20 bucks, total. It’s now in my suitcase, hopefully making its merry way to my house. Afterwards, Kristina and I went to my sister and her boyfriend Rob’s house in Fairfax for dinner. Everyone else was quite buzzed on wine, which is always entertaining as the sole sober person (except for Kristina, because she had to drive me back to the hotel.) It was a pretty calm evening, and afterwards Kristina drove me back to the hotel. The clocks went back an hour that night, which was great because we were able to get plenty of sleep. Well, it wasn’t perfect sleep, there was a bit of tossing and turning, no surprise there.

Got up at 5:15, got dressed and went downstairs to catch the TNT shuttle. The temperature was already around 60 degrees. Faaaaaaaantastic. I think it was probably cooler in New Orleans. Sheesh. I was profoundly irritated at my luck. Never again will I make the mistake of thinking that Washington DC will be cold in late October. Grrr. Yeah. Just because it was 48 degrees on Friday…why in the world wouldn’t it be 60 degrees with 90% humidity?

Made it to the start around 6:45. Dropped off baggage. Found Ren! Went to the bathroom. I tried to time it so I wouldn’t have to pee when the race started, but of course I did. Thank goodness the people in our 5:30-5:59 corral didn’t move for 20 minutes, so I was able to pee one last time before we started. Peggy and I positioned ourselves with the 5:30 Galloway pace group. I thought we could stay with them, they were doing a 3:1 run/walk, and we’d done 6:1 in training, but as it turns out we lost them almost immediately. Not sure how we got ahead of them, but I don’t trust those Galloway people anymore! (But I’ll still run and walk, don’t get me wrong.)

Now I’m going to try to remember every mile…Keep in mind, to run at 5:30, our pace should have been 12:36 per mile.

Mile 1 (12:10) Ooops, too fast. Where is the Galloway pacer?

Mile 2 (13:13) Maybe if we slow down a little we’ll find him. Here we meet Jane and Kay, two older and very cool ladies who were also trying to stick with the 5:30 pace group. We managed to stick together for quite a while. Jane is a breast cancer survivor – she had it last year! We lost her about ten miles into the race, but I was pleased to find that she did finish, right around when Peggy finished. Kay finished a bit later, I’m also pleased to see from the results. I was a little worried about her because we caught up to her during the Rock Creek Park stretch, but then lost her again.

Mile 3 (12:32) Well, on a better pace, at least. Whose idea was it to run around the Pentagon? Ah well, at least I got to see it.

Mile 4 (13:08) First water stop, plus it’s uphill to get to it. Cruel!

Mile 5 (11:44) Oooh, here’s the downhill, plus a little extra running to try to catch that dang pacer.

Mile 6 (12:29) Better pace. Probably a downhill here too.

Mile 7 (13:19) Saw Mom, Jenny, and George here. And they took a picture. Look how fresh I am!
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Lots of spectators here because it passes right by the start/finish area.

Mile 8 (13:19) Used the restroom here. Right before we saw Kristina and Anne and Rachel for the first time. That was awesome. (Both finding a free portalet *and* seeing friends.) The girls were holding up a sign provided by Tylenol that they had written “Go Pam and Peggy” on, and were photographed by the Tylenol people holding it. Maybe we’ll all be famous!

Mile 9 (12:08) Up into Rock Creek Park. It was gorgeous here, lots of red and yellow leaves fluttering through the air. I spent part of the time trying to catch a leaf. Got one, and was going to save it, but accidentally crumpled it later. Oops.

Mile 10 (13:16) Rock Creek Park…Kay (the woman from Oklahoma City we met at the beginning) caught up with us here (or vice-versa, I can’t remember) while running with her son. What a great guy – he was way ahead of her when he saw her on the out-and-back part, but stopped to run with her, losing a lot of time in the process. Lovely. He just wanted his mom to do well.

Mile 11 (12:44) Turn around (and a mini-downhill) at this point. Was hoping I’d see Devra (a friend) here, as she lives nearby. But I was so stressed and busy in the days before the race that I neglected to call her and see if she was going to come out. So any disappointment I felt was my own fault. But at least the scenery was gorgeous here, that always helps. Also looking for Ren behind me, as we were now on the back part of the out-and-back. Don’t see her, so I’m worried. But I needn’t have been, because here she is when my sister saw her. Doesn’t she look cheerful? Well, appearances can be deceiving because this is when she was cursing me.
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Mile 12 (12:36) Saw Kristina and Anne and Rachel again at the end of this mile, as we were leaving Rock Creek Park. Yay!

Mile 13 (13:36) Kind of a boring part. Goes by the Potomac, which was pretty, but not much support here. I think this is where Peggy started to feel nauseous. Or at least where she admitted it to me. There was a pretty strong headwind here, too, which didn’t help.

Mile 13.1 – overall time 2:47. Pretty well on pace for 5:30 race. Also when the sun comes out and Peggy starts to slow down. But let me say here, I may complain now that we walked too much, but I never really complain at the time about walking. I am fundamentally very lazy, and I like to walk. So when she said “can we walk?” I almost always said “yes” because that’s easier! However, had I been running alone, I probably would have tried harder to stick with the 3:1. Or at least not gone out too fast. I hope. The halfway point came right as we turned onto Constitution Avenue, a long stretch with nice scenery, spotty support, and most torturously of all, trucks lining the street selling hot dogs and hamburgers. I was hungry.

Mile 14 (13:14) Stuck my tongue out at the White House. Blew GW a raspberry.

Mile 15 (14:52) Going up to the Capital. Sun was out. Hot.

Mile 16 (14:36) Up Capitol Hill. Enough said.

Mile 17 (14:28) Down Capitol Hill. Much better. (In feeling, anyway. Time was only marginally better.)

Mile 18 (13:40) I remarked to Peggy that mile 18 feels like a landmark, even though it really isn’t. She grimaced at me, I suppose to stop herself from vomiting all over me. Kristina, Anne, and Rachel were here, and a bit further down, George. Yay! They gave us water bottles whenever we saw them, which was great. Not so much for drinking, more for pouring on our arms, legs, and head. Refreshing.

Mile 19 (13:16) Someone hands me a Starburst sucker. I love this person. We go over a few little bridges now and run around the Tidal Basin, whatever that is. The 14th Street bridge is tantalizingly in view, and though there was no question about making it in time, now that we can see it, it’s a bit more real. More strong headwind here. Evil! Go over some small bridges.

Mile 20 (13:04) I loved this part. Mile 20! The teens are done with! The road narrows here, we catch a high-five from some supporters. Always nice.

Mile 21 (14:36) The evil 14th Street Bridge. The one the slowpokes like myself worry about. But we made it in plenty of time. However, it’s long, dull, and had a vicious headwind. We walked a lot of this mile, and of…

Mile 22 (14:31), still the bridge. Evil! Evil! The flabby, soft underside of my arms is chafing. Ow. Stop to ask everyone on the side (aid & rescue people) for vaseline, no one has any. One aid guy says “wow, next time I’ll know to bring vaseline and nail clippers…” and goes on to list more seemingly obvious things. What did he have? A bunch of band-aids? Yeesh.

Mile 23 (14:21) My last mile with Peggy. We got chocolate chip cookies during this mile. Mmmmm! Soft, chewy, delicious Nestle Tollhouse cookies. Like manna from heaven, they were. Gorgeous. Peggy wasn’t feeling too hot after the cookie break, so she insisted I go on without her. I briefly grappled with my conscience, but ran on ahead. She said she didn’t think she’d be able to run much more.

Mile 24 (13:34) A cruelly dull portion of the race, just when you need support. Through the parking lots of the Pentagon. Who thought of this? I manage to get back on the 3:1 ratio again here, though I’m tiring.

Mile 25 (13:11) Water stop here, more dull dull scenery. Until the last half of the mile, when you start to see people again. A great pick-me-up. This is when my stomach gets butterflies. When I start to gasp and nearly sob. Everyone’s calling my name. Try to at least do 2:1 here. Maybe 1:1. Hard to run while gasping for breath and tummy is in knots.

Mile 26 (13:26) Allllmooooosssst there….still struggling with emotions, until I hit the evil hill at, oh, around 25.8. I really couldn’t believe it. It’s very wrong. My emotions turned from excitement to anger at the jerk who designed this racecourse. My energy is nearly sapped. But I know there isn’t much further to go. I see Denise, a TNT runner that we did our 20 miler with. I see Kristina, Anne, and Rachel.

Mile 26.2 (2:18) Sooooo close….I can see the finish line. Just as I’m approaching it, I hear my name being screamed by my mom, Jenny, George, Alice, Rob…and I turn to them and turn into monster lady. I yell “JUST LET ME FINISH!!!” and then turn and smile big for the camera as I cross the line. I was able to give a strong kick at the end, no thanks to evil hill. I apologize later for my annoyance at my supporters. They love me, they understand.

Get my medal, picture taken, blanket, etc, etc. Bananas and bagels and not much else in the finisher’s tent. Hmmph. Pick up my baggage and find my family. Yay! Go to the TNT tent, then the VIP tent to have a yummy sandwich and to attempt to see Peggy cross the finish line. I check the results on the handy-dandy computer there in the VIP tent and find that she’s already finished, 7 minutes after me.

About an hour later, finally see Ren cross the finish line. I was very worried that she wouldn’t make it. Apparently when Kristina and Anne saw her at mile 8 (and then later at 18), she was cursing Gary and I strongly. When we found her after the race, she was sobbing, partially out of happiness…she said “I’m so glad I never have to run again!”

Am pleased that I didn’t hit the wall. Glad I didn’t get blisters. My toenails are a-okay. I came through this marathon unscathed, except for a little chafing on my tummy where the pouch I was wearing clipped on to my shorts. (Boy was that pouch annoying. I didn’t train with it, duh… I was able to give it to Anne after 12 miles, at least.) My ankle stopped hurting during the marathon (thanks to the anti-inflammatory I popped like M&Ms) and hasn’t hurt since. Figures.

On the other hand, I wish I had insisted to Peggy that we slow down at the beginning. I knew we were going too fast. But I didn’t slow us down. I didn’t say anything. I wanted to find those dang Galloway pacers too! How disorganized of them to be *behind* us. How in the world did we pass them? Why are they only at the beginning of the pace group? Why not sprinkled throughout? There were a lot of people wearing the 5:30 pace tags on their backs, most of them had lost the leaders.

Next marathon? Maybe a spring 2005 marathon. For now, though, I think I’ll concentrate on 1. losing weight, 2. getting faster at shorter races. Hey, I think if you look at my post race report for London, I probably said the same stuff. Ha ha!

Final Stats:

10K – 1:17:56

Half – 2:47:35

21M – 4:38:09

Pace – 13:20

ClockTime – 06:08:30

ChipTime – 05:49:33

OverAll – 14115

OverSex – 5144

OverDiv – 1098

2002 London Marathon Race Report

(Apologies if anyone is reading this in the future, specifically September 24, 2013. What’s the future like? Are there flying cars? Is everyone wearing silver jumpsuits?)

Getting to London
Thursday, 11 April 2002 – Friday, 12 April 2002

In order to prevent jet lag, I had this brilliant idea of going to sleep at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night (that’s 1 a.m. London time), waking at 3 a.m. (that’s 9 a.m. in London) and then pretending like it was the beginning of the day, so that when I got on my flight from Detroit to Amsterdam, it’d be “bedtime” and I could fall right asleep.

Well, everything went to plan, except for the “falling right asleep” part. Of course I didn’t sleep on the plane. I never have, and extreme tiredness (not to mention a tylenol pm and half a mini bottle of wine) didn’t guarantee it this time either. Oh well. Actually, that’s not right. I did manage to grab about 90 minutes worth of fitful snoozing. Not helped by the flight attendant coming on the intercom, yelling about someone smoking in the lavatory. They didn’t catch whoever it was, I don’t think.

Anyway, I arrived in Amsterdam at 5:30 a.m., and my flight was to leave for London at 7:30 or so. Now, I’m sure Schipol is nice if a) there’s anything open b) you have euros to spend c) you’ve slept at least a little in the past 24 hours but as none of those applied to me, I found it hellish. And I wasn’t any happier when I found out my flight was delayed a further 2 hours. So I was hungry, tired, and had nothing to read, as I’d already finished all three books I’d brought with me.

Finally, finally, finally, our plane left Amsterdam and I arrived at Stansted. I still had about 2 hours of journey time ahead of me, but the home stretch! Fantastic! Grabbed the bus into London and watched the city go by. God, I love London! Every little bit of it. The suburbs, the parks, the grafitti, the traffic, the high streets, the pedestrians, everything. I get to the hotel, struggle up the steps with my huge suitcase, and nearly get jammed in the too-small revolving door. (Hey, this is a fancy hotel. Why isn’t there an easier way? Bizarre.) A bellhop takes my suitcase, and I check in. Get my key, go upstairs. Chris and Rebecca and Julie are already there. Okay, so I’m 3 hours late. They don’t mind. I take a shower (whew! I stunk!) and Chris and I head out to the expo.

We take the train to the expo. I point out some of the sights to Chris, and we see some of the race course. The expo is huge. We get our numbers and chips and are disappointed to note that we haven’t gotten a free t-shirt. What’s up with that? But we stop at the huge merchandise area, and I buy two t-shirts and a Flora London Marathon pint glass. (God, I love England. I must’ve missed the marathon-themed cigarettes, but surely they were there somewhere.)

We head down to the main area of the expo, and wander around a bit. We buy some Lucozade Sport so we can try it out, if not in training, at least we’ll know what it tastes like. Very sweet, as it happens. They’re also giving out samples of different flavors. The mixed berry flavor is quite nice, but unfortunately, it’s the orange they’ll be giving out at the race. We see the Runner’s World booth, and the Penguin was there. I was excited about that, but too nervous to say anything. We picked up an information sheet about the “Get you around” pacer (the Penguin, as it happened) but the time for that group was 5:30, a bit faster than my anticipated pace. No matter.

We only stayed at the expo for a little while. We were both tired and jetlagged, and a bit punch-drunk, so we left. On the way back, I decided we should get out of the tube at Westminster, so I could see Big Ben. It’s my favorite symbol of London, and I wanted Chris to see it. We wandered around that area a bit, and caught a bus back to Victoria. I couldn’t help peeking into the Waterstone’s in Trafalgar Square, but I paced myself – didn’t buy any books that day. Although I really wanted to.

Made it back to the hotel, where Chris and I soaked our feet and rested our weary legs. A little while later, we headed off to another hotel for our tour company’s welcome reception. Although it was only a maybe 10 minute walk there, I got us lost and it took closer to thirty. Ah well, at least we got to see Buckingham Palace and the finish line. So we found the reception, and got a glass of wine and basically stood in the middle of the room, awkwardly. We’re both sort of shy, so we decided to wait until someone came and talked to us. Fortunately, someone did, a woman named Pam (“I like your name,” she said. We had nametags on.) from Minneapolis. She was very friendly, and was with a group who had done the Paris Marathon the week before. Crazy!

After attempting to look friendly after Pam left, but not reeling in any more people, we decided to leave, and head back to the hotel. One would assume since we got so lost getting there, that we’d be more careful heading back. But no, this time I got us even more lost. God only knows where we went, but we got a nice little tour of Victoria and its surrounding areas. Marianne met us at the hotel, and the five of us went to have fish and chips at a pub where Anne used to work. After dinner, we exhaustedly made our way back to the hotel, where Marianne and I caught a cab back to Islington. Best £10 I ever spent. But before we got in the cab, we were chatted up by some smooth East End gangster-types. Maybe I watch too many movies. Our cabdriver, as it turned out, ran the marathon himself eleven years ago. He gave me a few tips but said he’d never do it again. Very reassuring. One of the things I love about London is the cabdrivers. You never know what you’ll end up in an in-depth conversation about.

Made it to Marianne’s flat. Very nice. She shares a house with three other trainee lawyers, and I had my own room and half-bathroom. After making small talk with one of Marianne’s flatmates, who was also running the marathon, I went to sleep and slept for a good twelve hours. Zzzzzzz….nice!

In and around London
Saturday, 13 April 2002

I woke up on Saturday morning refreshed. Marianne and I made our way to the hotel, where we were going to meet the rest of the group for an open-topped bus tour. Michael, Marianne’s boyfriend, met us at the hotel and we set off for the bus stop. Got our tickets, and though it was cold and overcast, we sat on the top level. Well, you have to, don’t you? You can’t take an open-topped bus tour and sit on the bottom! So, freezing, we made our way around the tourist areas of London. Much of the tour went along or near the marathon route, so that gave Chris a chance to see parts of the city that’s we’d “tour” on Sunday.

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When the cold got to be unbearable, we got off for lunch. Had bangers and mash (my absolute favorite British dish and perfect for such a day) at a warm pub on the south bank of the river. I was getting nervous because we were meeting some people for dinner that evening, and I always get nervous meeting new people. Not that they were new, really. It was Mike and Ian and Uli (and their respective partners), other runners who also had websites about their training, and we’d been swapping tips and stories for months, throughout our training. I was excited to be meeting them after all this time, but still nervous.

After lunch, we got back on the bus, and froze again until we got to Embankment, where we disembarked to go on a river cruise. I’d never done that before. It was fun, we went all the way to Tower Bridge and back. Nice to see the city from a different perspective. Plus, it was warm inside the boat. 🙂 After we were nicely thawed, we got back on the bus, with the plan to ride up to Marble Arch and walk down Oxford Street to the restaurant where we had dinner reservations. We got a waylayed at Trafalgar Square, where there was a huge (but thankfully peaceful) Palestinian demonstration.

At a hotel giftshop near Marble Arch (one of the areas, incidentally, where Marianne, Kristina, Anne and I lived for a while) Marianne bought me a London Underground game. A “running the marathon” present. Tee hee! I love the Underground. We played it later that night. 🙂

We made our way down Oxford Street (foot traffic, miraculously, wasn’t too bad for a Saturday afternoon) to Regent Street and went in Hamleys, a huge toy store where Chris and Rebecca bought a gift for a friend’s baby. We almost lost some of the group in there, off playing with the toys.

We got to the restaurant at 5:00 on the dot, and Ian and his wife, Jacqui and Mike and his wife Ruth and his son Thomas were already there. I made Chris walk in first. 🙂 Everyone was, of course, really nice, and soon Vicky and her husband showed up, as well as Uli and his partner and another pair of runners, whose names I never caught. (Well, they were at the other end of the table.) Everyone got along well, even though the runners were all pretty nervous. Vicky wasn’t running the marathon, but she had done the Dublin Marathon, so she was able to give us first-time marathoners some advice.

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Yummy food was eaten, but wine was not. Too bad, it smelled really good. I’m not even a big wine drinker, I guess it’s only because I couldn’t have any. Ha ha. So after a few hours of chatting, eating, and having a grand old time, we all headed off, back to our respective beds to get ready for the big day ahead of us.

The Big Day. The Race. 26.2 Miles.
Sunday, 14 April 2002

After tossing and turning for several hours the night before, I finally managed to sleep for about two hours, before my alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 5:00 a.m. I needed to be at Chris’s hotel at 6:30 so we could get on the bus to the start that was arranged by our tour agency. So I showered, attempted to eat some toast, had some tea, and set off for the rather long walk to the tube station. I got mildly lost on the way, which panicked me slightly, but that was nothing compared to the shock I received when I finally did get there.

There were no Underground trains running until 6:59 a.m.

What did I do? Panicked, of course! Tried to find a taxi. No luck. Looked for a bus. No luck. They didn’t start running until 7:00. Finally, I got myself together enough to find a phone box and call Chris (naturally, I didn’t have the number with me, so I had to call information first. All this is making me panic even more.) I got through to him, and he assured me that we had plenty of time to take the train to Greenwich with all of the other runners. Besides, he reasoned, it’d be more in the spirit of things to have to go alongside everyone else. Good point. While I was waiting for the Underground station to open, another runner came by and talked to me. He seemed calm enough, which helped.

Finally, I made it to the hotel and met up with Chris. We got on the tube, and made our way to Waterloo to get on the train to Greenwich. There were tons of runners (duh) and we had to wait for the second train that came by to get on. A good idea, since we actually got to sit.

When we made it to the Greenwich station, we followed the mass of people and the signs to the red start. I’m not exactly sure what the significance of the different starts was, but I think overseas runners and charity runners were at the red start. Immediately we got in line for the bathroom, with about 50 minutes until the race was to start. Naturally, Chris, being a boy, was done in about 5 minutes, but I had to wait about half an hour. After that was taken care of, I put my number on and got my stuff together while Chris went again. That boy has the bladder the size of a pea, as we’ll see later. So then we dropped our kit bags off at the baggage truck and got back in line for the bathroom. This time, we only had about 10 minutes until the race started, and we barely made it in time to jog to the correct pen.

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There was a moment of silence for the Queen Mum, and then the starting noisy thing (I don’t know what it was) went off to signal the start. Woo hoo!

Naturally, there wasn’t any movement, just a slow walk, for a while. We checked out the costumes around us, including my favorites, Tick and Tock. They were two wristwatches (Timex, as it turned out) who were clearly not too hindered by their costumes, as we didn’t see then again for the rest of the day. Sometime around now, we were caught on camera by the BBC. Michael taped it for us and Marianne and I watched it later. Woo hoo! Good thing we wore those orange shirts!

So approximately 17 minutes after the gun went off, we crossed the start line. There were crowds lining either side of the road, and the huge smile that resulted didn’t leave my face for the next, oh, 24 miles or so.

The costumes we saw at the beginning were incredible. Rhinos, a huge cell-phone (who, judging by the shouts at the start, probably had to endure five plus hours of “ring ring” and “hey, turn that off and run!”), a red telephone named Dave (who we were with the whole time), a snail named Brian, Superman, two Batmans and Robins, a big furry creature called, I think, a Womble, some Teletubbies with buckets of money on their backs, and lots of others.

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It didn’t take too long for the crowds to thin out. Or, shall I say, for them to leave us behind. At around mile three, the Penguin’s 5:30 pacer group passed us. We were going to keep with them, but their walk breaks were at odds with ours. Plus, as I said before, they were going faster than us. Sigh. Anyway, I think it was better that we were at the back of the pack, because there really weren’t that many of us, relatively speaking. Therefore, we always heard our names being yelled. It was fantastic. There were little kids lining the routes, wanting us to slap their hands as we ran by. We obliged as much as we could.

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I sincerely thought that I’d remember every little thing about the race, every mile, but let’s face it, the first 8 miles or so really just blended together. Actually, the first 14. Make that 24. Well, I remember snippets of things, which I wrote down right after the race. I don’t necessarily remember when they happened, but I’ll try…

But first, the splits:

Mile 1: 12:21.57
Mile 2: 13:54.71
Mile 3: 13:24.54
Mile 4: 12:36.50
Mile 5: 12:33.37
Mile 6: 13:14.15
Mile 7: 16:57.12 (ahh, that’d be Chris’s first bathroom break)
Mile 8: 12:35.67
Mile 9: 12:40.16
Mile 10: 13:03.55
Mile 11: 15:17.70 (ahh, that’d be the second!)
Mile 12: 13:01.12
Mile 13: 13:04.87
Halfway:
Mile 14: 12:18.53
Mile 15: 13:24.79
Mile 16: 15:49.15 (bathroom break again, plus I forgot to hit my split button, as you can see from Mile 17. At this point, we decided it’d be wiser for me to walk on ahead while Chris used the bathroom, and then he’d run and catch up with me. That way, we didn’t lose as much time.)
Mile 17: 11:45.79
Mile 18: 14:02.31 (couldn’t possibly be another bathroom break could it? very possibly)
Mile 19: 17:01.50 (excrutiating blister popped. see below for story)
Mile 20: 14:20.48 (Had to walk because of the blister.)
Mile 21: 13:43.73
Mile 22: 12:47.31 (woah. speed demons!)
Mile 23: 14:38.24 (I think this was the cobblestones. I’ll have to check the map. Or a bathroom break.)
Mile 24: 13:28.77
Mile 25: 13:35.50 (digging deep. concentrating. sobbing.)
Mile 26.2: 15:57.01 Finished!!!

Total time: 5:57:38 by my watch, 5:57:36 chip time. Fantastic!

Splits as recorded by chip:
KM10: 0:00:00 (I didn’t think it beeped as we ran over it. Hmmm)
KM20: 2:47:37
HALF: 2:55:59 Ê
KM30: 4:14:49
KM40: 5:40:00 Ê
FINISH: 5:57:36

So that means the average mile time for the first half was 13:26.1, and for the second half: 13:51.2 for the second half. Not bad. But positive splits. Curses to the blister! I’ll blame that.

My memories of the race, not necessarily in order:

– After about seven or eight miles, another runner on her cell phone informed us that Paula Radcliffe had won, and that the world record had been set. Hmmm…that makes two races Chris and I had run in where world records had been set. I’ll bet we were the only two people there that were at both the Crescent City Classic and the London Marathon. Hmmm. Perhaps I should look into this, hire myself out as a good luck charm or something.

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– Marianne, Michael, Rebecca, and Julie planned to see us at miles 14 and 21. These points in the course were only a five minute walk apart (for them!) and they were going to hang out with Vicky from dinner. (I don’t think they found her. I think her friends passed by much earlier.) Anyway, we saw them at mile 14. Along with those guys was one of Marianne’s flatmates and her boyfriend and a couple of his friends. They were stationed outside of a pub (naturally) and boy, did they yell when we ran by! We had planned to stop and take a picture with them and say hello, but their yelling spurred us on to run by, victoriously, instead. It was a great feeling to see them, and that pumped us up for a few miles.

– There was a couple from New Zealand, Polly and Ron, who we stuck with for much of the race. And Dave the Telephone. And Brian the Snail. And Superman. We had our own little crowd.

– They gave out sponges intermittently, but they were always gone by the time we got there. We never got a sponge. Ah well. There were mist showers to run through a few times, though. That was nice and very refreshing. Especially since my quads were burning, the cool water really helped. It was actually much warmer that I’d expected. I never felt overheated or anything, but never cold either. The sun was out at the beginning of the race, which was nice, but there was cloud cover for most of the race, which is even better.

– I took a total of 6 gels throughout the race, and one packet of electrolytes. I usually took some of the Lucozade if there was any, and drank a little of it. I never had any stomach problems or anything. No dehydration, nothing. Chris, on the other hand, insisted that it was the Lucozade that made him have to pee five (that’s right FIVE) times during the race (compare that to my ONE, thank you) but he nevertheless picked up a packet of it every time it was offered. Men. Sheesh. And then had to pee five minutes later. (I should say, though, this didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I secretly looked forward to Chris’s bathroom breaks so I could walk extra.)

– Sometime after we passed the mile 18 line, Chris and I were running along, and I felt a very distinct “pop” in my left shoe. Sure enough, one of the blisters that I had picked up while walking around in the days before decided to commit suicide inside my shoe. Blech. It was the most disgusting feeling, and immediately, I was in excrutiating pain. Fortunately, immediately beside us were some (as you can see, very friendly) paramedics. They sat me down and took care of me (well, but a bandage on my toe, what else could they do? Chopping off the toe seemed like a good option to me at the time) and I was really, really worried that I’d either have to give up (no question) or limp to the finish line. Fortunately, I was able to ignore the pain after a little while, and soon enough, it went away completely. Who knows how. I was expecting to take my shoes off afterwards and find a lake of blood inside my shoe, but there was never any. Whew! I hate blood!

– When we got to the infamous cobbles at mile 23, the carpet was gone! Apparently, they lay down a carpet to shield you from the cobblestones in front of the Tower of London. By the time we got there, it was rolled up and off to the side. I thought that was appalling. The fact that many of the water stops were out of water, that I could understand. At least it was only every other water stop. But the fact that they rolled up the carpets and just put them off to the side really made me mad. Why would they do this? Mean. We had to walk through much of this stage, because running on the uneven stones would have either meant hurting my blister or tripping. Either one would be bad. There was also a part at this stage of the race where there were more tourists around than runners, and we had to dodge them. It was like a dream I had before the race, where I lost my way. I literally could not tell for a little bit of time where the race went. Found it eventually. 😛

– I don’t know if Starburst (formerly Opal Fruits in the UK) had some minor sponsorship going on, but almost every piece of candy that was given out throughout the race (and there was a lot) was Starburst. Strange. But good. I also got some gum drops at one point and a mini Mars bar later on. Yum.

– At mile 20 or so, there was a tunnel to go through. At the entrance to the tunnel, there was a huge sign that looked like a brick wall (surrounding the tunnel) that said “What Wall?” Indeed. We never hit the wall. Amazingly enough. I loved that sign.

– Sometime around mile 15, we met Superman. He was running his 209th marathon, and he’d raised over £26,000 for charity. Wow.

– We took two minute walking breaks every mile. And sometimes on the uphills. But we made up for it on the downhills. Who said London was flat? Liar! It was most certainly not flat. Okay, I’m sure compared to other courses it’s flat, but to just say it’s flat, well, that’s not true. To be fair, none of the uphills were steep, but it was definitely a gently rolling course. That didn’t upset me too much, I liked the downhills. Everytime we got to a downhill, I’d hear Cilla telling me about the runners who do everything to maintain an even pace, even though that means slowing down on the downhills. Nutty! So I took her advice and cruised down those downhills, enjoying the speed.

The Finish

Throughout the race, I smiled. It was hard not to, with all of the cheering, the spectators, our names being yelled out. But I was a little concerned about the emotion, or lack thereof. I just wasn’t feeling any strong emotions. Fortunately (for my mental well-being) around mile 24-25, Big Ben came looming ahead of us. At this stage, I was already feeling tired. For the last mile or so, I’d been digging down deep to keep going. It wasn’t that I’d hit the wall or anything, I just needed to concentrate. So I’d pick a spot about 10 feet in front of me, run to it, pick another one, and on and on. It worked really well for me, even though I had to tune out the crowds and Chris, who uses an altogether more vocal method to keep himself going. Nothing wrong with that, it didn’t annoy me or anything, just a different style. So when Big Ben came up in front of us, and I was cruising along comfortably, I lost it. Not badly, but it hit me where we were, and how far we’d come, and I started gasping. If I hadn’t been running, I’d have been crying. Sobbing. But it’s hard to breathe and run and cry at the same time. So I just gasped and tried to keep myself together so I wouldn’t have to stop. It was all very happy and emotional, and my frown was one of pure joy. Snot was running down my face, too, but what could I do?

After we turned the corner heading up towards Buckingham Palace, I stopped sobbing. I was able to enjoy the crowds again. I passed someone I recognized (well, his name, anyway, from his website) but didn’t want to stop and say hello. As we ran down Birdcage Walk, along St. James’s Park, the crowds got thicker. There was a sign ahead that said “800 meters to go.” Hmmm. That seemed reasonable, until I realized that’s half a mile. Not that half a mile is far normally, but at the end of a marathon, it’s an eternity. And because I wanted to be able to run strong at the finish, I told Chris I wanted to walk a little, so that when we turned the corner on to the Mall at Buckingham Palace, we’d be running. So he obliged.

Then we took it home. We missed our group of spectators at mile 21, probably because of my blister, so we were hoping they made it to the finish.

Didn’t see them, didn’t see them, didn’t see them…oh there they were, at the very end, on the left side! Screaming our names, videotaping, taking photos. Unfortunately, I was overcome once more by tears at this last stretch, so that’s all caught on video.

As we crossed the finish line, Chris and I grabbed each other’s hand and raised it high in the air. And smiled.

After we crossed the finish line, a medal was placed around our neck. Our chips were removed. And a photographer took a picture of us. We got our silver blankets and goody bags. T-shirts! Yay! So the London Marathon came through with free (?) shirts, after all. Goody bags were fun. Apple, sandwich, fruit bar, Lucozade Sport (no thanks, never again!) and some other stuff.

PD0060

Chris and I went to the Overseas Repatriation area and waited for everyone. They showed up after a few minutes and Marianne broke out the champagne she’d brought. Yay! We hugged everyone and they told us that they’d nearly missed us. They only made it to the finish line literally two minutes before we turned the corner. Whew!

Exhaustedly, we dragged ourselves back to the hotel, where Chris and I soaked our legs in a tub full of cold water and Epson salts. And then we showered. I called my mom and Kristina.

Then we headed to a pub near our old flat in Kensington and had a pint there. I was barely able to drink it, I was feeling pretty out of it, so we went to the Indian restaurant next door and got a table full of food and refueled. Yummy! I only wish I hadn’t been feeling so weird, because I wasn’t able to enjoy my lamb pasanda as much as I usually would. Mmmmm. Love curry.

After dinner, made it back to Marianne’s (no idea how) and went to sleep. Slept like the dead. Wonderful.

The aftermath…

Sore on Monday. Stairs difficult. No black toenails, thank goodness. Blisters on right toes. Make left leg sore. Ah well. All is gone by today, Thursday.

Thinking…maybe again next year? yeah!

Crescent City Classic 10K Race Report – March 30, 2002

I suppose it wouldn’t be completely fair to call this a race report, because I really only treated it like a leisurely 6.2 mile run with Kristina. It was too hot and humid, not to mention crowded, to really run it like a race. Plus, I’m tapering! Don’t want to hurt myself!

It was a really fun race, and in spite of the weather, a world record was set. That’s kind of cool, being in a race where a world record was set. Our time was about 3x the world record setter’s. ha ha! We finished in 1:25:42 by my watch.

Splits:
1: 13:11
2: 13:18
3: 14:21 (ahh, here’s when we started to walk a bit more than just the water stops)
4: 13:55
5: 15:50 (huh? surely that mile was mismarked! ha ha, okay, maybe not)
6.2: 15:04 (yeah, we sped up a lot at the end)

So, overall, not bad. I mean, I can only get better now! I liked the distance, though. I’d like to do another 10K after the marathon. Unfortunately, there aren’t many in New Orleans. I’ll have to find one.

After the race Sarah had a crawfish boil. That was fun, but I still have heartburn from the spices. I’m such a wuss, I don’t have the constitution to eat spicy Louisiana food.

Yesterday morning, Kristina and I had an Easter egg hunt in each other’s rooms. It was fun. I got Pez. Then we went to brunch (it was my mom’s treat since she couldn’t come see me.) Yesterday evening I went for my 3 mile run, really scheduled for today, but I needed to get out of the house and the weather was gorgeous.

Chris got his confirmation stuff on Saturday. I got my travel documents. We each need what the other has received. I hope I get my race confirmation stuff today. Woo hoo! Chris’s number is 26108. 😀

Oh no, it’s April Fool’s Day. I must remember not to listen to anything anyone says. Very important. I am not gullible!