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Race Result

Racer: Amanda Shuman
Race: Richmond Marathon
Date: Saturday, November 13, 2004
Location: Richmond, VA
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Female 20 - 24
Time: 4:12:00
Comment: First marathon ever - ouch!

Race Report:

My first marathon report! Now I know what the whole hitting the wall thing feels like... and I can honestly say that I think the half-ironman was a lot easier for me and my body (well... not the swim) ;)

Goals for this race ranged from sub 4hr time->less than 10min/mile pace->just finish and make sure to have fun the whole time... and must beat Oprah's time (approx 4:30).

Days leading up to the event:
I should be nervous.... but I'm really truly not one bit nervous. I should be confident... but I'm not really feeling up to it, it's been a long season. I'm ready for this season to be over. So, I was excited to "try out this marathon thing" and see if I liked it... and feel good at the end. I definitely didn't want to post a race report where I 1) felt like crap at the end 2) collapsed somewhere on the course from going out too fast or 3) threw up at the end.

Day before:

Drove down with 3 ladies I train with at the gym. Driving down with a van full of women is fun, you find out things you never do when you're at the gym or other men are around :) Besides, the traffic was so bad we had to kill time some way (although I think when someone started talking in detail about "toy parties" we crossed the line).

Friday night was awesome -- after picking up race packets we ate at this great pub-like place and an old friend of mine from college came by. Needless to say, I didn't get to bed until 11:30... but whatever, it's the end of the season and I don't need to PR in my first marathon :)

Morning of and the start:
Felt great, had a good breakfast, got to the race site at just the right time. I decided to follow the "conservative" approach for my first marathon. Start out slow, pick it up in between, and finish fairly slow -- well I guess you HAVE to finish slow anyways, wish I'd known that ahead of time...

THE RACE (or should I say the very long, very slow, eventually VERY boring training run)
Well, first 5 miles were extra conservative. Like nearly 9:50 min pace per mile or more. It was also cold and I hate the cold. Talked to a couple people and smiled at the spectators... Continued this until mile 15->17 when I hit the worst headwind ever heading over some never-ending bridge. Trust me, you thought the DC bridges were bad... this was just plain boring... no monuments, nobody to talk to, wind in the face, bleh. But I still felt fine physicaly and mentally.

Miles 18->23 were extremely boring. The sun came out around 22, but I just smiled at people and high fived the kids along the road, talked to a few more runners, etc. People were walking of course, but I was still feeling great.... then

ACK! Now I know this wall thing everyone talks about.

Mile 23 was approaching and my legs started to feel like they were going to fall off. Or was it my feet? The asphalt was killing the bottoms of my feet. Smiling killed time but not the pain. I started singing "Beautiful Day", "Elevation" and "New Year's Day" by U2. "It's a beautiful day, don't let it get away..." (fine until you start humming/talking out loud and people on the side just stare)

I tried to do the math to calculate what my pace had to be the last few miles to pull off something under 4:15 ... so if I run the last two miles at 9:30 pace, that's like 25 minutes... no wait, 20 minutes? aw hell... "it's a beautiful day don't let it get away... what you don't have you don't need it now... what you don't know you can feel somehow... beautiful day"

Around mile 24 it becomes ultra boring. You're running along a run-down strip of the town and all the pretty neighborhoods from before are gone. Not to mention the sun was finally out and it was getting hot in the vest... and where the hell was the next water stop?! Ok...there it is... got water... 2 miles to go....

U2 still going... but not helping as much... time to switch to old softball cheers!

"be aggressive, b-e- aggressive, b-e- a-g-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e, be aggressive!" (repeat x 20, add Elevation in the middle)

there's a hill at mile 25? You sick twisted people who made this course!

"our team is what? RED HOT! our team is what?! RED HOT! R-E-D H-O-T, RED HOT, RED HOT, RED HOT!!"

Passed by a band playing a rendition of some punk song I knew the words too so I bounced by, turned their way giving thumbs up, then on to pumping arms as I turn the corner...and see a big downhill and THE FINISH, YAY!

Tried to sprint downhill, but it was more like a quick "pickup" from the 10 minute pace... and ta-da! I was done. And I ran the whole way, yeah!! :) Of course, even though I was finished, my body felt like it was still going hehe... found the ladies waiting for me (one of them finished in 3:45!) and they were ready to go but woah I needed to sit. Then we walked 6 blocks to the car... or they walked and I gimp walked, whatever. Good thing we eventually remembered where we parked...

Between yesterday and today I think I've slept more than actually being awake. And no matter what I eat I'm never full. What a toll on the body! Last night as I walked from the parking lot to Glory Days I said out loud "I never realized there was a hill in this parking lot"

But I will say this ... unlike the halfIM I am NOT SICK (no water here) and I feel perfectly fine. Like I could run a marathon next week -- sure legs are tired today, but the rest of the body feels fine... and the legs will be fine by Tues/Wed I figure.

So what does this mean... AM I READY FOR IRONMAN?! Haha... I don't know about that yet... but I've done crazier things in my life (and I like the tris/dus better for variety) so it's entirely feasible in the "forseeable future" but don't ask me what that means...!


P.S. Lessons Learned:
- going to bed earlier isn't always the way to go, but drinking alcohol the night before does dehydrate you race morning.
- screw conservatism for the marathon, it's better to pace yourself until your legs give up, because they're going give up anyways and there's nothing you can do about it. (I think I could have run this at least 10 minutes faster if I'd known this ahead of time.)
- keep my nutrition the same. I was one of the few WITHOUT problems on the course in this area.
- don't park the car so far away, especially in a city/town you don't know. Oh, and remember better WHERE you park.
- bring more ben gay patches and other post-race supplies along next time. They'll help on the car ride home.