Sunday, June 3, 2012

Revenge!

A lot of you might have already guessed or seen on facebook, dailymile, or Maggie's blog), but i ran a top secret revenge marathon yesterday!!


What planning goes into a revenge marathon, you ask?  Surprisingly, not much.


The outpouring of support after the fiasco the was the Rockford Marathon was amazing, but i was still feeling bitter about it.  I wasn't so much sad that i didn't get the time i wanted, but more sad that i didn't get the finish that i wanted.  I can tell you right now - it's all about the finish.  I had been stalking Marathon Guide for potential revenge marathons.  I had three potential ones in mind.  Sunburst in IN, Eisenbahn, in WI, and Ann Arbor in MI.  All three were in driving distance, and affordable, and not sold out.  I began weather stalking all three cities.  As of thursday, the predicted high for South Bend, IN was 74 for race day, so i just went out on a limb and registered.  36 hours before the race.


Some concerns:


1.  The race is called sunburst, and the sun is my natural enemy (and the enemy of any ginger, fyi.)
2.  The race was black-flagged last year for high heat.  Could it happen again?
3.  Maggie and her husband were running this race - if i register, will it curse the race and ruin it for them??
4. I was registered for the Cosley Zoo 10k the same morning!
5.  I have been making up for all the drinks i skipped training for Rockford.  Hell, the night i signed up for the race, i went out drinking!
6. Rockford was only 13 days ago....is my body really recovered?
7. Notre Dame??  I'm a Boilermaker!


Some Pros:
1.  The race starts at 6am EASTERN time.  That is like 5am Chicago time.  Even if it does get hot, i will be deep into the race by then.
2.  It was pretty cheap.  $75 for last minute registration?  Thats not bad.
3.  It was the closest of the three races.
4.  My friend Jordan said he would run the Cosley 10k in my place with Matt.
5.  Having black flagged last year, you better believe they were prepared for anything.  24 water stations on the course!  That is 2-4. Yep. (Take some freaking notes, Rockford)
6. No one had to know.  If i failed again, which was totally a possibility, i could just not tell anyone.  And if only Maggie knew, she would have to be my secret keeper according to the universal ginger law.


So i did it.  I signed up on Thursday, Ate as much as i could squeeze in Friday morning, went to work, went home and packed my race bag/picked out an outfit, and went to Waffles puppy graduation (separate post to follow) And was in bed by 10pm so that i could wake up at 2am to drive to South Bend.
For anyone else planning to ever do this race, just get a hotel room.  Seriously, 2am i unpleasant.
It's funny, because i actually have the draft email i wrote to send Maggie to apologize in advance if i cursed Sunburst by registering.  But i chickened out in sending it, because i really didnt want anyone to know what a potentially stupid thing i was doing. And literally, only Matt knew, because he was my emergency contact.  But then as i was walking to the start line, i saw Maggie!
As much as i was planning on lone-wolfing this race, i was so excited to see a familiar face.  It just gave me an overwhelming sense of calm, and i went into the race feeling confident.  This race was just for me, and i could do whatever i wanted.  


Sorry i have no pictures other than the one Maggie took.  It's the one downfall of sneaking away in the middle of the night to run a marathon where you know nobody.


The course at Sunburst was prettier than rockford, but surprisingly similar in that it went through neighborhoods.  The first half was quiet.  The marathoners started by themselves, and there was only maybe 450-500 people.  And it was so early that most of the people in the neighborhoods were still asleep.  Although i swear i saw a few people doing the walk of shame.  It was cool and breezy, the sun was low, and it was just very peaceful.  I had to laugh at the amount of water stations.  I would barely finish one cup before i was at the next one, but it was really nice not having to worry about where or when i would get water again.  The first half of the race was shady and wonderful, the second half was a lot sunnier, but not terrible.  Around mile 16 was when i started to feel kind of tired and lonely.  I took another gel, put on my headphones, and started following this guy wearing those shoe sock things.  (barefoot guy and i actually switched back and forth throughout the rest of the race)


Things definitely unravelled a bit in the second half of the race.  I started to get warm (nothing too crazy though - i think it was more just being in the sun) and my knees started to hurt.  Not "hey, i'm injured hurt" but more of a "do you realize you have 600 miles on these shoes and wearing them because they were pink was a bad choice" hurt.  I tried to take one last gu at 21, but i just couldn't stomach the taste.  (strawberry banana - eeewwww!)  I also only had gatorade only once on the course, and instead took a salt pill every 90 minutes to help with electrolytes.  I think this was a lot easier on my stomach.


The last few miles were really, really hard.  They felt acceptably hard though.  Like, this is what a marathon is - you coast until 22, and then you really need to dig deep to finish.  The last 6 miles i walked through every water stop, which hurt my time.  I was really thirsty though, and i am glad i made the time to drink entire cups of water.  At mile 23, i was overwhelmed by loneliness.  I just wanted someone to encourage me.  That was probably the hardest part for me.  In the future, i will stage people at mile 22-23 to give me a boost.  I also had a revelation that i could start walking at that point, and still blow my Rockford time away.  It was really hard to push that thought away and keep running.  I just kept following barefoot guy.  Then i started to see lots of people at 25, and everyone was like "you're so close!" I was so overwhelmed with relief when i entered the stadium and saw that finish.  They even shouted my name as i crossed the finish line! And then it hit me.  I did it.  I was done.  And i could tell people, because i didn't fail.  A stranger walked up to me, and high-fived me and said "Congrats!  Great job!" and then i lost it.  I just start crying.  And another person high-fived me.  And then i saw barefoot guy and i hugged him and said i followed him the last few miles.  (It was his first marathon!  Congrats barefoot guy!)  Then i just went on a high-five SPREE.  I was so happy to be walking around and enjoying my glory.  It was all i ever wanted!

Well i didn't qualify for Boston. (Duh.)  But i feel like i finished in a reasonable time for my training.  I think i could have done a little better if i would have had fresh legs, and based on my experience - I have a lot of things i plan on working on this summer.  But i finished.  And i beat Oprah.  And i qualify for Marathon Maniacs now!

I will eventually have pictures to add (maybe....it's brightroom....), but right now i am very sore, and tired!  writing this post has exhausted me, and i think i might take a nap! :)

This is the first moment where i can confidently say that i am a (slow!) Marathoner!!

48 comments:

  1. Well Congrats Sara! I must say I was crazy confused by facebook earlier. Like "Is she freekin crazy!?" Well, yes, we know she is! Awesome job!

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    1. The best bad decision i ever made :)

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  2. I'm with Eric.....wasn't sure about the post on FB, but now it all makes sense.

    Sara, you are indeed a marathoner....by any definition. You are one crazy rockstar of a marathoner.....and Oprah ain't got nothin' on you!

    Congrats on a great run!

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    1. Thanks! It really helped put me in a healthy mindset so that i can train for Chicago at my fullest potential (should the weather comply!)

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  3. When I first saw your fb post, I thought maybe you ran a neighborhood revenge marathon just to say you did it (I have a friend that did that once). But then. THEN. I saw Maggie's picture!

    You were a marathoner already, but isn't it such a mental whatever to have one go the way you expected it to go?? YOU DID SUCH A GREAT JOB! Congratulations!!!

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    1. Thank you! I was actually thinking of everyone the whole time i was out there, so it was like you were all with me in spirit! :D

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  4. Hahahahahaha I love everything about this! I'm so glad we ran into each other!! And the water stations! The crazy ridiculous number of water stations! It was great!! I think they probably had the same amount of water/tables/volunteers on the course, they just spread them out more. Personally I think that's a great way to go.

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    1. I jest about the abundance of water, but seriously, it really really works! Not having thirst anxiety is awesome!!

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  5. WOW!!!!! Sara I am both impressed and proud of you! Way to get some revenge. Now you can say that you run marathons (plural :-)).

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    1. I cannot tell you how badly i wanted those high fives at the end!

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  6. WOOHOO!! Way to go girl! You beat Oprah!!! I think that will be my goal as well (when I feel ready for a full). I find it's many peoples goals when it comes to their first marathon..haha.

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    1. Regardless of hitting the 4:30 time goal or not, i think training at about the pace is a really great experience for most first-time marathoners!

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  7. Congrats. Great accomplishment! Love the term "revenge marathon", maybe I'll run one in the future.

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    1. I know some people say "redemption marathon" but it was absolutely revenge for me. I was karate chopping that marathon in the face!

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  8. Congrats! And I love the recovery fuel you have in the last pic!

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    1. Don't most people refuel with Champagne and a can and Muscle milk? I swore i saw that in the Hal Higdon training plan...

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  9. I seriously teared up for you reading this! I'm so proud!! Awesome awesome time and incredible dedication! You rock!

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    1. I definitely had one moment when i thought "this was a really stupid idea" but the finish made every single minute of it worth it :)

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  10. Congrats!!! I love reading success stories like yours...it's so motivational and inspirational. I would've probably kept it a secret too. It's less stressful that way and even more exciting to reveal in the end :)

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    1. I really just approached this with the mindset of a training run. No goals other than finish this with your hand up and ready to receive multiple high-fives and a smile on your face! :D

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  11. Congratulations! I had seen Maggie's post and thought I missed a post of yours.

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    1. nope, i was super, super sneaky about it. Not even my mom knew!

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  12. Congrats! I love this! Way to go!!!!

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    1. Thank you! I am very glad i didn't crash and burn a second time :)

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  13. I'm so happy you were able to have redemption for your marathon. I will have to write this one down in case I need a "redemption" marathon next spring.

    Congrats! :)

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    1. It got a lot of bad press on Marathon guide, which scared me a little, but i thought it was a great, no frills race. If you don't need roaring crowds, you will do very well!

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  14. Holy cow, you are awesome! Way to show the marathon what's up! :)

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    1. Thank you! Normally i don't promote revenge, or running when angry, but sometimes all the forces align!

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  15. you are so crazy i love it.

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    1. Bad decisions are kind of my thing :)

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  16. So sneaky! Congrats!! Way to take some serious revenge!!

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    1. Thanks! I feel really good about it! (except all the soreness, haha)

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  17. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! Soooooooo happy for you! Congrats on a great race and revenge for sure! I couldn't be happier for you. :)

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    1. Whenever brightroom releases the pictures, there is a full on Kelly pose where i actually jumped a little :)

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    2. YESSS!!! I can't wait to see! :) So happy for you!

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  18. BOOM! I should have seen this coming. CONGRATS girl! I totally get the need for immediate revenge. You DID IT! Loving those yellow socks BTW.

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    1. I had to laugh when people were shocked, because i just assumed everyone knew that this would happen :)

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  19. HIGH FIVE!! You needed that revenge!

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    1. Thank you!! I really did need it! I feel great!

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  20. Congrats on running the race you wanted!

    And remove that parenthetical "slow" from your last sentence! You are NOT slow!

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    1. well i was definitely towards the back of the pack for this race (it was surprisingly competitive, but in an awesome way!) But i figure i took almost an hour and a half off my Rockford time. Now if only i can take off one more hour :)

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  21. Great job! I gotta give it to you, I would have been licking my wounds for at least 2 months and raged on anyone who even said anything that remotely sounded like 'marathon'. It took a lot to be about to put yourself out there again (even if no one ever found out) and especially to go at it alone! Awesome job!

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  22. Damn girl. Awesome rebound mentally and physically! Most people can't run two marathons two weeks apart. You are definitely now a marathoner. I ran Rockford two weeks ago and felt tired this past Saturday only after 10 miles. Congrats!!!

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  23. Awesome job!!! Wow, can't believe you did that on a whim! But you had all the training you needed! Congratulations! (Btw, I think I'll be meeting you on Sat at the 13.1 if you are going...I'll be carpooling with Maggie). Congrats!

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  24. YOU ARE AMAZING! And I love your recovery beverage choices. :)

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  25. YESS! Revenge marathon! So happy you got to do it so quickly! I waited 7 months for mine and that SUCKED. I love that you snuck out to run this. Ha! I hope you had a safe trip home and crashed hard and got some well deserved rest! Congrats on an awesome race, and being a marathon maniac!

    I had been waiting to ask you to run but it seems you are ready since you can do two so quickly... so tell me when :)

    Pink shoes = always a good reason to wear them!

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  26. Woohoo! Great job. You ran a really fast race!

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