Thursday, May 20, 2010

Marathon Details

(Sorry, but it was a big deal for me, so this is stuff I don’t want to forget).

The training:

It surprised me to realize that most of “A Marathon” is the training.  You sacrifice a lot to just train for the marathon.  I ran 20-35 miles a week for 16 weeks.  (No, Tammy, no weight loss—I put on a few pounds, but so did the rest of my training friends, so I didn’t feel too lame.)  I loved my Less-Is-More training plan and will use it again.  I also realized by the time I did my first 20 miler that I had trained my body to do that.  It wasn’t scary or hard, because I was so thoroughly prepared, physically and mentally.

The night before:


We met to pick up our race packets and carb-load at Olive Garden.  I think 80% of our conversation was about the marathon.  We started annoying even ourselves.

I had a little meltdown the night before (I think nerves finally caught up with me) when I couldn’t find my banana and my Glide (a lubricant that prevents chafing).  I was in tears so Ryan went and got the banana and I woke up Jane (cleaned out the car and loser of the Glide) and she found it for me.

The morning of:

I slept all right during the night and because we have such an early sunrise around here, I was up and getting ready at 5:00 am.  I ate a banana (phew!) and a yogurt and drank a few cups of water.  I put on the exact same outfit I’d done my last 6 runs in and we started picking up the marathoners.


My goal:

To finish in under 4 hours and 15 minutes—roughly a 9:40 minute mile pace.  This was the pace I’d consistently trained at.

The start:

I had let everyone know that I wanted to run my own race—I wanted to see exactly how fast I could go all by myself.  I was surprised with my fast starting pace (8:45), but decided to just run as long as it felt good. 

It felt good for a long time.  I realized at about mile 8 that I could actually do the marathon in under 4 hours, because I was feeling that good.  I realized I’d have to make a decision:  take it easy and have a fun marathon or push hard and see what my body would do.  I chose option 2. 

The cheering squad:


Ryan and the other husbands and all our kids were at about 5 points along the course with signs and cheers.  It was such a thrill to have them there!

The good miles:

Miles 6-15 felt really good.  I had my music on and it was a gorgeous day and we were running by the river.  I felt strong and fast.

The bad miles:

Anything after 18.  I was surprised by how difficult it started to be.  I’d run a 22 miler pre-race and it hadn’t been hard (but that had been at a 10 minute mile pace).  I was pushing myself really hard and my legs were feeling it.  I had no injuries or pain ( no out-of-the-ordinary-for-running-for-3 -hours pain, at least), but my thighs just hadn’t worked that hard—EVER. 

I got through them with the help of music, thoughts of people I know who have toughed out real life challenges and a half mile pep talk from Ryan (he ran alongside for a while).

The finish:


A little anti-climactic, I must say.  I realized at mile 23 that I couldn’t quite do a sub-4 marathon time, unless I pushed out 9 minute miles, and I just didn’t have it in me.  I gave myself permission to NOT feel bad about that (hello, I still beat my personal goal by 13 minutes) and just finished at whatever pace I could muster. 

Ryan had trouble parking and didn’t get there in time for the finish, but that was TOTALLY okay, as he’d been there at mile 7, 11, 14, 18, and 21.  There were no cheers as I crossed the line, but I was so glad to be done, I didn’t really mind.  I felt good about my time, for sure.

The recovery:

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Brutal!  I could barely walk (no exaggeration) Saturday and Sunday and was super sore Monday and Tuesday as well as extra exhausted.  I ran 2-3 miles today and I felt like I had rocks for legs! I need to figure out how to recover better next time.

Next time?

Totally.  I’m going to take a break for the rest of the year, but I’m thinking of doing this one again or (more probably) one of the fall Utah races.  Anyone up for doing it with me?

What I gained:


Deeper friendships.

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A greater appreciation for a husband that not only supports but has been there.  He has said the sweetest things and put up with all my Me-ness for the last week.

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More muscles for sure.

That cleansing, cathartic, endorphin driven high that only comes from 10+ mile runs.  They are addicting.

An understanding that you can absolutely make your body do almost anything you ask it to.  That feels so empowering.

Yay for me!


Ilene said...


This is a major life experience. I think perhaps the closest I will ever come to completing a marathon is living vicariously through your and Jessica's blogs.

Kirbell said...

I'm so proud of you! Marathons scare the heck out of me.

Cami said...

Jessica, this is amazing.
It's something I could never do (mostly because I wouldn't want to truly), but I have a lot of respect for your doing this. Awesome!
Just the mention of the 10+ mile addictive runs makes me want to vomit. The physical effort that would take would wipe me out.
Kudos to you!

Carie said...

Ya for you for sure. I love the break down of the race.

I always tell myself pre-race: I am running for fun, take it easy. And then I just can't!I run too fast and wipe myself out. I am determined to do it for this year's half. We would make excellent running partners by the way.

Tristan said...

I liked reading these details! Very cool! I'm so impressed! You will never seem run a marathon. ;-)

Adrianne said...

You are amazing. And the idea ofhavingthe same obsession as 7 other women, and getting together to indulge in it/discuss it/plan for it sounds like my kind of heaven!

Erin said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Loved reading this. You know that my single goal for this marathon is to recover better than last time??? I was in some baaaaad shape after mine too. I made quite a few rookie mistakes I think (laying on the couch for 6 hours that day after we finished, taking a hot bath, not drinking enough water...). YAY you!

I may take you up on the Utah in the fall race...

kara jayne said...

yes!! yay for you!! you are awesome. i will totally do a utah marathon with you. i'm doing the st. george in october, but would love to train for a spring marathon. (training during an arizona summer is brutal). i'm so glad you documented all of this. i've never documented my marathons and i totally regret it.

DaNae said...

You killed your first marathon! I think you should for sure do a UT race. The races are so pretty and lots of them start in a canyon. congrats girl.

nurse graham said...

Girl you need 2 check your official time because it is listed at 3:56:41. you rocked it! Recovery=ice bath & lots of fluids. i would totally love to train with you.

Abbie said...

That is so cool, Jessica! I'm planning on a half this fall and you have been a huge inspiration.

jessica said...

I wish I could be as speedy as you but it's okay. I don't mind eating your dust. I loved sharing this major accomplishment with you. xoxo

Lauren in GA said...

Jessica, you are completely amazing. I got teary reading this. Everytime I think of your sweet children and wonderful husband cheering you on I get teary. All of you make a trememdous team.

You teach me a lot. I am grateful to read all of the details of your marathon. I like how you thought of people with what you called, "real life challenges" when you started feeling drained. I also got teary when I read that Ryan ran through the tough miles with you. Mike does things like that for me...well, not running...remember...I don't run unless something is chasing me...and then that may not even be motivation enough...but I like to read about how you and Ryan work together and help each other.

I am reallly proud of you. Truly, yay, for you, Jessica. You really worked hard and did this well.

Jesse said...

YEAH 4 SURE!!! LOVED reading about it.!
WON'T ask my body to do it EVER??!
Loved seeing the fam support!!
Congrats on an AMAZING effort and finish to the mother of FIVE!!
THIS is Aunt J'net, not Jesse, he was just signed in n I didn't notice... oops!

Lisa-Marie said...

I'm so glad you documented this. I've been wanting to hear the details. You are so strong, physically and emotionally. What an inspiration you are!

Come do the RUSH triathlon with me in August. If you can do a marathon you could easily do the tri.

Paige said...

Jessica I'm so glad you posted this. I ate up every detail. When I ran my half marathon I think I was the most nervous when I ran 7 miles. But then after I hit 10 I knew I could do anything- anything except 26 miles! Congrats.

Camden said...

I love the details! I wish I were a good writer. I always feel like copying a pasting your posts to my blog because you say exactly what I'm feeling. My first marathon experience was SO similar to this!

I've done the Top of Utah Marathon which is in September. I loved it. It was beautiful and small-ish. And well-run. Great weather. Great support. It wasn't MY best because here in TX I don't really have a way to train for the downhill (first 13 mi.)but it was a great race and I would like to do it again.

Yay for you!

Brooke said...

So fun and so cool and so very AWESOME!!!!

AMY said...

Yay for YOU!! I'll do a marathon next fall with you... UT has a couple. Top of UT being one... Cache Valley is beautiful.

Tessa said...

Jessica- soooo amazing. Super YAY HOO for you & your Marathon-ing Mamas! That's a huge achievement!!! way to go girlie!

Erika said...

why did I cry when I read this. I crazy proud of you Jess! way to bring it.

Pa Pa Jim said...

Great job Jessica.
I've been involved with sports for 50 years & I don't think I've ran 26 miles in TOTAL!!!

the wrath of khandrea said...

i'm going to try to start running again. we'll see if my back allows it. i told skip a marathon would be awesome and he said, "why don't you shoot for a quarter mile first."

you did awesome.

Elizabeth said...

I'm so pleased you posted all the deets about your marathon. You are inspiring to me even though I will probably never run that far. I loved hearing about how you dug in when it was tough and how Ryan helped you through the hard miles with the pep talk ... magic stuff.
PS.Thanks for your Bday comment I am still blown away you read my rambles ;-)

elizabeth scott said...

Loved the details. You DID IT!!!! (:

Rochelleht said...

Wow! For the first time ever, I almost want to try it. I'm sure that feeling will wear off soon.

Like in a couple of minutes...

You are AWESOME!!!

Tammy said...

Jessica, love the play by play, thank you for doing that. I am so impressed and proud of you. This is a HUGE accomplishment and things like that feel so good because you did it, you pushed and you made it. That is truly awesome. You look great, you sound like you feel great and you are a MACHINE. Go girl. I will do an adventure race....trail run, mtn bike and kayak...or I'd gladly do a little meager 5 K...or a backbacking adventure? :)

Robin said...

Wow! This is amazing! I can't even imagine a marathon! I think we are doing the Bolder Boulder this weekend and that is a 10K. My goal is to run 4 miles of it.

I am super duper proud of you!