Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rocket City Marathon

On Saturday morning I woke up at 6 and got ready to leave for the race. We arrived a little after 7 and that's when I ran into Yo Momma Runs in the lobby. We chatted for a few minutes, walked around, and parted ways around 15 minutes before the start. She was so nice and I honestly felt like we had known each other for years. If you'd like to read her recap of the race then check out her post here. You can see a hilarious picture of the two of us, Allan, and Kathleen if you read her post!

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The two of us seconds after meeting
Allan and I walked over to the start and I stretched and made sure I was ready to go. Honestly I wasn't nervous at all. I knew I could do this and I didn't set any time goals (not that I normally set time goals for many races) so there wasn't any pressure to do anything but enjoy the run and do my thing. The race started right on time at 8 and we were off!

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I decided to wave instead of look serious
The first few miles wove through the downtown area that many of our 5K's go through so I was pretty familiar with those streets. Once we headed away from downtown into the residential area it was all new to me. I was doing great using the 4:1 and doing my best not to run so fast during the 4 minute intervals I ran.

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One of the gorgeous houses downtown
The minutes of walking gave me time to check my phone for texts from Jenny and Allan. Those two did a wonderful job encouraging me throughout the race and I can't thank them both enough! Walking also gave me a chance to take pictures during the race which was fun. I normally forget to take pictures until I've passed something or the race is over.

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I run by this all the time during races and never stop to take a picture but today I did
Around mile 8 my legs started feeling very angry. They hurt like they were tired and all I could think about was the 5K I ran on Monday and how I pushed myself so hard during that race. Now I know what I'm about to say is going to sound crazy to some of you but what works for me doesn't necessarily work for you and vice versa. I don't run at all the week of a half and that has proven to be what works best for me. My legs need the time off to feel rested and ready and my second fastest half of the year came after not running at all for two weeks prior. With all that said, it didn't take me long to realize that running the 5K was a mistake and I would pay for that mistake for the next 18.2 miles. Lesson learned!

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Happy legs at the start!
I completed the first half in 2:37:50 (not adjusted to chip time) which is right around what I was shooting for. I hoped to be able to maintain 12:00 miles or so for the first half. Once I hit 3 hours I stopped using the 4:1. I had to walk more often and running the hills just wasn't happening. My calves felt like they were tearing when I tried to run up a hill. At one point the pain was so bad that I nearly cried but I didn't. When I called Allan he told me that in addition to stopping to stretch I needed to try shaking out my legs after a walk break and that did help.

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I knew Allan would love this so I had to take a picture!
I don't want my leg pain to take away at all from this experience because I actually enjoyed the entire race and looking back the pain was terrible but honestly I expected that with a marathon. Pain is a part of life and nothing easy ever comes without a little suffering or at least for me it doesn't! I met a lady during this part of the race and we termed this part the "Death March" where we ran until the pain was too much to handle and then we walked until that was too painful.

Allan thought the funniest part about my thought process during the second half was how long I spent thinking about drinking a Coke. I thought about how delicious a nice cold Coke would be, how the first sip is always the best, and the difference in taste between Coke from a plastic bottle, glass bottle, or can. Allan's note to self: Be at mile 15 with a Coke next time!

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The tunnel we ran through twice
By the second half of the race the sun was starting to peak out here and there and the temperature was close to 70 with humidity nearing 80%. It was yukky. I wanted to run this marathon because it was here in Huntsville and in December it should be cold. Cold it was not! Aside from a complaint about the weather I can't say anything but good things about the course, volunteers, expo, packet pickup, post-race offerings, race swag, etc. and for $60 you can't beat that!

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I was sooo excited to see this!
I got a second wind somewhere around mile 24 and started running more. I knew at Mile 25.7 my friend Melissa would be there and I would almost be done so I ran and ran and finally I could see her. When I passed her she gave me a high five and I may have said I was never running another marathon in my life! I took one more break to walk before I approached the finish. Even though my time was going to be super slow compared to many others I knew I had a sprint left in me so I sprinted to the finish and crossed with an official time of 5:46: 54. My second half was 3:09:57 (not adjusted to chip time) so much slower than the first half. My goal was to finish and I did so I'm happy!

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Sprinting at the finish!
When I first decided to run a marathon I assumed I would be so overcome with emotion at the finish that I would cry but I didn't. I was proud of myself, don't get me wrong, but I just wasn't emotional about finishing the marathon. I got my medal, finisher's hat, and space blanket (not that I needed one) and we went inside to get food. Not sure why but I ate two ice cream sandwiches (I don't even really like those!) and grabbed a couple of bananas for later. I drank an entire bottle of water and we sat out by the pool. We went to the awards ceremony because anyone who registered for the race was eligible to win one of two $500 prizes and my chances were pretty good since only around 100 people were there for awards.

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This was right around mile 3 and I should have put it closer to the top but I love this one because I look so skinny!
I didn't win $500 but I did get to meet Paige (she is so sweet!) and Geno which was exciting. Geno took 6th overall and won the Master's Division. You can read Paige's recap here. We talked until the ceremony started and discovered that Delta (Paige and Geno's yellow lab) and Sasha (Allan's yellow lab/border collie mix) are practically twins. They are both a little sassy and have funny ways of getting their point across. I really enjoyed talking with both of them and hope to see them at races this next year.

I'll stop here and pick up with the rest of the post-marathon festivities in the next post!

47 comments:

  1. What an incredible and unforgettable experience -- your first marathon!! WooHooo!! I think a great goal for anyone's 1st should be to finish, so you did FAN FREAKIN' TASTIC girl!!

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  2. Awesome job! Sounds a lot like my experience at the USAF marathon, even down to finishing time- 5:41! Which, yes, compared to olympians, we may be slow, but I bet you and I could have a heck of a good time where fast people are too concerned with being fast (that's my theory, anyway). I obsessed over the pizza I knew would be at the finish, and sang "The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah" during our death march phase.
    Congratulations on finishing- YOU ARE A MARATHONER NOW!!!!

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  3. Wow so awesome! Sounded like a great race..congrats on finishing!! Such an accomplishment!

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  4. You ran such a smart race! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Congrats again!

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  5. Congrats on your race!! I'm glad that you had a good experience and you met your goal of finishing!! :)

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  6. Way to go! Congrats on being a MARATHONER!

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  7. So awesome!! That's too funny about the coke b/c that's happened to me too and I don't even usually drink real coke :) What are your thoughts about running another one?

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  8. Such an amazing accomplishment! You set out to do it, and you did- and to finish with a sprint, you definitely paced well. Congrats!!

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  9. Congratulations for pushing through - I'm so proud of you!!

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  10. Love the recap! Loved texting you too--just wish I could have been there!! You ran a great race! So proud of you! xoxo

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  11. I loved the house with the blue signs!!! Can't remember where it was, but I stopped there to take pictures too because I was already feeling like crud at that point. And they had a great crew of people out front.

    Thanks for the shout out! And I'm not kidding about calling me for froyo next time you are in town. Or pizza or burgers.:) I'm so glad we finally got to meet after crossing paths so many times.

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    1. Oh, and you look amazing in all of those pictures! I would not have guessed that you were hurting based on that awesome finish-line pic. Congrats again on your first marathon! Wooohoo!

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  12. Awesome job! Congratulations on a hard faught finish!

    I'm laughing about your coke....at my first one all i wanted was a big juicy orange and i was so mad they were all gone :)

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  13. i am so happy for you! what an amazing accomplishment, you should be very proud of yourself!!! you really persevered and worked hard for this (and BTW you look super skinny in ALL the pics, not just the last one!). congratulations friend, you are a MARATHONER!!

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  14. What an incredible race, you did awesome! So I know you said afterward that you were never doing one again, but it sounds as if maybe you've reconsidered…… :) Either way, you should be so proud! And you're crazy - you look great in every picture!

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  15. Congratulations Suz! You are amazing!!

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  16. Yay!!! You're a marathoner!!! Way to push through the pain!!

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  17. I loved reading this post! It made me smile SO big, because I know how exciting it is to finish your first marathon. I was the exact opposite of you--I thought that I would NOT cry at the finish, but when I rounded that last turn, my eyes started watering up. I think I was in shock that I had actually made it! LOL! Thanks for the sweet shout out! I enjoyed talking to you too! I am sure we will meet again soon! :)

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  18. GREAT JOB!!!! I always think about how nice a coke (or a beer) would taste during a race.

    CONGRATS!!!

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  19. Yay! Congrats, you did great! SO fun you got to meet Yo Momma:) When I finished my marathon I cried just because I was so glad to be done! Way to go!

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  20. Woohoo!! I loved reading your recap! It really makes me think maybe I can do one too. How was your recovery? Were you very sore? Great job, girl!!

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  21. You did such a good job on your first marathon! Good pacing is key to finishing with a smile on your face :)

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  22. Congratulations!!!!! I am so excited for you! Holy cow, in my last marathon I was craving a Coke soooo badly! The first thing my Mom did after I crossed the finish was get me one : ) Great job!

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  23. You are such an inspiration!!! This post made me SMILE!!! You were smart and level headed!! LOVE IT!!

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  24. Great recap!! You did great! I love that Jenny was texting you, she is pretty amazing :)

    I hope that you have changed your mind about not doing another marathon!

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  25. AHH! CONGRATS! so proud of you! and reading your post (and yo momma runs) make me sad i didn’t run this year. maybe next year. i feel like i have to do this race! i love that pic of you at the end-such good form :) i’ve heard more than one person say they think about Coke on a run-Wineglass marathon actually had some on the course last year when I ran it. and, i can’t imagine not loving ice cream sandwiches-i think you deserved 10! congrats again, curious if you will do another?

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  26. Way to push through the pain and the humidity! I hope you're feeling a little less sore today. Congrats on finishing your first marathon!

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  27. Congratulations on your first marathon!!! I'm sorry to hear your legs were giving you grief on the second half of the race. Way to push through it though! I know what you mean about Coke. I love a nice cold Coke after a long bike ride or a big race. It just tastes so delicious!

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  28. Congrats on your first marathon! Running marathon is tough and more of a mental race. Im sure you'll run many more marathons!!

    Tribulus

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  29. Congrats! You are a marathoner! You should be so proud! I always think I'll be so emotional too but I'm always so drained I'm more like "what just happened here?" at finish lines. Allan got some great pics of you! So will there be another?

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  30. CONGRATS, Suzanne!! Oh, wait, we should say CONGRATS MARATHONER!!!! Also that pic you like because you look skinny we are pretty sure it is because you are in fact skinny! =)

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  31. Congratulations! What an awesome first marathon! :)

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  32. Congrats marathoner!!! I'm so glad you got to become a finisher. Your hard work and dedication clearly showed through. Great job!!!

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  33. you have so much to be proud of! Congratulations marathoner!

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  34. So proud of you... our race experience was so similar!!! You did an amazing job :)

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  35. A huge congratulations to you!!!

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  36. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS on your first marathon!!!! LOL I always crave Pepsi, but to be honest a Coke would probably taste good too! Your pictures take me back to last year when I ran this race (I loved it! Probably because I am not from AL, I was super thrilled when I ran though a town that of course played "Sweet Home Alabama". I am glad you enjoyed it, I think this community puts on a great Marathon!!!

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  37. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love how you occupied your thoughts with thinking about a Coke.

    Huge huge congratulations!!! Such an awesome accomplishment, you're a marathoner!!

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  38. Congratulations on your first marathon!! That's a HUGE accomplishment.

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  39. Awe girl, I am so very proud of you and couldn't be happier! Your race report brought back a flood of memories of my first marathon 15 years ago and I've since run 17 more :), I love them so much. And of course I love seeing some Hunstville sights; I just love it downtown with all those old Antebellum homes.

    Congratulations!! :)

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  40. It looks like you had a lot of fun, which is great because you only have one first marathon!

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  41. Congrats again on finishing your first marathon! You did great. :) I love the added benefits of doing intervals. I'll have to remember that if I ever run another marathon.

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