Somehow being back in La Crosse, WI, I'm reminded why I started blogging in the first place. I had time on my hands and felt like I needed to write. Life was good and I didn't want to forget it.
Lining up at the Milwaukee Marathon, I was reminded that, above all places, Wisconsin is my home. And I have missed it. The theme of the marathon was "be thankful because you can run a marathon today. You might not be able to tomorrow." It was cheesy, but this s the cheese state and I got tears in my eyes.
Even Bart Yasso was there and I thought of my Yasso 500 runs and was embarrassed that I had no idea he was the Editor of Runner's World or that he was even still alive.
I didn't know where to line up. My plan was with the 3:30 group, but the weather was perfect and there was going to be a little tail wind. So I moved up to the 3:25 pacing group. Between mile 1 and 2 I started talking with a guy from Chicago. He was struck by the beautiful farm landscape. If he thought THAT was beautiful, he should start running on trails. But I didn't say it because I needed to get my mind off the trails and onto the road. And before I could say anything, something pulled in my groin around my pubic symphysis and radiated to the right. I screamed a little scream and had to stop running. "No!!!!!" I pleaded. I drank Gatorade from the aid station and started walking and then sort of prancing on my toes, trying to shake out the pain. And after about 5 minutes of quasi running, the pain was much less and I started thinking I might actually run this whole marathon after all.
I was of course behind the 3:25 pacing group at this time, but resolved above to run my own race and just enjoy it. I didn't take long before I caught up with them again and the sort-of forced enthusiasm of the people running with the pacer irritated me. Though the pacer himself was very entertaining and would in two weeks be going for the world record marathon time dressed up like a cartoon character (Charlie Brown was his choice). At some point, one of the women in the group said to her husband "you better not expect me to respond to ANYTHING you say today". Ouch. I was not enjoying this negative energy and sort of let myself slip behind after an aid station. I drank and walked at every aid station and ate a little from my chocolate stash. They were every two miles, so it was easy to get behind.
I was having an unispired day. What can I say? But then around the half marathon, I heard someone yell: "Go Sea Legs Girl!" Not my first name, but my blog name and I was so incredibly struck by this. Someone had recognized me. And that's around the point I asked myself - what am I doing in this race if NOT going for a PR? I simply couldn't run this race and come in just behind my current PR. That would be pathetic. So, with my ultra marathon mentality, I said to myself "12 miles left is nothing! Go for it!" and so I did.
Edit (race pictures are now available)This was taken right around the time I got my burst of energy. (this is the only picture I have seen of me running where I have good running form)
Perhaps it was the entire bar of dark Hershey's chocolate or the already six cups of gatorade or all of the fans or the girl who yelled Sea Legs Girl - but suddenly it was fun and I was bursting with energy.
I just have to mention - I didn't stop to pee once. How -after downing coffee prerace was this possible, you ask? Controlled, continuous urination. I mean, if a person can sweat buckets, it should also be okay to simply pee a very little bit continuously throughout the race, right? I did this at Skovloeberen, too, and as far I can tell, it is unnoticeable to people around me (I do wear black shorts).
So back to the race - the second half was simply a ton of fun where I passed lots of people including the 3:25 pacing group. The only thing that seemed to slow me down at the end was the stupid decision to drink water at the aid station with 3 miles to go. I got so light-headed! Would it be a bad idea to actually ban water at marathons and only have sports drink?? Would that be taking things too far? (Here (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/how-much-to-drink-during-a-marathon/)is an article I just ran across in the NY Times that irks me. The authors repeats "don't drink too much" while running a marathon. But she misses the key word: "don't drink too much water". As long as you are drinking isotonic sports drink, you will never get hyponatremic, assuming it has been mixed correctly. So drink up! But avoid water.)
Anyway, you all know my final time by now: 3:24:05. I was pleased, but this time seemed to be a long time coming. And, to be honest, I never really felt like I was pushing it. And I find myself wondering what my limiting factor is. Certainly the last mile, my joints felt so sore that I could not have run much further, but I still had a bunch of surplus energy. Weird. Though starting out faster than I did has killed me three times in the past.
In other news, we found the house we are going to rent in La Crosse from now through July 31st. It is actually the lower level of a house. I was not at all excited about the idea of renting yet another crappy, small apartment, adding it to the every-growing list of crappy, small apartments I/we have lived in, so finding this part of a house for rent on Craigslist in a nice neighborhood with three bedrooms and partially furnished seems so far to be a God send!
Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman