Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Seattle Marathon 2013: That Time I Ran a Marathon Without Training

Alternate title: Allison's a Doofus.

Why did I think running a marathon without any training would be a good idea?

Last year I was WAAAYYY overtrained and this year, I was WAAAYYYY undertrained. What a difference! I think I much prefer being overtrained, but I was also pretty unhappy last year as well. A story for another time! Anyways...

Here's a spoiler alert: I finished! There were many times I didn't think I was going to make it and several times I thought of just stopping. I finished in a pathetic 4.02. I'm trying to tell myself that's actually a pretty good time having not done any training (except for one 18 mile run a month ago). My time was faster than my first marathon was, even though its almost a half hour slower than what I ran on the Seattle Marathon course last year.

Start line at Seattle Center. There go the walkers!
Let's start at the beginning. I always get so angry that the Seattle Marathon makes you go all the way downtown during the busiest shopping weekend of the year to get your bib. Like, I get seriously irrationally angry about it. I wish you could just pick up your bib at their office, which is close to my apartment! Grrr. I was lucky enough to have a friend who picked up my bib for me the night before the race so I didn't have to deal with shoppers, parking and driving downtown.

I was slightly worried about the weather. The forecast was for rain and wind all day long. Luckily, it didn't rain the entire time, was quite warm, and the wind wasn't all that bad! Score! Just goes to show: no need to worry about something that is out of your control!

I was able to get my bib, get downtown and find some free street parking very quickly on race morning. Since it wasn't too cold, I had a light long sleeve shirt on, shorts and compression socks. I decided to run with my hydration pack because it just makes me feel more comfortable having everything with me, including water whenever I needed it. I was debating whether to wear my older shoes or newer shoes. I went with the older ones, but I think it is definitely time to retire them! Since I haven't been racing for a year or so, I wasn't really paying attention to how many miles are on my shoes, but it's safe to say these guys are finished now.

I had about 45 minutes by the time I got to the start line before the gun, so I wandered around, went to the bathroom several times, and looked around at all the Christmas decorations up around Seattle Center. Before I knew it, I lined up in the corral. I took my place around the 4 hour pacer, but really didn't have a clue what my legs were going to feel like doing. Before I knew it we were off!

Almost immediately, my stomach started cramping up. Grrreeeaaatttt. I passed the port-a-potties at mile 2 and decided to try and make it to the next set before stopping. I wanted to walk so badly, but knew I would just feel so stupid walking in the first 2 miles, so I slugged on. By the time I got to the next set of bathrooms, my stomach was feeling better so I didn't stop. Luckily, it kept getting better so I never had to stop at all! Thank goodness!

Despite the stomach trouble, my body felt pretty good early on. I was trying to hold myself back a bit, but wasn't doing a very good job. I probably should have started off slower and I know better than to start off too fast, but I didn't even know what I should have held myself back at! Yes, I was that unprepared and under-trained that I didn't even know what pace I should try to stay at. Zero plan for the win.

Mile 1: 8.36
Mile 2: 8.47
Mile 3: 8.44
Mile 4: 8.51
Mile 5: 8.21
Mile 6: 8.52

I ended up feeling pretty comfortable around where the 4-hour pacer was for most of the race, which was actually really annoying. I HATE running near the pacers because there is always such a crowd of people around them. I kept running ahead to try to stay away from them, but those little pesky guys kept catching up to me!

We ran over the bridge and back, which was less windy than I thought it was going to be. I saw so many people losing their hats, though! It's always nice to be able to see the leaders heading the other way on the way out and to see all the people behind you on the way back. We headed off the bridge onto Lake Washington Blvd. and I was still feeling pretty good. I was starting to get a little tired, and wondered how I was going to possibly finish. I debated just stopping at the half and asking for a ride back.

I was running right behind a girl who was on her 4th marathon in four days. I think her name was Tanya because people kept yelling at her. Anyways, it was a great distraction thinking about how tough that would be. I could barely even think about finishing just the one!

Mile 7: 9.25
Mile 8: 9.05
Mile 9: 8.43
Mile 10: 8.49
Mile 11: 8.46
Mile 12: 8.50
Mile 13: 8.55

We hit Seward Park and then turned around to head back to the bridge. I was starting to feel pretty tired at this point. I'd already taken a Gu, but decided to try some Gatorade at the next water station. I never drink Gatorade and I didn't know how it was going to effect my stomach, but I figured I might as well give it a shot. Idiot, party of one! Luckily it was a great help and I continued work well through the rest of the race.

At this point, I was just telling myself to get to mile 18. I knew I could make it that far since the only long run I'd done was 18 miles about a month ago. My body was feeling tired, my feet (especially my neuroma) hurt and I was doing everything I could to distract myself. It was a really weird place to be in so early in the race. I didn't want to pep myself up and start going faster, since I didn't actually know how long I would hold out. But, of course, I didn't want to dwell on how I was feeling because it wasn't that great!

Mile 14: 9.01
Mile 15: 9.08
Mile 16: 9.13
Mile 17: 9.02
Mile 18: 9.09
Mile 19: 9.29

I was slowing down and I knew it. I didn't do much to combat it and figured my body was trying to tell me something. Instead of kicking myself in the butt to go faster, I just told myself to keep going. I watched the bridge getting closer and closer. We wound our way along the water and back up. Then the hills started and I was dying. I ended up stopping at an aid tent for some Vaseline at one point because I was chaffing pretty badly. The culprit was between my legs, and of course the aid tent I stopped at was lined with people, all of whom watched me lather Vaseline between my legs. Haha, it helped!

Mile 20: 9.33
Mile 21: 9.55
Mile 22: 9.31
Mile 23: 9.50

Once I hit mile 20, I knew I was going to finish. I wanted to stop and walk more than ever, but kept telling myself the faster I went, the sooner it would be over and I could go home to my couch.

I may look happy, but I was dying!
I literally was just waiting for each water station as they came, where I would stop and take a few sips of Gatorade before picking it back up again. I hadn't walked in a marathon since my first one, but I could not help it. I ended up taking two walk breaks that lasted a minute and a half. They saved my life. Somehow I made it through all the tough hills running (or slogging), but the places I ended up walking were actually pretty flat! Haha, go figure. I was flabbergasted how much my quads hurt going up those hills though! I felt like I had just squatted 78 kilos or something. My guess is teaching an extra class two days before the race must have done it.

Mile 24: 10.44
Mile 25: 10.19
Mile 26: 9.35
Final .34: 3.16

The final miles were tough, to say the least. I just wanted it to be over was was cursing the dude in Greece who ran 26.2 miles and made that the "marathon". Why couldn't the guy ahve run 24 miles? Or 22 miles? Thinking back I was pretty delirious =)

The most bizarre thing kept running through my head every time I wanted to walk. I kept thinking how unfair it was to Milo that I was walking without him. Haha, whatever keeps me moving, I guess!

The finish line finally came, which ends in the stadium at Seattle Center. I didn't even try to pick it up at the end. I just trucked along, ran through the finish, got my medal and kept walking until I got to my car. I just wanted to be warm and sitting down!

I finished in 4.02 with an average pace of 9.13. I'll take it. Marathon #4 finished!

The race itself was great. As usual, The Seattle Marathon put on a great event. Lots of bathrooms, water stops, Gu stations and recovery area. I remember last year there being a lot more crowd support along the way, but that wasn't anyone's fault this year. I'll bet the threat of bad weather kept people away, which I totally understand. Other than that, I enjoyed this race for the second year in a row.

I would like to say that I will never do something this dumb again. I'll bet that next year, however, I'm going to forget all about this and do the same thing all over again. I live, I don't learn. Sigh. =)

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