Dallas White Rock Marathon Race Recap

I'm going to start by saying that this is a very difficult race recap to write.  I have never been so disappointed at a race.  The marathon high that everyone talks about, I don't have.  I am surrounded by amazing people (especially all of you) that have given me support, encouragement, congrats, and accolades, but unfortunately I cannot change how I'm currently feeling.  Give me a few days, hopefully it'll all sink in.

The night before, I set everything out for my kids so that they could cheer me on...

I wish you could see the shirts better, but they are embroidered with "Run Mom Run".  My friend, Chrystyna, made them for the kiddos.  If you want to order some, visit her HERE.
I couldn't sleep and woke up way too early... around 3:30am.  I took a short shower (which I rarely do).  I ate my normal Chocolate and Oat Clif Bar (mistake #1 - I should have eaten something way more significant considering it was still 4 hours until race time).  It was cold outside - low 30s with windchills in the upper 20s.  But I still slipped on my lime green socks and skirt.  I layered my black tee with my pink jacket and a thowaway black sweatshirt.  I put on my favorite TMB Endurance Band, but since it was so cold, I layered another headband over it that would cover my ears until it warmed up. 
At 5:45am, I got in the car and circled around to the front of my house.  Robin, and her friend Jason, showed up first and hopped in.  Then Emily arrived and was ready to go.  And then Elaine showed up, and we were ready to go.  It was a quick drive and super easy to park.  We went right into the Coliseum where we waited and waited for the big race.

And I even convinced photo-shy Robin to pose with me...

Let me take a second here to say Robin is way speedier than me.  Like 2-3 min/mile faster.  But being the awesome and kind person she is, she agreed to pace me for my first marathon so I didn't have to run by myself for 5 looooong  hours.  I don't think I will ever be able to express how thankful I was for her presence with me that day.

We got in the extremely long potty line, and I was starting to worry... because it was the 3rd time, pre-race, that I needed to go.  That never happens.  I usually take care of that at home, and I'm done.  So I was really worried about what my intestines were going to do during the race.  While waiting in this line at about 7:15am, I went ahead and ate some sport beans to prepare for the 8am start.  Stupid mistake #2 - I left my water bottle in the car at 6:30am.  I managed to get a small sip from a water fountain at 7:30am, but I was thirsty.

Quickly we detoured to bag check... while waiting in the line, I spotted a tall, slender blonde, and I knew it was Marathon Maiden.  I got to say hi for about 10 seconds.  I wish we weren't so rushed, because we really should've taken a photo with one another... it would've finally have been a photo where I didn't feel the need to lean down!

We get out to the start and find our way to Corral K.   

22,000 runners lined up for the start.  7,000 marathoners.  10,000 half-marathoners.  5,000 5-person relayers.

The gun went off at about 8:12am.  But it was 34 more minutes before our corral actually started.  By time I crossed the start line at 8:46am, I was seriously thirsty and hungry.  Are you starting to see the start of something bad here?  I should've known that our corral would start significantly later, and I should've planned for it. 

We crossed the start line, and our goal was to stay right at 11 min/mile.  I knew that wouldn't be easy, but was totally doable.  I trained hard for this day, and I was ready to claim it. 

Miles 1-7:  11:01, 10:41, 10:52, 10:54, 10:45, 11:03, 10:47

Somewhere in here, I saw Corina cheering her heart out in an orange tutu!!!  Thanks Corina.

I kept waiting to find the groove.  Kept waiting for things to feel easier.  They never did.  I never found my groove.  Robin knew I wasn't myself because I wasn't talking much (I usually talk incessantly while I run).  My stomach never felt upset enough to stop me, but it never felt right either.  Off and on minor stomach cramps.  At mile 8, Robin needed a quick pee break, so being the awesome pacer that she was, she ran ahead to get in line.  When I caught up, she was still in line.  We agreed I should keep going, but slow down.  So I slowed down and that speed demon caught up to me in no time. 
Mile 8-12:  11:26, 11:00, 10:48, 10:46, 10:54

I knew to expect my dad around here...  He had his tripod and camera all set up ready to go.  I was still feeling semi-okay here.

Right about the half marathon mark, my stomach was starting to bother me again a lot.  Just past mile 15, I decided to try and go to the bathroom to see if it would make me feel better, but no go...  Right about here I saw my brother, sister-in-law, and two nephews.  Angelia, Julian, and Connor ran with me for about half a minute, and it was great to see familiar faces.  Not long after that, my right quad cramped, and I asked Robin to walk for just one minute.  We did, and then took off again.  The cramp came back with a vengence.  My quad was so tight that I thought the bone was going to snap.  After struggling through it for a bit with Robin, between mile 17 and 18, I asked Robin to go on.

Miles 13-18:  11:28, 11:23, 11:53, 12:34, 11:52, 13:33

At this point it's all a blur... I alternated between chanting Jason's "Suck it up, Buttercup" and attempting to run and having my quad cramp so badly that even walking was excruciating.  At one point I even stopped to stretch (something I've never done during a race).  When I went to grab my foot to stretch my quad, I seriously thought my quad was going to tear in half.  I was taking water and gatorade at every stop trying to hydrate with no noticeable benefit.  Around mile 20, I got hot and took off my top headband to find out that my TMB band had slipped out from underneath at some point... I hope someone is enjoying their new headband (and that was my favorite one, ugh).  Saw my dad again near 21 and by this point tears were streaming down my face.  I was hurting and guess what... time for hills!  Yee-haw.

(I was walking right before this shot, and picked it up for my dad...)
(Seriously in pain, puffing it out.)
The double-hills between 20 and 21 were nicknamed the Dolly Parton hills... so the water stop was appropriate...

Yes, I took my water off the top of his left boob.  At this point, I was willing to accept ANY comic relief.

Miles 22 & 23, the cramps from my quads started extending down my legs... my shins were cramping and then I could feel my toes cramping... they were curled up and wouldn't release.  For the record, I have never cramped during a race, so this was all very new to me.

Miles 19-25:  13:10, 12:41, 13:09, 14:26, 14:08, 12:08, 13:25

Somewhere around here, I saw Corina again... and it was what I needed... I started thinking back to her knee and how she finished NYC.  And I thought, per my usual... I can suck up ANYTHING for one mile.  So it was a slow mile, but I ran it.

Mile 26: 12:11

Right about here, I finally saw my children.  I had been waiting all day to see their faces.  I didn't care that the finish was just around the corner... I stopped and kissed each one of them... then I took off.  I would run it in... I saw my brother and his family again right near the finish.  I waved and maybe even managed a smile and pushed it in.

Last 0.35: 3:34 (10:19 pace - which was my version of a sprint at that point)

Final time 5:12 (26.35 miles)

All I felt at the finish line was relief.  I was choked up when the man put the medal around my neck.  And I don't know how many volunteers stopped to congratulate me on my first marathon (first timers get a different color bib), but I couldn't respond to any of them.  I couldn't eek out any words.  I briefly saw Sherry and gave her a hug and then promptly found a place to sit... barely made it to the floor and just sat there staring at the wall.  I eventually got up... couldn't find any food except a stale bagel.  I found Robin (who managed a 4:38... considering she stayed with me for 18 miles, she was pushing an 8:30 pace all the way to the finish after I told her to go ahead).  Yeah, she's a super hero.

Soon I headed back out with Robin to wait for Elaine to finish.  I questioned whether or not I could handle standing there... my quads were still screaming and cramping.  But I have never missed her finish at any of the races we have done together.  She and I decided to do a marathon about 8 months ago... and I was going to see it through.  I found some bleachers near the finish (thank God).  I waited and worried.  Finally, her husband showed up right next to me.  You cannot imagine how happy I was to see Joe.  He said she was within a mile or two and that her dad was with her, helping her run in.  We kept waiting and worrying, and then she came.  For about 60 seconds, my legs didn't hurt and I ran down the lane screaming what I could eek out to her (I was an emotional basketcase)... I ran down the fence as she crossed the finish.  I was elated for her.  I know what an important and big accomplishment this is for Elaine! 

Somehow the marathon wasn't complete without her finish, so I was so glad that I stayed to watch it! 

I won't whine about the 2 mile walk to the car where I almost had another mental breakdown... oh yes I will... it was awful!!!  And then I remembered the car was out of gas... and... and... and... well, it just wasn't my day.

Yes, I am a marathoner.  Yes, I completed 26.2 miles and have the medal to prove it.  I am not disappointed in my time of 5:12.  While I had goals, they were never a make or break deal for me.  What I was disappointed in was that I know I am capable of so much more.  I trained too much for my body to break down as early as mile 15.  I could've handled it mentally if I hit a wall at 20, but 15 was entirely too early.  11 miles of a marathon where I walked almost as much as I ran was just gut-wrenching for me.  I put in the miles and the hours, and I wanted more from my body, and it just didn't participate.

But ultimately, just like the rest of you crazy runners, you know what that means, right???  I have to redeem myself... which means I need to pick another marathon... San Diego RnR?  Seattle RnR?  Marine Corps?  I can't decide.

Maybe at the next one, I'll run with these guys:

(This is the actual pack of Elites, mostly Kenyans, of course, from Sunday's race at mile 11.5.  Photography courtesy of Dad. )

This might be the longest post ever.  If you got to this point, give yourself a gold star... cause even I'm drained just looking at it...

But one last thing... look what arrived in Monday's mail... my sleeves and the pink and green TMB band I wanted to wear... go figure...