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Rachel’s Story…it’s a long one..

October 5th, 2008 · 24 Comments

Photo Credit: The Spectrum

Yesterday, we ran 26.2 miles in the St. Goerge Marathon. The weather report from Tuesday was 51 degrees at the start and clear. Little did we know that the weather report was getting worse each day closer to Saturday. We arrived at the starting line at 5:30 to practically a blizzard – WIND and RAIN. Amazing. I was in shock. The organizers immediately handed us gloves and a trash bag. There must have been 10 huge blazing bone-fires we runners huddled all the way around each one. Some were even wrapped up in sleeping bags and sleeping I guess. Don’t know how you’d sleep among 6000 shivering runners, but, they weren’t moving around. We kept warm by walking around and doing a little bit of stretching- but absolutely no warm up happened prior to the race. It was mostly about keeping warm and eliminating as much as possible!

I should preface my report with a little information on my last month of training…Almost none. I finished my last long run with an inflammed medial quad on my right knee and then the left knee developed the same pain. Running in the pool was helpful, however, it still put pressure on my right knee so I gave that up as well. For two weeks, I did not run at all. I had two deep tissue massages which helped release the tightness in the muscles but I was still taking IB profen every single day until last week, when I switched to cortisone for five days. For sure, it helped bring the inflammation down, but did little for my ability to sleep. (side effect of the drug) So, by Monday of last week, I had developed a sinus infection. Lovely. Last week, I also had two acupuncture treatments on my knees (Mon, Thurs) going into race week. Amazingly, acupuncture speeds the process of healing in the muscles which is what I believe to allowed me to run! In addition to that, I took one HIP OPENING yoga class on Wednesday and that also helped stretch those tight muscles. The bottom line, I DID EVERYTHING I COULD TO GET HEALTHY TO FINISH THE RACE.

With all that said, I checked my “Pie in the Sky” goal at the bus stop and focused on fun. I was there to enjoy myself as much as possible and not get further injured. Heather, from atalanta athleticwear, reminded me very wisely that “you want to run the rest of your life- not just tomorrow!” My goal for Saturday was to be in the present, focus on finishing and just try to be mindful of my body. So as we started running in the dark and cold at 645AM, my only goal was to finish. I did have several thoughts of “what am I going to do if my knee starts screaming at me” but it never really hurt. I said goodbye to Bobbi at the start, whom I knew was going to run really fast and focused on my race. I am not one to wear an IPOD but I had one in my pocket. She swears they make her run faster, but, I just wanted to stay present in my body and the scenery and the people.

Once I could see my Garmin, I was averaging 830 miles and feeling FINE. But, I still had a mindset that I needed to stay healthy throughout the run and so, when I felt tightness, I stretched. There was a water station every two miles or so, I spent a minute or two for the first fifteen miles, stretching. Down dogs, leg lunges, ITB band stretches. While I did that, I added water to my HEED bottle. I was carrying a double strength bottle of heed and just added water each time. So, by the end, it was fairly diluted, but I was drinking HEED the whole way. Did not touch the gatorade. I was dealing with MASSIVE tightness of my left hamstring and left IT Band for a large part of the run. At times, when I stretched my quads would cramp, but, it went away. At about mile 10, the volunteers had ICY HOT. So, I stopped and let them massage my quad with the bengay-like cream, and that really HELPED a lot. Don’t know if you can overdose on that, but, every two miles from mile 10-20, I let them apply it to any area that was tight or that hurt!

Instead of an IPOD, I chose to engage in conversations whenever possible. I ran up to someone going my speed and said “hi what is your goal time?” I met a nice guy from Ogden, Utah who said, he’d love a 345 and I said, I’d love that too! When I was running with him, we were averaging 745’s and he said I was going to fast, but I thought he was trying to drop me! Ha. Anyway, it helped with the mental aspect of not worrying about my aches and pains. My mental attitude, was just get to mile twenty and it’s easy after that. And it was. The crowds were amazing! Cheering with their car headlights on, blaring loud rock and roll music. The city is all about this marathon. As I got to mile twenty, my Garmin was showing me 3 hours (or so). I thought I was doing really great on time. At one point, I realized that half my butt was showing, AHH, my skirt was so wet and the gels in my pocket were pulling my skirt way down low. Ha. Oh well.

At mile twenty four, my watch had me at 330. I had even raised my hopes that I still might qualify for Boston. I started picking up my pace and thought that if I ran two eight minute miles, that MAYBE I would hit 345. Passed a ton of people. Those last miles were brutal. At this point my biggest problem were my calves. They were on LOCK DOWN. Completely cramped. I wasn’t going to try and stretch at this point, I just wanted to finish. As I took my pace up though, I felt my stomach start to hurl and my calves got tighter. So I backed off and just focused on the finish. As I came into the last three blocks, I started to tear up. I was so glad that I had finished healthfully and with a great mental mindset, I felt like I had just finished this major major event in my life. Raised my hands on the finish line. This was a victory for me. Stopped my watch at 3:50.

St. George did an awesome job of getting us to the finish line, and then I felt like they fell apart after that. I finished the marathon was given my medal and was FREAKIN cold and wet. There was no blankets, no volunteers to check on you and no water given out at all. I walked another half mile to retrieve my dry clothes, only to find out that they couldn’t find my clothing bag. Spent an hour shivering cold and wet in yet another trash bag with no water looking for my dry clothes. We finally hailed a cab and got back to the hotel. Showered, ate pizza and beer, and stretched out at the hotel.

Are you still reading? I will wrap up this long story with a thought that maybe I will try again next spring to qualify. Bobbi, my running buddy, had an amazing race with a time of 324. You can read her story here. She will start training for Boston in Feb or March and I’m thinking that I might try and find a marathon around that time to train for. I was close to my goal time, but with my month long rest, along with pouring rain, and a sinus infection, this was not going to be my day to qualify. At the end, my actual chip time was 359. Ugg. My Garmin showed 350 because of AUTO PAUSE. If I was stretching, it was not advancing my time. In my heart, I ran a 350, though.

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Tags: Racing, Events, · Running

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 workout mommy // Oct 5, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    congratulations!!! I am so proud of you! :)

    workout mommys last blog post..Hey soccer parents!

  • 2 Christina // Oct 5, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    I am so proud of you! I am going to tell all my associates who are new moms that creating a plan, and sticking to it, makes all the difference!

  • 3 Mama C // Oct 5, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Congratulations on a race well run!

    Mama Cs last blog post..I only have eyes for you

  • 4 Jill Will Run // Oct 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Congrats on a good race and for getting through when you’d had so many knee troubles before! Your time impresses me, I don’t know that I could get a sub-4 marathon at this point in my running career. I should try running St. George some day, it’s so close to me!

    Jill Will Runs last blog post..TNT Group Run #17

  • 5 Lance // Oct 5, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Rachel, you ran an AWESOME race! Just think of what the last month has been like, and still to have run and completed a marathon. Amazing! And to do it as fast as you did, I think that’s an incredible performance you had out there! You have completed a marathon!!! Very few people do that. Congratulations on running a GREAT race!!!!! Now…enjoy some rest and relaxation…

    Lances last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  • 6 kch // Oct 5, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    An amazing job under tough circumstances. Congratulations – you should be proud!

  • 7 Fitarella // Oct 5, 2008 at 11:39 pm


    Fitarellas last blog post..More pics from the Fab 3-a-day Event

  • 8 MizFit // Oct 5, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    MizFits last blog post..Im down with MBT (yeah you know me)

  • 9 Rosabel // Oct 6, 2008 at 1:00 am

    “you want to run the rest of your life, not just tomorrow” – reminds me to listen to my body and not just work work work! Thanks.

    Rosabels last blog post..Part 1- Basic First Aid Skills

  • 10 Kai // Oct 6, 2008 at 2:26 am

    AMAZING!!!!!!! Congrats!

    Kais last blog post..Wherein I Realize I’ve Been Watching Too Much News

  • 11 Fit Mommy // Oct 6, 2008 at 4:05 am

    Thanks everybody! I feel so blessed to have my own “cheering section!” Whenever I am down, I will come read the comments on this site and feel proud. I am proud of the race. It’s an 11 minute PR in pouring down rain. My shoes were huge pools of water!

  • 12 M // Oct 6, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Fantastic job! Woo hoo………….. Hold your head high! Be proud!

    Ms last blog post..Link Love Friday

  • 13 Coach Al // Oct 6, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Rachel, Wow! Congrats! You should be very proud of finishing SO well after such a difficult last month, and on such a difficult day. I can hear in your voice that you are dissapointed, but from my perspective, you had an AMAZING race. And, an amazing last few months!!

    Remember, life isn’t about what happens to us, its about how we REACT to what happens to us. You’ve learned a tremendous amount over these last few months, and that knowledge (and the action you take from this point forward) is going to propel you forward to new running heights! You’ve learned to listen to your body, and work with it, not against it. You’ve learned some basics about how to train properly for a marathon. You’ve learned how essential it is to not only be strong, but also the value of mobility, elasticity, and flexibility of your hips and pelvis. You’ve learned a lot girl!, and have grown so much, on multiple levels! Your finish and the entire experience of “training” and preparing for this marathon has truly been something to celebrate!

    Don’t be dissapointed. Every race, and experience in training, is an opportunity to learn and grow. You will be much better equipped to continue on and improve now, given all that has happened, so my advice….be thankful, and take all that you’ve learned and put it into action moving forward…

    All the best,

  • 14 RooBabs // Oct 6, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Wow! What an amazing race. After reading about your injuries and illness, I can’t believe you attempted, let alone finished the race, and with such a fast time (and came superclose to Boston qualifying). How do you run with a sinus infection?! Wow! What a trooper.

    BTW, someday I hope to run the St. George Marathon, as I’m from Utah. It’s great to read your report. Congrats!

    RooBabss last blog post..The Yin and Yang of Football

  • 15 josha // Oct 6, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    It was so fun to read your success story from beginning to end! Big kudos to you!

    joshas last blog post..December 6th

  • 16 Zandria // Oct 8, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    That is so fantastic! Go, you! I liked that part about you not listening to music and taking the time to talk to people instead. :)

    Zandrias last blog post..Would You Kiss Someone on the First Date?

  • 17 A Mom in Red High Heels // Oct 9, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Great Job! I hope you are really proud of yourself!!!!! :)

  • 18 Running Knitter // Oct 10, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Congrats on an amazing race!

    Running Knitters last blog post..In the Zones…

  • 19 Terri // Oct 11, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Awesome job, congratulations, especially in that kind of crappy weather – wow, under 4 hours!!

    Terris last blog post..A few shout-outs – go ladies go!!!

  • 20 jeanne // Oct 11, 2008 at 2:59 am

    wow what an inspiring story! you did fantastic! i know it must be tough to have come so close to qualifying for boston. just from reading this, i have NO doubt you’ll do it next time!

    jeannes last blog post..Now, 66.5% Fat-Free!

  • 21 Doing the victory dance! // Dec 15, 2008 at 6:00 am

    [...] you’re new here, you might want to read this post (for a little history). After finishing the St. George Marathon on October 4th, I was in great [...]

  • 22 Training for a Marathon?! Recommended Plans… // Oct 20, 2010 at 4:25 am

    [...] 4 marathons in my lifetime all with times close to or around 4 hours. In 2008, I ran a 3:59 at the St. George Marathon in pouring rain after having a one month hiatus just prior to the marathon due to a knee injury. For [...]

  • 23 Hero Workout or Marathon? // Feb 14, 2011 at 4:35 am

    [...] If you’re a regular here, you know that I spent the better part of my athletic career in endurance sports… and you may also remember the year of the marathon in 08. [...]

  • 24 Lost Your Sport, Find CrossFit // Aug 4, 2011 at 4:14 am

    [...] actually running a marathon.  Years later, I got the running bug again, and trained for and ran the St. George Marathon– got injured, but, still got a 10 minute PR on serious training.  That was in 2008 and I [...]

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