Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rock n Roll New Orleans Marathon Race Recap

Results:
Marathon in 2:49:06* for 1st! J
+ bathroom break after the half-way point (36 seconds from door to road)
So 2:48:30 without it ??
(I’ve heard there are no potty break conversions in the marathon. L)

Splits

Houston, Maddy and I headed to New Orleans Saturday morning being that is was only a 5 hour drive and there was an event I wanted to attend Friday night.  We arrived at the race expo at 2:00pm.

I  was told I had to visit the “solutions desk” to pick up my race packet. Here- I struggled.  
I told the man waiting on me, “I need to pick up my race packet here.”
He then looked at me like I was crazy.
Struggling to explain myself I blurted out “Um…uh…I’m an elite…?”
He nodded as if to say “right answer” and grabbed a piece of white paper from underneath his desk, “OK, fill this out, what is your name?”
He then came back a minute later with a race bib, arm bad, and a timing chip.

This is what he gave me.

Thanks David for taking this.

I’ve never received this number before in a road race. I have been “1” on the track numerous times, but in a road race with 22,000 other people- this was a first.
Maddy at the expo- messy hair and cookie crumbs!
 We cruised through the expo, hitting the high spots – Brooks had a huge awesome presence doing gait analysis and showing off their super new line of clothing- I didn't forget to visit my new friends at Sof Sole and ZeroWater…I even got to catch a few minutes of Frank Shorter and Rod Dixon talking about the good old days.  I would drive five hours to listen to two running legends like Frank and Rod (look at me, like we are on a first name basis or something).

That night I made a rookie mistake. I was starving so Houston and I didn’t spend too long looking for a restaurant, we picked the closest Italian place we could find. Unfortunately,  I couldn’t pronounce anything on the menu, so I ordered the only thing I could recognize: Lasagna.
The mistake, only the real thing was twice as meaty.
Mistake. Big. Mistake.

I had a stomach ache all night, that lasagna was rich – much richer than the Kroger brand we are used to J. When I woke up race morning, I made numerous trips to the bathroom and I had a sneaky suspicion I may suffer from some stomach problems later in the race.

Being that we were staying at some over-priced hotel only ¾ of a mile from the start line (there was mandatory $35 valet parking) I had no trouble getting there in the morning to warm up and check my bag.  The energy at the start line was amazing, the music was blaring, it was NOLA, it was AWESOME.  I lined up with all the other “elites” and the when the gun went off- it was time to get to work.

I can understand how the half at New Orleans is so freakin fast, especially for the women. It is amazing, I have never had so many people to run with, many running sub 1:19 pace. Its flat as a freaking pancake, lined with fans, live bands at every turn.  You run down by the French Quarter and many of the most beautiful sites that NOLA has to offer. The first 13 miles was awesome. 

I was really just floating. 

I glanced down at my watch every once in a while and knew I was running on pace. I felt amazing, slow at times. I was POSTIVE I could run 26.2 miles at the pace I was running, I was laughing talking and really enjoying myself.  Until about 8 miles it was really just a dream of a race.
Early, feeling good.

After that I started getting blisters. Like an idiot, I wore socks I had not tested over a 10 mile run and could FEEL blisters forming on my left foot. Every time I took a step I got a shooting pain up my leg and my foot was already slapping the ground hard. I figured it would be something ridiculous like BLISTERS that slow me.

Ha, wrong.

1:22:33 at half-way (just before the bathroom break!)

At nine miles my stomach was aching hard, I was hurting and I KNEW I was going to have to stop for a bathroom break. Being that I had a awesome group to run with through the half, I held on as long as I could. After recruiting my biker friend to watch for second, and bidding my running friend so long (for now) I darted into a port-a-john about 10 meters off the course just before City Park. From opening the door until I stepped back onto the road, it was 36 seconds. New Record. Biker high-five.

Then I did something stupid.

Feeling amazing and somewhat fired up about how awesome I handled that “could have been disastrous” situation, I dropped a 5:58 mile after sprinting to and from the bathroom running into the wind at City Park. Feeling good for just over a mile, I started to tire unexpectedly at 15, and at that point I realized I was in trouble.
Sprint to catch the pack of guys ahead with a 5:58 mile. Dumb move.
I was alone and it was windy on this stretch.  My hip started to get tight, my breathing labored. My stomach still hurt but at least it was not throbbing.  I didn’t feel good anymore.

I got quiet and started to think positive thoughts. Honestly, I had no idea if the people in front of me were coming back or not ( I told myself they were). My husband offered me a gel, I refused,  got quiet. No one spoke. I kept running.

Mile 16 I was passed and I spent about a minute trying to find my legs again. I was confident I could stay with this guy, and he was happy enough to run in front of me. We got back on pace running mid 6:20’s, not what I wanted but given the way I felt I was happy with it. It was getting hot and the sun was out, I was doing everything I could just to overcome those negative spots that made we want to drop out. I felt like I was going to bonk at any minute.

The next few miles were uneventful, I was catching back up with some of my earlier friends, but my stomach, feet, and body were still hurting. My form was deteriorating and at mile 21 I felt the side of my foot split open and was forced to run heal toe like a normal person.  My legs felt dead and heavy doing this.
Getting back in the race

I’ve ran a lot of races in the past were I have really had to fight from half way because of my hip locking up so I figured I could rally. I convinced myself that if I let the guy in front of me go, I would be second and I would lose the race. Problem was that he was slowing too, and finding another gear somewhere, I ended up passing him before it was all said and done.

Running back towards the (eventual) finish, we turned back onto the course were 1000s of runners were just heading out to run the loop around the bay. Without these 1000s of screaming runners, I am not sure if I would have finished Sunday. I felt a few small surges of excitement and energy and for the first time, I realized I could really win.

The clock was off a minute the entire time so I figured I was under 2:50 for sure. I did some math and realized I only had to run 6:50 pace the rest of the way to break 2:50. This motivated me to run 6:30s, and before I knew it, I hit mile 25.

The last mile was a complete blur as we got closer and closer to the finish. There were more fans here and it really helped carry me along. I heard my name numerous times, I tried to wave but I couldn’t tell who anyone was. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other at a pace that would keep second behind me.

I passed two people late and finished the final 400 meters under 6:00 pace. It was exhilarating to run up the final straight away with people screaming at me, breaking a Rock N Roll tape. MOST OF ALL, it was relieving. After as much trouble as I had…I was just happy for it all to be over.
Photo by claimyourjourney.com

Breaking the tape
Afterwards I headed to VIP and grabbed a cup of coffee (yes, after 26 miles, this was all I wanted) and chatted with a few of the other winners, especially Liz, the woman that finished second, a beautiful woman and FAST!  When no one was looking I snatched up a few handful of Gus that were piled all over the tent (for those of us that don’t have a nutrition sponsor, GU/Gels are expensive) I was just waiting for someone to say, “Is that the woman that won the marathon stealing all those Gus?” 
Why yes that was me, and I went to the bathroom during the marathon too, in case you were wondering.

Highlight of the weekend besides winning a Rock n Roll marathon in one of my FAVORITE places on earth? Feeding Maddy beignets from the VIP buffet and accepting my award from Frank Shorter and Rod Dixon.

Look at us laughing, haha. Me and FRANK SHORTER are laughing at something…TOGETHER

After all that, what did the Franks do? Celebrate? Yes, we celebrated (Franks Style)

We jumped in the car, stopped at a Wendy’s about an hour down the road. The Walking Dead was coming on AMC at 8:00pm and I wanted to clean the house before work in the morning.

YEEEEeeeessss…….

Thanks for all the love and support. Your comments mean a lot. I have great running friends, family, a great community of supporters here in Starkville and with this blog. The 2:49, not what I wanted, and I know that I am capable of much better, but a win and a PR – can’t really complain.

I will line up for 26.2 once again to chase 2:45. For now, back to being Mom.

Happy Running.

-M

19 comments:

Raina said...

Congratulations on a fantastic win, Meggan! You are phenomenal.

Loved reading the report and how you rallied through the tough parts to stay in front.

Very nice that you were able to pick up some extra gels while you were there too :) I don't see you being without a nutrition sponsor for very much longer!

Pro Gait Analysis said...

Congratulations on a very well deserved win! I was on tenter hooks reading quickly to see what happened next during the race!

Very well done!

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

I loved reading this. I love how you know that you can feel like crap at mile 13 (stomach, hip pain, whatever) and just push through. I love how humble and "normal" you are:) Super congrats!
And yes, I think GU should start taking care of you. OR Powerbar. Well deserved:)

DonnaG said...

Congrats on a successful race Meggan! You are inspiring....

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

Congratulations! Take all the Gus you want! You came back big time from tummy trouble - very impressed.
I loved being able to watch you win this race! Well ok, I didn't actually see the win. Something like 15 minutes BEHIND you lol, but I got to see you run and accept your award! Very well done and nice sub 2:50! Think how fast without a bathroom break!
PS that is City Park, not Audubon; Audubon is where you turned around at mile 4.5 at the end of St Charles.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

Most excellent race report Meggan! You make MS proud! I'm amazed at the mental POWER to push through any and all obstacles. ( I need a few lessons on that).

Note - with that time, you would have won Snickers also & more $$s for Gu s. :) but the weather may not have been as good as N.O, not sure??

Can't wait to read about the next 2:45 attempt & training to get there. Had the weather been cooler on Sat., im sure you would have been near your goal.

Allison said...

This is an awesome race report. Love, love, love that last picture of you breaking the tape. You MUST get that blown up and framed.

Too funny about celebrating with Wendy's and rushing home to watch The Walking Dead. HA!

Congrats again on an amazing race and WIN!!!!

Britt said...

Congrats on your PR and win! You are such an inspiration!

Caitlin Chrisman said...

Great pictures, and impressed with your poo split. Love the huge PR. Hopefully we'll race sometime soon.

Lize Brittin said...

What an awesome run, Meggan! Big congratulations for getting through some tough spots and pushing it for the win. You truly are amazing.

A-Pi (Peter) said...

Tremendous running Meggan! I'll get inspiration from you in my next marathon.

crewser said...

wow, just came across your blog when was looking at the claim your journey website. Excellent race! I love seeing moms succeed in races!

ayedubbscclark said...

woo hooo!!!!!!! Way to get after it. This is so inspiring. =)

-aye dubbs

mrn said...

great race and recap! let me know when you want an immodium strategy lesson...i'm an expert!

ayedubbscclark said...

So awesome! You inspire me! ... Seriously.

-Caitlyn

Keep rockin!

Jesse Armijo said...

Congrats again Meggan! You are going to smash your pr the next time you toe the line. Which one do you have in mind....? Good luck with everything!

Haley said...

I love this post and your attitude :)
<3 Haley

CyclinMissy said...

Congratulations! That is freakin' awesome!

Nicole Wagner said...

I really like you. lol...I know that sounds strange..but you just seem so normal! I love that you are a MOM and a kickass runner! it gives me hope that someday I can be superfast too and still be a mom:) I have 2 girls who are my little angels.

I loved this win and I love the video I watched of you after the race..your accent is so cute!!
anyway...so moved by how you charged through the stomach pain and I will be thinking of this when I'm running Boston and hurting...Meggan never gave up!!...it will help me keep fighting!!
good job girl!!