Thursday, November 22, 2007

Can't Get No Marathon

Last month when I was feeling great like Superman, I registered for the ING Atlanta Marathon - the WHOLE marathon. I've never done a marathon before and I picked this race because I did the half last year and it was fun and because it is close to home. I was on track to begin training after today's Atlanta Track Club half-marathon.

Then, my limiting factor kicked in. I don't know if it was the raising of the bike seat or the too many new miles too fast or the recumbent (torture device) bike but I hurt my knee. This put my training out of commission for the last two/three weeks. Gamely, I soldiered on. I'm in good shape from the summer of triathlons so I thought I could gut it out slowly without too much trouble. I did a 10.6 mile training run in the heat with no problems.

Then came the rain.

We rode to the race with Nat and parked at the finish. I have to second what Nat said about MARTA. It sucked today. They were supposed to run a Sunday schedule today, which means trains every 15 minutes. Since we ran from the car to the Five Points station, we should have been able to get a train in 15 mins max and ride the train for 23 mins and arrive at the start in PLENTY of time. Alas, no. The first train was more than 13 minutes in coming. It was a North Springs train and didn't go to the Chamblee station where the start was. Hmm, a zillion runners are all going to Chamblee but they don't send the trains there. Whatever. We waited for the next train forever and then rode to the appropriate station. Then, we sprinted to the set-up area and had already missed the start. I had to wait in line for a porto-potty anyway so it was no skin off of my nose.

Anyway, the first mile was bobbing and weaving. I went out a little hot but figured it was OK because (1) the last part would be slow, and (2) might as well get to the right paced-group for my run. Mile 1 was 7:54.

Somewhere in mile 2 it started to rain and my IT band started to act up. If you've been reading this blog since last year, you know that I battled IT band problems while training for my first half last winter. There are too many posts about it to link them, but if you care to listen to whining - feel free to visit the archives. I tried to vary my gait to find the most comfortable position but no dice. Luckily I met a nice runner (Phillip from Gwinnett Cty) to chat with during this mile. Phillip was doing his first half today, just graduated from Auburn and is thinking about getting into triathlon. I had to let friendly Phillip go so that I could stretch my IT band, which is too bad because he was a talker and a good running partner. No dice. I couldn't even get it to ease a little. Miles 3 and 4 were approx 9 minute pace and I was able to speed up a little after some walking for miles 5 (9:33), 6 (8:35) and 7 (8:29). It was during this period that I realized that there is no way that I can do the ING marathon. I can probably train enough to do the half comfortably but the whole is out of the question. I'm very disappointed but I have to give in to the knees - unfortunately, they are the boss of me.

2009, though, ING is toast.

Then the tummy issues reappeared. I had eaten some immodium in the car and had some more after the stretching in mile 5 but I still had to stop in mile 8. Waited forever for the potty and got back going. Luckily, my Cliff Shot kicked in mile 8 and that great Foo Fighters song came on my i-pod. It was lovely. I lost some pace in mile 8 (10:23), but got back going in miles 9 (9:57) and 10 (9:12) while I talked with another runner who was using this race as a tune-up for the Arizona marathon later this winter. He made a snide remark about me wearing cotton and didn't seem to want to chat while I prattled on about how I wasn't wearing any cotton (despite the fact that my technical shirt and running skirt were hanging way low and dripping water) and how he needed to start doing triathlons.

After that I was able to turn it up for miles 11 (9:34), 12 (8:51) and 13 (7:54) and sprint it in to the finish. Boy, am I ever sore. I'm hobbling badly and am not foreseeing any running in my near future. Doug did great and beat my time in his very first half despite having IT band issues too. He rocks. Nat ran under 1:50 despite wheezing and a startlingly bad cough. She is hard core.

I finished in 2:02:12 (chip time) or 1:58:40 (Garmin time). Garmin stops when I stop moving so that is why there is a difference. Stretching and porto-potties don't count as movement. Oh well. Better race next year - WITH tights and not in the rain.


Nat said...

You and Doug did great!

I still don't think you should throw in the towel quite yet on the full. I think you should try training. Maybe on flat terrain if that helps the knee. ING is hilly so you could try hill repeats once a week and maybe do shorter runs on hilly courses but reserve the long for flat. Either that or we can run Albany together-- I thin that is beggining of March and is flat.
BTW, if I was hardcore I would have done the full, right?

Wes said...

Awww man! What's up with all my girls having these physical issues? Grrrrrrr!

As I told Nat, I'm sure you guys passed Dee Dee and I somewhere in the race, probably the first mile. Sorry I missed y'all in the Sea of Humanity :-) I figured by mile 8, you guys were having coffee and eating frosted benets at some cafe! LOL...

I agree with Nat. If you figure out what you need to do, and you work as hard at recovering as you do at being such a great athlete, than the marathon is in your grasp.

And yea, Nat. You're hard core. We ain't arguing about it :-)

Sarah said...

Way to bring it at the very end! That's a tough finish and you rocked it!

Charlie said...

Great job Stephanie!

Both of you are hardcore in my books, running in the rain with colds and ITBS issues.


Jarrett Meyer said...

Even registering for a marathon is a significant feat.