November 5, 2008

Race Report - Nike Women’s Marathon - 10/19/08

I’m going to try and be as specific as I can with this report, because there were a couple of race reports from last year that really helped me prepare, so hopefully this will help future NWM runners! Grab yourself a beverage, sit back and get comfortable - this is longest race report ever!


I first learned about the Nike Marathon back in February from an article at Runner’s World – Marathons You Should Do In 2008. I did some online research - finding some race reports and reading reviews at Marathon Guide. It sounded fantastic, so I tried to get into the half through the lottery, but wasn’t chosen. Not one to be defeated, I knew I could participate through Team in Training, so I contacted them and asked to be put on their mailing list. I went to an informational session in April, and signed up – for the FULL MARATHON. No, I don’t know why I checked that box – I guess I figured if I was going to try to raise $3895 it would be better advertising to tell people I was going for 26.2. I am so happy to say I raised $7682 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thanks to my wonderful friends and family for all of their support!

Race Morning

I woke up around 2:50 am and didn’t really go back to sleep. We had the alarm set for 4:00 am, so when it went off I got up and had a bagel. My coffee arrived around 4:20 – very important! We left the hotel around 5:15 and headed to the Palace to meet Julie & Kellie. It was pretty chilly out but I wasn’t cold at all even though I just had on my singlet. Note: The Team in Training singlet has to be the most horrible piece of clothing ever produced. It’s way too short and even though I had an XL tummy roll #1 was showing too much. Not happy. Horrible photos.

After meeting them at their hotel we walked over to the corner of Post Street where the early start had just begun, so we saw some walkers/runners pass us by. It didn’t really seem like there were very many – maybe a few hundred. We headed over to Geary Street where we were going to line up.

Now, at the Expo there were pace bracelets that you picked up in order to seed yourself. The options were:

6:30 – 8:59
9:00 – 9:59
10:00 – 11:59
12;00 – 14:59
15:00 – 16:00+

I had read that last year there were a lot of walkers at the beginning of the race, so even though I would do some walking eventually, it wouldn’t be right at the beginning. I picked up the 10:00 – 11:59 pace bracelet. I would recommend for future NWM RUNNERS – even if you aren’t that fast, take the pace bracelet for 6:30 – 8:59. I could not believe the number of walkers we had to get around. It was pretty annoying, and tiresome.

The first mile went by really quickly as we headed to The Embarcadero. At that point Julie & Kellie said they needed to go to the bathroom. The lines before the race were ridiculous – Kellie waited in line for something like 20 minutes and didn’t get to go. Just a note about the porta potties – the lines were crazy long during the first half of the race. I needed to go about 8 or 9 miles in, but knowing I was pushing the time limit to reach mile 18 ¾ I didn’t want to take the time to wait in a long line. After the split from the half-marathoners there were a ton of porta potties in Golden Gate park and no lines, so that’s where I stopped.

I decided to keep on going without Julie & Kellie because I knew they would eventually catch up with me. It took longer than I thought – I think it was almost to mile 7 before they found me. We took a photo with the GG Bridge in the background, had some water and I ate a protein bar. I had been running about 1.5 hours at this point. After walking for a bit we started running again, and that’s when they were gone. I just couldn't keep up with them.
A lot of this is a blur now. The bad hills were between miles 6 – 9. I remember an awesome downhill stretch after mile 10. Golden Gate Park wasn’t that bad, but miles 11-15 are a fairly steady climb. Something to not forget! This was the part that killed my legs.

There was the split for the half marathoners, and I saw the Mile 14 marker, but still had to go into the park and get to the turnaround point. I saw Kellie and Julie as they were on their way back from there. I know I was pretty much exhausted at this point. My legs were killing me, but I kept going. I did a lot of walking. My friend Stacey had said she would try to meet me at mile 15, so I kept moving and finally got there. I didn’t see her. There was an aid station, so I took a few minutes to sit down at the First Aid area because I needed to pull off some tape that had shifted on my little toe. I got my sock and shoe back on and started moving again.

Mile 16 was where the half marathoners joined the full course again, and then broke off to the finish. That’s when I heard Stacey yell “ANNNNNDDDDRRREEEAA”. I was so happy to see her – I gave her a hug, and really thought that’s all that there would be. I’m not sure how she got around the barrier – but she started walking with me, and then I saw Jerel on the other side of the road. He had on his sweatshirt and also my hoodie. It was freezing – the wind was whipping off the Pacific Ocean.

He walked with us for a few minutes, but since he was holding stuff for Julie & Kellie I was worried they would be finished and looking for him so he headed back to the finish. Stacey, on the other hand, stayed with me for until the end. I could not believe it. If it wasn't for her, I would not have finished. I would have headed for the finish at 18 3/4. I owe her BIG TIME!

So, this was where the hard part really started. The Great Highway is a piece of crap. I don’t know how to describe the road. The asphalt is mixed with some sort of rock/gravel crap, and let me tell you, my tired and aching feet could feel every pebble.

I don’t think I ran very much at all from mile 16 – 18 ¾. I used the bathroom again around mile 17. There were some people behind me, but no one was really passing me. As we approached mile 18 ¾ (30 km) one of the volunteers told us about the choice we could make – turn around and head to the finish without crossing the 30 km mat. I heard her say we had until 2:30 pm to cross the finish line and receive our Tiffany necklace. This was about 12:15 pm, so I had about 7.5 miles to go. I knew I wasn’t going to make without running some more. I didn't even hesitate as I crossed the 30 km mat.

We headed around Lake Merced – which I didn’t think was all that bad, but it’s probably because I wasn’t trying to get around anyone. They had the right lane of the road closed off for runners, and I can see how it would get pretty tight if there were a lot of people bunched in together. Again, most of this is a blur. The aid station at mile 21 was already closed, and the chocolate mile was packed up but they still gave Stacey some.

It was around Mile 22 that a TNT volunteer joined us. She asked if I had passed any other TNT runners recently. Not that I had any idea, so I said no. Well, she stayed and walked with us. Now, she was very nice, but I so wasn’t feeling perky and chatty. She started saying something about me being the last TNT runner and how loud the cheering would be for me. Well, thanks but no thanks. We started running again, so we got away from her. She said she wasn’t a runner – she was a walking coach. I did quite a bit of running after we got back on the Great Highway and passed several TNTers.

By the time we got to mile 24 they were starting to take down the mile markers. They waited until I passed at Mile 24, but Miles 25 and 26 were already gone when I got there. Luckily they were marked in chalk on the ground so I was able to know where I was!

Around this point I started passing a large group of TNT coaches, and a TNT sweeper wearing angel wings. Now, I’m probably one of the most open huggy kissy people you’re ever going to meet. This woman proceeded to put her arm around my shoulders and hug me close to her. Holy fucking crap lady – get your damn hands off of me. I’m covered in salty sweat and I know I stink, my legs are aching, my lower back hurts and by God my trapezius muscles are aching too. Stacey said the woman had probably never run a full marathon before, because she would have known that I really wouldn’t want to be touched at that point of the race!

I started running again at Mile 25.5 and kept running to the finish line. At Mile 26 Stacey headed back behind the barriers, and a couple of TNT coaches came over from the finish line. They ran toward the finish with me, and I heard the announcer say something about “here comes Andrea, there’s 2.5 minutes left before we close down, will she be the last finisher?” One of the TNT guys sort of pushed me toward the finish – it actually helped me go a little faster. I ran through a bunch of TNT people and crossed that damn finish line at 2:27:55.

I barely remember one of the tuxedo guys handing me the Tiffany box, I stopped and one of the volunteers cut the timing chip off my shoe. Jerel took this photo of me. Stacey was there, and then suddenly Julie & Kellie were there too. I was so confused and tired, and really was feeling a little nauseous. I had actually started not feeling very good around mile 24. I knew I wanted to get my finisher’s t shirt, so I headed over to the tent, where everything was all packed up. Seriously – tumbleweeds were about all that was left! The girls were telling me there were only size smalls left, but if I got one I could go to Niketown the next day and trade it in for a bigger size. So, we were standing there and one of the volunteers came from out of nowhere and gave me an XL. I couldn’t believe it. Of course – it’s still too small for me. I mean, it fits, but its way too tight to wear in public. Tummy roll #1 you know.

We walked over to the TNT tent where I had to check in, and I got my 26.2 pin. I grabbed a PB&J sandwich and a peanut butter cookie. Jerel found me a chair so I could sit and eat, and he found me a bottle of water. I sat there for a little while – Stacey had to go, I remember hugging her, and Kellie and Julie had to take the shuttle bus back to Union Square. I felt like I had so much to say – I wanted to give details about what I had been doing, feeling, over the last 7 hours. Our TNT coordinator Caroline came over to see me, and she said she took a good photo of me headed toward the finish line. I remember telling her some of what had happened, but exhaustion was taking over and I needed to get back to the hotel.

Jerel and I had to walk what seemed like forever to get to the TNT bus – I was barely moving, and was starting to get cold. We got on the bus about 3:15 pm and didn’t get back to the hotel until 4:00. That sucked. There were a couple of other hotel stops before they got to ours. The hardest part was trying to get down the stairs of the bus!

I was happy to get my shoes and clothes off – I ended up with a really odd blister on my left big toe. I didn’t even feel it forming. I took an ice bath, then a nice hot shower. We ordered room service for dinner, which was some of the best food ever! I had lobster bisque, cheeseburger and fries and a big piece of chocolate cake for dessert.

I had trouble getting comfortable, but I think we were both asleep by 9:00 pm. When I fell asleep I remember thinking I would never do this again – but when I woke up on Monday morning, and could still walk once I started moving – I knew I would do another marathon.

It took me about 3 days before my legs didn’t hurt anymore – which I don’t think is too bad at all.

It’s now over 2 weeks later, and I am still basking in the glory of finishing the marathon. I wear my finisher’s necklace and get compliments on it all the time.(after getting a longer chain from DeScenzas – 16” is just too short – felt like I was being choked).

Yes, I am proud that I finished, but depending on who I’m talking to, feel embarrassed when I tell them it took me 7:11:20 (official time). Yes, I wish I had finished in 6.5 hours, but now I have a goal. I need to lose some more weight (about 50 lbs), which can only help me be a better runner.

What’s next? I have quite a few small races scheduled, including the Route 66 and Disney’s Princess Half Marathons. As for the next full – May 3, 2009!!

October 21, 2008

Nike Marathon...

I know you're DYING with anticipation, and I am truly sorry it's taken me SO long to post. Last night I was so sore and tired I couldn't sit at the hotel desk to use the computer (no wireless), and today I've been busy getting a rental car, visiting one of my good friends in Orinda and driving up to Sonoma.

I also don't have a real race report written yet, but I want you to know that YES...I FINISHED THE NIKE MARATHON!!!

Oh, but wait...don't get too excited. It freaking took me 7:11:20 to cross that damn finish line. The only reason I finished? I hope you're sitting down, because you're going to be totally blown away by this.

RBR did the last 10 miles with me. That's right. Someone who I "met" on the internet, who I've only met in person ONCE, took hours out of her Sunday, drove up to San Francisco, waited in the freezing cold wind near the Pacific Ocean for me to haul my fat ass to mile 16 and proceeded to keep me company and give me incentive to keep going those last 10.2 miles.

I cannot put into words the appreciation I have for her and her support. Thank you Stacey!!

I will work on a real report, because I know you want the dirty details of my pain and suffering. I will tell you that even though there were moments that completely sucked I am ready to run again, and will entertain the idea of doing another marathon. Don't even mention this to my husband.

October 18, 2008

Day Before My 1st Marathon

This is going to be quick, because I need to get everything together for tomorrow morning. I have been SO bad at not keeping this blog up to date. If you're really interested in what's been going on the last 2 months, please visit me at my other blog.

If you're short on time too - here's a brief catch up. August - good. September - horrible, thank you Lehman Bros. I work in finance - in securities lending. The last month has been a nightmare. Even worse, DH's mother passed away on 9/19, and his grandmother passed away a couple of weeks ago.

Running has been okay - have had bad ITBS issues, so started seeing someone for Graston's and ART. Doing MUCH better. I ran in the Maine Coast Half - much hillier than I expected, the BWS 5K - great race, met Jay from last season's Biggest Loser, and the Tufts 10K. I have a full week of vacation after tomorrow, and my computer, so hopefully I will be able to post some race reports.

Oh, yes...tomorrow I'm running in my first marathon. I am feeling PRETTY DAMN NERVOUS!

August 18, 2008

Respect The Distance

Last Saturday’s long run was “just” a 12 miler – at least thats the way I kept looking at it. I mean, what’s 12 miles when you’ve run 14.5 and then walked a couple more miles home, right? Wrong – especially when you add the hills of Newton. Oh my goodness – the last time I was that sore was after the Boston Run to Remember. My feet were dragging toward the end, and my glutes and hammmies, well, they were dead. I really worked hard though, and made sure to run up all 3 of the hills on the way out to our turnaround point. However, on the return there was plenty of walking.

Went home, took an ice bath and rested – I was actually able to take a nap for once. I slept for about 1.5 hrs and didn’t really ache too much when I got up. Yesterday I did 6 miles recovery, then stopped at the gym and stretched and foam rolled. Today is a day off, but I’m going to the gym to do the same thing. It will help to keep me loose!

Yesterday afternoon we took advantage of the Massachusetts tax free weekend and ordered our iPhones. We will be the proud owners in 7-14 days. Sweet! An early birthday present for both of us.

Afterward I had a much deserved manicure and pedicure. My feet were quite happy!

This week’s workouts are a little different than normal because I won’t be seeing Tara tomorrow. She’s out for the day, so I think I’m going to run tomorrow morning (hills), strength train on Wednesday, run on Thursday (speedwork), strength train on Friday and on Saturday we have a 15 mile long run. Sunday is 5 miles recovery.

My run buddy Julie is on vacation this week, so she won’t be there to run early with me on Saturday. I might just do the whole thing myself without stopping in the middle to run with the group. I could get started at 5:30 am and be finished by 9:15 or so, although it looks like they are changing the course around. I’m going to have to get more details before I make that decision. Depends on how hot it’s going to be too. Looks like we’re finally going to get a nice, sunny week. It’s about time!

August 14, 2008

Another One Bites The Dust

Another toenail, that is!! How ironic that today's Take It and Run Thursday over at the Runner's Lounge is care and feeding of your feet. It's like they knew.

Well, if there has been anything that's been affected by new love of running, it's my poor feet. I lost 2 toenails after the Boston Run to Remember half, and then for the longest time I was getting bad blisters on both insteps of my feet. So, I went up another 1/2 size in shoes, and have tried 4 different brands of running socks - Thorlos, Balengas, Wrightsock and finally, Sole. I love the Soles and my blistering has healed up - of course, it could be the hot and humid weather diminished, which help! I also started taping with Leukotape.

Now, I have always prided myself on having some very nice feet. I remember when I was younger my mother had the most God awful looking feet - all white and crusty looking on the heels - thick yellow toenails. Blech! I swore I would never have feet that looked like that! So, I get very frequent pedicures - every 2 weeks in the summertime and every 3 weeks in the winter.

Other than big thick callouses on my big toes things with my feet have been okay. I stopped having my pedicurist do anything with those callouses because not having them was making my toes hurt during my long runs. However, a few weeks ago I ended up getting a couple of blisters on the toe next to my big toe on my right foot - of course, that's one of the toenails I lost in May. Well, the blister was actually underneath the nail, and when I drained it the nail started sinking into the nailbed, which started hurting.

So, last night I pulled out the rubber tub and filled it with water and Epsom salts and stuck my feet in for a nice soaking. Once the nail had softened should stop reading now if things like this gross you out...I pulled the nail off. It did feel better, but since it wasn't really ready to come off there's a section that's still tender. As my friend Jen's mom says "it's angry".

I made sure to spray it with antiseptic spray and popped a bandaid on it, and didn't have any trouble with my run this morning. I'm sure it will be fine in a couple of days, and soon I'll have a brand new toenail. I wonder if Jeanine will give me a discount when I see her on Sunday for my next pedicure? I mean - I only have 9 toenails to paint now!

Oh, so advice.

1. Make sure you have shoes that fit! Your feet WILL swell - so don't be shy about going up 1/2 to a full size from your regular shoes. Your feet will thank you.

2. Don't even think about wearing cotton socks. WICKING is the WORD.

3. Treat yourself to a pedicure. Maybe not as often as I do, but your tootsies are working hard, they need some love. Give it to them.

August 12, 2008

How Are Lunges Like Jello?

Because there’s always room for more…at least that’s Tara’s philosophy! Nothing like 25 stationary lunges on each leg while holding 20 lb dumbbells, followed by 15 single leg presses at 25 lbs, followed by 25 more stationary lunges on each leg while holding 20 lb dumbbells, of course followed by…you guessed it…15 more single leg presses at 25 lbs. May I say…Holy Crap! I’m so glad I have 3 days to recover before I hit the hills of Newton on Saturday.

We also did a new chest press move and my pecs are seriously aching, and she added about 4 more core exercises that I need to start doing. I got my money’s worth today, that’s for sure.

Did I mention that one of my TNT coaches signed up to do the Maine Coast Half on Sept. 21st? I’m so excited that there will be someone else I know there. I’m also trying to get my running buddy to sign up too.

Julie & I are registering for the Falmouth in the Fall Road Race on November 2nd. I had thought about doing the Manchester Half that day, but wasn’t quite sure I would be ready for a half so soon after the full – it’s only 2 weeks after Nike.

Tomorrow morning's run - 6 miles. It's supposed to be a fantastic day - finally - here in Boston!

August 11, 2008

Just Awesome!

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel just incredible? That’s me today!! No idea why, I just feel fantastic. Everything just seems like it’s falling into place. Running is going great, the scale is finally moving downward, & my pants are fitting better. Sure, it’s raining today, but since it’s my rest day, it doesn’t even matter.

Yesterday I woke up around 6:15. I really thought I would sleep longer, but I guess not. So, I got up and had a bite to eat, and then decided to go ahead and get my recovery run out of the way. I headed over to the Esplanade after a bit of stretching, jogged a little, but then walked over the Arthur Fiedler bridge. Once on the Esplanade I stretched a little more, retied my shoes and then started running. I didn’t run very fast – around 14:30 – but get this. I RAN FOR 3 MILES WITHOUT STOPPING!! That’s right – I just kept moving. I am really working on the whole mentality of running right now, to just keep going. It felt SO AWESOME!! I even had to sprint across the street a couple of times because I didn’t want to have to wait for traffic. I’m still not quite over the fact that I can put in 14 or so miles one day and still be able to run the next!

Get this…so far this month I’ve run 45.5 miles!! I’ve almost beaten last month’s mileage of 46.9. That is INSANE!

So, workout plans for this week are:

Tuesday – personal training with Tara
Wednesday – 6 miles
Thursday – 7 miles
Friday – strength training
Saturday – 12 miles long – and hilly because we’re going to be in Newton, running on part of the Boston Marathon course
Sunday – 5 miles recovery

I'm convinced this is going to be a fabulous week!