26.2 miles is a distance that I was setting out to tackle for the 8th time. Team REFUEL Got Chocolate Milk was sponsoring me and also offered my brother, Willie, a bib for the race. We arrived in San Antonio on Friday night, headed to the convention center to pick up our bibs and check out the expo. While there I of course checked out the Got Chocolate Milk booth and everything else they had out there. Meb Keflezighi and the Biggest Loser guy were also there so we got a few pics with them before calling it a night.
MARCO calculator and it gave me these splits:
Miles 1 - 2: 10:19
Miles 3 - 9: 10:05
Miles 10-17: 9:55
Miles 18-26.2: 9:42
I've used the MARCO calculator for my last two marathons and have had great success with it. The plan looked easy enough on paper but lets see how it would work out for me on race day.
We are assigned to corral 12 and see my two friends Van and Matt there. The first corral goes off at 7:30 and our corral finally goes off around 7:50ish. Let the race begin!
MILES 1 - 2
MILES 3 - 9 (10:07, 10:03, 10:04, 9:48, 9:56, 9:48, 9:55)
The temps were rising fast and I knew it was only going to get hotter. My body was working hard to cool itself and my shirt was soaked with sweat. My brother and I decide to take off our shirts so our bodies could cool themselves off properly, insecurities be damned. I took GU every 30 to 45 minutes and drank water and Gatorade at every hydration station. While we were still on pace with my under 4:20 goal, I knew that the chances of speeding up for the second half would be slim. But I still had hopes that I could fight the inevitable so I kept on with the prescribed pace.
MILES 10 - 13.1 (10:05, 9:54, 9:59, 9:54)
About mile 11 the half marathon and full marathon split. I remember reading at the expo that if you were a full marathoner you could go ahead and take the turn around for the half and you would automatically be considered a half marathoner even if you signed up for the full. I did see one or two full marathoners make this decision but I signed up for the full and I was going to finish the full 26.2 miles. Besides I was feeling really good crossing the 13.1 mat at about a time of 2:11 so I was still on track to get that PR if I sped up. Was it in me??
MILES 14 - 17 (10:11, 10:06, 10:17, 11:06)
Nope not today. My pace is suppose to be close to 9:55 but I'm clearly slowing down and the heat is ever present. I notice I start having a little bit of trouble keeping up with my brother. I keep urging him to go ahead and run his race but he stays with me. IT'S HOT!
MILES 18 - 21 (13:05, 13:56, 12:51, 15:40)
This is pretty much where we start this steady uphill climb and since I'm from the flat South East Texas (SETX) area plus my legs/body are beat. I start to walk. Its never a good feeling to walk during a marathon but it is what it is. Around mile 20 I get a tap on my shoulder from Tara and Erin, my friends from SETX, and they are looking really strong and running at a good pace. I initially tried to stay with them but my body was hurting so once again I was stuck walking as they went ahead. This is also around the time Willie went ahead of me to run with Van and Matt. I was now running or rather walking my own race.
MILE 22 - (9:59, 12:35, 13:27)
Feeling pretty horrible about that last mile, I just remember thinking "ITS ALL IN YOUR MIND" and that I would be able to trick my body into running again if I just went through the motions of running faster. So that's what I did. I focused on the road, my form, and my breathing. I was passing runners left and right but as you can see from my pace it didn't last too long and eventually I slowed down once again. Ehh... it was good while it lasted :P
MILES 25 - 26.37 (14:58, 12,:34, 9:39)
Where is the finish line? The last miles of a marathon are always the longest! Everything hurts, you're tired, and all you are dreaming about is the finish line and yes I was dreaming of refueling with low-fat chocolate milk. I just had to keep moving my battered body forward! The volunteers were awesome! They had wet sponges for us throughout the course and when I would ask them to throw water on me they would. I make it to the little underpass at the Alamodome and then there is one last incline with spectators all cheering for you. The crowd is urging me on to run hard, finish strong and I'm finding myself re-energized for that one last push. I make the turn and there it is!! I give it my all and sprint to the finish line to once again become a marathoner! I crossed in 4:53:47 about 33+ minutes off my "goal".
Being that this was my 8th full marathon, you would think I'd remember every aspect of it by now. But when coming up with my race plan I forgot to give it the RESPECT that it deserves. 26.2 miles is no joke and I let my ego push me into trying to go for a PR. I finished and that probably should have been my goal all along with the sub optimal conditions that met us on race day. 26.2 miles RESPECT it or it will kick your ass!
I did end up getting my low-fat chocolate milk for my after. My body was definitely craving all the essential nutrients and electrolytes that it provides, not to mention it just taste great. Thank you Got Chocolate Milk Team REFUEL for giving me the chance to run this race!
Do you love low-fat chocolate milk as a recovery drink for your AFTER? Apply to be part of Team REFUEL! Follow this link for directions on how to apply. http://gotchocolatemilk.com/getsponsored/apply