The Boulder Marathon – Painful Lessons
Early last week, I was given the opportunity to receive an elite entry into the Boulder (half or full) Marathon. Since I’m never one to pass up potential prize money (don’t judge), I naturally signed up for the half since I didn’t think I was in any way prepared to race a full marathon on only a couple days’ notice…
Well fast forward to Wednesday when our Team Captain, Kenyon, shot me an email describing the potential of MORE prize money in the full. SOLD! I chose to ignore the fact that I ran a steady 30 miles that Monday and was now going to race a full marathon exactly a week later. This is pretty standard decision making on my behalf.
I’m not one to list mile splits and nutrition plans (mainly because I rarely remember them when the race is done) but I can say that I took the first nine miles very easy. 7:00-7:15 mile pace and then dropped to 6:30-6:40 pace for another nine or ten miles. I felt amazing, clicking miles away, taking in the scenery, feeling easy breezy. Until disaster struck.
At mile 20 I learned a very valuable lesson: a marathon is a LONG race. Duh. Going into it with NO nutrition plan (other than nicely placed water bottles – thanks Kenyon!) is a big mistake. It was a hot day and I took in zero salt which lead to a massive glute cramp around mile 20. I’ve never been so crippled in a race, I literally lost all use of my right leg and had to switch between walking and jogging for the next four and a half miles. It was a nightmare. The grass on the side of the road looked so nice and comfy, a perfect place to lay down and take a nap. (Un)fortunately, I ignored my napping instincts and kept on trucking.
After walk/jogging for about two miles, I was passed and dropped to second…a couple miles later I was passed again and found myself in third. With about a mile to go, my greed kicked in and I realized that if I didn’t sort myself out, I would end up in fourth and I would be not just be broken physically but broken financially as well. It’s amazing what the thought of a few hundred dollars can do (again, don’t judge).
When the day was done, I ended up with a 3:16 first marathon attempt and 3rd place overall. While I’m frustrated with my six mile hobble, I learned some valuable lessons and walked away a bit richer. And as an added bonus, the man at the free beer tent was very kind to me
Next up: The Bear Chase 50 Miler in three weeks. Oh dear….