Monday, May 17, 2010

Cleveland Marathon Race Report

Greetings! Well, whew, THAT was an experience!! Glad it was not my FIRST marathon experience, because it wasn't my best, but here goes!

Packet pick up is always Fri and Sat before the Sunday race, and there is always a sports and fitness expo there. It's fun! It's exciting. I drool over things I'd love to have!! Maybe someday ... But the energy and excitement that come with this huge event in Cleveland is amazing!

Sunday morning I got up at 4:30 and checked BG (101) had my coffee and my EAS protein bar as usual. This morning I had to include getting 3 kids together, as I had to drop them off at my sister's very early to be at the race start: 7 am! The early start is fine by me, but it sure does come pretty quickly when you need to do a few things before arriving. My kids got up at 5 and we were out the door at 5:15 am. I have to say, there was no PRP this morning, and that made me VERY nervous!! (The PRP will be addressed in my next post, I promise!!) I'm always a bit of a freak before a race; Nervous, excited, and I try to be as prepared as possible, laying out everything the night before. I had no huge issues this morning, besides the lack of PRP. I drove to my sister's with a bit of a lead foot :( Fortunately, no ticket for me. Can you imagine?

Dropped off chicklets at my sister's then was faced with how to get back to I90, where I'm familiar with. We had mapquest directions, but I was nervous it would be stop light after stop light. I finally recognized familiar territory and grabbed it. Once on I90 I felt more relaxed that we had plenty of time.

Parking can get touchy down there. Once we parked within the race perimeter and were trapped for like an hour when we wanted to leave. I chose the first lot I saw. Usually I arrive 2 hrs early and park far enough away that it's free, but with the kids factored in, that wasn't possible so we had to pay :(

A friend, Steve, accompanied me to this race, and that was a whole new experience for me! I warned him about my pre-race freak tendencies, and promised to be as laid back as I could. I WISH I was more laid back, mellow, and go-with-the-flow, but the reality is that I'm a type A personality and, well, just NOT laid back! Once we arrived we had PLENTY of time to get into the massive line for the port-potties. There must have been 50 of them, and the lines moved quickly. Then, back to the street where the race started. I had layers and was feeling good about the weather and not too worried I'd be cold. Last year, I froze! This year, I felt brave enough to remove my top layers, hand them off to my friend, and race in my singlet. What a beautiful day. SOOOOO many people! The energy is fantastic and refreshing. I was ready to go!

Race started off crowded, but with the advent of timing chips, no worries about that. The first 10 miles kind of flew by! I felt good!! My pace was maybe a little fast, for a marathon, but, I felt GOOD. At mile 10 I stopped to check my BG. I pulled along side a road divider and squatted to get out the glucometer and do my stick. I felt a person approach, thinking it was a volunteer seeing if I was okay, but it was my friend Steve! How cool :) My BG was 214 - a bit high. I opted for 4 units of Apidra. I should back up here and tell you what happened last night! I had Quinoa for dinner. I counted carbs and took Apidra accordingly - 6 units for a high-carb meal. Seemed reasonable, and I can swear I'd dosed that way before. Within the hour, I felt very lightheaded, shaky and I knew I was in trouble! BG=31 :( CRAP! Out came the Coke and a Gel, and I felt better within 15 minutes. It just goes to show you that this disease can be unpredictable! I'm one that sticks with a few different meals and eats them routinely because I know how they make me feel and I can keep my BG in a good range with THOSE meals. Quinoa is one of them. In hindsight, I should have done 3 units, not 6.

So, back to the race. Along with the 4 units, I took a gel. I was worried about cramping, needed the caffeine (yes, my gels have caffeine!) and the electrolytes, as well as wanted to be sure I didn't become hypoglycemic from the Apidra. Back to the race and feeling okay for the next 2.5-3 miles ... when the half mary turned right to finish, and I went straight, I started to feel like I was under-prepared for the full distance. It was mental at this point. I briefly considered just doing the half and calling it a day, but then I realized, I NEED this long run, even if it's bad, it's time to amp up the mileage. I'm good for 13, it's after 13 I start having physical issues.

Around mile 14 I had gotten my mental part back on track, but my right calf started to cramp. Uh oh. I'm getting flashbacks to Columbus Marathon, my first. I stretched it out and started up again. Then, after a few minutes they both started to cramp. :( If I try to run through the cramping, my foot/feet join in and next thing you know I have a "fist" in my shoe. It happened. Next aid station I spent 2 minutes trying to get the left foot to uncurl. The poor volunteer! He SO BADLY wanted me to sit in the chair he had for me! I just needed to stop the cramping. Finally it did and I took both Poweraide AND Water, thinking I needed electolytes and fluids. I took a gel. My BG was 136 - great! I used the porto-potty ... Uh oh. Blood. Hematuria. I get that sometimes. I have 7 or 8 stones in my left kidney and it flares up during periods of dehydration and extreme events. I wasn't in any pain, except for the cramping - no stone pain. Now I had a sloshy gut. It's no fun to run with a sloshy gut!!

By this time we are running along the lake. Guess what? That lake is COLD and the wind coming off it is cold, making my comfortable run now chilly, as the sweat on my skin chilled. I couldn't wait to turn the corner and head toward Severence Hall! By this time I'm a runner/walker - running as much as I could until the cramping started again and I'd have to walk to settle it down. However, by this time, I'm MENTALLY feeling better. I felt that, while I wouldn't meet my goal time, I would definitely stick with it and use it for base building. You can learn a lot about yourself when you change your goals - sometimes that needs to be done! Either I could be all negative about my cramping issues, or, I could start to focus on what I need to do to avoid this next time, and how to better prepare. There will always be another race, and THIS was NOT my key race. Maybe next year! This experience is telling me I need to do more mileage more regularly. YES, I"M GETTING THE MESSAGE!!! I will implement more long distance runs into my weekly training.

BG check at mile 20 was 126 - fab!

I came across Steve again at mile 22 approximately. By this time I'm hanging on for dear life. 4 miles? I can do 4 miles in my sleep!! But, it just wasn't the case. These 4 miles were BRUTAL!!! I continued, more walking than running now :( And my inner thighs are starting to cramp because when I walk, I WALK FAST - like power walk! I want to keep moving forward as quickly as I can, and those long strides, not typical for me, resulted in muscle fatigue and cramping. The only way to stop that was to make my gait shorter, like it is normally. By now, I'm hurtin' badly!

Mile 24, Steve joins me. He's hoping to help run me in. I want that with everything I have, and I try! I get maybe 30-60 seconds and bam, a calf, or both, start cramping. If I keep running, the foot will become involved and that is the worst - I'm virtually crippled by that. So I had to walk. We walk ... run ... walk in the last 2 miles - I think the longest 2 miles I've ever done! I wanted to sustain a run into the chute, but I know I can only hold like 30 seconds, so I can't start too soon! UGH! Finally I see the shoot, quickly calculate if I can sustain a last hoorah run through to finish and chose my point to begin the run. I held it. It hurt, but I held it!

Wow, that was the hardest marathon experience I've had. I know why, and I am going to work on some things. It was a learning experience, that's for sure! And there's always another race. A friend once said to me, not every race can be a PR race. I have A LOT of PR races. This was not one of them. I will learn from it and move on to tackle the next race!

Post run BG was 132, but then I indulged in post race nutrition and chocolate milk! Thirty minutes later it was 230 and heading north so 3 units Apidra and that did the job.

Overall, I had a fun day! I really love that race. I really loved the first half of my race, too! :) And the second half - I didn't hate it. It was a learning experience and a wake up call - I can use both! Today, I am SORE, SORE, SORE! Not only my legs, but I'm sore EVERYWHERE! My core and my arms too! Ah, comes with the territory, I'm not "complaining" just "reporting"!!

Peace out!


  1. Sometimes the tough ones are the ones you remember. It's when things start to go bad that you measure your true strength.

  2. SO TRUE Ben! This was one I could have easily "opted out of" but instead I stuck with it and didn't quit, looked for small positive things, did positive "self-talks", worked on an "attitude of gratitude" ... all that good stuff. It won't be my favorite race, but I will conquer it next time!! There's always another race and I'll take this as the learning experience and base builder I need.