Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Bass Pro Weekend and race recap

It all started on Friday morning...Cheryl, Kim, Josh and I loaded all our belongings into the vehicles for our weekend extravaganza. Of course, I brought everything under the sun...Cheryl had been duly warned and ridicule was already out of the way. She actually said that I brought less than, the comments were at a minimum. We stopped at Starbuck's on the way out of town and took off. The trip up there seemed to go on forever and I was feeling every curve of Hwy 65..wishing I had not consumed the extra coffee...ugh...We stopped in Harrison for lunch and got some goodies from my favorite Mennonite Bakery 'The Homey Hearth' (Monster cookies and peanut brittle) and were on the road again.

The first thing we did upon arrival to Springfield, was go to the Bass Pro Shop for the marathon expo...well, I say expo, but sadly it was not...I don't know if it was due to the economy or decreased interest, but the "Expo" consisted of a packet pick-up...THAT'S IT! We were pretty disappointed. We picked up our shirts and packet, and although I was glad to get a tech shirt, the sizes were CRAZY big, and even the extra-small I got was huge. Oh well. We had a good time looking around The Bass Pro shop. There was an insanely big fireplace right inside the front door and it was so cozy! There were lots of "wildlife exhibits" and we got to see some crazy-big fish, cute ducks, an alligator, and lots of "stuffed animals" everywhere. I didn't really find much to buy but a few headbands that were definitely needed and was happy with that. Next, we headed to our hotel to get checked in. We stayed at the Hampton Hotel and Suites, thanks to Cheryl's hotel points, and had a wonderful FREE stay. The hotel was clean and cozy, with a huge fireplace in the lobby. Our room was pretty nice with big down comforters, a microwave and fridge...which really came in handy to store our drinks and snacks. Once we got everything settled in, we watched a little TV and relaxed for a bit and then headed to Branson to get some dinner. Cheryl and I were definitely craving some seafood! We went to Branson Landing and I was hoping to go to Joe's Crab Shack, but in the end we went to a Fish House...can't remember the exact name. The atmosphere was nice, but the fish selection was surprisingly small and didn't sound too appetizing. Each modification or side item had an extra charge and in the end I just ended up getting the "build you own burger"..I know...I can get a burger anywhere..Well, the burger was extremely good and I was glad I did! It was a huge medium-well patty with lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, and mushrooms, with a spicy-sweet barbecue sauce. The fries were good too. Kim and Josh weren't really happy with their food, but Cheryl liked her prime rib quesadillas. By the time we got done eating, most of the shops were closing, but we did get to go into the candy shop and buy some expensive candy...hehe...we were all craving the sweets! By the time we got home, we were BEAT and it didn't take long for Cheryl and I to fall asleep!

The next morning, we got up around 6:45 to go down to the hotel fitness center. The girls were wanting to "work out"..I just went to do a light walk/jog on the treadmill. I didn't want to do anything too strenuous to deplete my glycogen stores before the race...the girls thought that was ridiculous and funny, but nevertheless, I only did a mile on the treadmill and about 10 minutes easy on the elliptical, with some light stretching. Kim had already been down there a while before we got there and I think she stayed a bit longer after we left. We went to check out the breakfast, and they really had a great spread! I ended up getting some fruit and coffee, and a box of granola cereal for later. We went up to our room to shower and get ready for the day. By the time we were all ready, it was around 10:30. Of course, we had to make a stop at Starbuck's! Then we headed to a health food store I had checked out online called Mama Jean' was AWESOME!!! I wish we had one in Little Rock, I could have stayed in there for hours!! I bought some great stuff and some "not so great" stuff (aka Soy jerky and Kombucha), but all in all, I loved it! We headed AGAIN to Branson, so Cheryl and Kim could check out the Tanger Outlets...I thought that I had been there before, but there were a few stores I didn't mind going to..Josh ended up shopping more than all of us girls! We grabbed some lunch while we were there and later headed back to Springfield. Kim and Josh wanted to nap before dinner. Cheryl and I decided to go ahead and get something from Panera and just take it back to the hotel and be in for the night. We got our race gear and snacks ready for marathon day and ate our food. We watched "Australia" and oogled Hugh Jackman for hours and then fell asleep pretty easily.

We had set our alarms for 5:00 am ,but somehow Cheryl's phone did not automatically reset with the time change, so it went off at 4:00. We went back to sleep for another hour and then started to get ready. The forecast said the temp was 41, but the wind was supposed to be 10-20mph that day! YIKES! I heard Cheryl say "Oh SHIT!" to that, but looked outside and the leaves weren't even moving, so thought that maybe we would luck out, at least for a while! I had my outfit laid out already...running skirt, short sleeve tech shirt, long sleeve tech shirt and vest, all black...with my gaiter, gloves and a bright pink headband. Last time we had done a run in 40-41 degree weather, I wore the same amount of layers and was comfortable, so it seemed like a good idea. I put my chip band on my right shoe, which if I could go back and do over, I would put it on my left, since I always end up having to adjust my right shoe, but oh well, lesson learned!
My fuel belt was full...3 bottles of fluid (2 with G2 and 1 with coconut water), one pouch with 5 Gu packets, safety pins and ibuprofen, and my other pouch with my ipod and my "focus card" (aka things to help me stay encouraged and focused during the race)...Cheryl and Kim had to take last minute potty breaks, and we were off. The nervous energy was starting to build as we got closer and saw all the people gathering inside the Bass Pro Shop...most of them were half-marathoners. The capped limit on the marathon was 600, but I think there were only around 300+ that actually ran.

We gathered at the start for The National Anthem, and my numerous shoe adjustments and only had about 16-17 seconds from when it started and when we crossed the START line. Kim, Cheryl and I started off together and stayed together for probably the first 5 or so miles. I shed my "throw away" layer around mile 2 when I was warmed up. We were on residential roads, uphill I might add, until about mile 3-4, when we veered off from the half-marathon crowd and headed toward the trail. It was really similar to the Little Rock River Trail, and for those of you that know me, I have had MY FILL of that damn trail for the past several months in training!! It started to mess with my head a little, being on it, reminding me of those endless mornings on the River Trail, but I tried to force that from my mind. There was one part where we had to go through a tunnel, but it was covered with water, after all the rain they had, so we ran up this little hill, across a busy street and back down to the trail. I didn't want wet shoes that early in the race, if I could help it! At that point, I needed to adjust my shoe, and take a walk/fuel break, so I told the girls to go ahead and go on without me. It was tempting to try and stay with them, but I knew I would need those small breaks to get through. I only walked for 1 minute every 4.5 miles, long enough to take my Gu, and started back running. It was helpful and I'm glad I did it. Anyway, I saw the girls ahead of me for a bit, but with all the curves of the trail, it wasn't long before I didn't see them anymore. By this time, many runners were meeting me on their way back my direction, so I knew there was a turn-around point ahead. The other runners were SO fact, I can't remember a race that so many runners encouraged each other so much! That alone, was a huge boost! The spectators were spread out, not too many of them, but steady and excited enough to really help me keep going. By around mile 8-9, it had really started to warm up outside and I had to take off my outer gloves ( I was wearing gloves and liners) and my gaiter and unzip my vest a little. The weather was just so beautiful, that I didn't mind carrying my stuff! It was close to the first turn-around, that I saw Kim coming towards me, and she waved! I was wondering "Where's Cheryl?" because I thought she was ahead of me, and figured she probably had to make a bathroom stop. Not too long after that, after I had turned around, I saw her and we made a pathetic attempt to high five..hehe...I figured any minute she would bust past me, like she did in Tupelo! At mile 9, I adjusted the shoe again and took my second 1 minute walk break. I passed a few people in the next few miles and it was nice to have other people around that weren't coming towards me! I decided I would let myself put my ipod on at my next fuel break and was excited to do so at mile 13.5! I tend to speed up when I have the music just really pumps me I figured I should wait, so I wouldn't burn out too quick! At this point, I had just run through a beautiful neighborhood without too many race markers, so I was glad to get on a long stretch of road where I could tell where to go! As predicted, I sped up some listening to Justin Timberlake's "Damn, girl" song...hehe...but did have to adjust my shoes AGAIN because the top of my foot was hurting. I think it was around mile 14 or 15 when we had to get back onto the trail again. The fuel stops on the route were really good...they used Powerade and they filled the cups up well, not too much in the cup..they seemed to have a good flow and the volunteers were super! I think it was around mile 19.5 or 20 that I got a Carb Boom that was Apple Cinnamon flavored and it was really yummy! I had just fueled at mile 18, so I held onto it until around mile 21 and took it early, since the volunteer had already opened it. I had been seeing runners coming towards me again, so I knew there was another turn-around. I had seen Kim and passed her earlier...she had taken off several layers and said she was hot, at the time she was texting Josh. Later, about 0.5 miles after the second turn-around, I saw her coming towards me...and shortly after that I saw Cheryl! She looked so refreshed, like she wasn't struggling at all! Right before mile 20, I can remember thinking..."Okay, isn't mile 20 where I'm supposed to hit the wall, because I know I have 6 more miles to go?" and then I told myself..."There is no wall here..." and I just kept going! The whole race, the miles just seemed to fly by...and even more so when my ipod was on. The feet were a little sore and at one point I had a calf cramp (?), but I just stretched a little as I walked and told myself "Your legs are not hurting.." and somehow...they didn't seem to hurt anymore. I told myself "You are victorious"...."You are stronger than you think you are"...and as I saw my pace, "You are killing it!" It was cool that the songs on my ipod were just pushing me forward, giving me energy...At mile 25, I saw lots of people start to walk. I slowed down too, but then I saw a sign that said "Finish Strong" and I started to pick up the pace again. When I got to mile 26, I saw a sign that said "26 miles, only 0.2 to go" and I started to get excited..and then...the finish that I will always remember..(it gives me chills as I write this)...As I rounded the corner, the theme to Top Gun came on ( listen here: and it was like a movie...I could feel my legs speeding up...the people were eyes were tearing up and I ran as hard and fast as I could, as I heard them call my name...I looked at the clock and saw..4:37 something...I couldn't believe it! My actual official chip time was 4:36:27...a pretty significant PR from my last marathon, a 5:13:14! I had a stupid grin from ear to ear, as they put my medal on me and I got my finisher's hat! I saw Josh waiting for Kim, right after that, and I couldn't help tearing up all over again!
Here were my splits:

Mile 1 10:43, best 9:52
Mile 2 10:28, best 9:48
Mile 3 10:26, best 9:03
Mile 4 10:23, best 9:06
Mile 5 11:00, best 9:13
Mile 6 10:25, best 9:01
Mile 7 10:17, best 8:18
Mile 8 10:30, best 9:22
Mile 9 11:04, best 9:07
Mile 10 10:36, best 9:25
Mile 11 10:34, best 8:42
Mile 12 10:26, best 8:52
Mile 13 10:40, best 9:11
Mile 14 11:07, best 8:57
Mile 15 10:19, best 8:43
Mile 16 10:11, best 9:01
Mile 17 10:27, best 9:34
Mile 18 11:00, best 8:02
Mile 19 10:55, best 8:25
Mile 20 10:41, best 8:29
Mile 21 10:43, best 8:59
Mile 22 10:20, best 8:39
Mile 23 10:03, best 8:14
Mile 24 10:03, best 8:31
Mile 25 10:22, best 7:58
Mile 26 10:05, best 8:59
Last 0.2 9:55, best 8:59

As you can see, I had a few energy spurts!

I got a bottled water and stood at the finish, so I could watch the girls come in. Josh had texted them telling them I was already done. About 20 minutes later, I saw them running towards the finish together. As they crossed the finish line, they hugged each other and Cheryl started to tear up too! They got their medals and finisher's hats and we took some of our stuff to Josh's car, so we could go get some FOOD! I grabbed a Diet Coke (yum!), some eggs and a biscuit...mmmm..Kim and Josh had to leave pretty quickly, because they had to check out of the hotel by 1pm and Kim still needed to shower and change. We thought we might see them at the hotel, but we ended up staying for the awards ceremony and door prize giveaway. They had some pretty good stuff for the winners ...the overall winners got awesome plaques, money, and a free pair of New Balance Shoes. The winners of the age groups got artist posters, with signatures by Jeff Galloway and other running guru's..door prizes included some New Balance merchandise and overnight stays at Big Cedar Lodge.. Cheryl and I did not win, however...booo... (see medal above right..our are similar to last year's medal).

We headed back to the hotel to shower and change...we had one thing on the brain...MEXICAN FOOD! We asked the clerk at our hotel which restaurant she recommended, I can't remember the name of it now, but it was AWESOME! We ordered guacamole with our chips and salsa and fajitas for 2...which included beef, pork, shrimp, and chicken with all the was heaven! After we fully stuffed ourselves, we went back to the hotel for a night of relaxation..I think we were both asleep by 8:30pm! Monday morning I couldn't sleep past 5:45, so I decided to go downstairs to meet Cheryl...she had been awake since 4:45 and had gone downstairs around 5:15 to read her book by the fireplace. By the time I got there, the breakfast buffet was getting into full swing, with tons of old people and military folks gobbling up the deliciousness. I got an egg, cheese and veggie omelet and some fruit and coffee..We sat for a bit reading the paper and "people watching"...One old man was making trip after trip, grabbing TONS of oatmeal, raisin bran and bagels..he had a whole tray of food and we could see "cereal-box like" shapes in the pockets of his pants too! It was hilarious! We went back upstairs and finished packing and were out of there! We stopped a couple of times on the way home, our main goal to go through Harrison and go back to the Mennonite bakery, but they were closed! Bummer!! Other stops included Target, Sonic, and I had bought a table on Friday and Cheryl helped me pick it up and take it home. What a great weekend, but I was ready to get home!

Thank you to all who encouraged me, specifically.....Cheryl (aka Skipper and My Yoda), Kim (aka Kimbo), Annette, Brenda, Coach Dennis, Jeff,Brian, Morgan of Redhead Running, 26.2 Princess, Gabby of Gabsatrucker, Sara, Sabrina, Jade...and so many more! I've had a lot of real breakthroughs in "running my own race"...allowing myself to be challenged by my friends and peers,but at the same time, learning to do what is best for ME in my running. I'm sure I'll have many more running experiences to learn from! Love you all!!


Annette said...

I am so proud of you Tammy!! Great Race Report - Great Race!!!!!

Sarie said...

Hey Tam.. Soooo proud of you!! Good job friend!! You're awesome ;)

Morgan said...

CONGRATS MARATHON FINISHER!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG so excited that you had such a great race! Look at those splits! Good job girl!!! Bask in that afterglow! You've earned it!!!!

Arland said...

All I can say is WOW!! Congratulations on a great race. You probably ran an almost perfect marathon. Your splits were awesome. Whatever you did, you eliminated the fade and it worked. Great race report!

Cheryl said...

Excellent job on the race report and of course the marathon!!
I had a blast, except the running part :) Ready to start training again? LOL!!
I loved that you mentioned that old guy with the boxes of cereal in his pockets, that cracked me up, AGAIN!!

26.2 Princess said...

WOW WOW WOW!! What a great report, and fantastic finish!! To enjoy every minute, every mile, and remember it, is not something most marathoners can say. Congratulations!!

gabsatrucker said...

Awesome marathon report!! Congrats on the pr!! great split times too :)


joyRuN said...

I'm so late, but CONGRATULATIONS, MARATHONER!!!!!!!!!!!