Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Humpty Dumpty Doesn't Get Enough Credit

Running is hard, y'all.

  The Newport Marathon was a small and very well put together race with a gorgeous course that I will never forget. In my third marathon of my running career, I got my time down into the 3:40's and PR'd by 8 minutes.

I was also unpleasantly introduced to "The Wall".

I have never hit the dreaded wall in either of my past 2 marathons. Maybe it was luck, or maybe it was being able to stay in control and not push myself beyond my fitness limits. Either way, I officially acquainted myself with this phenomenon in Newport, Oregon last weekend.

It was a gorgeous morning, somewhere around 50 degrees. I was fueled up and feeling inspired, and decided to let my legs decide the pace.

 BAD IDEA-- not having a real time goal in mind and just running until your legs fall off is NOT a good plan. Don't do it. 

For almost the entirety of the first half of the race, I was running sub-8 miles.
 When I crossed the halfway point at 1:45, I knew I was probably gonna be in for a very grueling second half.

 Umm, what was I thinking. Really. Come on Mary. That is even faster than BQ pace. Heck, that is as fast as I ran the St Pete Half Marathon just 4 months ago.

Oh, look who's feeling so good at mile 10 with their sub 8 pace and their big smile. Yeah, you have another 16 miles to go, idiot.

The wheels started coming off around mile 18, where I logged my first split over 9 minutes. From there, my average pace was about 9:15. I had to stop and walk and tried desperately to jump-start my mental game, but I was dead. The 3 mile gradual incline beginning at mile 22 didn't help, either.

Over it.

The look of pain.

My run-until-I-crash-and-burn plan was a complete success. 
I crashed and burned and all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put my poor soul back together again.  

The only thing that truly gave me any hope to keep going at the end was this guy.

He had rented a bike and decided he was going to ride part the of course and stop to cheer me on every few miles. 

When I saw him around mile 22, he knew I was in rough shape. I must have looked dreadful. From that point on he slowly rode about 50 yards ahead of me, looking back every so often. It was either to make sure I could still see him, or to make sure I wasn't dead on the side of the road.
I forgot what the Garmin was telling me and how much my body hurt and how I longed to give up and quit. My new goal was to keep him within my sight.

I finally finished, feeling defeated and broken but happy it was over.

I'm extremely disappointed in my mental state those last few miles.
I hate you, Marathon Wall. And I hate that I allowed it to happen.

Still, after that dreadful performance of the last 8 miles of the race, I am an official 3:45 marathoner.
And that is really really really really cool.

Looking back at my splits, had I actually stuck to a pace and not gone out at a crazy suicide speed, I could have definitely gotten super duper close to 3:40. Maybe even a 3:39.
And that makes me CRAZY excited. Now not only do I know where I stand, but I know what I need to work on and have a clear goal for Twin Cities in October. I want to beat the wall and beat 3:40, and I want the chip time to prove it. 
You heard it here first. 

I also have to brag on the state of Oregon. I had never been to the Pacific Northwest and was completely blown away.

 Oregon Coast

Everyone in Oregon is so nice. They give the south a serious run for their money when it comes to hospitality and general friendliness.

 Pre-marathon breakfast at the Original Pancake House

International Rose Test Garden in Portland                Rogue Brewery in Newport

Voodoo Doughnut in Portland

After running, eating, and craft-beer-drinking my way through Oregon, I am back to the humidity and flat terrain of Florida with a clear head, a refreshed soul, and a shiny new PR.
And maybe a few extra pounds.

Thank you, Oregon. I can't wait to see you again.


  1. Bless your heart for meeting that wall! But good for you for persevering through it--and learning a valuable lesson. So much of running is mental, isn't it? Congrats on the time!!

  2. Nice job Mary! Im so sorry you met "the wall"... But you met it and still had a super impressive time. I'm going to Portland and Seattle for the first time in September. So glad to hear you thought so highly of it!

  3. You did awesome as far as time is concerned Mary! I'm sorry it was a rough second half. I hit the wall that hard at Disney in January and despised everything about running for the last 8 miles. There was a guy at mile 19 with a sign that said "humpty dumpty had wall issues too". I'm sorry you experienced that. You're going to be able to use this and build on it at Twin Cities. I can't wait to see how that goes.

  4. WAY TO GO Mary! I am already scared that wall is going to demolish me come MCM. But man, a BQ is soooo very near for you :)