Welcome to “This Rookie’s Ramblings.” This series was the brain child of the super awesome folks over at PMG (People Making Good), who thought it would be fun (and informative) to follow a runner as she trained for her first marathon. I have to admit to being pretty excited when Elizabeth Hagwood (also of PMG fame), agreed to be that runner. Elizabeth will be blogging almost every week about her adventures training for her first marathon, the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon.
by Elizabeth Hagwood
It was a busy week for this rookie – so I hope you’re ready for a long post! Last week class started back up after a two week break, and Jess, our Marathon 101 instructor, arranged for five marathoners from the area come in and talk to us about their experiences and to answer any questions we may have. It was pretty entertaining to hear their horror stories (and success stories!), but more than anything, it was nice to hear, “Yes, the race is going to suck more than once and your body is going to hate you, but you’ll be ready for it and you just have to trust yourself.” So while there was still encouragement, they didn’t sugar coat it. And did you know there is beer at mile 25? I heard it smells like a frat house the morning after a party (stale beer) and it’s the last thing you want at… mile 25, but still entertaining and news to me!
On Thursday I spent a lot of time at SkiRack – they were having a run/bike sale, so I ended up getting a new running tank, Body Glide and some new kicks. In college I was a loyal Mizuno wearer (SkiRack actually was the company that fit me for them originally!), but in November they encouraged me to try another brand, so I tried Saucony, and while I’m used to them now, I went back my trusty Mizuno Wave Riders (and they had one last pair that wasn’t black!). I have 30 days to decide if I’m going to keep them.
Saturday was the big Unplugged Half Marathon. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day – the weather was warm enough to wear shorts yet cold enough that I didn’t have to take my long-sleeved layer off and I never got hot. Since this weekend was supposed to be our first 20-miler (ok, so 18 for me) I parked at Burlington High School and ran to the start at Airport Park (4.7ish miles). It took a little logistical planning, but for the most part, it worked out fairly well. I forgot how chaotic race starting lines are and I had to meet Scott before the race to get my bib (looking back, I should have just run the first 5 miles with my bib. Oh well, lesson learned.), Body Glide and Gatorade, so I didn’t find him until about 8:59.45 (for a 9am start). Between that and then really having to go to the bathroom, I didn’t get to start with the pack and was in the back from the beginning of the race. There were always people near me, but not enough to give me that competitive push. Overall the race went well – I didn’t really walk until about mile 12 (17 for me) unless I was at a water station. When I passed Perkins Pier a volunteer said we were almost 10 miles in – and I realized this would be the dreaded Battery Street hill point in the marathon. While I wasn’t in a chipper mood, I didn’t feel awful either. 2.3ish miles later I hit the South Cove
loop after catching a glimpse of the finish line and the last bit of mental motivation I had left drained out of me. I hate that loop anyway for some reason – but 17 miles in, I REALLY hated it. My time wasn’t phenomenal by any means, but I think I still managed to beat my Leaf Peepers time (even with tacking on an additional 5 miles in the beginning). To keep my competitive nature from coming out and not being happy with my time, I have to keep telling myself that it was simply a long training run. I still would like to see what my time would have been had I only run a half. My main goal is to finish the marathon in less than five hours, which I know I can do, but I’d really like to finish in under 4:30, so I have some work to do. Oh, and when I crossed the finish line, RunVermont’s Executive Director Peter Delaney gave me a big high-five and said, “Nice Job, Rookie.” Another reason to run in RunVermont races – real people are behind organizing the races. Or maybe they’re just good ol’ Vermonters.
I made a conscious effort to drink more water last week – especially on Thursday and Friday – and it really paid off during the race. While I did sweat a lot, I wasn’t nearly as thirsty as I’ve been on other long runs. I ended up starving about halfway through – so I still need to work on my pre-race meals. My biggest problem is I’ve never been a big breakfast person – especially early in the morning, so I couldn’t push the food down my throat without wanting to throw up. I was painfully sore on Saturday night, mainly my knees, and it’d take me a little while of walking after sitting/standing to get them loosened back up. I also thought wearing a dress would be free-flowing and light – big mistake. My somewhat chaffed/irritated legs got SO chaffed. Again, lesson learned. I did use Body Glide during the race, but it’s not really broken in yet, so I don’t know how thickly it was applied.
I went to the free Yoga for Runners class on Sunday morning – SO incredibly helpful. If you couldn’t go, you really missed out, but check out this video. Erika Nestor – who taught the class – demonstrates similar stretches for the YouTube world. I really think this class was the reason I could walk normal by Sunday evening.
And for all those people that laugh at those of us training for marathons and say “Ha, yeah have fun with that, better you than me… why would you do that to yourself?” I just have one thing to say to you (I saw this on Twitter the other day): “Don’t ask me why I run. Ask yourself why you don’t.”
Lastly – GU update. I discovered GU’s plain flavor so I might just stick to that and orange (I’m still trying the different chocolate flavors, as promised, but they have the consistency of Nutella. Too thick for running in my opinion).