I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine started out a tad nerve wracking when I woke up with a horrible sore throat and swollen lymph nodes on Friday morning. I asked Rock to feel my lymph nodes and he told me that he didn’t need to. My whole jaw was swollen. There is a big case of strep throat going on around the city right now and my radar was immediately on high alert!
Mary and I took off for the walk-in clinic. We got her all dolled up and she used her charm to get us in before the place even opened. One throat culture later, I was negative on the strep but definitely had a lovely virus and was sent home with some meds.
Obviously, at this point I was starting to think that my goal race was likely out of the question. A few people suggested that I not run because, “there will always be other marathons.” But I had trained hard for the last 16 weeks and remained injury free, which is a miracle for most training cycles. As Rock stated, “Oh, you’re doing this thing one way or another.” That’s why we work so well. He totally gets me.
Saturday morning started out with me feeling significantly better. We loaded up the car and headed to Stroudsburg, PA. As you can see from our car, the pollen was definitely not helping my situation at all. My allergies have had my nose running like a faucet all week. Don’t worry, we stopped by a local Girl’s On the Run car wash and this guy is looking much better!
We checked into the adorable Crescent Lodge with our friends Chantelle and Mike who were running the half marathon and my amazing friend Tatiana stayed with us to help take care of Mary while we ran. We were pleasantly surprised to realize that the finish to the half marathon ended in our hotel parking lot. Tatiana was able to bring Mary down to cheer us on. Chantelle and Mike were able to head right up to their room after they finished the half and she killed her PR! #ShesARockstar
The start to the race was super chilly and hovered in the 30’s. Rock and I went to Walmart the day before to find throwaways and wouldn’t you know that there weren’t any sweat pants in the entire store? Well….except for two pairs of XL women’s sweats on the clearance rack for $2 each. Aren’t we cute?!
I will spare you the mile by mile details of the Pocono Marathon, but will share some of our highlights and lowlights.
•Packet pickup and the small expo were pleasantly easy and had a little bit of everything you might want. It was much better than we had anticipated.
•On course aid stations were fantastic. They were well manned with plenty of Gatorade and water every two miles and a little extra in the last few miles.
•Despite not having complete road closures, law enforcement did a fantastic job of taking care of runners and keeping the peace with annoyed drivers.
•The finish line was fantastic. After a quick run down Main Street, you end up on the high school track for a quick loop. Your name was shouted out over the loud speaker and you were treated like a celeb. Runners were immediately given a medal, foil wrap, and water bottle with the cap already off. Massages were nearby as well as free food and refreshments.
•The pacers were spot on. I had no intention of using one and somehow ended up behind the 3:25 pacer, despite having a goal to simply BQ with a 3:40. She ran 7:49’s or right about that for every single mile, including the downhill portions.
•After a super fast half (I ran a 1/2 PR. Red Flag!) the second half takes a serious toll on your body. Despite the fact that the course drops a cumulative 1200 feet, the ups and downs (namely the downhill sections) took a beating on my legs. In fact, my quads hurt so badly from the downhill portions, that I actually looked forward to running uphill!
•It was chilly and I got poured on between miles 17 and 19. But that was Mother Nature and not the race’s fault.
•Minor gripe, but many aid stations used plastic cups for the water. You can’t pinch the cup, so I was lucky to get a sip and often just ended up dousing my face.
In the end: I ran a super fast half of the race compared to what I had planned. But the hills were calling to me and I regret nothing. My pace slowed a few seconds per mile on the second half. This race would be a pretty ridiculous one to try and negative split. With the amount of rolling hills, it would take a phenomenal race plan to pull that off.
Regardless, I finished with a 3:26:39 which was an 8 minute PR for me. I also placed 2nd in my age group and am holding out hope that they will mail my award as promised.
I will say that this is something I am extremely proud of. Just shy of 9 months ago, I gave birth to our little girl. I wanted to come back and prove to myself that I could qualify for Boston again and get the chance to run the race. I put a ton of undue pressure on myself and was literally sick to my stomach the morning of the race. I trained harder and smarter than I ever have. I left it all out on the course. Endurance wise, I had more in my tank, but my legs were begging me to quit for the last three miles.
When I wanted to quit, I thought of Mary. I thought of how I want her to know that girls can do anything. There are no limits and mommy doesn’t quit.
I have to send a huge thank you to my wonderful husband for being so supportive and my biggest fan. He too ran an awesome race yesterday. A thanks to our friends for going up with us and to Tatiana for always having my back and being willing to go along for our crazy adventures.
Overall, this is a fantastic race. I totally recommend it if you are up for a challenge. But I will say that it might not be the most ideal race to go into trying to qualify for Boston. It worked well for me, but it is certainly not the 1200 foot, easy descent it might be touted as.
And of course, a HUGE thank you to Simple Hydration for bringing me onto their Run Team. They help make this experience even better!