What a Weekend! PR’s, BQ’s and Pocono Fun.

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!

Pollen

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.

Highlights:

•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.

Lowlights:

•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.

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This pic is so cool.  There’s my little girl and that’s me in the background coming in at the half way point.

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.

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So blessed to have both of these girls in my life!

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!

38 thoughts on “What a Weekend! PR’s, BQ’s and Pocono Fun.

  1. Congrats on the PR. I hate plastic cups also and wonder why races still use them. Anyone who runs knows what a pain they are to drink from.
    Two of my friends flew down from Boston for the race and they looked pretty happy on FB.
    Have a great week.
    Andy

    • I got the vibe that most people loved the race. It was fun. I agree. Why plastic?! Plus, I feel paper cups are much more environmentally friendly. I did like that they handed out water bottles near the end of the race. I didn’t take one but many runners were thrilled to grab one for their last few miles.

  2. Congrats on the PR and BQ! What an amazing race for you! I’ve also done a race with a huge net downhill (Steamtown) and I remember being kind of thankful for the uphill at the end because any little downhill or turn at that point just killed my quads. Marathons with a ton of downhill are definitely not as easy as they may seem on paper.

    • Absolutely. It certainly wasn’t the breeze that Runner’s World touts it to be. In fact I have read many blogs where runners went there to BQ and fell short of their goal.

  3. Congratulations on the PR and BQ! That’s an amazing time and race even if the first half was a PR (technically you ran 2 PRs, I guess). It looks like this was a great race and pretty big too. I hope you get recovered this week as well.

  4. Congratulations Sarah!! That is awesome for you and Rock and so cool that you killed the race and a BQ with the baby looking on from the sideline. Love this recap and sounds like a fabulous family race weekend for all of you…congrats again!!

    • Thank you so much. We have always enjoyed quick weekend escapes out of the city, and this was a perfect one. It was pretty cool to see Mary on the sidelines at the midpoint and near the finish. And it was pretty awesome for us to both be able to do this race.

  5. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!! CONGRATS, MY FRIEND! HUGE PR and what a great day for you. I am SO HAPPY to read that you were feeling better. That is so freaking stressful. I don’t have any significant races happening, but everyone around me is sick with exactly the virus you described. YUCK!

    I’m curious who your pacer was! I was asked at the last minute to pace 3:30, and I know many of the pacers for that event. My friend, Chris, organizes them. He is the 3:15 pacer for that race. I know most of those guys and they are GREAT.

    I also love how Rock was all, “oh yeah you are doing it either way” – that is so what my husband would say too. It made me proud to read that 🙂 Your assessment of the course is correct. I have run that race twice and many people sign up thinking “guaranteed PR” because of the downhill, but what most don’t understand how FLYING in the first half is going to burn out your quads for the second half. It’s absolutely unreasonable to expect a negative split and the first half will typically be faster there. I don’t think positive splitting that course means you can’t run well or PR, I think you just have to be aware of what you are getting into with it. It’s not the most PR friendly course, but (as you demonstrated, wooooo!) it can be done!!!

    You are such an inspiration to me. You ran a HUGE marathon PR 9 months after having a baby. That is incredible. I started following you right before you had Mary – early last summer. I’ve watched how you carefully came back to running – one mile at a time, one workout at a time, and one day at time. I am 33, and my husband and I have not decided to have kids yet. But you are proof that if we do, I can still run – and run PRs! Thank you for blogging about your journey. You are incredible!

    • Thank you for your sweet words. It was a blast and you are totally right about the course. Knowing that there were going to be some strong hills from 18 on, I went in okay with the fact that I was cruising on those downhill sections in the first half. I considered slowing down but felt like the cushion I was building might in fact give me some leverage later in the race. I really do think that was the case.

      According to Pete, who replied above, the pacer’s name was Jessica. She did a great job. I don’t know how she managed perfect splits given the ups and downs.

      I think that it is important to remember that while having a baby can certainly change your life in so many ways, it doesn’t have to change you as a runner. Running while pregnant was a fun experience for me and coming back was a great lesson too. I hope to use my running as a way to show Mary that healthy activities are a normal part of life.

  6. YESSSS!!!! I saw this on Facebook and had been meaning to come over here and read but didn’t get the chance til now. CONGRATS!!!! I ran my first ever marathon 7 months after my son was born (not even close to a BQ though) and I felt like a total badass. THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE!!! I mean you were before, but your status has flown through the roof. What an inspiration!!! How are you feeling??!! Ride that BQ and marathon high for a while!!!! xoxox!!!

  7. CONGRATS! What an incredible outing! I’ve heard about this marathon, so I loved reading this recap! What a fun, nice touch to finish on the track with a loud speaker announcing your finish! SO COOL!

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