Tuesday, February 16, 2010

IMS Arizona Marathon

Sunday, February 14th  I qualified for Boston at the IMS Arizona Marathon in Glendale, Arizona.
I knew training wise I was going into the race ready to go. all of the predictor models showed I could make a Boston Qualifying time. Not only could I hit a 3:50, but I could do between a 3:35 and 3:40.  Despite the predictor models, I wanted to be conservative. I wanted to qualify for Boston and that was more important than trying to see what I could really do. Plus I hadn't run any of my goal pace miles at those faster paces.  My plan was to run 8:45's until 20 miles and then pick it up if I felt good.

The morning was cool but the weather was supposed to warm up into the mid-70's, kind of warm for running. I arrived to the race start at 6am,  before the shuttles and was able to use the port-a-potties.  Lucky for me my body cooperated and my whole dilemma pondered in my Got Poop? post, never had to be considered. The race started on time and my friend, who is in the same age group as me, took off right in front of the 3:45 pace group. The pacer for the 3:45 group is easily recognized because he wears a red metallic wig and he runs all the Arizona races.  Because of my plan to run 8:45's I let her and the pace group go.

According to my Garmin, my first mile was 8:36.  A tad too fast based on the 8:45 goal but it didn't feel too fast.  

The first two/three miles overall my legs and body felt tired.  I could have traveled down the negative thought path but instead I told myself that it usually takes me 6 miles before I warm up and feel settled into a pace.

I try not to talk too much to other runners because I want to save my energy.  I was fortunate to have a very talkative group around me wearing capes that said I love Running and they provided my entertainment for a number of miles. One lady was yelling Happy Valentines Day to everyone, including the officers directing traffic.The flying cape group said they were going for a 4 hour marathon and we were almost at mile 5 at that point. I didn't have the heart to tell them they were going out way too fast.  They would figure that out on their own. Up to mile 5 I bounced around in the 8:40's and had a 8:39 average.

Based on the results from last year, I was really hoping to be in the top 10 females. At the beginning of the race I saw women way in front of me that I thought how can they be faster than me?  I was judging them but didn't know their abilities, age, endurance and fitness. I told myself at that point and then throughout the race is each person runs their own race and I was going to do what I could do. Later, I would reel those other women in.

Consciously I didn't make a choice to drop the pace but I did. Only at mile 16 did I have a mile that was back in the 8:40's. 
Mile 6 8:38
Mile 7 8:38
Mile 8 8:39
Mile 9 8:32
Mile 10 8:28
It was probably at this point that I decided to try and stay in the 8:35 to 8:40's. I really don't recommend this tactic because I was so early in the race and didn't know if I could maintain it.
Mile 11 8:31
Mile 12 8:37
Mile 13 8:34
Mile 14 8:32
Mile 15 8:37
Up to about mile 15 I told myself I was out for a long run. I didn't feel like the pace was fast or I was tired until now.  At this point I was feeling some fatigue overall and in my hips. I thought of my favorite Phedipidations podcast episode 27 where Steve Runner talks about the pain gauge in his head and if its pointing to GREEN, then he must be feeling good. I pretty much did the same thing and told myself that my pain meter had only moved 1/10th and I was feeling good.
Mile 16 8:42
Mile 17 8:31
Mile 18 8:27
Mile 19 8:29
Mile 20 8:28
At mile 18 I passed my friend who had stopped to walk with a pain in her leg. The day before she was saying that her knee had been bugging her but since she set off with the 3:45 group I thought the pain had went away.That's the thing with a marathon, you never know what will happen. At mile 20 I started seeing and passing the women that were way in front of me at the beginning.  I was now reeling them in with a combination of them slowing down and me speeding up. 
Mile 21 8:25
Mile 22 8:23
Mile 23 8:15
By now I had passed about 5-6 of the females that had been way in front of me at the beginning.  I was now looking for the 3:45 pacer with his metallic hair and finally I saw him and I ran for him.  I kept increasing my pace and figuring I would run with him the rest of the way.  I told him I could kiss him because I was so happy to see him and that I had finally caught him.  But I was running too strong and too fast to stay and run at the 3:45 pace.  I kept foraging ahead and dropping the pace.

Again, I don't recommend dropping the pace like I did at mile 20, the thought that I could still hit the wall fluttered through my brain.  But I only had a 5K left, even if I hit the wall, couldn't I still run a strong 5K?  I was taking a chance that I could.
Mile 24 8:09
Mile 25 8:04
I saw my coach and he asked me how I was feeling. I high fived him and yelled
BQ in the BAG!!!  

Mile 26 7:54
And that wonderful "point 2" 7:34
My parents, John and the crowd was cheering me on as I was sprinting in towards the finish line.  I passed another marathon runner and remembered to raise my hands for the finishing picture.
Official time 3:44:02
5th place female 
23rd place overall
1st in my age group

Naturally qualifying for Boston I'm ecstatic. I am very thankful for John, for all the miles he's run with me, putting up with me and attempting to subdue my worries. Here's a cute picture my dad took.

For Coach Dean and all his mental game support.  I'm happy my parents drove the hour to the finish line to see me finish.  I'm grateful for all the bloggie friends and the kind words where you believed in me when I wasn't believing in myself.


Jamoosh said...

Congratulations. Will Beantown be the same after you rock that race too?


Congrats! Sounds like you had an amazing race!

Teamarcia said...

That's Boston Baby! In the bag indeed! Congrats again! Your splits were awesome!

MCM Mama said...

Congratulations!!! What an amazingly strong race and way to rock those negative splits!!!

Sarah said...

AWESOME!! Congratulations!!!

Allie said...

Wow, great race! Congrats again, you deserve it!!!

Tara said...

Yay! Congratulations on your BQ and your stats! First in AG? Awesome!

Johann said...

Fantastic! You had a perfect race! Well done!

Janet said...

That is TOTALLY AWESOME! Loved the race report - great splits! I'm proud to say I "know" a BQ girl now - even if it's a bloggy buddy! Congratulations on your race and all your hard work! You are an inspiration to us all!

Ewa said...

Good job training and racing. BQ! WOW!

Carol said...

There are not words strong enough to say "Congrats - well done", so I guess those will have to do.

Anne said...

Yay BQ!!! Congratulations on running a kicka$$ race...you are amazing!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

That was an exciting race report - seeing your splits get faster and faster! Not just 3:50, but 3:44! Big congrats to you!

Jill said...

Way to go, girl! You ran your own race and did everything exactly right! Those negative splits are incredible! Congrats to you!!!

Running Through Life said...

Congratulation, you kicked ass!

I loved the race report, I felt like I was right there with you. Except I am not that fast.

Katie A. said...

Amazing! Congrats! That was a great race recap and your splits were just awesome! Congrats again and enjoy it - you deserve it!!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Wow oh wow! Your training must have been spot on to increase your pace when most hit a wall.. Major congrats. Hope to see you in Boston 2011 :)

Anonymous said...

So proud of you girl! Wow that is quite the accomplishment! I mean the BQ is awesome enough but 4th place women and 1st in your age group! WOW you dominated! Sent you're package out today!

Julie said...

Hi Christina,
You are a rock star!!! Awesome job:) Christina is going to Boston!! Woo hoo!!

Lisa said...

AWESOME! Congratulations. Sounds like you had an amazing race. Great job!

Ron said...

That is an incredible feat. You should be very proud of yourself!! CONGRATS!

Anonymous said...

Amazing! negative splits!!
Great report and great race.
Truly fabulous run.

Candice @ I Have Run said...

Great race report! And CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Ashland Dave said...

great report!

kilax said...

HUGE CONGRATS! First in your age group! Wow.

I am so happy the mystery poo did not appear. You did such a great job. What an inspiring post. I am going to star this so I can read it again before my first marathon.

ajh said...

Awesome Stats! What a race you had!

Libby said...

You are amazing!! Congrats on Boston :)

Anonymous said...

Dudette! You rock! Great job! Strong finish...amazing!

lindsay said...

congrats!!! you def rocked this race :) i know exactly what you mean around mile 10 and pace-adjustments. i certainly don't tend to have the 'brightest' brain mid-marathon either :)

Lesley said...

Great race report! What an inspiration you are! Among other things, your story reminds me that our bodies heal, given the chance, and we can come back stronger!

Run on! :D

April said...

Congratulations!!! You Rocked it!! You have soooo much to be proud of! BQ and Age Group 1st! Awesome!

sneakersister said...

Congratulations!!!!!!! I'm way behind on my reading but wanted to say you ran such a strong race, I love how well you paced it and that last 5k ... wow!!!! I was ecstatic when I first found out that you got your BQ, but looking at your placement in this race -wow!!! Even more congratulations to you! Well done.

Sarah Heinle said...

Yay!! Congrats!! I love the pictures.

JT said...

Great race! The negative splits were amazing. Congrats on the BQ as well - truly a huge accomplishment.