It’s taken me two weeks for write this blog because somehow I’ve been more busy “not running and recovering” than I ever was during training. I’m not sure how that happened but regardless- here it goes.
I’ve done the Bayshore half marathon twice. I love it, it’s gorgeous in Traverse City and it gives us a weekend away. This year I decided to do the full and convinced my husband to do it with me. I’ve only done two full marathons and they were both in the fall so this was my first spring full marathon.
It was a rough winter to train for a spring marathon. We only had one long run that we didn’t have to wear layers and gloves, every single run was 30 degrees or lower. One of the coldest and snowiest winter/springs on record in Michigan.
So of course when race week rolled around and the temperature showed 85 and sunny I thought “no way- why this weekend”. Weather is unpredictable with any race. You have to just adjust and trust your training but hot and humid weather is my least favorite to run in. It zaps your energy and to run a full marathon in that is tough.
We got up to Traverse City on Friday around Noon. It was a record breaking hot day for that day at 91 degrees. Mind you, it was in the 40’s the week before. I actually remained pretty positive about the weather. I refused to talk about it with Justin and just wanted to let it play out.
I hosted a small meetup with some giveaways of Balega socks and Run Gum. It was awesome to meet some IG friends in real life.
Afterwards we went to the packet pickup which is just in the high school gym and then back to the hotel.
I’ve said before I have a “weird” dinner before I long run or race. It’s always a burger and a good amount of brown rice. Since finding a good burger and rice is actually hard to find we opted to bring our grill and make our food in the parking lot. It was quite funny and also we felt silly but “don’t change anything before race day” right?! Might have taken that to the extreme but it works for me and doesn’t mess with my stomach.
The morning of the race we woke up at 4 am, it was already almost 70 degrees at that time and 94% humidity. We got ready and then headed to the gym where we parked. It’s a small walk from the high school parking lot to the start line but we ran into some friends getting on the bus for the half so that took my mind off of it.
I got a lot of comments about our matching shirts. They were made by Hyperthreads- I got the idea from some insta friends when they ran Boston last year!
When we got there we had our Generation Ucan about 45 minutes before and then played the waiting game, talked to some people, used the restrooms and got lined up.
We started out pretty strong. I knew it was a tough day, I could feel myself hemorrhaging sweat out and my number one goal was to just stay hydrated. I never use a handheld but decided to for this race so I could take little sips as I go. Around mile 7, Justin could tell it was annoying me so he took it from me. He always carries one but he took both of them for a few miles. It was great to start seeing the half marathoners around mile 6. They start at a different location as the full marathon is an out and back. I had so many friends running the half so got some cheers and high fives as we crossed paths. I remembered the first year I did the half when it was extremely hot that year too and I thought about how I thought “thank God I’m not running this marathon” and how they were probably thinking that this year!
We kept steady around a 8:05-8:10 mile until the turn around. I felt a little dizzy- maybe from the sun and heat- but we stopped for a minute so I could eat a date and then take a full drink at a water station. From there we were on our way again- pace was slowing to around a 8:30-9:00 minute mile and then at mile 18(right in front of the 18 mile marker) Justin stopped. It surprised me honestly. I’m all of our long runs it’s always me that has to stop to go to the bathroom and he never stops, especially at the pace we were running which is slower than his usual pace. He put his head down and said he was going to be sick. I didn’t believe him, I was trying to talk him out of it, give him a pep talk, anything I could do. Instead he walked further on to the side of the road in the ditch and got sick. So many thoughts were going through my mind- should we just stop, can I call someone, should I wait it out with him. I just wasn’t sure but he told me to keep going. I argued with him but then he yelled “just go”.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a mess. We had done all of our long runs together for this race. I felt alone and scared for him too. From mile 18-20 I found some speed again and just cling to the idea of getting it over with so I could figure out where he was.
Mile 21 was the hardest for me- so much sun and it was HOT. Someone gave me a bottle of water and I stopped to fill my hand held. But after that I was on a mission to finish. My friend Jen told me she was going to be at mile 24 so I just wanted to get there so I could tell her and her fiancé Rob about Justin.
As promised they were there. I told them about Justin and Rob took off to find him. They had finished the half 45 minutes or so before this. I turned off my headphones and ran with her. We were running consistently but my breathing was so heavy and she gave me tips to slow down my breathing.
I have to say the last mile of this race is the worst. Even in the half I thought it as awful. You are making turns through neighborhoods and running in a college campus. I’m so lucky that she was there with me. With about half a mile left she encouraged me to try to push my pace. I did as much as I could but I was happy to have some faster miles in the last few miles of the marathon. That has never happened so it encourages me for future races when hopefully the heat doesn’t kill me.
Coming into the track I was on my own and I think this was the most out of my body finish I’ve ever had. Of course I was happy that I finished but I was so scared and had no idea what had happened to Justin.
My time really meant nothing to me at that point. I was crying and just walking around in the heat feeling horrible. Friends were texting me and my best friend Katie texted me that Justin had finished finally and I was off to find him!
I couldn’t honestly believe he finished. I found out then he had got sick 3 times and he was a mess. He looked up at me and said “what was your time?” and I said “3:55” and he said “hell yes” it was the first time I really acknowledged my time or felt proud of it.
3:55- a sub four hour marathon on a hot day with stopping for quite a while with Justin. I just ran a sub 2 half marathon last year so it was a great sign of improvement with the mileage and conditions.
Weather is a factor in any race. You can only control you and your attitude towards it. I could have had amazing conditions and a horrible marathon. The same thing could have happened- I don’t really know so I’ll take my 3:55 and improve on it!
It was a 19 minute PR from Chicago in the fall and I missed my goal of 3:45 but I’m proud of what I did do!
I do love Bayshore but I think next year I am going to run a different spring race. I’ve done this one now three years in a row and I want to change it up a little. Not sure what those plans are but right now I don’t think I will do it again next year but who knows!
2009 finishers and I finished 462- top 22%, it’s not bad and I’m ready to decompress on vacation for a week and start training again for Chicago!
Run Happy, Friends!