Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Big Race, Big Failure/Disappointment

-Ok this is a race report from the Toledo marathon but will be scattered and all over the place and my splits will be towards the end. I tried to organize it all. I am not spell checking there is too much....this is really lengthy if you want the splits go down to the bottom

-Info: The race was Sunday, April 26th, 2009. It was sunny and the temperature was in the 80's with the winds I would say around 15-20 mph. Time 3:14:18, 7:25 pace. Finished 2nd Female and 11th overall.

Feelings-disappointed, failure, sad, broken hearted, down, mentally broken, dead, embarrassed, crushed, destroyed, humbled, torn apart, distraught

-Weight: The biggest thing I'll take from the race is this lesson. So my question is how many unsuccessful races is it going to take for me to realize I am not going to be able to stay at the weight I want??? I am not competitive over long distances at my current weight. If I want to be competitive over longer distance races I need to do as everyone says and gain some weight. They are right I have nothing left in the tank for the latter portions of the race. There are no energy stores built up and I end up dying hard and fast in the races. It's horrible because I am currently running the best of my life in shorter events, but those are not the distances I want and like to be competitive in. I want to be able to compete at the longer distance races.

-Goals- Before April 5th my goal was to break 3:03 so I had to run 6:58 pace. Then April 5th came and everything changed. Before I had ran a 50k in 3:46:30 during which my marathon split was around 3:06:37 and I had a half marathon PR on February 15th at 1:30:12 (which was a horrible race) so sub 3:03 seemed realistic and I was doing 10 mile training runs in 73:30. April 5th came and I ran a 5:20 PR in the half marathon in 1:24:52 (6:28 pace) my 10 mile training runs dropped to 68:30. So then our goals changed to a sub 3:00 or 6:51 pace. Then I found out a lady was coming that had ran 2:59 twice this year so I adjusted my goal to 2:56:59 or 6:45 pace with a super A goal as 2:54 something for 6:39 pace. (This lady ended up finishing 4th in about 3:24) So I was definitely in better shape for this race then Nationals.

-Cramp- somewhere within the first 5 miles I got a cramp in my right calf I felt the entire way. During my training since Nationals I have been dealing with pain on the left side of my body. The last few days before the race I was experiencing pain on the right side. Also this happened at Nationals as well but I got a kidney stone in the few days before the race, I had major pain in my left hip front and back and my urine was redish.

-Biker Jim-Since I lead for the first 14.5 miles I got a biker with me for part of the run. I went by at mile 5 and these 2 guys were sitting there on bikes and asked me if I was running the marathon and I shook my head yea. He came up with me and asked me again and I said yes and he said I am Jim and I'll be riding with you part of the way. (At the pace I had already slowed down to I thought part of the way was the correct way of putting it) Well it wasn't until I threw down a 7:21 mile that Sarah passed me around 14.5 miles. With her though was another biker and on that bike it said lead master runner. My bike guy left me for a little bit and the 2 bikers talked and then the next thing I knew biker Jim was back riding with me. Because I finished 2nd he ended up staying with me the whole race. We did have people confused as his bike said leading female . Oh yea he kept calling me kiddo he must not have realized how old I really am!!!

-Sarah Plaxton- How freaky was it that on the starting line of the race I look down at the ground and behind me I see this shoe with the name Sarah Plaxton (our timing chips were these sticker type things with our name on them) I ran over about 2-3 minutes before the start of the race and told my Dad I knew that name. I didn't know how I knew it but I knew I knew the name. She passed me at mile 14.5 and beat me by over 10 minutes. I went home to google her name and found out to my surprise she is accomplished runner. She has from what I could find a PR of 2:46:27 which qualified her for the 2004 Olympic Trials. She has won 7 Traverse City Bayshore Marathon titles. In 2008 she ran 6 marathons winning 2 of them. In Sept 2008 she won the Akron Marathon in 2:57, in Oct she was 5th at the Detroit Marathon in 2:54. She has placed in the top 5 3 times at the Quad City marathon. She has numerous other stats but I'll stop there. However I'm not sure how I knew her name because she is from Michigan.

-RRCA Ohio Championship- This race was named the Ohio Championship marathon. I am really not sure how I placed in this event for a couple reasons. I guess I did finish 2nd in the race but she was from Michigan so does that mean I am first?? but then I don't think I belong to RRCA so does that mean I don't place at all??

Pacer-A few weeks out I was talking to someone at the time I considered a friend and I talked to him about pacing me to a sub 3:00 marathon. He said he would. He talked to me a lot about it over the weeks/days leading up to the marathon. He seemed excited about it. We went up Saturday to spend the night at the host hotel. Well before we left I asked him less then 24 hours before the race are you sure you are coming. He said he definitely was. So I went to the expo and paid the $75 registration fee for him. So basically it was like a job I was paying him to come and help me break 3:00. But race morning he was suppose to meet at 6:30 at the hotel lobby we waited, waited and waited he never showed up and we never got a call. So my $75 (that was my phone bill) (Just a note that he new I don't have a jo but I do sub when I get a chance but I haven't subbed in 4 weeks so that means no money and I make less the $75 a day when I sub) So the registration fee was over one day pay for me. And he knew I was months behind in my bills) But he still let me pay for the race and didn't show. If he was any tye of descent human being with a conscious he would pay me the $75 back. But he's not. He's not man enough to own up to his wrong doing and make right for it.

-Half way and Dad- At the half way point I was at 1:30:31 I was fully expecting women by the flock to start passing me, I was way off pace and I was getting slower and slower. during the first half I was alone for the most part but if someone caught up to me I would run with them for as long as I could but eventually one of us would fall off the other and I was back to trying to run on my own. Out of nowhere around the 17 mile mark Dad was there. He gave me an extra gel. I missed the 17 mile mark somehow. But when I saw Dad I had just ran a 8:06 the last mile. I told him that hoping he would stop me but he didn't. He would just drive up a mile or 2 on the course and keep urging me on. He reminded me to take my last gel because I almost forgot. I stopped seeing him around mile 22 or so. I was going slow but I was passing all these guys that had passed me earlier in the race. I was still waiting to get passed by all these women but no one was saying anything about someone being close. So I just kept pushing on knowing the difference between 2nd and 3rd was an extra $100.

-Random-Just last week I got an email telling me I could be on the CRC Red Team (Columbus Running Company Team) http://www.columbusrunning.com/ Well during the race there was a guy from there team running when I passed him I didn't know who it was but I just yelled to go CRC. Well near the time I did that someone from the sideline yelled for me. I have no clue who it was I don't know anyone from Toledo or near the area. But they yelled Go Amanda I looked over but didn't spot anyone I knew. I must have looked really bad when I finished because I had probably 6 people try to take me to the medical tent. Finally I just wanted an orange so I asked one of them where the oranges were but he was afraid to let me walk over there alone so he made me walk with him until we found my mom.

-Complaints- 1. There were 2 different course maps online. the map they had at the expo said it started at a different place then what the race instructions said. The one they said was correct was not the map they had at the expo. It was the map that had the course marked as being 26.9 miles, well you figure if you take tangents maybe it could be correct. Well the problem with that is the course is open to traffic so you can't take the tangents. 2. Had I not had the bike guy with me I would have been so lost I almost missed a turn before I had the bike guy with me but there were so many turns I would have never been able to follow the course. 3. The footing of the course was so bad I should have trained on trails. I twistwed my ankle 6 times. 4. They said at the end they would have commemorative mugs for all finishers and they didn't. 5-8. Here is one of the biggest things we had a complaint about well here I'll wrap 5-8 together they are the biggest ones. First the expo started at Noon but the hotel would not let you check in until 1 pm at the earliest and this was the host hotel you think they would have it planned out accordingly. Then when we came back from the expo and there was a frat group on our floor. We found out they had 11 rooms. It was a formal of some sort but it was around 3 and they were partying and loud already. We went out to see the course and came back around 6 and it was crazy loud on our floor, alcohol was all over the place and the party hadn't even started yet. We were not staying on that floor Dad called and they moved us (the only good thing they did) As we were moving floors there was an employee telling them they had many complaints about them and they needed to quiet down. The guy started to back talk him. We knew it was going to be a long night. Mom heard in the morning a worker speaking to the manager about the damage the group had caused and they trouble they caused security and all the complaints. The next two kinda tie together. The latest check out time they would give us was 1 pm well first of all the race didn’t finish until 1pm so those people get screwed. But the race said the awards ceremony would start at 2pm so we had an hour with nothing to do and nowhere to go. But we needed cash so we walked around the town and found a bank and got money out. Then we arrived back to the park at about 1:40. Immediately upon arrival I had a group of people that had marathon guide.com singlets on tell me they already did the top female awards. Then on the way up to the stage area we had 2 other group tell us the same thing so they lied about the 2pm award ceremony time and there were still people finishing. It was a disaster. Everything at the end of the race was ran poorly. 9-10 these I guess are just nit picky details but the shirt and the expo were two of the worse things ever. I don’t know how you could call that and expo, it should just have been called packet pick up with a little extra. The shirt is one of the ugliest I have and I got a medium because I don’t like things to be really small and I am swimming in it. 11. Doesn’t effect me but I thought was sad there was a little kid that registered ahead of me for the kids race and the were suppose to get teddy bears with their registration and supposedly all of them were stolen. Kinda of weird no mugs and bears as promised. 12. This kinda ties into the one about the mugs but I was rally disappointed with their awards. I got the little medal at the finish which was nothing fancy and then got my $200 for second place but have nothing that says I got second place they gave plaques to the age groups you think they would give plaques to overall women too.

Now what most of you are waiting on the splits-
1- 6:35- no this was not going out too fast my super A goal was 6:39 pace and I knew I needed to make up time for the 4th mile going up hill across the bridge. This was actually slower then I wanted.
2-6:42- this is when I knew it wasn't going to be my day :( I think I could feel the calf cramp already
4- 7:00- bridge
6- 6:52(gel)
7- 6:58
9- 6:59- some guy passed me and I was able to pull off him a little
10- 7:02(gel)
12- 7:08
13- 7:09
15- 7:34- got passed by Sarah- (gel)
16-8:06-there was a turn around here (no the course was not out and back) I was suppose to look at my watch at the turn around and see how long it was until the next lady went by me then double the time to see where I was but I was so out of it already I forgot to until it was too late and then I didn't care to look around.
17 & 18- 15:15- saw Dad at 17 miles and just told him about the 8 min mile hoping he would pull me but he didn't he gave me another gel and pushed me on I didn't get the mile split because I think that is where he was
19- 7:53
20- 8:03
21- 8:12
22- 8:20
23- 8:21
24- 8:02
25- 7:52
26- 7:49 (.2plus 1:32)
26.2plus- 3:14:18

I am extremely disappointed/embarrassed and just feeling completely down over this race. I am not sure if I am going to wait a couple of weeks find another marathon and try to do better so I feel better or just wait a couple of more weeks and try my next ultra. I don't know when or where either would be but something. Any ideas/suggestions?????


  1. 3:14....2nd female...11th overall....no way a disappointment or embarrassment. You should be proud of what you accomplished, regardless. Not every run, nor every day for that matter, can go exactly as you plan or like. Take each run and day for what it is, learn from it and move on to the next run/day.

    If you want my vote...I say take some time and pick an ultra an go for it !

  2. I think you need to sit down and decide what your long term goals are. Running another marathon in a few weeks probably isn't a great idea. I think you did well for the conditions you were handed. Temperature unquestionably slows you down. Next time you will know that if conditions are such you either need to adjust your goal at the start line or bag it and save your effort for a better day. If nothing else this race was a lesson to learn from. You can learn about your strengths under adversity, and what you need to improve for next time.

    I think you need to look at your race nutrition plans a bit more closely, especially if you are fading fast at the end. Check out this calculator: http://www.active.com/story.cfm?CATEGORY=running&CHECKSSO=0&STORY_ID=12785

    It worked really well for me at Boston. You need to know going in what miles you plan to take energy and how much. At Boston I literally would divide my miles up based on when I would eat. I knew I was going to take gels at 12, 16, and 20 and I knew I wanted to take water every two miles starting at 6. So I basically broke the race down into two mile segments after six based on whether I was taking water or gel and water.

    Race day nutrition is going to be an even bigger factor for you in ultras. You just can't store the calories you need to race more than 2 hours, so you have to do a good job of replenishing as much as you can.

    you are young and nowhere near your peak. Be grateful you can run a 3:14 on an off day and don't take too much stock in individual race results. You PRs are not who you are, they don't define you. They are just goals that help drive you to improve your training and see what next level you can get to.

  3. HI Amanda,

    I can see how you're disappointed because you didn't achieve your goal, but embarrassed? Unless you're deana kastor, A 3:14 mara is nothing to be embarrassed about. that is an amazing time. it's something to be proud of.

    better luck next time,


  4. Amanda,
    I suffered from anorexia for a couple years of my life. Struggling with your body image is going to take energy away from your races. Running requires you to nurture and love your body too. I want you to know that if you ever need someone to talk to, I am here. Congrats on your races and just remember that every race is a learning experience, just as every day is too. As my mom told me, "your body is the one thing you'll have your entire life, so love it like crazy." Also, if you really love running, you've got to give your body the nutrition that it needs. Honestly, I think what kicked me out of my downward spiral was the realization that if I didn't take care of my body, I might not be able to keep running. Anyway, saw it was your birthday on facebook... enjoy it!