Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fox Valley Marathon 2013

3:35:12* a new PR by 5 minutes!

12/97 AG 12%

46/608 Women 7.5%

223/1317 OA 16.9%

1st half 1:44.23* (7:59/mile) my fastest half marathon to date.

2nd half 1:50.49 (8:28/mile)

So this isn't the post I envisioned writing post FVM. Everything leading up to this race pointed to the fact I would get the time I wanted. My training was solid, I had no injuries, I was in good health. I rarely have a "bad race." I don't let nerves get to me, at my core I am a performer and know all sorts of Jedi mind tricks to stay calm and carry on.

I got a 5 minute PR, which I'm really happy about. Yeah, it wasn't the sub 3:30/ BQ-5 that I was working towards, but my body had other plans for race day. Before I launch into the what went wrong side of things, I will say this:

I am truly thankful for the love and support I've received over the past 14 weeks. I am happy that my body allows me to complete 26.2 miles. I LOVE running. BQ, PR or not, the BEST day of running for me is any and all days I can run injury free. Currently I have some minor quad soreness, a funky right knee and a tight left hip flexor. I do not have any injury to speak of.

This recap will be a bit different than my others. I'll let photos (and a few words) do the talking.


It was 45 degrees, and low dewpoint the morning of the race. *Perfect*

I ran into Melinda Before the start. It was nice to see her and have a quick chat.
I was feeling good going into the race. Said my good byes to my Daad and L and soon it was time.

Soon we were off running. I felt good but I also felt a little "off." Nothing that I could pinpoint, just not the usual springiness I have when I'm running.

I love running. This is awesome!

I felt good but "off" and took off at a conservative pace. (Mainly I was trying to run by effort because I don't trust the garmin all that much. Plus it is defeating when it reads a pace you don't want to see.)

So around mile 4.5 I'm cruising and see someone holding a sign. I see they have a dog on it and think "aww what a cutie, it kinda looks like CB!" Then KIM Shouts my name and I realize it's her holding a sign with CB on it!! dERP!! I didn't expect to see her so early in the course. :)

Took a salt and gu at mile 5 and almost didnt get it down. Once I got it down I started feeling queazy. I decided at that point, no more salt pills.

Half Way!

I was happy to have 13.1 more miles to go. But the "off" feeling was getting magnified with each step.

I patted the Fox on the head as I ran by around mile 17. I did this last year too.

But by this point the "OMG I LOVE THIS" was fading fast.

Mile 17 where I smash hard into a brick wall.

Well that "off" feeling became super intense around mile 17 and just kept intensifying. My body hurt. My arms and legs and all my muscles became very sore and difficult to move.

I had wicked side stitch starting around mile 17 and I don't remember if it ever let up before the finish.

I tried to "push" the pace from one light pole to the next and my body just wouldn't go.

I was getting more and more delirious with each step. My thoughts were so incredibly negative by this point- and it wasn't because I might not BQ, but instead extreme frustration at the fact my body was failing and there was nothing I could do. I repeatedly though "if only I tripped and fell, then someone would tell me my day is over." I couldn't DNF myself. I couldn't throw in the towel, it is not in my soul to simply give up. So I continued on.

I walked up a hill at mile 23. I saw the hill and thought "there's no way in hell I could run up that." The pain inside was tremendous.

Around mile 25 I saw Britt's husband and he started running with me. I remember him asking how I felt and I replied "I feel like shit." We "picked up the pace" towards the finish and he was nothing but encouraging. Had you asked me my pace at this point I would have said 7 minutes. I felt like I was sprinting. My actual split was closer to 8:30.

I tried to just keep pushing towards the finish. I was in pain. Once I crossed I remember bending over to catch my breath and felt numb. I actually don't remember much after that.

My Daad, L, Britt, D, Kim, and Bobbi were all there and I don't have any memories of our interactions. I know they kept asking if I was ok, but in my delirious state I kept saying "yes, I'm fine." I wasn't.

Thank you Britt for pushing me and inspiring me the past 14 weeks!

Thank you to my Daad and L who spectated and saw the progression of my meltdown. Thanks to L for putting up with me while I chase this BQ goal.

What went wrong?

A combo of the following:

•Stress leading up to the race

•Depletion of electrolytes (I took Gu every 5 miles, but no salt)

•Whatever caused me to feel "off."


I ate fine before the race, slept ok, so basically I feel something above caused me to bonk hard around mile 17.

I am happy with my PR and know a better day is in these legs.

Thank you again for all your support and encouragement, I certainly feel very loved :)

- xaar


  1. Hormones. Say no more. With my 'condition' its like my body is a mine field. You shall run another day and get that goal. Its right there..waiting for you when all the stars align. And they will!!

    1. Thank you! I had no idea it would affect me as much as it did. Must look back at my training to see if I had any other "meh" runs caused by this. :)

  2. You truly inspire me girl...I am sorry you didn't get your BQ. I truly am...but wow. I can still feel that high five on my hand, and what it did for my spirits during the race, and with tears in my eyes I say YOU KILLED THAT RACE. To go THAT fast, that consistently when not feeling good is AMAZING. Rock on sister, you'll get your bq! Congrats on the PR!

  3. It is amazing how well you held up despite feeling bad post mile 17. Bravo! Awesome job. I know you worked so hard in training and it will pay off! One thing to consider for next year is to race some 5ks, 10ks and halfs as hard as you can. It makes MP seem more manageable. At least to me. Again, bravo to you!!

  4. Wow! Well first off congrats on your marathon PR and Half Marathon PR in the same race!!
    The part of the -wishing I'd fall so I could DNF.. I think about that all the time in my training. Tired of pains and want the pressure off, those moments you really see who you are... thank you for sharing the honesty.

    You are still rocking it like Stallone!

    It goes to show how we can only be in so much control, but life still has more cards to play than us.

    Recovery fast! I hope to see you beast eyed and strong at Chicago Mara!

  5. ahhh, hormones. they have killed many a marathon for me. at the finish, you just looked so sad. I wanted to wrap you up in a huge hug and make it right somehow.

    you know, though, that you will get your race. you will. that you felt like you did and still NEVER QUIT astounds me still.

    you are strong. you inspire the crap out of me. and for this one, you had such a spectacular journey. onward :)

  6. Congrats on the PR and fastest half! You did amazing!

    I am so bummed your body just shut down on you. That is just... not how xaarlin operates! :( You kicked ass, despite all that. And I am very happy you are still proud of you! :)

    I love the medals this year! They are so damn cool. And I didn't know there was a fox on course, too! LOL. Did you see Humpty Dumpty, as well?

  7. My heart is breaking for you, but I'm still in awe of how fast you are. Your time is still amazing and 12 seconds is nothing - you can make it work at another time as long as you focus on staying healthy.

  8. You'll run multiple marathons per year for the next 50 years. The memory of the last 9 miles you ran "way back in 2013" will fade and be replaced by 100+ incredible marathon finishes in the future. You proved you have the fitness and determination to BQ, you just need to have an ever so slightly better day than you did. With your current fitness level, get ready to completely obliterate all of your races this fall!

  9. I really like how you captured your race in pictures. Well done on your PR and your fantastic attitude. You are going to do amazing things down the track.

  10. Congrats on the race! Setting a half marathon PR and marathon PR in the same race is awesome. It seems like you have the right perspective - someone told me that if someone PRs in a race there should be very little complaining - because you just ran faster than you ever have before. Though a bummer about being out of it the last half of the race, maybe it was due to not taking enough electrolytes during the early part of the race. I normally take salt pills every half hour during a race, if I take them with some water they go down easy. I agree with you that running healthy is the #1 goal - I'm finally starting to feel healthy myself. Because running while injured I've realized is basically pointless.

    And did I read that right that you were 12 seconds away from qualifying for Boston? Your next marathon you will get that BQ time.

  11. Even though you didn't get what you wanted, a 5 minute PR is so impressive. You should be happy with that! Congratulations :)

  12. Awww, girl keep your head up. You had a solid training cycle, stayed injury free and ran an AMAZING race. Times like these, it's really unfair to be a girl and I feel your hormone pains. It's frustrating when you can run further before hitting a wall in training, but race day doesn't pan out. Next race, you'll be back full force! Enjoy the PR!

  13. Congratulations on your PR! Hormones are an evil jerk :(

  14. Oh love bug...(sorry it currently seems fitting) I was really praying for you. I know the horrible effects of hormones. Not a great thing at all. I was afraid of it myself this half..lucky for me they hit about a day enough in advance. It was so awesome to finally meet your hubby and your Dad. I hope you don't mind if I steal our picture. I actually love it. I hope you are planning on doing this again next year and getting your III. I am signing up for my IV.

  15. Congrats on the PRs!!! I am sorry you had such a difficult second half of the race. Hormones make running tough!

  16. I'm so glad you focused on the positives first, because bonk or not, you do have a lot to be proud of! The second half of the race doesn't take anything away from the 14 weeks that you worked your butt off and trained as hard as you possibly could. I guess the annoying thing about racing is that, no matter how well we prepare for it, there's always the chance for some wild card on race day that throws everything off.

    Also, hormones totally suck. Sometimes I can barely get off the couch, so I'm super impressed that you ran an entire marathon!