Gansett Marathon Recap


Workout – I feel the need to write this just because I generally start the posts like this.  no workout.  I’m just not one of those people that can, nor do I want to, run the day after a marathon.  or two days after a marathon.  or 3-7 days after a marathon.  totally ok with that.

I do think it’s great to keep moving after a marathon.  and I do PLENTY of running around after the little kidlings.  I’m working that lactic acid right out.  no worries.

Let’s cover the basics, then get to the nitty gritty of what went down this past weekend and why I was seconds away from quitting the whole darn race.

Warning – it’s a long one…get some popcorn, or chocolate, or adult beverage, or a pencil to start poking your eyes out if it gets too boring, and read on…   

The marathon was held in beautiful Narragansett, RI.  The host hotel was the Village Inn.  That is where I stayed Friday night.  I have committed major blogger fail here and NOT taken pictures of much of the surroundings and happenings pre-race.  My apologies.  but I would just as much want our Friday night dinner experience to be erased from memory as I would the actual running display at the marathon.  so it’s good there are no pictures to document. 

The whole fam and I drove to Rhode Island Friday afternoon because I just didn’t want to drive an hour and a half Saturday morning – while dealing with three kids in the car.  it’s generally not a pleasant experience.  it’s generally the fresh 2 year old getting himself out of his carseat every 5 minutes that makes it that way.  We stopped for dinner, checked in to the hotel and then the hubs went back home with the kids and drove back on Saturday morning so that we didn’t end up with two vehicles there. 

Friday Dinner…what may have been the beginning of the downward mental spiral (preceded only by 3 and half weeks of resting shin splints and running less than a handful of times….so many excuses I can come up with)

We went to PJ’s Pub in Narragansett.  Do not ever go to this establishment.  I don’t care if they are offering diamond encrusted filet.  It was the most appalling dining experience I have ever had. 

Long story short- I ordered a Greek Pasta – very light.  The waitress puts in front of me a heart attack in a bowl – this chicken broccoli thing that was swimming in alfredo sauce.  I couldn’t even see the pasta.  I very nicely said I really hate to be a pain, but I didn’t order this.  She says, Oh well that’s what I wrote down.  I said I still didn’t order it, would you mind sending it back and making what I ordered.  No problem.  Well, apparently Mr. Owner thought it was a problem.  She came back with dish in had saying, you are going to have to pay for the new dish that you want.  In addition to this creamy mess in my hand.  Oh, you mean the dish that I ordered?  The one that you messed up?  I have to pay for that and the one I don’t want?  Whoa.  Not going to happen.  Fuming.  Hubs and I say, very kindly, would you mind sending Mr. Owner out here so we can chat.  No problem.  And Mr. Owner thought this was a problem.  Waitress comes back and says, he’s too busy, he won’t come out.  Oh. My. Word.  Give me the check so we can get the heck out of here you slimy people. 

The hotel was offering a pasta dinner for the marathoners.  If you recall, I am pretty particular about what I eat before a race.  Even if I wasn’t so particular, this wasn’t my kind of pre-race meal.  NO offense to the marathon people or hotel – just wasn’t my thing.  I tried to eat a little bit, but it wasn’t really working for me.

Friday night at Hotel

Stressed already about the lack of food I got Friday night and the fact that it was 8:30 and I was already hungry….to realize

HOLY CRAP I forgot my garmin charger.  calm down.  calm down.  calm down.  I can’t calm down.  Stressing.  in addition to my phone charger, which was also going dead.  this was probably a good thing so that I didn’t stay up all night figuring out different pace calculations.

Lucky me got the room right next to the stairwell.  I’m pretty confident there was a three ring circus and a frat party going on right outside my door and in the stairwell all night.  SO LOUD.  I fell asleep at 3am.  Up at 5:30am.

And so goes the morning…breakfast didn’t sit too well. took one bite and tossed it.  and I had eaten my backup breakfast the night before.  I chalk it up to getting to anxious about EVERYTHING.  unnecessary and not good for me.  I now know.

Hubs and the kids got there about an hour before the start, so I had time to juice up my garmin.  Probably would have been better if I just let it die and run without.

Saturday Morning Start

This race is fantastic if you stay at the host hotel or even if you don’t.  It’s so low key – you just walk right up to the start minutes before it’s time.  No fuss at all.  I jogged around a little.  feeling good.  garmin charged.  Lulu on.  sweaty band in place.  ready to run.  The weather was beautiful.  High 50’s, into the 60’s by the end.  The race started on time and we took off.

Once again – no pictures.  You can see plenty of pics on this girls blog – which most of you have probably read.  she is a pro at this blogging thing.  I ran with her for a little bit at the end and then she totally smoked me.  Go SR.  Love your purple socks too.  rockstar.

Miles 1-9 were fantastic.  Then I became a mental headcase and lost all ability to run.  I can’t even look at the splits yet.  I don’t know that I will.  ever.  All I know is that I lost it after mile 9 when it started to get hard for me because I saw my time slipping.  I couldn’t find the fight to get it back.  another time, another place, I would have fought.  I literally gave up on this race at that moment.  I wanted it to end.  I wanted to go home.  I 100% mentally defeated myself and chose not to try.


I passed the half at just under 1:30, I think.  just stellar at positive splits.  a little too good this time.  I lost track of how many times I stopped to walk in the second half.  and swear.  at my legs.  and my wicked attitude.

This is where my all or nothing personality became the death of even trying for this race.  I put so much pressure on myself to have a fantastic race – despite the less than fantastic weeks leading up to my race – that when I realized it probably wasn’t in the cards for me this day – I wanted nothing to do with it.  NOTHING.  When things started not going perfectly according to my plan, like dinner Friday night, or the garmin not being charged, it totally messed with my head.

I was hurting.  I could feel my right IT band start to tighten and sharpen up around mile 4.  I swear, these IT bands just take turns on me.  Last race, it was my left one.  This one was my right.  the shins joined the pain party.  They started hurting.  But, I let it get to me.  I had this guy talking in my ear for 4 miles about, don’t you think you’re pushing it a little too hard…I’m not sure, but I guess we’ll find out in the end there dude.  I’m a believer in MIND over MATTER to an extent.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.  I ran my last marathon in November with worse IT band pain than this race.  but I wasn’t willing to give up on that one.  because I didn’t put an insane amount of pressure on myself to get a time.  and because in that race I was mentally able to focus my energy away from the pain instead of into the pain.  I didn’t MIND then.  In Gansett, I focused my energy into the pain and the toughness instead of focusing it away and towards running strong and to the best of my ability at that moment.  I MINDED a lot.  It mattered.  I let it determine the outcome of what could have been a better day.

Miles 14-23

Taking it one mile at a time.  One minor thing that became major in my mind was that after I would pass the 14 mile mark, there would be the 24 mile mark, and so on.  My heart cried a little with each marker to think I had to run 10 more miles, get back to this point, and then still not be done.  This shouldn’t have been a big deal, but given the state I had gotten myself into, I could not wrap my mind around doing that.

Miles 23-26.2

Just finish this darn race and get on with life.  Almost there.  I think mentally these were the easiest miles, aside from the first 9.  In my mind, I wasn’t even going to make it this far.  I wouldn’t have gotten this far if my hubs didn’t keep telling me to push through and finish.  mind boggling to me that it was so mentally hard.  To have gotten to mile 23 and have 3.2 left actually felt good in a I want to crawl into a hole right now kind of way.


That’s a good marathon time.  even on a bad day.  I would be ecstatic with that time if I raced for that time.  If I tried for that time.  If I didn’t talk myself out of a good race.  I would be ecstatic with that time if I didn’t lose it to my husband at mile 16 saying I don’t want to finish this solely because it’s hard.  really???  where does this talk come from?  that’s not me.  I lost it.  the lady at the aid station was ready to call in for backup.

iphone pics 657

Race pics aren’t up yet (because I’m stalking the website, so I know), but the race director emailed this to me.  a buddy of his was on the course taking pics…and probably saw me pathetically running up this little hill and saw that horrific display of wacky right foot kicking out to the side (and whatever is going on with my right hand, I don’t know) and had to document it this masterpiece of running.  That right foot needs to figure a few things out about staying on track with the team.  this is a pretty accurate depiction of my feelings towards this run.

BIG goals can lead to BIG disappointments if they don’t happen.  They also lead to BIG learning and require a BIG effort to make them happen in the future.  I didn’t realize what a big effort it would require.  It’s hard when you have put so much time and effort into something, only to realize it might not happen.  But it doesn’t mean you have to give up completely. That’s what I did.  lesson learned.

This was the BIG learning marathon for me.  The purpose of this race was not to get me a 3 hour marathon.  Or even a PR.  It was to kick me in the head and teach me about running.  and life.  not everything goes as planned.  you have to be ok with less than ideal situations.  you have to be ok with in between and not ALL or NOTHING.  you have to be able to work through it.  you have to run and train in a way that works for you, not the mass population or someone else.  I know now what has to go into getting faster and stronger.  stretching, rolling, strengthening, speedwork, tempos, hills, recovery, rest…all need to be a part of the plan. 

As of last September, I wasn’t even planning on running either of the two marathons I ran in October or November.  They were both last minute.  I had never done speedwork.  I had never run even close to a 6 minute mile in training, nevermind sub 6 minute miles.  If you asked me how many miles I ran per week, I would not have a clue, except that it was never near 40, even with a long run.

I felt the need to change that drastically to get to this 3 hour marathon goal.  I felt the need to have a “plan” from a website that would absolutely get me there.  What I really need is a balance between the two.  I need to feel what works for me.  what makes me happy and not crazy.  what keeps me loving running.  this is my hobby.  it doesn’t define me, it doesn’t pay the bills.  I want to be good at it, and I need to find the patience to get there.  and relax in the meantime.

Finish Line

In my head I was going to come in dead last and close to 4 hours.  When I did the math and started thinking I could make it in the low 3:20’s, I was suprised, especially given the amount that I gave up on life and walked.  I’ll take it.

Marathon #4 in the Books.  for life.

The course was beautiful.  rolling hills and a headwind at times that made it a little tough.  It got warm and I was beyond thirsty the entire time.  I always hydrate well, and I took a gatorade and water at every station.  I might have overdone it a tad on the fluid, according to my stomach, but I was thirsty.  I still ended the race 3 lbs lighter than I started.  I took a gel at mile 4, and some sport beans at mile 8.5, and couldn’t handle them.  after that it was all gatorade for me, and that was fine.

No stomach issues after the race, which is a plus for me as I usually occupy the bathroom for a good portion of the day.  and because we had to drive 1.5 hours home and I didn’t need to deal with that. 

Nothing hurts today, just a little bit sore.  I took an ice bath and hung out with my bag of peas and corn for awhile.  and a glass of wine.  and my roller.  that’s painful.

iphone pics 655


So Here’s the GOOD:

1. My Sweaty Band did not BUDGE. 

iphone pics 649

thank God I didn’t have to deal with having to adjust my headband.  what a nightmare that would have been.  that would have really put me over the edge.

2. Nor did my makeup budge.  stayed in place the whole time.  so important.

3. I looked adorable in my lulu apparel.  keeps getting better.

iphone pics 660

4.  Aforementioned lulu apparel smelled just as good after the race as it did before.  another point for LL.  so either I sweat flower petals or lululemon has some pretty strong odor repellant in their gear.  good stuff.

5. Brooks Pure Flow sneaks worked well.  I got a little hot spot on my left foot after mile 20, but nothing major.

6.  By Saturday night at midnight when I was up with my precious 2 year old, it felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to my right knee.  I think my left leg was on a different planet during the race, because it feels fantastic. The only reason I say this is good is because the knee felt 100% by Sunday.  no pain, no nothing.  and my shins feel about 85% fine.  happy dance.

7. I have another marathon on April 28th in Nashville.  I am going to run it.  and I’m going to run it for fun.  ZERO pressure.  all fun and giggles and rainbows.  I have learned something from this race.  Chill out.

8. My daughter picked me some good luck ‘weeds’ pre-race.  so thoughtful, my little girl.  maybe next time she should pick me some good luck sticks or grass instead.  or just give me a big chunk of chocolate.  the weeds didn’t work out so well.

iphone pics 654


9. This was my last race ever in the 25-29 age group.  I have run all of my races I have ever done in that age group.  crazy.  I will let the race go with my 20’s, but not what I have learned from it.  3 days left in my 20’s.  Then helllllooooo 30!  I don’t see how that’s possible though, seeing as I don’t feel a day over 22.  and I certainly don’t look a day over 18.

That’s all she wrote my friends. But don’t you worry.  You can bet I will have more to share as the week goes on.

We are on school vacation this week.  much fun and excitement will be had with my little dumplings.  in this crazy hot April weather.


Who else is experiencing this killer heat wave?

Who did Boston in this heat?!?!

How was every ones weekend??  Running?  Racing?  Tell me something good


26 responses »

  1. A 3:21 marathon is completely amazing to me, but I know what a bad run feels like (haven’t run a full yet).
    Your post has inspired me to do two things: try not to stress about my first full this June and get that lulu skirt so if all else fails I still look cute.

    This weekend I ran a local 5k and was 2nd female in my age group (20-24) at 23:07. No idea how that happened 🙂

    • Yes, do not STRESS!!:) Prepare, but relax. and go get that skirt!:)
      I hope your training is going great for your first full!! Very exciting. Awesome job on the 5k – always a nice surprise to place in age group when you don’t expect it.
      Have a great day!!

  2. Big Goals can lead to Big Disappointments is correct but I promise it WILL lead you to BIg jumps. Be proud of yourself for risking. You have plenty of amazing races in front of you! By the way, I think that race picture of you is pretty darn cool.

  3. Seriously, 3:21 is an awesome time. You never know what is in the cards come race day. There are so many variables. So many things to remember to bring. Each race is like a little lesson in life. Even the training part.
    I am not racing anytime, starting back tomorrow after 3 weeks off. It’s hot here in Florida. I wouln’t dream of racing in this heat, and surely not a marathon!

  4. How did I miss the fact that you were going to be running in Nashville at the end of the month?? Or maybe I knew, but then I forgot (completely possible with me)?? Anyways, my friend Ali and I are running the half-marathon that day! Maybe I’ll see you! 🙂

  5. Sorry your run was a disappointment, but you still made it through with a great time despite not feeling it. Kudos to you! So hot at Boston today — the kiddos only made an hour of spectating. Tomorrow our marathon company leaves and I focus on our next adventure to CT and PA! Looking forward to meeting up with you on Wed.

    • Yes, let me know when you are close on Wednesday and we’ll go get some froyo and take it to the fountain in the center of town and let the kids run around! Looking forward to it!

  6. This was a really good post and I can understand how you feel (well except I have no idea how it feels to run a 3:21 marathon, but that’s why I live vicariously thru you 😉 ). But I don’t think any of the challenges you experienced are excuses at all. I just think it’s the reality of life with kids while trying to go for something big. Cause man, even if it is mom’s turn to train, all of those sleepless nights, times of sickness and shin slipts (or whatever the case may be) can add up over time and throw a wrench in it all. And I don’t think it means the goals won’t happen; they just might now happen when/how we expect or hope.

    Have a great time in Nashville – TN will welcome such a super mom and super runner with open arms!

  7. You made it all the way through with crazy concerns about your shins! That is a victory in my book. I ran my first 10k this weekend (not my first race, I just usually run longer distances) and somehow placed first in my age group! I will also be aging up into the next age group in just 2 months … first place will be much harder to come by then! 🙂 Have a great week! Way to push yourself through Gansett!

  8. Thanks for sharing your emotions and your thoughts with all of us, I really enjoy reading this post. If I ever run a full marathon one day, this will be my mind food. A couple of months ago, I went to a seminar hosted by an elite athlete who has won several multi sport events. He said his best marathon happened one year when he meditated for 5 minutes and it made him totally relaxed and peaceful when he started running. His tip was to download some meditation music onto your ipod and listen and relax prior to the race.
    I hope you are going to relax and enjoy the post race week and treat yourself like a queen. Your family is such a gem!

  9. Honestly I think EVERY runner needs a race like this…it is a huge eye-opener & learning experience to have a crappy race! you can sit and read about all sorts of racing strategies and tips and stories of other runner’s bad races, and try to prepare yourself for one, but you never completely grow and become better by living through others.
    Same goes with training plans…everyone’s body reaches race-optimum at different mileages, for me I don’t need to go over 70-mpw (yet!)
    You are an amazingly strong, fit, and fast runner…you just have to combine the mental aspect into the puzzle to create the PR you want. And I do believe that this race has put you one step closer!
    ~I’m sorry above for calling your race crappy…I just know you are a sub-3 marathoner!! And I would have been disappointed as well.
    BELIEVE in yourself, and get outta the pain mindset, because FAST marathons hurt like an OUCH 🙂 (and I know you know that!)
    I wish you were running Chicago this year, I think together we could crush out some HUGE PR’s! I will be channeling your same love for Lulu, and maybe even wear the marathon skirt…I’m in LOVE with the flash shorty-shorts under the black skirt, (I LOVE the Racerback you wore with your skirt!)…I’m a lover of neons=I have a Flash colored Power Y Tank that’s the same color as the little undershorts!…eeek so cute, I must snap a pic for you!

  10. Wow! Amazing time, and you are amazingly ripped! Ah, you’ve just inspired me to run harder! 🙂 I’m training for my first full marathon, so I won’t be aiming for 3:21 this time, but maybe someday! I turned the big 3-0 last month. If you refer to it as “dirty thirty,” for some reason it’s easier to handle…or at least for me it was. Saying “I’m turning 30,” is scary, but saying, “I’m turning diiiirty thiiiirty,” is much more pleasant!

  11. This experience will just make your next marathon that much more satisfying! You pushed through and survived (with a great time! Even if it wasn’t a PR)! Much like child birth, I’m sure the “amnesia” will set in soon 😉

  12. I love the comparison…childbirth and a marathon. Please dont kill me, but my son took a bit over 3 hours to get out…maybe if I persuade my hubby to have another one, I will get sub 3 hours (not likely to happen for a marathon though) 🙂
    I really hate it when I order a veggie pasta dish and it comes soaked with cream/grease/oil…yuck. Are there any races at your home town? Travelling really makes a difference!
    Hope you feel better – you are a rock star!

    • Thanks! I looked it up after your comment- kind of a doozy for her:-/ She was so slow with that 5:30 half marathon pace;-) I guess everyone does have their ‘off’ days!

  13. You’re so inspiring! A 3:21 is insane to me regardless. I am running my first full down in Nashville too, and I’m getting pre-race jitters. Any tips?!

    That Lulu skirt is to die for. I need about 10 jobs to support my love for running apparel 😉

    • Are you running the country music marathon?? That’s the one I’m doing…I would say don’t get anxious and change things up last minute- like your socks, the food you are used to eating, stuff like that. Stick to what works. Don’t stress, just have fun! It’s your first one- total learning experience. And take it easy next week, get lots of sleep! So exciting!!! Have a great day!

  14. I think you did great considering the shin splints, 3 babes, taking care of the house, cooking, laundry, driving kids here and there, shopping, and the list goes on and on. You will hit your goal time just wasn’t this race. Quite honestly, you did really well for someone who doesn’t run tons of miles every week! I ran my 1st when my girls were 2 & 5. Reading your post brings back memories.

    • You are so right! I think back to my first marathon that I ran when I only had 2 kids, an 11month old and a just turned 2 year old! You know how it is trying to fit in the training with EVERYTHING else a mom with little ones has to do! If you are running and training, I hope it is going great!!

  15. Pingback: Long Runs and Trail Races « msfitrunner


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s