Saturday, March 31, 2007

Yakima Marathon...and a PR!!

Short version: 5:31:58 by my Garmin. Which also recorded 26.5 miles (to be explained in the long version). That is a 9 minute and 10 second PR! The toes...the toes are trashed. The new shoes feel better on my feet than any other shoe I've had as far as support goes, but the toe problem is alive and well. I have a blister on the right big toe that covers the entire pad and has my toe swollen to twice it's normal size. Other toes suffered as well.

Long version: The Other Michelle, Eric and I rode together. We left about noon yesterday and had a good trip over, including a beautiful drive through the canyon to preview the course. We attended the Marathon Maniac Reunion and the pasta feed. John "the Penguin" Bingham was the guest speaker and he was hilarious.

We were eating breakfast in the hotel lobby at 5:00, on the first shuttle to Ellensburg at 6:00. This was a point-to-point marathon from Ellensburg to Selah via the Yakima River Canyon. In a nutshell, this is a great race. The canyon is closed for the marathon, the support is great, the organization is superb and the scenery is stunning. If you like geology, this is the marathon for you. The road has quite a camber in spots, but I managed it by finding the flattest points and running there - explaining how I added 3/10 of a mile to my journey.

Melissa, Michelle and I started together with Michelle leaving us at the first walk break. Melissa and I chatted away as we ran a loop through farmlands on the way to the canyon. We were amazed to see a gentleman running the marathon towing a tire. We found out why when another participant asked him, in a very loud voice, "why the hell are you doing that?". He is training for one of those sled-pulling competitions where they try to see who can pull the most weight. He passed us when we stopped at the first aid station for a porta-potty break, and we were glad because the sound of the dragging tire was one of those sounds that would eventually drive you nuts. Melissa and I cranked out the first three miles in 11:10, 11:11 and 11:06. The fourth mile included the break at the aid station and came in at 13:40. Our paces ranged from 11:09 to 14:54 after that. We pulled out the 11:09 on a long downhill, and the 14:54 on a 1.2 mile up hill. This course is mostly downhill, with the 1.2 mile hill hitting at mile 22. After the crest of that hill, there is another long stretch of downhill, then maybe a half-mile flat to the finish.

Highlights of the run were Melissa doing a cartwheel for the race photographer somewhere in the middle, picking out the houses we wanted to buy in one of the few populated areas of the canyon and then planning our daily runs from there, and Melissa using her mad skills to move her race number from her vest to her leg - while running! There was also the point where we could hear music blasting - we thought it was coming from one of the fishing boats in the river, but couldn't quite pinpoint it - then Melissa noticed the speakers way up at the top of the hill - the other long, long hill on this course. They had huge speakers that sent the music blasting out into the canyon and carried us right up the hill. I forgot to mention this - about 20 minutes into the run, my phone rang. I ignored it, then the message tone rang. I knew it would beep at me till I looked at it - after all I've experienced this on other long runs. So I twisted my phone around and checked to see who it was. It was Jenny. I stuffed the phone back in the pack and continued. I finally listened to the message on the drive home - Jenny said she called because she could just picture me digging for the phone, then listening to the beep, then she had everyone at the post-run coffee say Hi - I recognized Rick and Rob and a few others - it was funny and sweet. (For those who don't know, I carry a phone in case my heart gives me trouble and I need help). (And, apparently, for my friends to call during races!)

I had one bad section, where I actually started thinking I might have to catch a ride in - it was about mile 12. My entire right foot was in pain. The toes and the forefoot were burning and throbbing, and pain was shooting over the top of my foot. I stopped, slung my foot up on the guard rail, and re-laced. I didn't admit it here last week, but with the weather warming up, I'd picked up a couple new blisters, just from a three mile run in the evening at the track. I was a little worried going into the marathon with sore toes, so I took the laces out of the bottom hole to relieve a little pressure. I think it was letting my forefoot move around too much. I re-laced it, tied it up and took off. Instant success. Other than the trashed toes, the pain was gone. I also popped a few ibuprofen here.

The best part of the run was at around mile 24 when I saw Eric in the distance - running out to meet us and run me in. It almost makes me tear up when I see him coming toward me at these races - his support and having him by my side in those last few miles means the world to me. That means he ran 31 miles today. As he got closer, I gave him a wave and saw him look down at his watch, then look back at me, pointing to the watch. I knew at that point that I was going to PR. Eric pointed Michelle out to us - she wasn't too far ahead, so Eric and I encouraged Melissa to catch up and run with her, which she did. Michelle then encouraged her to go on, and she ended up finishing about six minutes ahead of Michelle, and 11 minutes ahead of me.

On the last downhill, I had my very first cramp while running. It was that troublesome right foot again - the cramp started on the top of my foot and went up to about an inch above the ankle area. I'm pretty sure that I was laying my foot down funny to compensate for the blisters, and it was on the downhill where I was stretching the foot forward. I had to stop to walk it off and knew that 5:30 was slipping away. I tried to run once more, it came back so I walked again, then it finally cleared up and let me run the last 3/4 mile in.

Sonya was at the finish line, then I saw Jane and Ray, Melissa and Michelle as I came through the chute. It's wonderful having friends at the finish!

We showered up at a local Junior High then headed for home. Unfortunately, for the first time, I was plagued by intestinal issues on the way home. It didn't stop us from having pizza, but for a while there I wasn't sure we'd get out of the parking lot. Michelle had problems pre-race, and Eric a little bit post. Eric and I don't usually have this problem, so we've been wondering if it had to do with our pre-race meal. I guess we'll never know. I know many of you were wondering about the soy milk - this is not the first time I've used it, and I drank two full bottles with nary a problem in the race, so I don't think that was it. Other than the foot, this was the very best I've felt in a race, and the most energized - probably having to do with the downhill slant of the course.

The other weird thing is that I have a one-inch bright red stripe across the top of both feet and both sets of toes. With my birkenstocks on, it looks like a sunburn, but it is from my shoes and socks. I had on a pair of fitted socks, and one experienced ultra-runner I talked to said she has had that happen from those type of socks before. It's almost a welt - she thinks it is the fabric and the sweaty foot. Hmmmm... Eric wants me to try some think smart-wool socks, so I guess that's up next.

I want to congratulate Michelle on a very successful first marathon, and Melissa on her second. It was a fun trip. Pictures should follow in a day or two. In the meantime, I'm going to go do a little first aid on the toes!

MM#402, signing off from the land of Maniac Reunions, where the canyons are stunning and the toes are swelling!


robtherunner said...

Congratulations on the PR! Sounds like it was a great race for all. I'll see you in the morning.

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Whooo Hoooo!! So glad to hear it went well, except for the darn toes. I too have had the post race intestinal issues, never during, but about two hours after. Not after every long race, but sometimes. Not pleasant. We'll have to discuss our pre-race meals. I definitley don't want that and have to drive from Eugene at the end of April!
Hope you enjoyed my little call! I could just picture you!!!!!

Try@thlete said...

Congratulations Michelle!!!

susie said...

A cartwheel? Great PR Michelle!! Wow. nd great job getting past mile 12. WaHoooooooooooo

Running by.... said...

Congrats on your PR. I bet the pizza was fantastic!

I hope your toes heal up quickly and nicely!

Joe said...

Hooray from Indiana!! Mega congrats on the PR, Michelle!!! This is wonderful news!! Your planning and training came together nicely! Way to go.

I'm also thrilled to hear how strong you felt at the end, toes notwithstanding. That's a strong indication of your training and race execution.

Now...what are we going to do about the toes??? That level of swelling is not something to mess with. Eric's counsel about paying attention to the socks is probably part of it and worth exploring. But that gives me a bit of a level of concern...hope you can find some solutions. Perhaps your frind at the running shoe store can help???

Technical note: I woudn't worry too much about the Garmin being 0.3 over. I've geeked on mine a lot when running on accurately-measured courses and that's about what I would expect it to measure. I seriously doubt you meanderd 0.3 miles just finding the flat camber of the road. I do think it just Garmin's GPS algorithm. End of geek-ness.

How cool to have Eric come out and run you in again!! Very special!!

Great job, are a maniac!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your finish time! That's so awesome!

Your poor toes/feet. I hope they recover soon. Sounds like it's time to break out those sandals again, huh?

Well, enjoy a little R&R, because I know you'll be back at it hard in no time. :)

Sarah said...

Congrats on your PR! And for perservering through the blisters!

Oh and I think you should have answered your phone. Sharon has taken a few calls on her cell during our trail runs...and keeps running! It's quite a skill to run and talk at the same time.

JustRun said...

Wooohooo!! Congrats on the PR! Sorry to hear about the toes, but hopefully you'll get ir figured out. That's strange about the foot cramp but sometimes odd roads (cambored, etc.) can do that I think...
So glad to see your report!

wendy said...

Fantastic report, Michelle! Congrats on your PR. Also, it's so sweet that you almost tear up seeing Eric come to run in with you - I'm so glad you guys still have that joy together. You are quite the pair!
Congrats again!

Monica said...

Awesome job Michelle! You are so inspiring. You are so tough to keep plugging away despite the toe problems. It wouldn't take more than a papercut to get me to quit these days. Way to PR! I'd better step it up or you are bound to pass me one of these days!

Chad said...

Congratulations on the PR - and way to stick it out after mile 12!!!

Sounds like a great day and a great race!!! Keep it up!

Tammy said...

I'll admit it. I read the short version.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the PR. Sorry about the feet. But sounds like you had a great run.

maniac hippo said...

Hi Michelle! I'm so glad you had a good time, wasn't it a fun weekend? I missed that you'd gotten a PR when I talked to you, congratulations!!!

I guess by Maniac standards it will be forever before I see you guys again: Mt Si, an eternity from now.

Ryan said...

Super race and congratulations on the extra bonus PR! Sometimes I get that weird pain in my foot too, it’s very painful usually loosening my laces works, I think it’s a combination of the foot swelling and shoes tied to tight. Your feet would be perfect for Smartwool socks, they’re little bulky but will help prevent blisters and breath and wick at the same time! Enjoy the recovery and I wish you happy feet.

Dori said...

Holy cow, Michelle! What a great race you ran! Have your feet touched the ground yet? Congratulations--you're moving further up the pack.

You're an inspiration.

Meghan said...

Michelle, congrats on the PR! I hope the trashed toes don't take away from the joy of PRing. Revel in your speediness!


runliarun said...

How wonderful, a great race, a beautiful course, good companions, and a PR! But this with the toes would kill me. I doubt I'd have the strength to keep running.

Steve said...

Way to go speedy. The problem with running so fast is your feet get warmer. ;-)

The smart wool socks seem to help reduce the blisters for me. I tape the one of two normal trouble spots but always wear the smart wools on the long runs now.

olga said...

Whoa, look at you, it never stops! If it goes with the rate it does now, but this time next year you'll qualify for Olympic trials!~

Wes said...

Congratulations, Michelle! I feel for ya on those toes. I've heard you talk about this before, and when I run, I try to feel where my toes are in my shoes, and I notice them, but they just aren't rubbing against anything. Hmmm. Curious. I guess maybe our feet are just built difference.

LOL at your friends calling you during the race. They know you too well :-)

Awesome job on the PR. You are my heroine!!

GotLegs! said...

Woo-hoo! PR on a tough course too. Nice job Michelle. See you at Mt Si.


psbowe said...

Congratulations Michelle!! A PR, woohoo, even with some foot/toe issues, you're one determined person I'll say.

Robb said...

Excellent! Congratulations. Where is the toe porn?

aggie jogger '77 said...

First time to your blog, what a great PR for this marathon. I'll be running my first half marathon at the end of April and I'm excited and anxious about it all at the same time.
I saw where you made mention of your heart. I'm a quadruple bypass survivor from 2 years ago and I feel great now as I run. I too carry my cell phone with me when I run and I'm waiting on my Garmin Forerunner 305 to arrive on Monday that will again keep watch over my heart rate. I had a Polar watch prior that kept going haywire and I took it back for a refund to get the Garmin. Several folks here in the Oklahoma City Area use them and they talk highly of them. I'll be watchful of the problems you wrote about.
If you have time stop by my blog and check things out, I'm definitely a back of the pack runner too, but wanting to improve. Randy