Windermere was supposed to be my big goal race for the year. Even though I had doubted the intensity of my training plan I stuck through the 18 weeks. I was nervous going into race week because I felt like my training hadn’t gone as well as it had for Eugene. I never missed a workout, but had some frustrations and struggles which lead to a couple of DNF workouts.
I felt ready to race and was confident as I could be considering the circumstances. I had to formulate my own race strategy the day before because Matt wasn’t there, was busy, etc. By Saturday afternoon I felt confident enough to start out at an 8:00 min pace and then gradually get faster. Based on my previous long runs, I felt that this was a very realistic plan. At Eugene I started out at 7:45 pace, but I was in better shape. Given that, I felt that an 8:00 min pace to begin with was spot on. After eventually speaking to Matt later that night he told me to not sell myself short and that he thought I had a good race in me and that come race day I would surprise myself (trust me I surprised myself! just not in a positive way!).
The course for Windermere was changed for this year- instead of it being a true point to point race from Post Falls, ID to downtown Spokane, we had to run 7 miles around the city of Liberty Lake before heading towards the Centennial Trail. The first couple of miles I felt great and was telling myself to slow down. Just after the first mile we had nice downhill that I felt like I really had to pull on the brakes. My pace had dipped into the low 7:40 range which I knew was way too fast. I got passed by a lot of people on the downhill, but I wasn’t worried. My legs felt good. Just after mile 5 we had to run down a gravel road and then we had nice straight stretch that was close to a mile long. I stopped and grabbed water and took my first set of honey stinger chews. The straight stretch was tough because there was good headwind, but I still maintained my goal pace. I didn’t let the headwind bother me mentally which was huge for me!
As soon as we got to the trailhead I saw Mr. Healthy Diva for the first time. He handed me my Nuun and said I looked good and he would see me at the next aid station. I was still feeling physically and mentally in the right place. Somewhere between miles 9 & 10 everything fell apart. Both feet started to ache to the point where I was almost hobbling. I saw MHD again at the next aid station with my Nuun and some honey stinger chews. I told him I was done and I wanted him to take me home. He gave me a friendly push back out on the course and told me to keep running and he would see me at the next aid station which was at mile 14. I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around running 16 more miles with my feet feeling the way that they were. All of my positive energy was quickly fading as I was getting passed by a lot of people. I would run a ¼ of a mile to a ½ mile and then I would have to walk for 10-15 seconds because of my feet. I repeated this until I get to mile 14. I was envisioning what was left of the course and it seemed so far to run. I knew that I could handle the next 12 miles of the race, but it seemed daunting. Again MHD told me to keep running and he would see me in a couple of miles. Easy for him to say!
The last portion of the race is all on part of trail that runs along the road so MHD stopped at various points and
told me to get my as* moving cheered for me and gave me my Nuun and honey stingers. I could not have survived Windermere without his support. Even though I was mad that he wouldn’t let me quit at mile 10.
I repeated my run/walk method for the rest of the race. Once I hit mile 10 I knew I would finish. Once I hit mile 8.5 I told myself I was almost to a Bloomsday distance (12K) and that I was going to finish even if I had to crawl across the finish line. Thankfully, I didn’t have to crawl across the finish line! Seeing the word FINISH was one of the most beautiful things I have seen!
My time is embarrassing to me (I realize that some people would be thrilled with my time) because it wasn’t indicative to my fitness level. Most of my long runs between 15-24 miles were at an average pace of 7:35-7:50. My weekly threshold workouts were tough- maintaining a 6:50-7:05 pace for 20 minutes at a time with the workout lasting well over 80-90 minutes. I ran a sub 22 minute 5K a day after I ran 24 miles for crying out loud.
I should not have run a 3:54 marathon at Windermere.
Do I think I was over trained? YES.
What I think went wrong:
I relied too heavily on my TM. My TM became my safety net after compartment syndrome. It was a controlled environment. It is typical of me to use it frequently during the early AM workouts or when the weather in the winter is bad, but I was using it more than that. I even did my long runs on it when training for Windermere.
My training plan was just too much too soon. The intensity of the workouts coming off of compartment syndrome were just plain tough.
My noggin was not in the right place. Due to my training struggles my mental game was put through the ringer.
I set to high of expectations on myself for Windermere. I wanted a PR badly. This might not have been realistic given how much running I missed between May and October this last year.
My feet. My poor freaking feet. I will know more about what is going on with them on Tuesday. I should have made an appointment with Dr. Anderson weeks ago.
What I think went right:
First and foremost I avoided a fasciotomoy. That deserves some type of recognition here.
My race day hydration was good. I didn’t experience any weird swelling or stomach issues. Thanks to my Nuun and honey stingers and MHD acting as water boy. Thank you MHD.
I got plenty of sleep all three nights before the race. I can’t say that I wasn’t well rested. I slept at least 8-9 hours from Thursday-Saturday.
I stuck to my training plan for the entire 18 weeks (minus a couple of DNF runs).
Farmgirlfit added another dimension to my cardio fitness that I think played a huge role in my strength and running improvement over the course of my Windermere training.
I finished my 6th marathon. That also deserves some type of recognition.