Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fox Valley Marathon "Race Recap"

To say I have fallen off the blogger bandwagon is an understatement.  I thought about just stopping blogging altogether but then I would miss all of you.  So if I'm a sporadic blogger...know I am still here and will be back at some point!

Ok with that said.. I ran another marathon 2 weeks ago.  Was it two weeks ago already?  Seems like yesterday as the pain is still in the forefront of my memory!

I like running marathons.  And I liked this marathon.  I wish mine would have gone more the way I wanted it to but as I said to someone in the beginning of the marathon in the Corral, "Every marathon is different."  Which the same person reminded me later that day after I had my complete worse marathon to date. 

I know, I probably sound like a complainer.  And I'm really trying hard not to.  Let me start by telling you the good things about running the Fox Valley Marathon.

1. Friends.  I had a good amount of runners from my run group there running as well.  Since the course is a bit of an out and back, I pretty much saw ALL the runners that I knew at some point along the course and that was fun.

2.  Support.  Even though this wasn't in our neck of the woods, it was still "close" enough for support to come down to help out.  It was located in St. Charles, which is about an hour away.  I had a couple support friends come out and Jill from Jilly Eats even ran a mile during with us and about 5 of my last miles with me which was a huge help that late in the game.  My boyfriend Derek also came along and he was our official photographer and food/drink support. 

3.  Course.  A good portion of the course was along the Fox River and was beautiful.  A few miles in the beginning, a little in the middle, and part of the end was on regular streets but otherwise, it was along the path along the river.  It was at least 80% shaded.  The scenery was beautiful.  I had a nice time, even when I was alone and miserable, checking out the scenery.

4. Packet Pickup - The race offered an alternate location a week before the race to pick up your packet.  You had to pre-register by the Thursday before if you wanted to pick up your packet early in downtown Chicago.  I decided to do that even though I wouldn't get the expo effect but I wasn't sure what time I would be getting down there on Saturday (since I was staying at my cousins house) and thought this would be easier.  Since I was going, I also picked up a few other runners packets.

5. Aid stations - With the exception of the first aid station, that wasn't until almost mile 3, there were plenty of aid stations stocked and ready to go.  They also had Gatorade at all the aid stations, orange slices around mile 17, and nuun around mile 20.  They also had a good number of medical tents, of which I give a big shout-out to the one I visited around mile 16 (They touched my gross feet!!).

At the start with Julie and Meg

**Now everything else...

One problem with the course was that when they had people turn around to come back, they kept all the runners on the left going in both directions.  Sometimes this was not clearly marked and typically people run on the right, so that caused a bit of chaos and was a bit odd to run on the left. 

Around mile 10, there was a split for the people running 20 miles versus the people running the full marathon.  In addition, there were runners from the marathon running out and return runners running back.  Along with a split in the trail and a lot of spectators.  It was pretty chaotic around that point.

Around mile 10.5, getting some fuel (a banana)
My driving me crazy.  Can I cut all the bad parts out and still run?  I'll give a short run down.  1.5 weeks before I ran my 20 miler, I hurt my back.  In fact, I only ran half of my 20 miler and it ended in a complete meltdown of tears.  I rested for a week and even though my back felt better, it wasn't 100%.  I also completely dislocated my shoulder 1 week before the marathon.  I am now a "repeat dislocator" and can put my shoulder back in on my own.  Trust me, it's nice not having to go to the ER for that but it's not a good thing.  I got it back in but there were several loud cracks and it was sore for 2 days.

During the marathon, my back had a constant soreness.  I think this would have been ok as there were no sharp pains but this wasn't my only ailment.  Close to half way though the marathon, I was getting a blister on my pinky toe.  I was also just running though that.  I was running with one of my BRF and fellow marathon training partner, Julie, for about 11-12 miles but I told her to go ahead as I could tell I was starting to struggle.  Around mile 13.5, I texted Derek to ask if he had a bandaid (for my blister).  He didn't and I texted him and told him I was tired.  Then I completely melted down. I was thinking that I still had a whole half marathon to go.  I was already tired and hurting and I didn't want to do a whole other half!  Derek told me to just slow down and recover.  I stopped texting him and basically started crying and hyperventilating.  Yeah, I lost it for about 1/4 mile during the half way point.  I realized however, that I needed to pull myself together if I had any hope of making it through the whole marathon.

Around mile 16, I realized that the medical tents "probably" had bandaids!  Duh!  It took me 3 miles to figure that one out.  So I stopped while medical put a bandaid on my toe (I just felt sorry for them to touch my stinky gross feet).  I went on running but the way they put the bandaid on was pulling at my toenail and it hurt.  I saw Derek at mile 17 and sat down to fix the bandaid, which helped.  Derek had pealed an orange and I had half of that.  I walked with him for a little bit but knew I had to keep running. 

Around mile 17 with a FN Runner Jenni
Somewhere within this second half, I started getting a pain at the top of my foot (off to the side of the top).  That started really bothering me and I had to stop and walk more.  I contemplated walking the entire last 8 miles.  I even went so far as to try to figure how long it would take me to walk 8 miles and if I could finish the marathon under 6 hours if I did that.  I just didn't care anymore.  I wanted to be done with the marathon. 

I even told myself that there is no way I was going to do the Chicago Marathon or the Lakefront 50k that I signed up for.  I didn't spend too much money on either one and just didn't want to feel like this ever again in my life. 

My friend Jill met up with me around mile 20-ish and my cousins dropped by around mile 21 to show some love.  I was really struggling at this point and walking a lot!  I tried to run at times and would get a sharp pain at the top of my foot. I stopped to massage it MANY times.  I stopped to take my shoe off and rub that part of my foot 2-3 times.  I tried to run as much as I could and having Jill there really helped.  At some point around mile 21-22, Jill texted Derek to let him know I was struggling and walking a lot but that I was ok.  Derek texted her back... "Tell her to suck it up buttercup for me!"  And Jill did and I laughed as that's his favorite thing to say to me when I'm complaining about running. 

Jill and I around mile 21 with my cousins

Jill is a pretty hyper and super supportive run friend!  If you know her, you know what I mean.  It's also fun running with her.  In fact, with 1.5 miles left in the marathon, I told her I was going to run the rest.  We were closer to the back of the pack and people all around us were hurting and walking.  Jill starts yelling, "Who wants to get on our running train!  Do you want to join our running train?  Choo Choo!!"  And sure enough, the first woman that was walking joined our running train.  And so did the second woman.  I was laughing and thought this was fantastic.  And those women ran with us the last mile and I'm sure when home thanking the crazy woman asking them to join her running train!

Basically, I finished.  I got the medal.  I didn't take any finishing photos.  Basically I was glad it was over.  I wanted to get back to my cousins, shower, and eat.  I am thankful for all the help I got from all my run friends, Jill, and Derek.

My cousins were also terrific.  They made me dinner the night before and cooked us lunch after the marathon. They let me sleep there and shower there.  It was really nice to have all this for us and I'm forever grateful.

My pinky toe with the blister swelled up with fluid by the end of the day.  The entire toe was swollen and it hurt to walk at all.  So I had to pop the blister and drain the fluid (ewwww gross!!).  But that felt so much better after that.

My sore back, it's also a lot better.  It's still not 100% but I can tell it is better now than around the time of the marathon. 

The top of my foot...well, that still hurts.  I've been trying to take my running easier to help that heal but it's not 100% and the thing that worries me most about the upcoming marathon.

I'm pretty terrified to do the next marathon.  The thing that worries me the most is the top of my foot. I'm going to rest it a lot this week and hope for the best. I'm not going for time, I'm just going to finish and hopefully have a better marathon this time around.

This has nothing to do with the marathon. My boyfriend Derek and I...because I love him! 
And because he apparently wants to be featured more in my blog or something(??)  :)


  1. Congrats on the finish. Glad the marathon train got you guys running to the end! :) Hope your foot heals really fast! :)

    1. Thanks Pete! Are you running Chicago?? Hm...maybe I should go check out your blog. I've been a slacker!

  2. :( I'm sorry the race wasn't that great ....about your foot. ugh. Well at Chicago 2010. I tore my metatarsal on my left foot. Even though I went to my orthopedic dr afterwards after xrays they said it was just a tendon issue, FF to 6 months later and I do a half and the pain was pretty intense. Turns out after MRI i tore the metatarsal. After all that my advice is to go to the Orthopedic dr and get it evaluated. My foot never healed the right way and as I get older it takes longer to heal... so I can say there will be other races but not other feet/bodyparts. I hope it's not that!

    1. Good point! If it feels bad again, i will definitely have it checked out!

  3. Sorry to hear about all of your aches and pains but that image of Jill's running train sounds awesome!! Also that pic of you and Derek is adorable.

    1. Haha... I wrote the blog while at his house. He just kept saying... "Dod you write about when I said this?"... so I put the picture of him in there too. lol

  4. Proud of you for sticking with it and finishing it. That's what matters. What great running friends, family, and boyfriend support!!