31 May 2013

Tacoma City Marathon

Love the shirt and LOVE the personalized bib!!
As the days leading up to the marathon on May 5th kept getting warmer and nicer I was starting to get a little worried- and irritated.  Seems each time I run a marathon we have unseasonably warm weather!  Not much I could do about it though so I just hydrated all week long and made a few tweaks to my race day outfit and was thankful that the race started at 7am (last time it was 9!). 

Our race course.  I live less than a mile from several points on this course!
I decided less was best and really wanted to just wear my shorts under my sparkle skirt but there were not enough pockets to hold all 6 gels so I had to go with my skirtsports skirt with its wonderfully large side pockets.  Dear companies that create clothing for runners- give us pockets!!!  Please and thank you.  Big pockets.  And pockets that ZIP (ahem, Nike that is for you- seriously a running jacket with pockets that don't close?!?).  Anyways...back to the marathon story.  Clothing choices- tank top, skort, sparkle skirt, short socks, hat and shoes.  I carried 6 gels and wore my garmin.  The end- no music, no water and no phone.  I hate fiddling with things lately and wanted to simply run and be as cool as possible.  I had a few moments where I regretted not carrying water, but overall I survived and was glad to not carry a handheld or have something strapped around my waist all morning.

Ready for 26.2!
I woke up around 4:30am which is not far off of my normal 4:45am wake up time for Sunday mornings to get to work so not a huge deal.  I laid in bed and ate a cliff bar and a banana while waking up and then hopped out of bed to get ready.  The plan was to be out the door by 6 at the latest and Will dropped me off at the starting area and took off.  That was weird for me- I had no phone and nobody with me so I headed over to check out the potty line situation and decided I better just get in line- it was sooooo long!!!  Christy got in line right behind me so we chatted the entire time and saw Zach and Steve also.  We finally used the bathroom literally 5 minutes before the race started so we went right over to get ready to run and before we knew it we were off and running!  I barely had time to get nervous I was so distracted waiting in line and talking so that was nice.

I knew I wanted to keep my pace average as close to 10:30 as possible, and I also knew that I was going to struggle as the temperature went up.  I ended up running with Christy for the first 2 miles and then at the water stop just before the bridge I took a bit longer than she did and I let her fade away- she was wanting a much faster time than me and I did not want to hold her back!  Over the bridge I felt strong- I smiled and waved at the photographer and really just tried to absorb the runner energy around me and enjoy my familiar surroundings.  If you have ever run over the Narrows Bridge you know what comes next- nearly 2 miles of uphill running! 

Photo credit: On the Run Events
Smiling on the Narrows Bridge!  Love this photo and
if I had an extra $70 I would buy it.
Mile 1- 10:27
Mile 2- 9:50
Mile 3- 10:16
Mile 4- 10:31
Mile 5- 11:53 (took a gel, water stop plus HILL)
Mile 6- 10:12

Christy and I running through Proctor by Fleet Feet! 
Look at my form- I have been working on that!
Running to Subway!
I tried to keep a nice easy pace since I knew exactly how far I had to go before leveling off again -one of the good things about knowing the course so well I suppose.  I caught back up to Christy just in front of the University of Puget Sound and we ran together again for many miles.  I told her to go on without me if she felt like it but she was ok with my pace and I welcomed the distraction.  We saw and passed Endorphin Dude just before entering the Proctor district and I waved to a few friends and saw my hubby as well.  He took some photos and asked if I needed anything but I was feeling good- this was mile 10 or so.  A few other friends were waiting down the road a bit and I gave them high fives and then we passed one of the local police officers that I know as a customer so I said hi to him as well.  Fun to see people you know while running!  At the halfway point I stopped at the water station and somebody yelled "Hi Tiffany!" and it was another customer of mine volunteering.

Photo credit:  Brian Jennings
Hello Brian, Megan, Maddie and Rydar thanks for the support!
Photo credit:  Brian Jennings
Oh HEY!!  Happy runners still!
Mile 7- 10:46
Mile 8- 10:20
Mile 9- 11:27 (gel, water stop)
Mile 10- 10:38
Mile 11- 10:02
Mile 12- 11:02 (hill- walked a bit)

At that point Christy again headed off and I walked for a minute or two drinking 2 cups of water to chase down my gel I had taken.  I was fueling every 4 miles just like I did in training and my energy level felt good.  My half marathon time was 2:22- I was still hoping to make my 'B' goal of 4:45 at that point but I knew that I had to keep very consistent.  Soon we entered the 5 mile drive loop at Point Defiance which was great because we were shaded from the sun and heat- but terrible because it is so hilly!  I literally could barely WALK up the steepest hill in the world just to get into the park!  I am not even joking, it was straight uphill and everyone was walking it.  At this point I was leap frogging a few other runners and we were in this run/walk/run pattern just trying to keep going.  Just before leaving the park I saw a girl off in the bushes getting sick.  Poor girl.

Leaving 5 mile drive- heading into the inferno aka the waterfront
Mile 13- 11:45 (water stop, gel)
Mile 14- 11:47 (I think this was the giant hill I walked up)
Mile 15- 11:41 (5 mile drive hills)
Mile 16- 11:03
Mile 17- 12:16 (water stop, gel)
Mile 18- 11:13

Chapstick, glorious chapstick!
Mile 18 we left the park and there was my hubby again with my bag of goodies I packed in case I needed anything.  I needed chapstick like nobody's business and had been dreaming about it for a few miles so I slathered that on and headed towards the inferno  waterfront.  I admit at this point I was feeling a bit defeated by the weather and my performance.  I was walking more than running and needed a kick in the butt to get moving.  Zach's wife Anne was on the side of the road and asked if I needed water or some of her iced coffee- I must have looked like hell lol!  I thanked her but said no -walking just felt way too good and then off I went.  We did a small out and back and then I heard from the other side (behind me at this point) Steve yell over to me!  I asked how in the heck I had passed him and apparently he had made a pit stop and I passed him.  Ok, well that meant I wasn't in too horrible of shape, if everyone was still pretty close by so I got my second wind if you can even call it that and I set off with a goal of not letting the 5 hour pacer pass me.

Oh the flat waterfront.  The flat, flat, hot, hot, never ending waterfront.  I was so thirsty I could barely stand it and up ahead I could see a water table.  But nobody was handing out water cups, it was a refill station for those with handhelds!  I was very tempted to just put my head under it but decided I could last until the next station.  I really think I was a bit delirious here- I remember very little except taking my gel around mile 20 and scanning the road for the sight of a water stop!

Finally just after mile 21 there was water so I stood and drank 2 cups like I hadn't had water in days then tried to get myself running again.  My body didn't hurt anywhere really but I just was really hot and I kept getting slightly dizzy if I ran too fast.  For some reason as I was plodding along I kept chanting the lyrics "anything you can do, I can do better.  I can do anything better than you" over and over.  The gel I took at mile 20 wore off quickly and by mile 22 I was feeling like I needed another one already.  Good thing I had thought to grab an extra one from an aid station just in case I needed it.  However it was a powerbar gel in vanilla and it was the nastiest thing ever.  It was super thin in consistency and of course it was hot from being in my pocket so it got all over my hands and when I tasted it it was almost sour.  Yuck, yuck, yuck but I took it anyways knowing I needed the energy. 

The fuel I brought with me, I ended up needing one more though
Mile 19- 12:27 (get chapstick from Will, need a kick in the butt)
Mile 20- 10:56 (a little mojo returns!)
Mile 21- 12:34 (water- finally water!!)
Mile 22- 13:41 (seriously contemplating a shortcut to the finish line, energy gone)
Mile 23- 12:16
Mile 24- 11:37

I was running, walking, running along and then all of a sudden towards the end of mile 24 the 5 hour pacer caught up to me and passed me.  "Oh hell no" I said to myself and kept right on her heels for about half a mile then I took my last gel, got some water to chase it down and had some lovely little kids pour some over my head.  I had my last mile to run and I immediately passed the 5 hour pacer (they cheered for me- thank you!) and did my best to run a final fastish mile hoping to not see the pacer again!  I saw my mom up ahead and that gave me a little bit of a kick to finish nice and strong, rounded the corner and crossed the line.  Done.  The first words out of my mouth were "can I stop running now?!?" and I was so happy to see my hubby, kiddos and mom! 

Mile 25- 12:54 (5 hour pace caught up to me.  Gee, wonder why?)
Mile 26- 11:08 (take that 5 hour pacer!!  Felt faster than that.  Must have been delirious)
Mile .24- 2:16 for a pace of 9:25 (BAM -take that finish line!)

Best moment EVER!!
"Can I stop running now?"
Oh wait, people are taking pictures, must be cheesy!
I felt pretty good at the end- the last marathon I felt much worse that is for sure.  I never reached the point where running was painful which makes me believe the weather really did slow me down and I would have had a better time if it wasn't nearly 80 degrees out.  I downed a bottle of water, took one bite of pizza which did not taste good to me at all, ate a banana and an orange to get some control over my suddenly plummeting blood sugar and walked around for a few minutes chatting with some friends.  Then we headed home and I showered, put on my comfy clothes and compression calf sleeves and laid down on the couch for a while.  Overall I am proud of myself- I finished the race even though my mind wanted to stop many, many times and I met my "C" goal- under 5 hours.  Marathon number 2- check! 

Post marathon glow.  Ok, maybe that is
dried sweat.  Whatever.
Finally vertical
Final results: 
Time- 4:57:07  
Overall place- 583/888
Female place- 254/426
Age group place- 47/68
Fun fact- this is exactly 44 SECONDS slower than my last marathon.  At least I am consistent!
The bling!  I got the special edition for sporting my half fanatic gear!


  1. Wow, you ran a great race despite the heat! Definitely inspiring, Tiffany. Love all the pictures, too!

  2. great writing Tiff!! so proud of you and glad I saw you come across the finish line!! love you,Mom

  3. You did great, I'm still terrified of a full marathon. And how do you take such great pictures, I always look awful. LOL