Race Recap: Utah Valley Marathon

Should I start at the beginning, where I was feeling pretty good, staying on pace, and maintaining hope for a 3:20ish finish? Or should I cut to mile 18 when I passed Micah, whose calves had locked up completely, and realized both of us qualifying for Boston just wasn’t going to happen? Or should I jump to the last 6 miles in which I had to make a decision to either slow down considerably to even finish the race, or try to keep pace and risk passing out on the road? Really now, which sounds most intriguing? Or maybe I’m leaving out the best moment of all — the one in which I crossed the line (having squeaked in at 3:39, one minute faster than my BQ time), and promptly tossed my cookies.

Yeah, not a great race. Not for me and Micah, anyway. But let’s look on the bright side for a moment. Micah went into the race worried that he might permanently damage his knees and never be able to run again. However, he ran the first half of the marathon on pace to qualify for Boston and his knees felt fine. It wasn’t until his calves locked up around mile 17 and he had to slow down that he started feeling his knees. The sad part was that after walking for a while, trying to stretch, massage, and rest his calves into relaxation, he realized his legs were done and pulled out of the race. But he came out with knees in tact! Success!

And for my part the bright side was that I did actually qualify for Boston. It was bittersweet since I know I can run a marathon 10-20 minutes faster, but it wasn’t in the cards for Saturday’s race. My pace felt good, my legs felt good, but by mile 20 I was feeling sick — woozy, dizzy, weak. It wasn’t dehydration. I drank at every aid station. It wasn’t lack of fuel. I ate the granola bars and gel I used in training. It might have been the elevation that did me in. Either that or my body decided it didn’t like the fuel I’d been giving it. Whatever the case, I think that if I hadn’t walked a lot between miles 20-24, I may have passed out on the course and not been able to finish at all. I did feel much better after I’d thrown up, but it was still an hour before I could stand up and walk without fear of fainting.

So there you have it. I qualified for Boston, but because I only beat my time by a minute, I think the chances of being able to register are kind of slim. And since Micah didn’t finish, I don’t know if it would be as fun for me. We’re in the process of re-thinking our plans and goals and moving forward — but I’ll write more about that on Wednesday.

For now, let’s finish off with some more happy thoughts. My two sisters and three brothers who ran the half all had a good time. It was the first race for all of them and they were all so happy to finish. My brother who ran the marathon rocked our world by coming in at 4:30, despite being severely undertrained (his longest run was 10 miles). And the icing on the cake was my dad’s performance in the 5K. He took first in his age group with a time of 29:12, 12 minutes faster than his closest competitor.

Having my family there and involved really made the difference between what could have been a bad experience and what ended up being a good one. Being excited for them took my mind off the fact that things didn’t go so well for me and Micah. In fact, my family had such a great time we’re thinking of making a tradition out of it. And if that’s what comes of this experience then I’ll count it as a victory.

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11 Comments

  1. Good work, Lizzie! I like how you are thinking about your success as a family even though you weren’t so happy with what happened with you and Micah. It was fun to see you.

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    lizzie Reply:

    Thanks so much for coming out to see us, Jolena! It was great to meet little Spencer, too.

    I’ve read your blog post and I’m thinking a lot about it . . . if I come up with any ideas, I’ll let you know! (Or maybe post something on tMR in the next few days . . . .)

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  2. Wow! Way to persevere. Inspiring even for me when I am pushing myself up a hill…at least I never need to “toss my cookies.” 🙂

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    lizzie Reply:

    Yeah, this was the first time I’ve ever actually thrown up after a race/run, even though sometimes I’ve felt like it. 🙂 But I have to say, I felt so much better afterward.

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  3. Way to finish and to qualify for Boston! Running a race as a family tradition is really the only time I’ve done any racing. Running as a family just makes it more fun.

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    lizzie Reply:

    I think it might have been reading about your family participating in races together that first gave me the idea to try to get my family to do it, too. It took a lot of years for it to work out, but I’m so glad it did. Racing is so much better with family.

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  4. great job and way to keep going even when it gets really tough!!

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    lizzie Reply:

    Thanks, Melissa. It didn’t really cross my mind to do anything but keep going . . . sometimes the easiest thing to do is to just keep moving.

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  5. Lizzie- Way to go. I know it wasn’t all you were hoping for, but what an impressive accomplishment! I definitely chalk that up to the altitude– that is such a huge variable. Hope you are getting lots of rest and relaxation and so glad you finally posted! I’d been checking all day Saturday and Sunday, thinking about you guys. What a neat family affair it was– congrats to your dad!

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    lizzie Reply:

    I thought I should probably post sooner, but I also wanted to wait until I wasn’t quite as emotional about it or as tired. I’m pretty sure it was the altitude . . . we knew it could be a factor, but didn’t know exactly how it would effect the race. And it was really great to have it be a family affair. I’m hoping next year the rest of the family will be able to join in as well (minus a few to watch the kiddies, of course). I’m hoping my dad’s victory will keep him hooked on racing. It was really exciting for all of us that he did so well.

    Thanks for all your well wishes . . . can’t wait to get together in a couple of months when we are all back in the ‘hood. 🙂

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  6. Darn! I’m sorry it didn’t work out as you had hoped, but I am excited that you qualified! Even if you don’t end up running it this time you at least have that to brag about. 🙂 Congrats to all of your family as well! What a fun time.

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    lizzie Reply:

    Yeah, it’s kind of funny about qualifying. I’ve known that I had it in me to qualify since we ran the half marathon last year, so the fact that I just barely made my time makes it feel almost like it’s not worth mentioning. But I did cut off 16 minutes from my previous marathon time. Really it just makes me want to try it again.

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  7. Good job! You did your best with the situation and I’m so impressed at your finish time! Awesome! My friend Katie ran the same marathon and had a similar experience as you for the last few miles and right at the end. 🙂 I’m glad you shared your experience and thoughts with us! Congrats again!

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    lizzie Reply:

    Thanks Catlin! I hope Katie was happy with how she did overall, even if it wasn’t a great race for her, either.

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  8. I ran this marathon also – and nearly joined you with tossing my cookies at the end.

    Congrats and great job!

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    lizzie Reply:

    No matter how you slice it, the marathon is a tough race. Glad you were able to hold on to your cookies! They are really so much better going down than coming up.

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  9. 1) I love that picture of you. 2) How do you look so great right before you are about to throw up? 3) You inspire me 4) We are really going to miss you guys. Please run a marathon in Tennessee!

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    lizzie Reply:

    You are too kind, Lydia. I’m pretty sure I look wasted in the first picture and the second one — with Micah and the boys — only looks good because I’m surrounded by handsome men. 🙂

    I’d love to come to Tennessee and run with you!

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  10. That’s so awesome! You and Micah are amazing. And I think your family is way cool, too…what a great family activity.

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  11. Lizzie: Your sister-with the ice cream sign-looks like a person I would want to know! What an incredible woman!

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    lizzie Reply:

    She is indeed a great person to know. And she lives in Harlem, so it’s possible your paths could cross sometime when she is in Brooklyn.

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