Marathon #3 is over. And like all races, I certainly learned a lot. #3 was the Modesto Marathon, where the course claimed to be flat and fast. Music to my ears, or so I thought. As you know, this training schedule was not kind to me, and I did not put out a 150% as I would have liked. I had no plan, no goal, but to run, have fun, and enjoy the course.

Because Ultra Miles Matt and I are doing the long distance relationship thing, we decided to meet-up in Modesto two days earlier than the event. I had never been to Modesto before and upon driving in, I thought; Yep Modesto is certainly flat. In fact, I stayed in the tallest building in Modesto. The hotel was conveniently located right next door to where the expo. was held, including the start and finish. For those two days, UMM and I relaxed, hit the gym, the hot tub, ate, foam rolled, stretched, and caught up on my latest addiction - Breaking Bad! It was a very lovely time really.
Pre snack load - And we ate the whole thing!
As always, the time went by far too fast and all of a sudden it was race day morning. The weather conditions had been rainy and cold, but come Sunday morning, it was clear and crisp. Perfect running weather if you ask me.

I parted with UMM at the start to line up at the respective pace markers. I was a ball of nervous energy, but took a couple of deep breaths, and away I went. During the first half of the race, I felt amazing. I had experienced some cramping in my stomach, but it didn’t seem to slow me down, so I kept up my pace. In retrospect, I might have started out too fast, but I was running on how I felt, so I went with it. Through the neighborhood we ran. Up and under the highway, and then a long, jaunt through farmland and orchards. With a mixture of half marathoners and marathoners, I was happy the course was not too crowded, and I fed off other runners energy. It was a lot of fun. At mile seven however, the halfers turned around and thus began the loooong, lonely journey. I was still feeling pretty good at this point and was looking forward to mile 14, where I would turn around and bring it on home. UMM is a lot faster than I, and I saw him at my mile 11, his 14 or so heading to the finish. He was looking strong and at this point he was in the top five. We high fived each other as we passed, and it was shortly after that when I fell to pieces. My pace was slowing due to the stomach cramps worsening. 

Mile 1 - 8:19
2 - 8:14
3 - 8:09
4 - 8:20
5- 8:17
6 - 8:16
7 - 8:14
8 - 8:33
9 - 8:41
10 - 8:44
11 - 8:51
12 - 8:52
13 - 9:33
14 - 10:00

At the turn around, I stopped at the aide station to down some Gatoraide hoping the sugar would help. The Gatoraide didn’t help. For the rest of the race my speed seemed to decrease with every mile. I passed cows who told me to mooooooove, but I just couldn’t. Mentally, I was fine. Physically, I was falling apart. I saw my friends who were out on the course as pacers pass me by. I would try to keep in stride but it just wasn’t happening. There went 3:45. 3:50. And then I saw the 4:00 pacer pass me by and I frowned. Looks like my sub 4 might be a dream out of reach for this marathon anyway.

15 - 9:25
16 - 10:02
17 - 9:55

The last couple of months I had been complaining of experiencing right, front hip pain. During the race I had no issues with my right hip to complain about, but at mile 18 I started having some major iliac crest issues on my left side. It was painful. I opened up a bag of Honey Stinger Chews, and tried to eat a few. A young boy keeled over to the side right in front of me and I gave him the rest of my chews after he assured me he was okay. I am not certain if he was running the half, or the full, but I figured a kid that age needed those chews more than I did. 

18 - 10:39
19 - 10:11
20 - 10:52
Despite the pain, I still managed to smile every stride of the way!
This was the first marathon where I listened to music on my ipod. The music helped me focus on beats verses the pain I was feeling. In the distance at mile 26, I saw the tallest building in Modesto which was my hotel, and knew I was close. I wanted to be done so I picked up the pace. I finished strong and that was my small victory.

21 - 10:39
22 - 12:33
23 - 11:53
24 - 11:23
25 - 11:24
26 - 9:05
.2 - 8:55

4:13:20 @ 9:39 pace
188 overall, 50th female, 9th AP

UMM was there to greet me at the finish line and what a fabulous sight he was. He informed me that he finished a sub 3, just barely, and came in 10th overall! He had PR’d by over thirty minutes in his 2nd marathon. I was so proud of him. I also PR’d by exactly two minutes. It is not the sub 4 I was hoping for, but I will take it! Maybe I am not that fast long distance runner as I had hoped to be, but I don’t think I am ready to give up just yet. This only means that I have to work that much harder than you natural long distance fasties out there.

Just seconds before I reached the finish - I'm ready to be done, can you tell?
As I mentioned above, I thought running a flat course would be easy, but I am now thinking this is not the case. I was forced to run using the same muscle groups with just barely one hill the entirety of the course. It’s hard. And though I thought I did a lot of my training on flat terrain, there were always hills I had to tackle. I used to not like hills, but after this marathon, I think hills have my respect. Not only does it help break up the monotony, but hills activate different muscle groups that I feel is better for the body in the long run.

Besides my running performance, I felt the event was well organized and supported. Apparently, when UMM crossed the finish line, he was in really bad shape, and the volunteers and staff took extra good care of him until his lips and skin returned back to a normal color and for that, I am grateful. What I also really appreciated is the photo crew from Captivating Sports Photos offered free prints and downloads on all of their race photos. What a treat and so generous. I feel this was a huge perk to the event.

And it's done!
So there it is. Marathon number #3 is now crossed off. I somehow registered for number #4 before even completing 3. I am hoping to have a stronger training cycle next time around. For now, I am going to take a break off of marathon training, and focus on the half marathons and those short distance races I have already registered for.

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