Apr 27

My First Marathon…As a 40 Year-old

I should be sleeping right now. I woke-up in New Jersey at 4:30am on Sunday, ran a marathon at 7:30am and then drove home to Connecticut late Sunday afternoon. I had visions of sleeping in, but my legs are restless from pain and my mind is swirling with the memories of my first marathon in eight years and as a 40 year-old!

At the expo full of hope and excitement!

At the expo full of hope and excitement!

My goal was to run a 7:40 pace which would have me finish around 3:20. I didn’t reach that goal, but I’m more then ok with it because, despite a few setbacks, I ran a very strong race. Let’s do this recap right, shall we?

BEFORE

Injury report: Throughout my training I developed perineal tendonitis in my left ankle. I had been dealing with the pain in the few weeks leading up to the race, and aqua jogging in the pool a week prior so as to not injure it further. I wasn’t too worried about it leading up to race day because it would hurt for the first few miles and then usually the pain would disappear until after the run.

A week before, on one of my last fast runs, I had some hamstring pain in my right leg, and thought it was no big deal. However, it wouldn’t leave me alone the rest of the week and I cut two runs short leading up to race day. It was messing with my head big time but there was really nothing I could do about it. I was definitely worried going into the race but I knew I had run though pain before so…

Accommodations: We stayed at my friend’s sister’s house in New Jersey the night before the race. She and her husband were the most gracious hosts and even made us a fantastic pasta and chicken dinner complete with the most deliciously buttery garlic bread I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. And, of course, I had several pieces all in the name of carb loading. #ILoveMarathonTraining

One of the most perfect race days I've ever had!

One of the most perfect race mornings I’ve ever had! Here with Chrissie before we got rid of these clothes. Sorry Pats & Yankee fans…

Weather: Race morning we were up at 4:45am and out the door to the race start by 5:30. It was a gorgeous morning with the most beautiful sunrise. If I could have ordered up race weather, this would have been it! About 50 degrees, a little windy (I would have left that out!) and partly cloudy, although my friend and I ended up with some serious tan lines when all was said and done.

DURING

The start: As soon as I started running, I had pain in the center of my ass, known as the piriformis. I was actually glad, thinking I could deal with that much better then hamstring pain and I ran happily along at my 7:40 clip.

Mile eight: I think this mile is cursed. My friend Angela had to drop out of the Boston Marathon a week ago at this mile, and I had a water station collision that ended with me rolling my ankle. At mile 8!!! Someone two people in front of me stopped dead to get their water, so the guy in front of me stopped and then slammed into me as he tried to move around asshole #1. I literally had to push him off me, but the damage was already done. I had a searing pain in my right ankle, which then set off my hamstring.

From mile 8 on, I ran in pain.

DO NOT STOP AT WATER STATIONS! GRAB A CUP WHILE YOU RUN AND IF YOU MUST STOP MOVE THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY OF THE 10,000 OTHER RUNNERS!

Ok, so, where were we?

Miles 12, 16 and 21: These were all the mile markers my amazing friend Denise (three time Boston Marathon finisher including this year!) and her sister were waiting to cheer me on. I cannot stress enough how mentally amazing it is knowing someone you know and love, will be out there with a smile to help you along. One 10 second bought of encouragement goes so far when you’re up against 26.2.

At the start of our journey! Denise was our driver, motivator and caregiver...she's the other blonde at the wheel!

At the start of our journey! Denise was our driver, motivator and caregiver…she’s the other blonde at the wheel!

Mile 21: This is where the wheels started to come off. Until this point I was able to hang with the 3:25 pace group. The pain started to get to me, I was running alone most of the time, and I started to get really low. After I passed my friend Denise, saying “I’m hurting but I’m doing it!” I decided that I needed to be strong and finish this thing!

Miles 22-26: It was four miles, around an 8:15 pace, of constant self-talk. I willed my mind and body though those miles, and I’m so proud of myself. The pain was intense and, at times, I just wanted to give up, but my mantras where ready – can’t stop, won’t stop – set your pace, run your race – breathe in confidence, exhale doubt – and I used them to my advantage.

It’s very hard to stay the course when you know your ultimate goal is out of reach but, for me, it’s about the entire race and pushing though what I think are my mental and physical limits. I’m most proud of those last four miles even with my sucky pace!

I can't believe they have these up already! Don't worry, I'll buy one...after I steal this one...

I can’t believe they have these up already! It looks like my eyes are closed. Quite possible.

Mile 26ish: I heard the whistle. My dad has a very distinct, loud whistle and I knew he was going to be somewhere near the finish with my stepmother. I lifted my head when I heard it and there they were, arms up, yelling like crazy. I responded in kind, throwing my arms up in the air, waving and throwing crazy kisses. A volunteer saw me and yelled “Keep beaming girl, you’re lighting up this whole boardwalk!” Seeing my dad and stepmom gave me the boost I needed to push to the finish line!

I finished in 3:28:24, a two-minute PR (from 8 years ago!) and a Boston Qualifying time by 17 minutes. 

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If I’m being completely honest, I was definitely disappointed and just mad about the water station incident and being injured going into the race, but then I saw this:

IMG_5655

 

The ‘Masters’ division is for us old people. Anyone 40 and over is considered your a master. Just like the big girls and guys get to be classified in the Athena and Clydesdale divisions, us old people need our own category as well.

If I could accomplish these stats (I know it was a small field but whatever!) on a day when I was in pain for so many miles, I know I’m ready to reach my ultimate time goal. This marathon served it’s purpose, as a testing ground for NYC in November. I now know exactly what I need to do to be race ready, and I’m feeling nothing but excited…and very, very sore.

Driving home, happy with our hardware!

Driving home, happy with our hardware! And yes, I have a seed in my teeth. WTH?

I would absolutely run this race again! It was so well organized and the course was gorgeous. When I smelled the ocean at mile 6, I was in heaven. We ran many miles along the oceanfront and, although there were fewer spectators then expected, the ones who were there were awesome and helpful and funny and all the things you want when being yelled at by strangers. I highly recommend running New Jersey!

Next up – the Ten Penny Ale Duathlon on May 17th!

How was your weekend?

What have you accomplished at your age that you didn’t think you could?

 

 

 

 

68 comments

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  1. What can I say, Allie? But you constantly amaze and this time is no exception to the rule. Seriously through injury and more and you still come out fighting. You go girl and so proud of you!! 😉
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Are You Smarter In Math Than a Common Core 5th Grader?My Profile

    1. Thank you so much Janine. I was feeling a little let down because I missed my time goal but, then I thought, why would I take away from this whole experience? It taught me so much and was amazing!! Thank you for saying this because it makes me feel that much better!

  2. Wow!!!!! Congrats Allie!!! That is so amazing. You rocked it girl!! I’m so happy for you! I can’t believe that jerk at the water station. Even despite all the obstacles, you did amazing!!!!!!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Stock Your Closet and Do Some GoodMy Profile

    1. Thanks Britt!! It was a tough one but I did it!

  3. Awesome, Allie! Love how you kept your head in the game when the going got tough at the end. Killer time and second in age group to boot–what’s not to love? A fantastic return to the distance–way to go!

    And this made me want to check this race out sometime–love running oceanside, especially NJ oceanside.
    misszippy recently posted…Mondays on the run (pacer edition)My Profile

    1. Clearly we need to run it together! 🙂 Thanks Amanda!!

    • Jill Hague on April 27, 2015 at 7:53 AM
    • Reply

    Congratulations!! Do you get anything for your 2nd AG place?!? How exciting!! Keep moving today…gently!

    1. I have no idea!? I guess I need to check that out. I definitely didn’t stay for awards, never thinking I placed in my age group! Thanks Jill.

  4. AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!!! I am so happy for you. Marathons are just hard and you never have any idea what to expect that day. I try to remember that even if I don’t get the time I was going for that each race is valuable (trust me, this can be hard to remember right after a race that didn’t go exactly the way you want). 2 years ago I trained hard for a 3:15 (this might have been an ambitious goal to start with…a 3:25 would have been better) and bonked hard with a 3:45. It was hard to swallow at first, but I learned from it and in the end, I ran a marathon and that is awesome! You did amazing and an 8:15 pace at the end of a marathon is not sucky :). I love that your dad was there whistling. I have a friend whose dad used to go to her marathons and carry this big fish wind sock on a stick around (so she could spot him) cheering for her!
    That really stinks about your ankle and your mile 8 crash! Finish strong is hard enough when you are not in pain! I hope it isn’t too serious and you are ok! I am thinking you are going to do amazing things in NY!!!!!
    Jen@milesandblessings recently posted…Runners are…..My Profile

    1. I just can’t thank you enough Jen! From sending me that care package, to all your emails, tweets and well wishes, you truly helped push me though those last miles! I can’t tell you how much better I feel reading what you wrote about bonking hard and finishing well below your goal time. I agree that marathons are just so hard and, after being away from the distance for so long and being injured, I may have been expecting too much. I decided, like you did with your marathon, not to take away from all that I DID accomplish and just be proud to have run a marathon! I only hope we can run a race together someday…preferably a half 🙂 xoxoxo

      1. -You trained for and ran a marathon while being a mom of young twin boys 🙂
        -You ran 18 miles on a rolled ankle after crashing into someone
        -You ran a 2 minute PR after being away from the distance for 8 years
        -You ran a BQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        -2nd in age group 4th in masters division (40 seems young to be called masters)!
        -You proved to yourself that you can finish (and finish well) HARD things!

        AWESOME job!!!!! And yes, I would LOVE to run a race with you!!! You can pace me to break 1:30 🙂
        Jen@milesandblessings recently posted…Adding races to trainingMy Profile

        1. I’m going to read this everyday! Thanks so much Jen and I’m sure, before long, I won’t be able to keep up with you!!

  5. I was thinking of you yesterday morning and I’m glad everything turned out really well! You deserve that PR and I could not be happier for you. Congrats.
    Hollie recently posted…Quick Recap of the Month of Real LifeMy Profile

    1. Thanks Hollie!!! I was definitely trying to channel your legs out there and thought of all the pain you were in running Arizona and still dominated those last 6 miles. So inspiring!

  6. I’m amazed that you ran that many miles in pain! I took my first surf lesson on my 41st bday…fell 1000 times and got back up…and had the best time.
    Paria@momontherunsanity.com recently posted…Five Seconds of CoolMy Profile

    1. That is awesome about your surfing lesson! That is definitely something I would be afraid to do but must be quite a rush!!

  7. Amazing!! You are one strong runner to continue on at such a fantastic pace while hurting! You obviously have a much faster time in there, ready to come out at one of these races!! But I hope your hip/hamstring and ankle are alright and bounce back quickly. It’s no fun to be hurting when you’re used to being on the go all the time!

    1. Tell me about it!! I decided I need to fully recover and be so kind to my body for all that it’s done for me. I’m seeing a lot of rehab in my future!! Thanks so much Laura.

    • Karen on April 27, 2015 at 10:20 AM
    • Reply

    Congrats on your BQ! I’m convinced 8 miles is cursed for half marathoners as well, and know that I’m not yet at a point where I could’ve run like you did through that pain. Accomplishment for my age? Adult-onset running!

    1. HAHAHA!! I love that – adult onset running – YES!

  8. Woohoo!!!! Awesome PR despite the setbacks! I had peroneal tendonitis after Boston 2013 so hopefully it doesn’t nag you for a long time like it did me. Ugh, water station mishaps are the worst. I hate when people stop dead. Not cool! Hoping your ankle is ok! You must be super pleased with your finish and awesome BQ though!!! Congrats!!!!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…A little inspiration to reach a little higher . . .My Profile

    1. Oh no, really? I hope it doesn’t stick around! I will be extra careful with recovery.
      Thank you so much.

  9. I think the fact that you knew you were going to miss out on your A goal and still pushed yourself through to an impressive finish is what makes you such an inspiring runner and competitor. I am seriously impressed and SO happy for you!!!
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…Easy Meals – Brown Beer Crockpot Beef StewMy Profile

    1. Thank you SO much Carly. That really means a lot to me. It was a grueling finish but I’m so glad I didn’t give up!! I hope you’re having the best time bonding with Tanner. I’m loving all the pictures!! xo

  10. OMG – that’s an AWESOME finish!!! Self-talk is unreal powerful.

    And the water station things… people will NEVER learn. They do that shit in little 5Ks and I get livid.
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Grand Vanilla French Toast [Recipe]My Profile

    1. Thanks Laura!!! It was pretty grueling so I’m grateful for all the mentally hard training runs I had!!
      Glad (but not!) that you can relate to the water station incident. It was unbelievably annoying!!!

    • Chris on April 27, 2015 at 12:03 PM
    • Reply

    Well I didn’t start running until I was in my 40s and I have a one foot rod in my back so I think ‘running’ would be my answer. I relayed the Cheshire 1/2 yesterday. Original plan was the half but didn’t get my butt out there to train. I ran a 5k 2 weeks ago at a 10:50 pace, I was a little disappointed but I also had not run since December and I ran the last 1/2 mile with a 6 year old who lost his mom or shall I say smoked his mom. (Always tell your kids to find another mommy if they get lost) I still would have been over a 10 mm. I ran the first leg (my timing to minutes only off my cell) of 5.9 miles at a 9:80 pace. I was flipping ecstatic with that considering I had the policeman’s ball the night before, yes a couple of glasses of vino, 3.5 hours of sleep and literally very little training. My hips hurt, no suprise and nature was calling the last two Miles. Grr! CONGRATS to you Allie!! I had no doubt you would rock it!! You are a strong incredible woman!!
    Chris

    1. Thanks Christine!

  11. You did awesome despite the moron at the water station. I mean really, be aware of your surroundings before you stop. I would hate to be driving behind that guys on the street. Great recap overall! Nothing much for this weekend but I have my half marathon this coming Saturday which I am totally nervous about!
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Shamrock 8K Run ReviewMy Profile

    1. That is SO true!! Imagine how he drives! I would be dead.
      GOOD LUCK this weekend. Just set your pace and run your race – GO!!!

  12. Congrats on a PR, a BQ, and being second in your age group! And doing that all while you were hurting just makes it even more incredible! Running along the oceanfront and getting to smell the ocean just sounds like the best background ever to a race.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Life Lately and Weekly Workouts (April 27)My Profile

    1. It seriously was such a gorgeous course. It’s usually very hard to enjoy your surroundings in a race but we had so many miles along the ocean – it was beautiful! Thank you Laura!!

  13. I interrupt this blog post of yours to declare that you look about 25, so stop lying to us finally. Been wanting to call you out for months now. You is not forties.
    Yum Yucky recently posted…Food Coma Road TripMy Profile

    1. Shhhhhhh. Go away! 🙂

  14. You are amazing and awesome. Yes you PRed, BQed and came in 2nd in your age group but you did that with cranky injuries and a rolled ankle. I mean, seriously Allie! And your Dad’s whistle! I can hear it (even though I’ve never heard it) and I love love love that piece of your story. Congrats my friend!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Top 5 Running MomentsMy Profile

    1. Well when you put it like that!!! 🙂 Thank you so much Christine! And I hope someday we can race together so you can hear the whistle. It immediately pushes your pace!!

  15. Whooo hooo! Way to push through friend. I can imagine how frustrating that water stop incident must have been. I go crazy when someone stops dead in front of me!! I hope you are planning on resting to let those aches and pains go away! So proud of you…definitely MY inspiration!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…It’s a BIG race, Go Run IT: Paris Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

    1. I’m taking resting VERY seriously and enjoying every single minute. I loved not working out at all today and even laying around on the couch this afternoon, all in the name of ‘recovery!’ Love it!

  16. Go Allie!!! I was thinking of you yesterday and you totally rocked it!! That is a killer time AND a BQ!!
    You are going to do amazing things at NYC.
    For now, rest and more rest and take good care of your body. Also, soak in the glory of an awesome race!!
    🙂
    Natalie recently posted…Friday Favorites!My Profile

    1. Thank you so much for thinking of me!! I really appreciate it 🙂 And I’m definitely taking some time to just bask in the afterglow of running a marathon. Ahhhhhh.

  17. Congratulations, Allie! You are such an inspiration! Congratulations! Your stats and placement are admirable. You’re amazing!
    Kelly recently posted…Exploring Galicia, Spain: BetanzosMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much! They were hard earned and I’m just happy I was able to do what I did under the circumstances!

  18. I hearby declare that mile 8 will not be allowed at any marathons from now on. Congrats on a stellar race despite all the mishaps. You are a seriously badass mother runner!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…All the Fun Before The Boston MarathonMy Profile

    1. I seriously think we need to skip them completely. I thought of you immediately when it happened and I was just in shock. BUT, thinking of you helped me to push though it (luckily I wasn’t as badly injured as you were!) and just take it one mile at a time. Thanks so much Angela and I’m so glad you’re back to blogging 🙂

  19. I read this this morning but unfortunately I didn’t have a seat on the train! OMG at mile 8 that is so crazy! You are like seriously beast mode for continuing to run like that…I have a feeling i would have whimpered to the side and called my husband and called it a day. You know when I saw Masters Division–I thought it was literally the Masters of the race LOL, I was like OMG she was second MASTER! Sounds a lot better than Athena I think. 🙂 YOU BQ’d!! Quite easily I might add. Proud of you. Feels like I did it. LOL. You are doing to own NYC. This is going to be a very special race. I get all emo just thinking about it. I think knowing that you are there will help me along away.
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Peapod Makes Grocery Shopping Super Easy + a $100 Giveaway!My Profile

    1. YES! Knowing you are out there, along with so many of our friends, will push us to the finish!!
      I love your take on the “masters” and yes, it does sound better then athena…a little!
      Thanks so much Nellie. I was thinking of you out there and you were definitely part of my mental game that pushed me to that finish. THANK YOU!

    • Kim on April 27, 2015 at 9:51 PM
    • Reply

    You rock – your time is good for all runners not just Masters!!!
    Sorry about the injury at the aid station – you are so tough to push through!!!
    Kim recently posted…Not all Steps Have to be Giant OnesMy Profile

    1. Thanks Kim. I SO appreciate you saying that!!

    • Jen on April 27, 2015 at 10:20 PM
    • Reply

    Congrats on the PR and BQ! Ughhh sorry to hear about the mile 8 water fiasco… I don’t get how people just stop. I had no idea there was a masters division, I would have not guessed it would start at 40.
    Jen recently posted…St. Michael’s Half Training 4/20-4/26 – Week 5My Profile

    1. I knew about the division but not exactly how it worked, but I do now!! Thank you!

  20. Allie – you were awesome! I know you are disappointed, but as a mortal, I am very impressed. Boston, here you come!
    Dana recently posted…The little piecesMy Profile

    1. Hahaha!!! You are no mortal! Thanks Dana.

  21. damn. impressive. and after 8 years of no fulls? way to go. i love reading race recaps like this. the truth is, we never know what the race will give us. you took what you got, made the best of it and came out with a BQ and a PR. way.to.go, bird!
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…March Blog Stats and IncomeMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much!! It’s great racing in the Oiselle singlet because there’s very few who know how to pronounce it!!! 🙂 Thanks so much Courtney.

  22. DUDE say what?! I AM SO FRIGGIN IMPRESSED BEYOND BELIEF! I am such a freaking wimp. Never in 5 trillion years could I run a marathon, ha!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Recipe Fail? You Be The Judge!My Profile

    1. I could never cook like you so, here’s the deal – I run, you cook and we eat and drink together!!! 🙂

      1. I couldn’t think of a more BRILLIANT PLAN!
        GiGi Eats recently posted…Recipe Fail? You Be The Judge!My Profile

    2. We’re down here in Atlanta, and I know I’ll chip in to get us one built. I’ve heard it’s about 1500$, but what about the ongoing costs?I’ll start spreading the message here and see what kind of funding we can come up with.

  23. Allie you are amazing!

    The sudden stop thing happened to me too! Ugh! It was several years ago at Chicago and I’m still annoyed about it. And, it was to tie a shoe. Right there smack dab in the middle of the course. I was going to finish no matter how long it took. After having my quad wrapped at an aid station I ran/walked to the finish. So annoying! I had a redemption race and PRd 🙂

    You inspire greatness!
    jill conyers recently posted…Women Who Inspire GreatnessMy Profile

    1. Oh no!!! That is truly awful Jill and I just can’t understand why runners do things like that?? I’m so glad I didn’t need medical attention (just lots of ice!) but I also feel like I need a “do over” race. I’m really glad you got yours and a PR too!! You rock!!

    • MartinaNYC on April 29, 2015 at 2:49 PM
    • Reply

    Ran NJ this past weekend and LOVED it! However, the weather wasn’t ideal for me… I know it wasn’t that hot, but the sun beating on me for 3+ hrs nearly killed me in the end! I was so dehydrated and delirious during the last 10K. That said, I hit my goal and a had a great experience! You will love NYCM and do great there!

    1. I’m so sorry you hated the weather and I can definitely see how you could. My friend crossed extremely dehydrated as well. I’m so happy to hear you hit your goal – fantastic! I cannot wait to run NYC…sounds like you already have…very cool!

        • MartinaNYC on April 30, 2015 at 11:00 AM
        • Reply

        Yup! Ran NYCM twice in a row. It is an incredible race, but the course can be challenging (especially the second half). Glad to be taking a break from it this year 😉 Let me know if you have questions about it. Living here, I could run this course blind.

        1. That is awesome!!! I’m sure I will have a ton of questions so, as it gets closer, I will reach out. Thank you!!!

  24. You did so awesome, CONGRATS!!! Oh my gosh though, the water station things is nutso. Like really?! I don’t blame you for being annoyed, but you wound up doing amazing anyways!
    Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness recently posted…DietBet Week 1 Recap + Letting Go of the All-or-Nothing Healthy Living MentalityMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much Nicole! It was truly unbelievable. I’ve heard stories from other people about things like that happening but I never thought it would happen to me and not at mile 8 of a marathon. But, as you said, it all worked out!

  25. You are amazing, congratulations!
    Alison recently posted…Through The Lens Thursday: Upside DownMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much Alison!

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