Long Beach Marathon (SUB4ORDIE) : Part 2

Race Eve/Morning/Frantic Sprint To The Start

(picking right up where we left off)



Once I started running it was like my brain overheated from the race morning drama and just shut down. The only thing registering in my head were the numbers on Garmin every time I hit a mile marker.

Beep beep.  Beep beep.  Beep beep.


No excitement, no nervousness, no anger towards weaving runners cutting me off and almost tripping me… just, ‘on-pace, keep it up’ or ‘too fast, slow down

I remember getting to mile 9 and still feeling numb and void of any thoughts.  You know like an out-of-body experience except less spiritual and more sweaty.


Brightroom Realization : the face of “sweaty out-of-body experience” is NOT cute :


What am I doing on the right??? Yawning? Hocking a loogie?

Anyways we split from the half around 11.5 and I waited for my “AH-HA!” moment where I would finally come-to and get into the game.  This has been a big boost for me in past marathons – you know, feeling all badass that they’re heading in to finish and you’re ALMOST halfway done.

Or crazy.  Badass or crazy.  You decide.

Instead I rounded the bend and was welcomed by a man smoking a cigarette. RIGHT NEXT TO THE COURSE! A CIGARETTE!!

me, still running : ‘kind of ironic, isn’t it? you smoking on a MARATHON COURSE?!’

Rude random lung cancer dude : (takes a big drag) ‘…huh??’

me, under my breath : ‘you’vegottobefuckingkiddingmeisthatguyseriousCOUGHCOUGHwhatanassholewhywouldyouseriouslybethatinconsi…’

Spent the next few miles reconfiguring my plan to mass-eliminate all the overly stupid humans in the world.  It’s a work in progress.

At this point I was just focused on getting to Brian at mile 15. I still felt good and was holding my pace, but the sun was now out in full-force and shade on the course was getting impossible hard to come by.


I was still in front of the 4:00 pace group when I got to him. He smiled and asked if I had it in me, and I told him I wasn’t sure.  I was fading fast and couldn’t dig out my mental game.

I saw a flash of concern as he told me I looked good and to keep it up, and got very déjà vu’y to the half/full split at Nike Women’s last year.


There was a pretty steep downhill right after 15, and I spent the next hour thinking about NOTHING but how badly it was going to suck climbing back up it at mile 21.

A lot of runners raved about the next part of the course through CSU Long Beach. There were a ton of students and groups out cheering, but I just didn’t feed off the energy.

The 4:00 pace group passed me somewhere after mile 18, and that’s when I lost it. I could feel the very little fight I had left slipping away as the red and white balloons got further and further away.


‘keep them in shooting distance. you can fight through this! just maintain this pace. stay on pace.

SARAH! this isn’t on-pace. they’re getting further away! speed it up!

you DO have enough! keep pushing! 7 more miles isn’t THAT far, c’mon. maintain for 4 and race the last 3.1. COME ON.

…ok fine. we can walk.’

While I slowed to my first walk of the race I thought back to that wonderful 21 miler – how it was so easy, I was so happy to be running, so proud of what I was doing.

What had changed? Was it the pressure of having a goal time? Did I start out too fast? Was I being a pussy about the sun or was it really draining me like it felt??

I started running again and made a (feeble) effort at kicking myself in the mental ass…

‘this is it, Sarah. remember when you registered for this race? – before the training, the honeymoon, the wedding, the move? – it’s finally here. you don’t get to try again tomorrow. it’s now or some other race in the future that you’re going to have to go through all that hard work for again. you don’t want to start over. do it now.’


This went on for a few miles.  Get moving again a little faster than goal pace, fight with myself, walk.  Pep talk.  Run, die, walk.  Repeat.

Reader Colleen found me in the middle of one of these pity-party walk breaks.  She got me running again and the distraction was welcome.  I didn’t want to hold her back so I sent her on her merry way while I slowed to yet another walk, totally beat up and 100% mentally checked out of the race.


(thanks for that respectable mile 19 split, Colleen!)

Brian was waiting for me at the top of that fucking mile 21 hill with ibuprofen and an unmistakable face of concern.  The 4:00 pace group must have passed him ages ago – I’m sure he was just seconds from checking the local bus lines (in case I took a play from this guy)  ((thanks for the link, Mary))

Distracted myself with Harvard-worthy math problems the next few miles :

You’ve still got 40 seconds banked.  Walk a bit further, then run in at goal pace.

Bank time is gone.  You’ll get a little back in the last mile but you gotta go now.

Ok if you sub-9 the next 4 you have a chance if you really kick at the end

Finally I realized it was over.  My hopes at a Sub4 were gone, and it was like you killed all my kittens, told me Santa Claus was a child molester, and that I suddenly became allergic to beer.

Except I killed the kittens, was Santa’s accomplice, and self-inflicted the beer allergy.  Nobody to blame but myself and my stupid head.


Not 30 seconds later a woman sees my bib and yells,

crazy soul-sucker cheer lady : “Sub 4! You gonna get it, girl?!”



And then, just when I was talking myself off the Marathon Fail Ledge, a middle-aged man in a neon yellow shirt comes up behind me, pats my arm, and says,

jerk man not knowing he’s contributing to suicidal thoughts : “you were making it look so easy earlier!”

me, glowering, looking for sharp things : “YEAH AND LOOK AT ME NOW. SHUT UP.”

I know he didn’t mean to totally call out my bonk, but that was the only way I could see it.  I was SO down, SO pissed, and SO COMPLETELY DISAPPOINTED in myself.  When had I become so damn weak?


Emily was waiting for me at mile 24, and I busied myself until then dreaming up a magical story of how she came from behind (literally), rallied from our disastrous start, and PR’d the shit out of her race.

Turns outttt… not.  The similarities in our anticlimactic let-down race stories are eerily similar.  (read hers here)


Ok, if you know Emily at all (internet or IRL) you know that’s not at all how it went.  There was a lot of cursing.  Lots of anger.  Lots of WHERE THE F IS THE FINISH LINE and talk about how we would self-medicate after…


There was more walking.  I couldn’t even bring myself to push my stupid body for the final 2 miles of a damn race.  At that point I was so beyond caring I would have sat down right on the 26 mile marker and never crossed the finish if somehow I could still get all my alcohol delivered to me there.


There was nothing funny or happy, so I’m assuming that face is the aftermath of what the Brightroom cameraman failed to capture.  Luckily Sweaty Emily is a pro race photographer :

Miles 24-26 were easily the longest of my life – no really, I don’t think I’ve ever traveled two miles that slowly – rush hour on the 405 moves faster than 11:30/mi.


The finish line finally came into sight and Emily peeled off to let me save some face with a strong finish through the chute.  Glaring the whole way!  Angry sprint!  Marathons are so fun!

(I did manage a  measley smile for Heather and Elisabeth – 2 Ragnar teammates – thanks for yelling, girls I swear I still like you)




Yeah.  That mental part about running?  Kind of important.

Long Beach Marathon, 10.9.11 – 4:10.08


Long Beach Marathon (SUB4ORDIE) : Part 1

I mentioned a lot of my race faux pas and how I managed to completely BLOW my Goal Race in the  “Lessons Learned From a Completely Terrible No Good Race” post.

If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty details, continue reading.

If you only want to hear about the race itself and all of its disasterous crapshoot, come back tomorrow.

If you’re interested in telling me how much I suck and am not “as awesome as I think I am”, feel free to proceed directly to the comments section.  You’re only adding fuel to my Sub4 fire.

And thanks, I feel completely validated as a blogger now to officially have haters.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Race Eve – Sweaty Emily and I shake-out ran, hit up the expo, and carb-loaded like champ, and got to sleep at a respectable time like good little runners.  Read her posts for more D’s – I’m just gonna hark her photos and let them do the talking.

p.s. thanks Julie for the bag of candy – carb trifecta COMPLETE

p.p.s Danica, I still feel really bad about the exploding Sprite.  Swear I wasn’t trying to make your life anymore miserable than it already was.

Race Morning – Everything early goes as planned.  Alarms functioned, intestines cooperated, and we got on the road on-time despite Brian hiding the car down the road and around the block.

(he loved the frantic “WHERE THE F IS THE CAR?!” call I’m sure)

I had pre-paid & reserved parking, and had a general idea of how to get us there…

When we hit horrendous & unexpected traffic a few miles from the exit, I started to worry but knew we had a time cushion and should be fine.

And then (for some unknown god forsaken reason) I veered off the highway early, got lost around the piers, and ran into every closed on-ramp in the county.  After 20 minutes (?) we made our way back into bumper-to-bumper and started throwing up hail marys while lacing shoes/attaching time chips/stripping sweats in our seats.

Conversation quickly went from anxious excitement to anxious fear/dread/ourlivesareruined.

<10 minutes until gun time – I threw the car into a spot and we hit the pavement running before the engine even shut off.

Took the stairs two-at-a-time out of the garage and sprinted across the street to Subway, per our devised plan to avoid the porta-potties we were sure had mile-long lines.

Homeless man : “no bathrooms here! Ya gotta go down ___ st and turn at ___ st and…”


We continue our sprint – Em considers squating in the City Hall bushes but we keep going – my business was nothing I’d leave in even my worst enemy’s landscaping.

On our downhill sub4 (minute/mile, not hour/marathon) sprint Em caught sight of Auld Dubliner’s barely-cracked-open door and shoved her way inside.  I figured no way in hell an Irish Pub would be open before 7am on a Sunday, but by some stroke of our first good luck of the day, a (very startled) bartender looked up as we stormed inside like a heard of freaking buffalos stressed runners about to miss their race.


Permission granted, and we plowed through the ladies room door – completely void of concern that we gave the male janitor inside a heart attack (and wasted no time waiting for him to exit before dropping trou and taking care of business in record time)

Our sprint to the start continued, straight through the restaurant throwing ‘THANK YOU THANK YOU YOU SAVED OUR LIVES NO WE’RE NOT BEING OVERLY DRAMATIC BYE!’ over our shoulders to the nice barman.

The course came into sight just as the wheelchair gun went off.  Em needed to get in wave#1 (the corrals were self-seeded) if she was going to have any fighting chance at her PR.  We got to the start and I left her to hop the gate while I continued my “warm-up sprint” further down to corral#2.

I got to the opening just after wave#1 was released, thankful we were both safe and sound in our respective corrals.  It was one thing to jeopardize my own race, but I was sick thinking my poor planning could have cost Em her PR.

…And then here she comes – running outside the corrals, cutting in front of me, and diving into the back of the already moving wave#1.  The Corral Police wouldn’t let her in.  I watched her weave and push towards the start until I lost her ponytail in the crowd.

And then I keeled over and died.

(I wish.)

With my stomach in my shoes I moved with the crowd for the wave#2 start (waves were staggered at 5 minute intervals).  I choked down a mini Snickers just as the gun went off, and realized Garmin was still strapped around my tank top (in an effort to ensure I wouldn’t forget it during our haphazard in-car dressing in traffic) and hadn’t started locating satellites yet.

So I pulled off to the side, a few feet from the start line, while hoards of runners pushed by me until it finally had signal.  I took a few steps, crossed the first timing mat, and just like that Marathon #4 (ska SUB4ORDIE) was underway.

…to be continued.

Sarah OUaL

So I Guess I Die Now

You may have heard already. 

Maybe you were there.  Or read my profanity-laced tweets.  Or maybe you were one of the awesome people refreshing LiveResults this AM hoping to see my SUB4ORDIE goal I’ve been talking about incessantly finally come to life.

I’m really sorry I let you down.

This is what you get for putting your race goals out on blast for all of internet-land to buy into – The pressure of bringing them to fruition, and the suckiness when they don’t.

I’ll have a proper recap soon(ish).  For now, I’ll leave you with the promise that I WILL get my su4-hour marathon. 



Long Beach Marathon, October 9  :  4:10.08