Thursday, January 29, 2015

2015 Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Race Report

This past weekend I completed my first indoor marathon at Icebreaker Indoor Marathon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  What is an indoor marathon exactly?  It is run on an indoor track, around an ice arena.  The full marathon was 95 laps total.  I had previously completed the half marathon event two times.  I thought that was an adventure, but the 26.2 miles was a whole other test of endurance and mental toughness.

We carb-loaded the night before with a pizza casserole and went to bed early.  The alarm went off at 4:55 and I climbed out of bed for some coffee, got dressed and did my hair and make-up (why, yes I did!).  I have previously had tremendous trouble with chaffing and bleeding on my thighs, so I opted to wear capris under my running skirt.  That ended up working really well for me.  I did miss my compression socks, however.  I ate some cinnamon toast, greek yogurt, and coffee.  We headed out the door around 6:00 and drove to Milwaukee.  After a potty stop, we arrived at the Pettit Ice Arena around 7:20, later than we had hoped.

We checked in upstairs quick and said hi to our friends, Bill and Amy.  I downed an energy shot, a banana and some Power Bar chews around 7:30 and used the bathroom about four times.  I get nervous and think I need to use the bathroom WAY TOO MUCH before a race.  I even tried to limit my fluids the morning of the race.  It was going to be interesting seeing port-o-potties for 95 laps straight.  We found a spot along the track to layer our bags, gear and nutrition.  I lined up energy gels, gum and a bag of peeled oranges.  We took our labeled water bottles over to the water table.  This station was being managed by volunteers.  You would call out your bib number and on your next lap they would have it waiting for you.  Labeled by "water" or "sports drink" they will also refill your bottle for you.  Very handy.  I had forgotten my Garmin watch charging on the desk at home, but was able to locate to spare stopwatches in my duffle bag.  I wasn't going to be using the GPS indoors, so it worked out just fine.

I ran a 4:04 at Madison Marathon in early-November and hadn't trained much over the holidays.  Hubby hadn't either, as he had been struggling with tendinitis in his foot.  I got in my own half marathon the day after Christmas and ran about sixteen miles during a training running at the ice arena two weeks before the race.  Otherwise, my mileage was pretty low.  The goal of the indoor marathon was just to use it to "stay fit" and we had a "just finish" attitude.

About 100 runners lined up on the track and we were off shortly after 8:00 AM.  Hubby and I were together for a few laps, and then I went ahead.  Eventually he passed me with good cheer at some point and then I passed him again.  I continued to be laps ahead of him.

Photos by Bill Flaws
Running in the USA

Every fourty minutes or so I would quickly run off the track and grab an energy gel and a stick of gum.  I would sip on my gel for about three miles, toss it, grab water or sports drink, and then chew gum for a couple of miles.  Then, I'd repeat the process.

I finally got in a rhythm around the one hour mark.  I could quickly tell that just as I had guessed, that most of these runners were seasoned - and faster than me.  I mean, how many people are going to run an indoor marathon as their first event?

Hockey was being played center rink.  Later, families were ice skating in the middle of the track.

Photos by Bill Flaws
Running in the USA

I passed the half way mark around 2:07 which was extremely slow for me (I'm usually 1:56-1:58), but was so out of shape and had put on some pounds over the holidays.  So, it didn't surprise me.

Around 2:45, I felt something pop on the side of my right foot.  I have the same blisters on the sides of my feet that cause me problems, callus and then pop again.  I had used blister bandaids, but the bandaid either slipped or the blister popped through.  Not more than ten strides later, I felt a twinge on the middle toe of my left foot.  I had a feeling my toenail was starting to come off, from a Madison Marathon injury.  I adjusted my footwork for the next mile and eventually forgot about it.  After the race, my socks were bloody.

Photos by Bill Flaws
Running in the USA

I consistently took water and sports drink and my urge to use the bathroom finally left my mind around three hours.  At three hours, I grabbed my bag of oranges and ate the slices while I ran.  They were what I needed.  I always crave oranges when I run long, but never have them on hand.  The accessibility was perfect!

Headphones were not allowed.  I kind of struggled not having access to my own tunes and my power songs when the mood struck.  But the music was decent.  Everyone was able to request a song at registration and songs were made into the marathon playlist.  I was hearing about the winners finishing and the leaders were being announced and how many laps they had left.  I had many laps ahead of me.  It was weird thinking about having "30 laps left" - how many miles did that equate to?  It was between 3.5-4 laps per mile.  So I kept myself entertained, doing calculations in my head.  It was different, not to pass those standard "half way" or "twenty mile / the wall" mile markers along the course.

There was a leader board, that showed how many laps you had left.  There was also another board next to the announcer's table, that coincided with the timing chip mat.  You wore a timing chip around your ankle.  It counted your laps.  I liked that it told me how many laps I had completed and my pace for each lap.  My laps averaged 2:44-2:49 for much of the race.  For the last hour, they were approximately 2:50-3:01.

When I heard that I had five laps left, I got a burst of energy.  I took my last swig of water and was OFF!  I picked up my pace and started using more of the inside lane to pass people.  Finally, I heard that I was on my last lap - and I took that victory lap.  I was breathing heavy as I came off of the track to receive my medal.  It was kind of strange to be done and have no finish line.  But, I had accomplished 26.2 miles for the past 4.5 hours - even more miles, because I ran on the outside of the track for 99% of it.

I finished in 4:26:43 ... and oh yeah, I never used the restroom.  22 minutes slower than Madison marathon 2.5 months ago.  This was one of my slower marathons, but the only one I haven't officially trained for.  So, I call it a WIN!

Chip time:  4:26:53

Pace:  10:20 min/mile
9/15 in my age group (30-39 F)
23/37 F
71/105 finishers

I collected myself and walked a a few minutes and saw that hubby had 15 laps to go.  I cheered him and other runners on for a few lips and then walked to the restroom and put on a heavy sweatshirt, as I was starting to feel the cold temperatures of the ice rink, and my teeth were chatting.  When I came back out to the rink, I was doing the "marathon shuffle" and hubby had less than ten laps to go.  He was walking and I asked if I could join him.  I wanted to root him on, and could use the "cool down" and needed to warm myself back up.  I grabbed a water bottle and we ran/walked the next 8 laps together, bringing me over 100 laps for the day.

My hubby finished in 5:29 and some change.  I was very proud of how much he overcame obstacles he's been struggling with and moved his body for more than 26 miles without much training.  We both said we have another "training run" under our belts.  We grabbed snacks upstairs (tasty cutout cookies, chocolate milk, donuts, pretzels, subs and more treats that were left) and drove home for some pizza and couch time together at home.

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