Marathon 22 is in the books, another state is checked off of my slow goal to run a marathon in each state, and my heart and head are so jazzed to have actually raced again. I’m so ready to tackle the final bit of Dopey Challenge training. But before I get to all that let’s recap the Garmin Oz Marathon in Olathe, KS!
After driving all day across Colorado and Kansas we (my husband and I) got to the expo Friday evening, there were a few vendors but I was in and out quickly with my bib and t-shirt in hand. We drove to our hotel in Kansas City, KS, got some food from a local restaurant and tucked in for the night.
The start time was 7:15 so it gave runners a bit of time to get a little sleep. Since ,I had opted to stay in Kansas City which was about 30 min away, we hit the road around 5:30/5:40 so I had plenty of time to drive and get myself race ready.
We got to the start area a little after 6 and parked easily, there were runners warming up and the air was already starting to buzz with pre-race excitement. I hung out in the car for a bit before heading over to the start area for final race prep. I was feeling pretty good, I had a good shake out run the day before, and I was excited and a little nervous to run! It has been so long since I’ve put myself through the physical and mental trial of really racing a marathon I was just hoping I would remember how this would go.
I got into the corral around 7, found a spot near the pacer for 3:30, the National Anthem was sung, and then the half marathon and marathon runners were off!
The sun was still down so as we ran as the sun rose slowly and we wound through the neighborhoods and then out on a road. Around mile 5 we split from the Half Marathon to make our way up further for our first out and back portion. I was cruising at a good pace and loving just running, the thing I was looking forward to most during this marathon was getting into that flow/zen space where all I’m thinking about is the run. it usually only happens during races and I found it fast. I also enjoyed some run-dancing early on which was a plus.
Around mile 8 though, my stomach started to turn. Augh. I tried to gauge what was going on but I knew I needed to use a port-o-potty instead of continuing to try to see how this played out. I ran the out portion of the first out and back, saw my husband which was a huge boost (he also allowed me to put some distance between me and a runner who was cruising too close to me), and made my pitstop around mile 11. I felt better but not great so I just tried to cruise but started going to a defeatist place.
Why was my first marathon back treating me like this? I didn’t eat anything too weird so I didn’t think that was it and then it finally clicked, my period. Sorry we are going to talk about periods. I had just started the day before and sometimes the start of my period brings weird digestive stuff and the feeling that I need to go #2 even if I don’t really have to. Being a woman is just so fun sometimes.
I had recently listened to this episode of the Strength Running podcast which helped frame how to talk to yourself and self-coach during a race and it really helped. So I did some major self-talk/coaching and around mile 16 I had my plan; go to the bathroom again, try to get a handle on this, take a gel, and get my head back in the game for the last 10k. Basically, I just needed to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t actually an issue, my body was just freaking out unnecessarily, new mantra “I don’t actually have to poop”.
With the plan in hand, I executed it at the mile 19 marker and got to running again. My legs were still feeling really good so I knew I had gas in the tank to spend. I knew I wasn’t going to meet the times I was hoping for originally but at the very least I wanted to finish strong and feel like I accomplished something and today that something was successful self-talk and a reset mid-marathon.
Also, I mentioned that the half and full marathons started together but then split. The course was pretty much perfect to make sure that fast marathoners only caught up with the half late enough that there wasn’t much issue for me. Basically, the marathon and half marathon split around mile 5 but didn’t come back together until mile 10/23 so the half marathoners were mostly finished before marathoners caught back up so marathoners didn’t have to weave around the final half marathoners too much. This is not always the case so wanted to give the race kudos!
I got my legs going and felt great in those last 7 miles. I passed some people, enjoyed the rolling hills, and got to see my husband a few more times. I run-danced and had a great race finish. The end is a very gradual uphill (the whole course is rolling hills) but nothing I wasn’t prepared for and by the end I was just so excited to have tackled this 26.2 journey. Olathe, KS was a beautiful city to run through and it was one of those beautiful crisp fall days, it doesn’t get much better. I found the mojo I had at the beginning in those last miles and finished with a good time and a smile on my face.
I finished in 3:40:33 which was not what I hoped for but honestly I’m walking away so proud after this race.
This race reminded me that marathons are not just measured in time, but in perseverance. I pushed, fell apart, but then miraculously got it back together and walked away more confident and excited for my next race weekend (looking at you Dopey Challenge).
The race overall was well run, water/gatorade stops were frequent and always had a port-o-potty, they had GU at a few of the stops, nice snacks at the end (water, electrolytes, bananas, snack bars, hot breakfast) and a nice medal to match. If you are looking to race in Kansas, I’d recommend the Garmin Oz Marathon race to anyone. Nothing too fancy, but solid experience all around.