MarathonMaiden's Blog

March 29, 2010

Eastern States 20 Miler: Operation Get It Done

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 20:01

So I’ve been hemming and hawing sitting down to draft this race report. [Warning: it’s on the long side even for me]

Race report? You might ask yourself

Yes race report because yesterday was the Eastern State 20 miler that I ran with Lacey. You’ll notice I said “ran” instead of “raced”.  Ummmm that’s because this was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. You can read Lacey’s report here.  I loved reading it because it totally captures the essence of what went down.

In short this race went according to NONE of our expectations.  I didn’t really hype up the race too much because it was a part of the larger picture: Boston.  I figured it would be a good confidence booster as a last run before tapering (as Boston is 3 weeks from today!?!).  Lacey and I had talked a bit about what our goals were and we had two:

  • Finish stronger than we started
  • Maintain a good GMP (~8:00) throughout

As I’m sure you can tell by my tone so far neither of those happened.

To start with, the race conditions were much worse than the weather forecast had led me to believe.  According to it was suppose to be cloudy but with some sun, temps of upper 30s at the start to low 40s throughout.  Well okay, I suppose both of those are true.  BUT the forecast neglected to mention that since we were running along the Eastern sea coast (Kittery ME to Hampton Beach, NH) it was going to be a cold 40* and WINDY.

Luckily both of us had packed tights and gloves so we were okay. And as you can see all smiles and hardcoreness at the start:

Note: All pictures stolen from Lacey!


And despite looking ready to go we actually missed the start! We ended up being, literally, at the back of the pack. Since it was such a small race (no chips or mile markers on the course) it wasn’t the biggest deal but when they say the race starts at 1100 they really mean it!

Wait, was that the horn?!

We eased into the pack and I know Lacey was chomping at the bit to GO! We had talked about race strategy and since one of our goals was to finish strong we held back a little bit.

Full Disclosure Time: I entered the race on Sunday not feeling 100%.  Lacey and I had emailed back and forth and I was considering dropping out of the race and, if this had been a training run and not a race I had already paid for and committed to, I wouldn’t have done it.  I think.  My left shin (the one that I don’t have the PT ‘script for) was bugging me and I wasn’t sure I could do it. Now before you guys start hating on me and bashing me know that I went into the race knowing it wasn’t the best move for me.

The first couple of miles were around 8:45-9:00. Therefore I kept telling Lacey that I knew I was holding her back and that I wasn’t going to be able to hit the GMP and that I was taking this as a training run and going to shoot for 9:00 pace (roughly a 3 hour finish).  I knew that she was trying to encourage me but I just didn’t have it in me.  In addition to my shin throbbing, I was soooo sleep deprived that my body just didn’t want to do it.

Around mile 5 or 6 we saw Elliot, Lacey’s boyfriend, and Kyle, their friend from high school.  They were on picture duty and following in a car and I have never wanted to climb into a vehicle so badly in my life! I told myself that if I felt like shit at the halfway mark I could drop out.  At this point Lacey asked me how I was doing and I had to be honest “I’m just looking to finish on two legs”.  I again told her to go ahead but, bless her soul, she told me that finishing together was more important.  I seriously almost cried.

I can’t tell you how much Lacey being there with me helped. I was in agony every step.  I don’t think I had a pain free step the whole time.  I was nauseous, shin throbbing, groin screaming because it was compensating.  And those were the physical symptoms. I was also worried about slowing Lacey down despite her protests of us being in this together.

Miles 7-16 were kind of a blur to me.  It’s really too bad because I’m sure the NH coastline was beautiful.  But the wind and my body were all I could think about.  My nausea was getting worse.  I don’t know if it was the awkward start time & time I ate breakfast (ie low blood sugar), dehydration (despite the cold I was sweating whenever the sun came out) or pain.

Around mile 14 we saw Elliot and Kyle again and I (successfully) hid behind Lacey when the camera came out because I was NOT feeling it.  It was at this point I knew that I didn’t want to see them again because I for sure would hop in their car.  Which is SO not like me.  I usually take the attitude that I can handle anything.  It’s a point I pride myself on.  Lacey told me that we can walk at any time and I knew that if we did I wouldn’t likely find the motivation to keep going.

But I had to stop a water stop at mile 16 or so and I drank down 4 water cups! And Lacey offered me a gu chomp in order to fight my nausea.  I don’t think it helped much physically but mentally it gave me a little boost.

Which at this point, with 4 miles to go, I kept telling myself that I do this all the time and I can do it again.  Which were the words that Lacey told me at mile 8 when she said “Only 12 miles to go. You can bang this out no problem”

Around this point Lacey was sidelined with a terrible cramp in her abs.  It was awful to see her in pain and we stopped a bit for her to stretch.  She kept telling me to go on without her but I couldn’t.  At one point I didn’t notice that she stopped to walk and I promptly stopped (despite Kyle telling me not too haha) and waited for her to catch up to me. This was around mile 18 and from this point on we faced a tremendous headwind.  Our pace drastically slowed and it felt like I wasn’t moving.  Those last 2 miles felt as long as the first 18.

Ughhhh wind

I really like the way Lacey summed up the race so I’m copying and pasting:

It is kind of encouraging to have someone run with you, see you at your very worst, and not think badly of you. Talk about a tough run. And talk about an emotional ending. The last two miles were right along the beach boardwalk and the wind was PUSHING us back. I mean, it had been windy pretty much the entire run. But the last two miles were something else entirely. It was a wind tunnel and all I could think of was JUST KEEP GOING.

It was a very emotional ending for me.  As soon as we crossed (arm in arm and we told the people recording the times and numbers that we finished TOGETHER) I started crying.  It took so much to NOT cry during the race that I let it all out as soon as we were out of the shoot. It was part pain, part happiness of being over and part pride of actually finishing.

The final stats?

  • Official: 3 hours 10 minutes (taking into account all the walking)
  • Unofficial: 3 hours 6 minutes

Obviously the numbers (while all in all aren’t that bad) don’t tell the whole story.  Like I said, it was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.  It was awesome to have a partner to share this experience with regardless of the outcome.  So thanks Lacey 🙂 And Elliot 🙂 And Kyle 🙂

At some point during the race I told Lacey “I need to say this aloud. No running tomorrow!”.  And it actually happened.  Although I really don’t think that I could have physically run even if I wanted to.  Again, please no bashing here. You can’t possible say anything about how stupid I treated my legs that I haven’t said to myself already. Butttt it’s over. I can’t change what I did.

It’s also taper time.  Thank god.

Whew that was longer than I intended this to be and I wasn’t sure I wanted to post anything on this at all.  But as Lacey wrote, They can’t all be good runs or good races. And when they’re not. Just let it go. That’s what I’m doing. Letting it go. Writing this out was a good step in that process 🙂


  1. Oh my cousin and I showed up late on accident for a race- we were probably in the group of the last 10 or 15 to cross the start- not as big of a deal because they had it chip timed…

    But it looked like you did a good job! And yeah for taper time!!! 🙂

    Comment by Amy @ Second City Randomness — March 29, 2010 @ 21:15

  2. I just want you to know that you are amazing. Physically, mentally, you are the total package. You are SO READY for Boston. Ride the taper out. You will be great 🙂

    Comment by tmart — March 29, 2010 @ 21:19

  3. No words of wisdom this time, just ((((HUGS)))). We’ve all been there. You’ve done the training, now rest and be ready for Boston. One thing for sure- even if you don’t run ANOTHER step until April 19, you are READY. Okay? Ice, stretch, massage, whatever, just get well.

    Comment by Rebecca — March 29, 2010 @ 21:22

  4. Coming from someone who can sympathize that sometimes we have these unforeseen variables that can make or break a race – cramps, wind, hills, leg pain – we cannot let that discredit the amount of time and effort we have placed into our training to that point. I wanted to stop and scream at mile 2, but I kept going. You kept going and that’s what matters. All of your training to this point does not disappear and it won’t before boston. Keep your head up, girl! And I am glad to hear that you recognized the need for a day off and will go at this taper because you DESERVE it.

    Comment by Running on Faith — March 29, 2010 @ 21:32

  5. Wow that race sounds tough!

    If you can get through this, you can get through anything!

    Comment by Matt — March 29, 2010 @ 21:41

  6. hey my sista!! all I gotta say is the wind is a Bit*h and you are a champion!! I’m sooo proud of you and your running! (ahaha do I sound like your mom?..) haha. but seriously you are my run-run sis and I think that you are an awesome friend and competitor to have done this 20-mile race! Don’t even think about the pain/nausea/exhaustion this race brought…because Boston is a completely different story! You WILL be rested and ready! you will do great! you will accomplish all your goals! you will have FUN! and you will my your california-sister PROUD (me!)…ohhh and while you are poundin’ out a 26.2-mile race I will be stompin’ out a nice 12k race! 🙂 hehe! (but hopefully winning the 1st place prize money so I can put it towards my RUN-Boston2011 w/ marathon-sis FUND!)
    TAPER is in view! you got this girlie!!!

    Comment by Lizzy — March 29, 2010 @ 21:45

  7. OMG. Race from hell. If hell was windy instead of firey. Kudos to you and Lacey, you girls toughed it out with all that pain and crappy environment beating down on you. Love the photos! Now rest up and get yourself back to primo shape. Time is ticking down now. 🙂

    Comment by Flo — March 29, 2010 @ 23:42

  8. I extremely dislike running in the wind! When I was training for RnR Seattle last year, I had to fight to run that time for my 20 milers without the wind! Way to tough it out! You’re a bamf!

    Comment by Nick — March 30, 2010 @ 00:40

  9. Well done for finishing it in such tough conditions, it should boost your confidence even if the time wasn’t what you’d hoped for you showed mental toughness in finishing it. The wind is a killer and hills, it looks like a tough course on a bad weather day!

    p.s. like I said on Lacey’s blog, I love the second picture, bamf!!

    Comment by Laura — March 30, 2010 @ 05:38

  10. Yay I’m so proud of you, you did amazing! I can’t believe you managed to push through it while feeling so sick. Great job:)

    Comment by Ada — March 30, 2010 @ 05:51

  11. We all have races like this sometimes (and we all make questionable decisions with regard to our running/training). At least yours came Sunday and not in Boston! Really take care of your legs these next few weeks, you’re not gonna gain nor lose much fitness between now and then and I really wanna see all that training pay off on race day!

    Comment by runningmanz — March 30, 2010 @ 07:38

  12. Oh my god, girl, I’d never bash for running when you didn’t feel good, I’ve all done that one before (like almost every long run??!!)! You are one tough runner to keep pushing though all that adversity…but look how much stronger you are now! I hope your shin is doing okay now that you’ve had a day to recover!! It is taper time now so rest up and refuel and you’ll be super strong in a mere 2 weeks and 6 days :)!! Hugs to you!!!

    Comment by Jill — March 30, 2010 @ 07:42

  13. ahhh what an experience. i think pregnancy and birth might even be easier than that. hehe. hey girl– this is a recovery week, mentally and physically. hang in there. you’ve had some rough times lately with pain + stress and just remember you are strong and we all love you. it’s just long enough ’til boston, and you’ll get yourself there. be smart and rest a little more. there’s no way you’ll lose fitness you’ll just gain strength. xoxoxo. and if you ever need me just callllllll 🙂 or email 🙂

    Comment by Lacey — March 30, 2010 @ 08:29

  14. Ohh mannn. I’m so sorry to hear about you tough run! I definitely would have stopped if I were going through your pain, probably at like mile two. Great job hanging in there, in a way this run should boost your confidence for boston because you pushed through and did amazing despite running on pain, low energy and no sleep. So just think about how much you’re going to beast boston when you’re all rested and ready!
    Relax this week, regroup and forget about it as best you can!

    Comment by BostonRunner — March 30, 2010 @ 12:09

  15. Can I say that I am concerned about your shins without hating on you? I know you are your own strong, awesome woman (duhhh! hellz to yeah you are), but I hope you can give yourself the chance to heal. You kicked your own AND Lacey’s ass! You deserve it. That said, holy crap, that race sounds like a hellhole and you battled through. Well freakin’ done.

    Comment by sarah — March 30, 2010 @ 12:35

  16. you are a trooper — a bamf — as you very well know 🙂

    BUT i am most proud of you for stating that you are going to take a rest day!!! i think your legs will heart you for it 🙂

    Comment by sarah (the SHU box) — March 30, 2010 @ 13:13

  17. Having had several not-so-fun races that I had paid for and was to cheap to back out of, even when I really should have, I can totally relate. Congratulations on being mentally tough enough to stick it out, I am looking forward to reading your Boston report 🙂

    Comment by marathonmel — March 30, 2010 @ 13:44

  18. Sending you ((((hugs)))). That was a tough race and you should be proud of yourself for hanging in there. I’m sooooo glad to hear you are committed to resting today.

    Comment by EarlyRunner — March 30, 2010 @ 14:00

  19. wow way to push through a TOUGH race and finish… the mental strength you gained over those 20 miles will be very beneficial. plus just think that you got your bad race out of the way before race day – thats how i always think of it 🙂

    now REST up that body of yours and get those legs nice and fresh and ready to race boston!!! taper time girl, take advantage of it!

    Comment by aron — March 30, 2010 @ 14:33

  20. I feel like I felt every single one of your emotions while reading this. I have definitely had “that race” .. the race where the whole x many miles all I am thinking is “what the HELL are you doing? where is the next mile marker? how is this going so SLOW!?!?” and how frustrating WIND can be! It’s the worst!! Therefore, I am NOT going to get on you for running on a hurt leg, because obviously, we’ve all done it. 😉

    Way to FINISH. Take advantage of your taper so you can rock it all the way up heartbreak hill! ❤

    Comment by Erika (Dr. TriRunner) — March 30, 2010 @ 16:32

  21. hi, I’m a new reader of your blog but have also been suffering through shin pain/periostisis for a few weeks now while training for Boston (I’m a college student aiming for a sub-3:30 too!) and thought I would share what I’ve been doing and my doctor told me in case it’s any use to you! My shin got so bad that I couldn’t run on it without crying and limping so I took a week off and biked, swam and pool ran A LOT; after 2.5 miserable weeks of no running but tons of cross-training, the pain went away and this weekend and it felt almost normal–I ran 17 mi on Sat and 11 miles on Sunday, both at my normal training run pace and felt great. I also taped my shin with sports tape by spiraling it all the way up my shin and wore a compression sock, that helped a lot too. I’ve also been icing my shin constantly (pretty much every 2 hours), taking ice bathes too, and I think that helped speed up the healing. Oh, and if you can get to a ultrasound, those have helped me a lot, too. Anyway, I’m sure time off isn’t what you want to hear–I know the feeling well–but I cross trained the whole time I wasn’t running and it ended up not hurting my fitness at all; I think that having all those base miles behind me made it so that taking 2.5 weeks off running wasn’t as hugely detrimental to my training as I thought it would be–it’s better than showing up at the Boston start with pain. So, that’s just my experience, but thought I would share in case it would help you out at all, good luck and I hope it feels better!!!!!

    Comment by Kari — March 30, 2010 @ 16:44

  22. You are a tough girl, both mentally & physically, which will show through on April 19 at Boston. Take it easy the next few weeks so you can make it to the starting line pain free. You want to enjoy Boston b/c let’s be honest, it’s BOSTON!

    I just read the comment before me from Kari and I feel like that’s identical to my situation as well, I will be taking almost 3 weeks off and plan to run 3-4 mi tomorrow for the first time since my shin/tibia started hurting and the pain has pretty much subsided (but I’ll have to wait to see how tomorrow goes first before a full report!)

    Comment by Jenny — March 30, 2010 @ 18:09

  23. Oh my Gosh – I was wincing through reading your report and Laceys. I dont know how you made but I have been there before, just pushing through and getting to the end. Oh girly I feel for you and I hope your legs and body feels better. Get some rest!

    Comment by J — March 30, 2010 @ 19:37

  24. Wow what a run!! Congrats on sticking with it and finishing such a challenging run- not sure I could have powered through it. You are a champ!!

    Comment by Heather @ Side of Sneakers — March 30, 2010 @ 20:44

  25. IMHO, it was very smart to run this race. More importantly, you were brilliant in recognizing that physically you were not where you wanted to be and adjusted, but still managed to get good work in. Using it as a training run was the right thing to do. As an added bonus, you had fun. Good day all around.

    Comment by A Marathoner — March 31, 2010 @ 16:18

  26. Wow oh wow!! First off I HOPE to run with Lacey in Boston 2011 so this is a little preview.. I love that you two fought through it together. On to taper.

    Comment by Tall Mom on the Run — April 1, 2010 @ 22:22

  27. […] Running: Monster Month really took it’s toll on me.  By the end of the month not only was I worn physically down but mentally as well.  All this culminated with the 20 miles from HELL […]

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  28. […] foundation for the  month really started on March 28th when I ran the Eastern States 20 Miler.  If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile then this is review but for any new readers […]

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  29. […] why the hell not. This would only be my second race of the year (I’m not really counting Eastern as an actual race haha) I’d give it my all and if I fell flat on my face, well I can always […]

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  30. […] run a couple races with her too.  The Tufts 10k last fall as well as the Eastern States 20 miler this past March. Hopefully this experience will be much better than Eastern.  Like infinitesimally […]

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  31. […] run and I was in PT to get over my shin problems.  In fact, the race that was 3 weeks before, Eastern States 20 Miler, I had thought my shin were legit fractured crossing that finish line. Obviously not something I […]

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  32. […] 432.3 miles (9:00 avg pace). Ugh Eastern States 20M. ‘Nuff said. Except that this month, while the monster month for Boston training, was tough […]

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