On November 4th, I ran my 23rd marathon — my first since Leo was born in March. And while it’s long overdue, I wanted to sit down and write out a recap before diving into training for #24.
Two weeks before race day, I posted a training recap, and was feeling great! But that confidence dissolved as Liv came down with a cold — which she immediately shared with me. Leo started waking up every hour through the night and my new Garmin shows I was averaging only two (yes, two!!!!) hours of sleep per night. Ugh. The sleep-deprivation and sniffles worsened, my running suffered, and the nerves mounted. I rambled to Jared about my goal to “just finish,” but eventually confessed I wanted to finish under four hours. But that was hard to visualize while pacing with Leo from 1:00-5:00 AM each night.
Wednesday, 11/1 – Jared urged me to sleep in the guest room, while he got up with Leo through the night. Since I’m still nursing, I came in to feed Leo at least once, but managed to get five straight hours of sleep, two nights in a row, which is far more than I’d gotten in months!
Friday, 11/3 – We abandoned plans to drive to the race as a family. While Jared managed the kids — and even let Liv have a movie night with her best friends from school! — I drove up to the race expo and stayed in a hotel by myself!
Saturday, 11/4 @ 3:45 AM – When my alarm went off, I made a cup of Hilton Hotel’s finest coffee (ha!), and started getting ready as I pumped. It was 4:30 AM when I headed downstairs and found out the hotel shuttle to the race buses was already full. I rushed to my car and drove over in time to catch one of the last buses up the mountain. It took over an hour to drive from the Finish Line to the Start, which was daunting, but it was pitch dark, and the bus was cozy warm. I closed my eyes, and ran through my mantras and mile dedications.
6:28 AM – When the bus parked, an event coordinator hopped on to tell us the gear check truck would be departing at 6:30, so we needed to drop off our bags immediately! I stepped off the bus, into the 30-some degree darkness, which would’ve been perfect for my dad, but it was frigid to me. My teeth chattered as I shed my warm-up sweats, made a quick stop at the portas, and lined up at the start.
7:00 AM – Still shivering with cold and nerves, I huddled into the small crowd of runners, and the gun went off. I found myself stepping across the Start Line near the 3:35 and 3:45 pace groups. “All you have to do is run,” I thought, taking off down the mountain in the dark.
- Mile 1 – 7:59
- Mile 2 – 7:35
- Mile 3 – 7:29
- Mile 4 – 7:27
I watched a gorgeous sunrise, as the miles slipped by. Downhill running was fun for those first several miles, but it was only Mile 4 when I felt the first twinge of fatigue in my quads.
- Mile 5 – 7:37
- Mile 6 – 7:48 *Gu #1
- Mile 7 – 7:53
- Mile 8 – 7:59
- Mile 9 – 7:34
- Mile 10 – 7:33
- Mile 11 – 7:52
- Mile 12 – 7:46 *Gu #2
By Mile 10, my legs were aching and shaky. I took my second energy gel on schedule, but my stomach churned, and I started looking for portas.
- Mile 13 – 8:21
- Mile 14 – 8:14
- Mile 15 – 8:42
The half-marathon marker was the first time I looked at my watch as I crossed over the timing mat — 1:42:47. I knew my family would be excited tracking my progress, but with the bulk of the downhill miles behind me, trashed legs, and a sour tummy, I was pessimistic about the race ahead.
- Mile 16 – 11:23
- Mile 17 – 8:34
- Mile 18 – 8:15 *Gu #3
- Mile 19 – 8:19
I lost a few minutes in a porta-potty at Mile 15.5, but pressed on, reminding myself of the mantra I’d repeated with Liv during our 3-miler a couple weeks prior: “Never give up… Never give up…” During Mile 19, my left shoe came untied — something that has never happened in 10+ years of racing. I was certain I’d blown my shot as a sub-4:00 finish. “I can’t believe this is happening,” I groaned, vowing to let go of all time goals. “Just finish,” I thought, “That’ll be enough.”
- Mile 20 – 9:26
- Mile 21 – 8:34
- Mile 22 – 8:09 *Gu #4
- Mile 23 – 8:40
As soon as I spotted the marker for Mile 20, I was renewed. I knew I would finish. The course emerged from the mountains, and while I loved the scenery early on, running through the neighborhoods in those final miles — and finally seeing some spectators — was beyond uplifting. Having let go of time goals, I felt free to just enjoy the run. Physically, I was hurting, but I had the biggest smile.
- Mile 24 – 8:44
- Mile 25 – 8:25
I looked at my watch for the second time at Mile 24 and realized if I could hold the pace, I’d finish under 3:40 (my new Boston Qualifying time, since I’ll be 35 for Boston 2019). “Never give up. Just keep going,” I coached myself.
Just before Mile 25, I spotted Jared in his bright green t-shirt. Liv was excitedly skipping along the sidelines. And Leo was in the arms of a smiling stranger next to our buddy, “Scooby.” “Who has my baby?!” I called with a smile, knowing he was a new friend. I wanted to slow down, but also knew I couldn’t — I had to finish as fast as possible. “Then I can wrap my arms around them,” I promised myself. “Just keep going. Just keep going.”
- Mile 26 – 8:13
- Last 0.34 – 2:37
I passed the marker for Mile 26 and spotted my crew again. I knew the Finish Line was around the bend and barely slowed down even as Liv raced out onto the course with me.
The little speedster stayed on my heels across the Finish Line, as the race announcer called my name: “MEGAN LURIE!”
I stopped my Garmin and spun around to give Liv high-fives, exclaiming, “You’re so fast! I’m so proud of you!” as Liv said: “YOU DID IT, MOM!”
Garmin Results – 26.34 miles, 3:37:23 (8:15/mile)
I looked at my Garmin and realized I did do it! I’d finished more than two minutes below the (Boston Marathon) qualifying time for my age group. In that moment, I was instantly overwhelmed, flooded with a dozen different emotions, but I leaned into it, embraced it all — the pain, the joy — and overwhelming gratitude for another finish line.
Official Finish – 26.2 miles, 3:37:20 (8:17/mile)
I wobbled around on baby deer legs, I needed to pump, and I was a bucket of emotions, but we found Jared and Leo, Scooby and Telly. We hung out in the warm sunshine, snapped pics, and rehashed the race, while my crew enjoyed the (gluten-y) pizza and pie for me!
Before heading back to the hotel I had to get a picture holding both of my kids (which was even harder and more awkward than it looks, ha!). And this family shot with the BQ sign still overflows my heart. I dreamed about this moment — this first finish line as a family of four — since I found out I was pregnant with baby #2, exactly 15 months ago.
REVEL Canyon City Marathon 2017 – Rundown:
- Finish Time: 3:37:20 (8:17/mile)
- Time since my last Marathon: 20 months (and one baby!) ago
- Lifetime Marathon: #23
- BQ: #2
- Spectators: 5 = Jared, Liv, and Leo, plus Scooby and Telly, who drove in from Hollywood
- Pre-Race Fuel: coffee, dried banana bites, PB cookie Larabar
- During Race Fuel: Nuun and 4 Gu energy gels
- Favorite Post-Race Treat: G2G peanut butter coconut chocolate protein bar, holy yum! And a chicken burrito bowl from Chipotle!
- Favorite Song: “Rise” by Katy Perry – I listened to the Olympics version at least four times!
- Favorite Mantra: Never give up.
The finish time might be under my name, but this is ours. I don’t know if it’ll be a big enough qualifier to secure my spot at Boston 2019, but it’s a day I’ll never forget.