17 miles. Oh no I didn’t. (Oh yes I did.)

  • 17 miles
  • 3:11:52
  • Number of people I waved to enthusiastically because I thought I knew them: 1
  • Number of people who waved back equally enthusiastically: 1 — phew : )

The Good News! <<shouts>> Yay!

I ran about an 11:17/mi pace! I am so pleased with that! I’m right on pace to finish under 5 hours. I have managed to knock a whole minute off my average pace this year!

The Bad News… <<mumbles>> nay.

As pleased as I am about the end result, I made mistakes.

Mistake #1: The Forrest Gump.

I just kept running… when I should have taken walk breaks throughout. I ran the longest distance I have ever run without a walk break (11 miles). HOWEVER, I don’t know what got into me. I took two brief walk breaks in miles 1-3. And then it was like the heavens opened up and Forrest Gump appeared shining his light upon me. I went. And I did not stop. This was an absolute error because by the time I got to mile 15, I was done. My legs were cramping, and once that happens, it never goes away.

How to correct: I need to force myself to take walk breaks no matter how much I feel I don’t need them because when I arrive at the hills of Newton on Marathon Monday having already run 18 miles, I’m gonna wish I’d preserved my legs.

Mistake #2: The Superman. It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s Sheree being a bonehead.

During that 11-mile stint, I glanced at my Garmin and noted a 9:30/mi pace. Hello? <<knock’s on head>> Anyone in there? As Dr. Robert Page would say, “That is D-U-M-M, dumb.” (inside joke dedicated to my CMU classmates)

Look, a 9:30 pace is all fine and dandy, and I’m glad to know that maybe at my next half marathon I might be able to shoot for 2 hours (wow!). But I know my limits, and that pace is out of the realm of my abilities right now in the 26.2 distance. And of course at the end, I had to slow down exponentially due to cramping.

How to correct: It’s simple. Run your pace, Sheree. Run your pace. Don’t let the excitement get the best of you.

Mistake #3: The Downhill Slope.

Those downhills were fun…at first. But I am paying for it now! I should have known better. It was a combination of feeling this inexplicable high and feeling like I had something to prove to my confidence. Unfortunately, my quads were not up for the task, evidenced by the end of my run.

How to correct: Take it easy on the downhills. Use proper form. And don’t try to use the downhill to make up for lost time.

(TMI= too much information)

Mistake #4: The Uh-Oh. Magnesium citrate.

So… I take supplements to prevent muscle cramping. Potassium is one. Magnesium citrate is the other. However, magnesium citrate is not just used for runners’ cramps. It serves another function, as well… for constipation.

Well, I accidentally took two of these pills before my run thinking I was taking potassium, too. Let’s just say, I was in great need of a baño. My last three miles were spent limp-running because of cramps and simultaneously trying to go faster to reach a bathroom all while clenching cheeks. I went into a 7-eleven, who sent me next door to an art supply store, who sent me next door to a Dunkin Donuts. The bathroom, though available to the public, was locked and the line was far too long for me to wait for the key. Meanwhile, I’ve got swass (sweaty ass) pacing back and forth while people dressed in green sparkly outfits with face paint stare at me as if I’m the one who looks ridiculous.

So… I limped and clenched, limped and clenched the 3.5 miles all the way back to the church. It was close, but I made it. Not my proudest moment. But of all the lessons that can be learned from this post, I hope you learn from this one. Stay away from the magnesium citrate.


…despite my mistakes, I am really happy with my end result. The way I see it is, if I can finish under goal pace WITH all of these flubs, imagine what I might be able to achieve if I correct them. I am hopeful. And I am ready! : )

Online fundraising for Sheree Dunwell for the 2012 Mass Mentoring Boston Marathon Team