How to do everything wrong and get the biggest PR of your life

This past weekend, I ran in the Ridgway Marathon and (spoiler alert) got a ginormous 11 minute PR! But the crazy thing is that due to some rather crazy circumstances, I almost did not even go to this race. Needless to say, I’m so glad that I did. But here’s a little breakdown of the issues that were working against me:

If I had to write a book about what not to do before a marathon, my experiences the past few days would be a classic bullet point list. I’m not too much of a nutcase when it comes to pre-race rituals, but there are a few rules that I try to adhere to as best as I can – don’t eat anything weird, hyrdate, stay off of my feed, and don’t get sick!! Yeah, two out of three of these were out the window in the week before this run, and I came awfully close on the thrid.

As I mentioned in a previous post, one week before my marathon my spouse and both daughters came down with a cold. And this wasn’t just your average run-of-the-mill cold either. It was a deep-cough inducing, snot-fest that permeated my house during the one week that I was trying my hardest to avoid germs. In fact my husband actually called in sick to work on Friday, something that neither of us can remember him doing in the 22 years that I have known him because he felt so awful.


Because he was sick, it also meant that he could not help with the timing at my oldest daughter’s swim meet on Saturday. She was at the tail end of her cold so while she was still a little stuffy, she was planning to swim. I often help with the timing at her meets but since this meet was the day before my marathon, I knew I did not want to be on my feet for hours in flip flops but I signed up to help thinking that my husband and I could split the task and I could put in my time for an hour or two and then hit the bleachers. With him sick, I wound up timing for the whole meet and as any swim parent knows – those meets are long. Like 6 hours long!

As an added bonus, my volunteer stint meant that I had little water and almost no food for the whole day. I scarfed a bag of pretzels for lunch and got my daughter to bring me a handful of gummy bears around dinner time. When I got home, I could not even contemplate food so I had a bowl of stuffing which we had leftover from dinner the night before. None of these foods are things I normally eat and they certainly aren’t the plain turkey sandwich or bowl of past that I would usually have before a long run or big race.

As if all of that weren’t enough, I wound up sleeping on the floor in my youngest daughter’s room because my husband was coughing all night. He was still sleeping when I needed to leave for the race (and I really didn’t want to wake him because I knew he was feeling bad) so I had to sneak into my room in the morning with a flashlight to try to find something to wear to the race! And I almost forgot my sneakers!! Also, my garmin, phone, and headphones were not charged because all of the chargers were in my room.

After all of that, by the time I got to run it felt like the easiest part of my last few days!! Not really, it hurt like hell, especially those last few miles. But I PR’d by 11 minutes….so hey, maybe I need to break all of the rules more often!

I’ll post a race review in a day or two. For now, I thought you might enjoy this silly picture of me at the start of the race. Jazz hands—reallly???