I've actually written 5 pages of randomness in a word document in the hopes of being able to piece it all together into a somewhat entertaining race report. But, I don't know... the flow just isn't happening, so I'm just going to give it a whirl and shoot with you straight... off the cuff. So, I apologize up front if this post is shitty.
The craziness of the morning.... waking up at 2:45 am, my mom being 15 minutes late, getting lost on the way to the marathon, having just a few minutes to pick up my packet, etc... all of those things seemed like huge deals to me at the time... but in the end, none of it really mattered.
What did matter... was the fact that I didn't want to miss the start of the race, so I stood at the start line with the other runners for an additional 10 minutes, instead of using a port-a-potty. Few things piss me off more (pun intended) than a late race start. Especially when I'm dressed to run... not dressed to stand around and wait. It mattered that I didnt take the time to use the port- a -potties there, because I figured... ehhh.. I'll just wait till we get on the course and use one then. Little did I know that I wouldn't get that opportunity till 15 miles later.
A side note about this for the race managers: -- Please, for the love of god, have more port-a-potties on the course. There were 2 on the entire course. And while men (and lots of women, too) had a constant opportunity to relieve themselves amongst the brush… some of us ladies prefer the ability to be able to wipe ourselves (sorry, but it’s gotta be said) and not worry about pee dribbling down our legs. I mean… we’re running a marathon here… the last thing I want to worry about is smelling like piss at the finish (and all the way home).
The course was amazingly beautiful... and if I hadn't been running a marathon, I'd enjoyed it a lot more, I think. I think from now on... my preference will be these smaller, park centered marathons, rather than the big city ones. With a total race field of less than 1500, I enjoyed the solitude and intimate feel.
Now, for whatever reason.... I had forgotten just how damn hard running a marathon is. I mean... seriously... D-A-M-N. Running 26.2 miles is really hard work. I never got into a groove. I never clicked through miles and thought to myself.. wow, that went by fast. I was never really comfortable. I stayed around the 9 minute/mile mark through most of the first 13 miles or so. And I was worried that that was going to come back and bite me in the ass. As the miles 16-17 loomed ahead… I started to get nervous about the “wall” that had killed me in the past two marathons. Funny enough, the moment I passed the mile marker 16, I got crazy, painful stomach stitches that ached all over my stomach. But, I slowed down my pace and kept on trucking. I was determined not to stop and start walking… because I knew that it’s hard for me to get back into the race (mentally) once I start walking…
My legs were crazy fatigued starting around mile 15. I stopped to finally (I had been waiting since before the gun went off. Ugh) use a porta potty and was nervous that my knee would start bothering me after that, but it didn’t. I just kept on pushing myself. I kept telling myself… just another 11 miles… just another 10 miles, etc..I knew it was mind over body. But D-A-M-N did my legs and feet ache. But, I couldn't stop. I just wanted to get to that finish line.
The biggest thing for me... was getting to mile 20. Previously... I had struggled with hitting the proverbial wall around miles 17-18... so I knew that if I could get to mile 20, I'd be in good shape and once I did... I just kept telling myself.. just a little over an hour left. Every mile marker that I passed, I told myself... another 10+ minutes down.
Around mile 24 my left calf started to want to cramp. I mean… really wanting to cramp. And when that happens, I generally try to drink some gatorade. But, since I passed about the mile 18 mark, all I could think about was sitting down with a 10 gallon jug of liquid and slurping it all down. Like… I was insanely thirsty, but from experience But, I know… I have to limit my liquid intake or risk getting crazy stomach cramps and stomach issues. So, I sipped my liquids sparingly.
There was no mile marker 25, which sucked, but around the 25.5 point, my right leg started to seriously cramp. Not… trying to cramp… but full on cramping. I kept on running and when I rounded a corner, I saw my mom... She told me... you've just got a little bit left... like half a mile and all I could think to myself was... "you better be right, or I'm going to kick your ass if I have to run more than you've just told me" (Isn't that hilarious? Like NOTHING is more aggravating than people along the course lying to you about how far you have to go... OVERestimate if anything, never, never tell us we have less than we really do). I just wanted to be done with this whole thing. She ran with me until the 26 mile marker and it was nice to have her there. Next time, I’d like to have someone there to meet me at about the 23 mile marker and run the last 3 miles with me. A few other people around me had that and it seemed cool. It’s good to get some extra encouragement when your body is going through hell.
I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 4:43:48. Which, is a PERSONAL RECORD. BOO YA.
I was in pain and I was thirsty as hell, but I did it. I pushed myself to keep going when I wanted to stop and ended up PRing!
It was hell. But, it was worth it. I finally got my mojo back. I ran the entire race (only stopping once at the porta potty at mile 15) and powered through some stomach stitches, cramps, and fatigued legs. I also powered through the mental side… I battled my marathon demons and this time, I won.
I am psyched and so proud of myself. I know some of you are thinking… jeez… it’s only 3 minutes faster than your previous marathon PR. But… if a marathoner knows anything…. It’s that it takes baby steps. And I’ll take any baby step in the right direction.
Gotta Love the Hardware...
After the race, I rode home… had my milkshake and cheeseburger and took an ice bath, shower, and a 30 minute nap. Then I proceeded to go out and get incredibly drunk to celebrate.
All day Saturday I feared that I had seriously jacked up my right foot. It was soooooo sore and kept me hobbling around like an old lady. But, I’m happy to report that all that stiffness is now gone and I just have some minor aches in my quads and hammies. (and my back.. my back is crazy sore… but I think that might be from all the puking I did Sunday morning).
Thanks Chickmauga... for helping me get my marathon mojo back!
Oh and there should be some sweet pics of me from the marathon. I specifically remember thumbs upping a photographer twice... so, if there are some good ones, I'll post them.