Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Marathon Updates

Well, since I haven't been on here since before the marathon, I should probably update!

Overall, I had a pretty crappy "first marathon" experience. What was supposed to be a beautiful day ended up cold, drizzly, and downright yucky! The race started out well and my mom and I settled into a nice pace. After a few miles, I started to warm up and ditched my 'throw-away' shirt - only to have it suddenly drop in temperature a couple miles later. We continued on our way with surprise appearances by my mother-in-law every few miles. It was nice to have our very own cheerleader out there! By the time we reached the half-way point, it either wasn't very cold anymore, or I was so numb I couldn't feel it - I'm still not sure. I felt great! We were at 2:30 - right on track for a 5 - 5:30 marathon, and the aid station had oranges and bananas which were a welcome treat at that point. As we continued on through Jenks, we saw my grandma sitting on a bench waiting for us - another very welcome treat! She even left church early so she wouldn't miss us! After a quick hug we were back on our way, and at that point I felt the need to find a porta-potty (my husband calls them portalets-just fyi). I've never had to do that in a race before, but this is a race of many firsts apparently. So after a quick break, we were back on our way and still feeling good - until we reached a water stop around mile 17. I got my water bottle (they were out of cups) and walked and drank a little and got out my GU (Lemon-sublime is the only way to go!!). I had stopped at a trash can so I could do my GU and dispose of my litter properly, and then I was ready to go again - unfortunately, my knee wasn't. I felt a sharp stabbing pain, and my knee nearly gave out. Another first!! I've never had any problems in training - and I've never felt a pain like that. I decided to "walk it off" and tried to keep moving. It still hurt, but not nearly as bad as trying to run on it. About a mile later, I noticed that my feet were tingling - like when they fall asleep. I felt like I was walking on pins and needles, yet another first. I sat down on a curb and loosened my shoes and then kept walking - I had to finish this thing! A few minutes later, a couple of people that we occasionly run with caught up with us. One of them used to be a marathon coach, and she suggested that we try "running poles." In our language, that means that we walk from one telephone/light pole to the next and then we run to the next, walk to the next, and so on. The pain in my knee had subsided considerably, so I decided to give it a shot. It felt better on my tingling feet and seemed to be going pretty well. We continued on and around mile 20.5 we hit another water stop. After stopping at the trash can I once again felt the sharp pain in my knee. We were still with our runner friend and she told me that I shouldn't continue running. I think she could tell I was about to cry at that point and told me that I was still going to finish and that nobody could take that away from me. With that, I continued walking on... I was disappointed but I was still going to finish and that was more important than anything else. And lucky for me, I wouldn't have to run up any of the hills that were waiting for us in those last few miles! My dad and my husband were waiting for us around mile 21.5 and they decided to walk the rest of the way with us. Aside from a couple more surprise visit's from my mother-in-law, nothing particulary exciting happened after that - we just kept walking. We met up with my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law at mile 25, and they walked a little bit with us back toward where they had parked their car and once we got to mile 26 I decided I was going to run in the last 0.2 - I was NOT WALKING across the finish line. At this point, the finish line was in view, and I was ready for it to be over. It seemed like it took forever to actually reach the finish line and once I got there, I just started crying. It was a very overwhelming experience. I was glad that it was over, proud that I had accomplished my goal of finishing, disappointed that I spent all year training and it didn't go the way I wanted, and I was hurting. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't do anything differently. (Except for maybe the part where they ran out of beer and food before we finish - would have been nice to have some of that!) It was a wonderful and awful experience all at the same time, and I wouldn't trade it for anything!! Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to next to make up for it. I figure with a first marathon experience like that, next time has to be better, right???

Most of all, I am thankful that I had a great coach and made some wonderful new friends throughout this process. They each helped make this year fun, interesting, and worthwhile. I look forward to sharing more runs with them in the future!

1 comment:

T Z said...

Well, after reading your report, My advice would be to stay away from those trash cans. Every time you stopped at one, you got a sharp pain in your knee!

Way to go, hanging on and getting that medal. The bright side, you'll have no problem PRing next time. Me, I ran my fastest marathon in my first one and never have been able to PR again!