This has been a long time coming, so please bear with me as this recap will most likely be a mini novela!
Earliest wake-up call known to man! So I knew I had to be at the Parentals by 4:45AM to make it to the bus by 5:15AM. It was imperative that I get my breakfast on and have time to make sure I had all my gear, nutrition, and hydration in place. So, bright and freakin’ early I was up.
|AM, yeah that’s right!|
As I have been doing for the last four months, I wake up with enough time to eat breakfast and poop (TMI, but true story)! The only thing with today was, this was way earlier than I normally do this. This is normally done around 6AM, with a 7AM run start time. So, to say this might have had an effect on my race could be true. But one would never know. I didn’t want to eat breakfast on the bus and have to rely on the Port-a-Potty to do my business. Or worse, not do any business and then have this sitting in my stomach – which would for sure cause issues during the race. So, breaky at 3AM was what was happening.
|I forgot to snap a pic before I started!|
I’d take this years cold versus the storm of last year, I guess. My outfit was planned out the night before, as was my bus ride/post race outfit. For how vain I can normally be, I didn’t care today. I was wrapping myself in obnoxious sweats to stay warm. I chose items that I knew I wouldn’t mind if they got lost, but I would have been pissed and freezing if that did happen. Good thing I work with the lead volunteer who runs the sweat check, so he said he’d take extra special care of my bag! Lucky me 🙂
|Rave Fit & Bus Fit|
Having taken the advice of, what seems like, everyone, we decided to take the bus to the race start. If you buy your ticket before the expo it’s only $10, but at the expo it jumps to $25. This Baller-on-a-Budget bought this about a few weeks before race day! Thus, knowing that Lil and I would be doing everything together, I thought it best (no real, good reason) to take the bus from the Rancho Cordova Marriott. I figured I didn’t want to make them come out of their way to swoop me up and then drop us both of at the Sheraton downtown. So instead, I drove to the Parentals casa and then Poppa Bear (bless his heart) drove us to the Marriott! As we arrived at the Marriott we see three yellow school buses, I think we both thought they’d at least be the nice buses. Nope! Good ‘ol school buses with ice on top (they came down from El Dorado). Kissed Poppa Bear good bye, he wished us good luck, and we were on the bus!
|Yes, that is ICE on the top of the bus!|
You could cut the tension with the knife. I was glad to know I wasn’t the only one anxious. However, my nerves weren’t strong enough for my napping nature. I slept on the way to the race start, no drooling thank goodness. My training friend found me on the bus, before we left, so we chatted a bit in between naps. We arrived at the start with about an hour to spare. I got off and went to the bathroom, before any lines had really started to form. Note to runners, go to the furthest port-a-potty’s, everyone tries to go to the closest ones. There really are an overabundance of them, so no need to fret. Back on the bus, we were chatting and getting more anxious for the race to start. As the time passed, random people would hop on the bus to stay warm. It was weird, but it seems like everyone does it, so why they charge a fee is beyond me. At 6:35AM, because my friend couldn’t wait until 6:40AM, we got off the bus for the final time and went to the port-a-potty’s and did our business. Then we dropped my sweat check bag off at one of the Enterprise trucks and we were off to the start.
My game plan was to stay with the 4:10 pacer, who I know. By “know” I’ve met a few times because she works with and trains with my cousins wife, M. M and I’ve done a bunch of races together so I’ve seen Lisa (the pacer) a few times. She knew my name and said hi and I looked around for M (cousin’s wife)! Lil left to go by the 3:55 pacer, we said our good byes and good luck’s and we wouldn’t see each other for another 4 hours! A little stretching and chatting and we were OFF!
|Net Downhill, huh. [www.runcim.org]|
I want to shoot everyone that kept saying this is a “net downhill” course. Okay, yes “net” may be correct. But when you are running it, and it’s your first marathon, it does not feel “net ANYTHING”. The rolling hills are felt with each stride. So, don’t try to sugar coat it for me.
Well, I was so wrapped up in the race start, it took me 0.75 of a mile to realize I didn’t hit the start button on my Garmin, thus why Mr. Garmin says I didn’t run a marathon. I was so pissed, because I had to do mental math to figure out when I needed to eat. It wasn’t hard, but it was another thing I had to think about. For some reason, I tend to live or die by what my Garmin/Nike+ app says. Like if it doesn’t read what I did, then I didn’t do it, even though I did. Silly, I know…just one of those weird quirks!
I’ve continuously read that you’ll know if it’s going to be your race day or not. Unfortunately this wasn’t going to be my race day. Yes, I will be a marathoner, that WAS going to happen, but as for my ideal time, that probably wasn’t going to happen. We started out way too strong. To stay on pace with the 4:10 pacer, we need splits of 9:32/mile. For the first half of the race we were way ahead of the pacer. I mentioned a few times to M that we were going fairly fast for our loose game plan. She offered to slow down, but I felt bad. As I type this, I know that it is my race too, but that’s the pressure when you run with someone. I told her to jet off if she felt good, but we stayed together most of the race.
I’ve ran the 2nd and 4th leg of this race, so the 1st and 3rd legs were foreign to me. The 3rd leg having the toughest section according to EVERYONE! The rolling hills of mile 18-20 and the infamous “wall” at 20. With so many thoughts and ideas, some of this stuff was siking me out a bit.
Mile 1 – 9:21
Mile 2 – 9:18
Mile 3 – 9:05
Mile 4 – 9:14
Mile 5 – 9:20
Mile 6 – 9:21
Mile 7 – 9:26
Mile 8 – 9:33
Mile 9 – 9:24
Mile 10 – 9:13
Mile 11 – 9:31
Mile 12 – 9:33
Mile 13 – 10:00
This is where I saw my first spectators, well, really heard them before I saw them. Momma, Poppa Bear, Bestest, and Lil’s man! They were cheering like crazy and it was such a relief to see them. I needed that after completing half of the race. Shortly after seeing them I saw the parents of a friend who I’ve known since the 3rd grade. The mom, P, has been cheering me via FB and is a marathoner herself. She is really supportive and I was felt so grateful to have her and (hubby) BM out there cheering me on! I’m so glad I was able to spot them.
Mile 14 – 9:36
Mile 15 – 9:46
Mile 16 – 9:36
Mile 17 – 9:59
I’m pretty sure this is where the 4:10 pacers passed me 🙁 I was discouraged a shit ton bunch. Then made myself focus on finishing. I was still hoping I came in before 4:30, but I wasn’t sure what the next pace group was after 4:10. I don’t think I could mentally take another pace group passing me. My faith was dwindling and I was mad that I didn’t stick to my plan to stay with them. I think I could have stayed with them and be consistent throughout the finish, but my faster-than-original-plan first 10 miles took too much out of me…or was I just not pushing myself? Way too much to reflect on, since it’s already over with, I need to just accept it.
There was a lot of mental talking to myself going on here. What I thought were going to be the tough miles (18-20) were a little different on the actual course. Next time I should probably look at the course map before I run a race, duh!
Mile 18 – 10:14
Mile 19 – 10:00
This is where I knew another good friend would be waiting for me. However, I was surprised to see my co-worker there cheering me on too. He even ran about 10 steps with me and said some kind words to keep me going. I also saw my friend who told me she’d be waiting there. There she was, holding her daughter and smiling. There really is no way to describe seeing a familiar face when you are running a marathon. It helped me get through some tough mental stuff!
Mile 20 – 10:47
There literally was a party at mile 20, just like they said there would be. Tons of volunteers, music, and the strangest two gothic people right before you passed the timing mat. That gave me a little boost and also knowing that I’d see my good friend Steph soon and she’d be bringing me home!
Also, I knew my next spectator was coming up. I finally ditched my vest, because I wanted to have some pictures from the race – since my bib was on my shirt, not the vest. I had intended to throw the vest after a few miles, but it was so cold, I kept it until mile 20. I actually had two sets of spectators at Lohmen’z plaza – which is a very popular place for people to spectate. There are plenty of places to eat and hide from the cold, until your racer is near. I surprisingly saw my Aunt and Uncle, thankfully. I gave them my SPI belt to shed some unwanted stuff. At this point I ran into M again, she had some bathroom issues. I thought she was ahead of me the whole time. She pulled off again, because taking that damn SPI belt off was hard – cold hands + gloves = dumb hands! I’m pretty sure about 5 steps later I saw Lot, who I knew would be in this cheering section! She was all bundled up, smiling and waved me on! I was so happy to see another friend and continual supporter.
Mile 21 – 10:41
I knew two things were coming up. One, the H Street bridge, the last big hill to climb in the race. Everyone talks about it. However, I think the talk was so big that I thought it would be worse. Don’t get me wrong, I was slugging up the hill, but it didn’t suck as much as I had anticipated. Two, because I knew a good friend, Steph, was going to meet me somewhere near, before, or after the bridge and run to the finish with me. It should be said her and her hubs K.P. are running beasts. Boston runners, enough said! We met at the expo, for some almond exchange, and she said she’d meet me on the course and run with me. I knew she wouldn’t go back on her word, but I just hoped I’d see her. I didn’t see her before the bridge and I knew being on the bridge would be weird, but there they were right after the bridge. I waved, she handed her huge parka to her hubs and she hoped right in the race. Don’t fret, she had a relay bib – they had 4 bibs total (relay, duh), but them and their friends just found people to run with during certain parts of the race. Luckily, Steph chose me to run with 🙂 She was literally my saving grace!
Mile 22 – 10:34
Mile 23 – 10:36
Somewhere along here I knew I’d see my best friend. I can’t pinpoint where I saw her, but she was on her bike. Watching her multitask – cheer, bike ride, and take pictures was a sight to see. She cheered the Steph duo on like crazy and I swore she rode a few miles with us. Eventually she told us she was going to get the finish line donuts and she’d see me at the end. Not before she snapped this pic of my backside. Her energy was impalpable and great to feed off. I was literally over it by now and her and Steph were keeping me from walking by their encouraging words and presence.
I also saw the co-owner of Midtown Strength and Conditioning somewhere before Alhambra with some really awesome signs. It turns out a bunch of the Lulu Arden girls were there, but also my coach Quinn was there. Bummed I didn’t see her face, but Tara yelled my name and cheered like crazy when she saw me. They had some awesome signs that made me smile!
|Creeper pic by the Bestest who was attempting to ride her bike and snap pics!|
Mile 24 – 10:28
Mile 25 – 10:28
I was dying! I tried not to look at my watch. I tried to keep talking to Steph. She was doing good at not scaring me about her first marathon but also keeping it real. I asked her if she thought I’d make it before 4:30 and she said probably but didn’t seem to positive about it. Come to find out, she was doing the mental math and had figured I’d probably beat 4:20, but she didn’t want to tell me to throw me off.
She kept saying I was staying strong and consistent, but I didn’t believe her. Mr. Garmin indicates this as well, but my legs felt like jello. The funny thing is, after the H street bridge you start seeing the number streets (i.e. 59th street). It is literally impossible to NOT count down the street numbers to 8th street. Then throw in those damn named streets and you just feel like you’re running the run-that-would-never-end 😉
I knew I was getting close. Little landmarks that are so familiar to me, but maybe not to everyone running, we’re coming closer and closer. As I passed each one I tried to smile. Then came Capitol Park. I was so close I could taste it. Also, there was a nice gentleman dressed as Jesus. Turns out he’s a FF runner, he had everyone laughing and was giving out free high fives.
As you come down L Street, you turn left onto 8th Street, then you then again turn left onto Capital, where the final shoot is. I had a surge of energy and was wondering where my family would be. As I’m running down L street I hear them scream my name. At that instant, all of my emotions came out and I almost started to cry. I literally had to stop myself, because I knew the pictures were right there. I didn’t want to be making the ugly, cry face. Well, turns out, I didn’t quite make that face, but I my hands are at my face trying to wipe away the emotions. I swear a tear never dropped, but they almost did. So, my finish line pics are ridiculous!
Mile 26 – 9:55
|I am a Marathoner!|
|We started this together and end it together (with different times of course)!|
|True story, life of a person who just ran their first marathon!|
|Steph x2! I couldn’t have gotten through the last 4 miles without her!!|
I was smiling for the pics directly after the race, although I could barely walk and was in tons of pain. Steph was such a doll. She fetched a foil warmer thing for me and she was still holding my water bottle, which she at some point handed to Momma. We took the “paid for” photos and snuck some iPhone ones. I even had Lil stretch me out, even though she just ran too she looked fabulous and I could barely walk. My hip hurt with every step I took. If I wasn’t absolutely freezing, I might have cried at the pain.
After seeing my family, taking a few pictures, stretching, and grabbing a water we made our way out of the runners-only area. I went straight to the sweat check bag area to get my sweats and drink my Vega Recovery drink. That made me even colder, but I know it’s good for the recovery process. I was shivering so hard, I was cramping in random places. Fun, I know, right?!
After playing phone tag and taking what felt like an eternity to put on my sweats and a beanie, I found my parents and the besties! My saving grace of a father went to get the car so we didn’t have to walk far, which meant I didn’t get a post-race pic with him 🙁 But I did get one with Momma and the besties. I was pretty much over it and wanted a warm shower and to relax. We made that happen, so everyone headed to my house and the Lil went home to shower and get ready.
|The Most Supportive Best Friends EVER!|
|Momma & I wish I got one w/ both Parentals…Poppa Bear was getting the car for us 🙂|
We had our celebratory lunch (late) at Bj’s! It was great to be relaxing, but I was still in tons of pain. The warm shower and roller helped a little. I could barely eat, Lil on the other had been starving from the very end of the race. Just goes to show, each person/runner is different. I could just sat there and had my soda and been fine, but I still ordered food. I ate half my burger and a few fries, but of course, I ordered my all-time fave – PB pizookie 🙂 Burning 3,000+ calories has its advantages!
|Spoiled by my best friends! They know me too well 🙂|
If you asked me right then if I’d do another one, my answer was “F**k NO“! But as the days have worn on, I’m less angry at the marathon and am more curious if I could improve my time. Run a smarter race? But in due time we shall tell if I am a one-and-done or if I’ll continue to do more?
I am a marathoner!