What an awesome weekend I had! So awesome, in fact, that I’m kind of sad it’s over, even though this coming week is full of good and wonderful things too!
On Wednesday Blue Eyes was able to confirm he was not on the schedule and would, in fact, be able to come with me to Newport. That was the first positive of the weekend. I was overjoyed with the news! On Thursday I stopped by the Cookie Chick’s house to pick up the cookies she had made for us chicks running the marathon. She had made 40 “edible medals” — vegan Oreos!
Friday I left work an hour early to get home and finish packing for the trip. Blue Eyes and I had originally agreed he would meet me at my house at 4 p.m. I changed it up at the last-minute and asked him to meet me there at 4:30. I figured it would give me more time to finish packing so we could try to get out of the house and on the road by 5. Strangely, my youngest son missed the school bus Friday afternoon, which required I pick him up and take him home so he could pack for his weekend at his father’s. This little glitch in the normal course of things ended with my Ex coming to my house to pick up the boy about ten minutes before Blue Eyes arrived. While it wouldn’t have really been a big deal (for me) if they had arrived at the same time, it would have caused my son stress because his father would have spent the weekend grilling him about Blue Eyes. Because it would have been the first time my son had met Blue Eyes he wouldn’t have had much to tell, but the Ex wouldn’t have believed him and would have caused him grief all weekend. Unfortunately, I am not exaggerating. The man has a track record.
We were on our way to Newport by 5:30 and managed to make it to packet pick up by a quarter after 7. Got my bib and my bag of swag and was kind of surprised at the amount of stuff in the bag. Never before have I been given an entire bottle of Naprosyn, but I thought it was an appropriate filler for people preparing to run a marathon. The picture is everything that was in the bag, with the exception of the finisher’s shirt and the medal (hard to see because it’s yellow glass).
Next we found our way to the house I had rented. It was in the Nye Beach area of Newport, a block away from the beach. I have a thing about rental houses. I prefer them to hotels. I usually use Vacation Rentals By Owner, and I’ve had some bad experiences, but in general the houses are usually comfortable, homey, and easy to be in. This house was no exception. It had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a huge kitchen and living room, a washer and dryer and a garage that my car fit nicely in.
I forgot to take a picture of the house, but this is the view of the Pacific Ocean from the living room.
I was pretty happy to be there and super excited to run the next morning. The weather forecast called for a 50% chance of rain and a high temperature of 57 or something like that. I thought it sounded slightly ideal for running. Since I’m always generally excited about running my 20 mile runs, I tried to keep it in my head that I was just going out for a really long run the next day. It actually helped a lot. What helped even more is the company of Blue Eyes. He kept me laughing and feeling happy which left little time to fret and worry.
After we got our stuff into the house I realized that I had not eaten anything in quite some time. It was 8:30 and I didn’t want to be up late, but I also knew it wouldn’t be good NOT to eat. So we went out for Thai food. Nothing spicy, but very tasty. Not knowing anything about Newport restaurants I was pleased we had lucked out with a good one.
I was on my way to sleep around 11 with intentions of getting up at 5. I actually woke up at quarter to 5 and slipped out of bed quietly. I made my way upstairs to the kitchen where I made oatmeal and dressed. I couldn’t believe how relaxed I felt, but I was so happy about it.
I woke Blue Eyes up a little after 6 so he could get up and dress. He had a neck ache from the wonky pillows on the bed so we broke open the bottle of Naprosyn I’d gotten in my swag bag and he popped a couple. He took my pre-race picture and we headed out. (I would share that picture with you, but I think it’s horrible.)
The runners were starting at 7 a.m. sharp and the start was less than a two-minute drive from the house. When we got outside and I was met with a drizzling rain and a pretty cool temperature. I had my arm sleeves, so I figured I’d be okay — I run pretty hot so even if I was cold, I’d warm up shortly after the start. I saw a couple of the chicks that were out there and we chatted briefly. The announcer said there were 1000 people running and 38 states were represented. I thought that was kind of cool since it seemed like a “small” event, after the Rock & Roll event two weeks ago.
The start was in the park right next to the ocean. It was a beautiful spot. Here is a picture I took waiting for 7 o’clock to roll around.
It was quarter to 7, I had to pee, but not to terribly bad. I debated with myself whether or not I could hold it for 26 miles, and roughly 5 1/2 hours. While I didn’t think that was a reasonable expectation the line to the porta pottys was ridiculous and I just told myself I’d do something I’d never done before and stop somewhere along the course to pee.
They let us go at 7 a.m. sharp and we did the first four miles winding through a very cute section of Newport before we made our way back into the park, back past where we’d started and out on to the main drag (which was an out and back) of the marathon. It was raining pretty good by the time we got to the main road and while I was at a comfortable temperature I could tell I was headed for some serious chaffing under my arm. It’s my weak spot in the rain and it always causes me problems. You’d think I’d remember that and always pack vaseline, but I’m apparently not that bright.
The out and back was on a beautiful road that runs along side of the bay. Trees lined one side of the street and the bay ran along the other side. It was peaceful because the road was blocked to traffic and it was easy to find your happy pace and just run. I was loving it, except for the fact I had to pee. I passed several porta pottys before I decided I just couldn’t risk trying to get to the next. I stopped and waited in line a little past mile 6. It was one of the most frustrating things to stand there and wait for two women in front of me to pee. It probably wasn’t, but it felt like I stood there for 5 minutes. Once I got back on the road I took this picture — I’d say it was around mile 6.4.
Running, listening to my music, smiling at the other runners. It felt good. It felt fun. It felt enjoyable. Nothing like Vernonia. Thank God.
Blue Eyes told me he’d be at mile 18, since that was my normal wall but as I ran along the road I wondered just how he was going to pull it off. The road was blocked off to traffic and if I remembered correctly the marathon was strictly out and back on this road. How he was going to get onto it to meet me I hadn’t a clue. When I approached mile 10 I sent him a text to tell him where I was. I probably spent two miles trying to figure out how he was going to be where he told me he’d be. He was even less familiar with Newport than I was and the road we were running along didn’t have a lot of side roads — it just didn’t seem reasonable that he would appear anywhere and I kind of came to terms with that as I ran. I knew his heart was pure and his intentions were good and he just wanted to make me happy, but I worked through my sadness because it was out of his control. By mile 13 I was okay with it. I pulled out my phone and he had responded to my earlier text.
His text said “I’m at the turn-around, parked along side of the street.” I didn’t know where the turn around was, but the text lifted my spirits ten-fold and I think I ran a little quicker. When I came around a curve in the road, just after mile 14 I saw my car parked on the left. As I got closer the door opened and he stepped out and crossed the street to meet me. He hugged me, kissed me and asked me how I was feeling. I was feeling good and I was so happy to see him! He told me the turn around was about a mile further down the road and he would wait for my return before he took himself back to the finish line. I ran on to the turn around and two miles later, at mile 16 he was waiting for me with Skittles in hand. He gave me another big hug, a kiss and the candy and told me he’d see me at the finish and I was off again.
It was a definite boost to see him so far into the run, especially when I didn’t expect to see him at all. After the race he told me he had to drive out 25 miles to the next town to circle back onto the road the marathon was being run on. Around the turn around spot they had it blocked off but they were letting local traffic through in one lane and he told them he was “local” — sweet.
That he had done what he intended to do kept my mind busy for about a mile before I realized I was really tired. Really tired. I wasn’t looking at my Garmin because after Vernonia my only goal for this race was to finish. I of course hoped to improve my last marathon time, but I wasn’t going to let it rule my mood. I was happy at mile 17 that aside from being tired, I felt good!
At mile 21 my calves started burning a bit and I walked a good deal more than I wanted to, but I was still in good spirits. I think that was largely due to the fact the other runners on the course were so friendly and happy too. And it didn’t hurt that it was beautiful.
Cruelest thing about the marathon was that at mile 23 you started this gradual uphill climb that went for almost 3 miles. It was not a STEEP hill, but it was constant and you had to work to get up it. Cresting the top of the hill to a flat spot you could see the mile marker screaming Mile 26, but that wasn’t what you noticed, what you noticed was it was ALL DOWNHILL from there — .2 downhill to the finish. As I started down the hill I heard people yelling my name — it was the chicks that had finished before me cheering me in. It was awesome and amazing and I was so happy. I had done it!!! It was Lovely and I still felt good.
Crossed the finish line and there was Blue Eyes with the tin of cookies for the Running Chicks and his always happy to see me smile. It was the absolute best, best, best. He was, without a doubt, the worlds greatest marathon support, ever!
After I ate a couple of cookies and drank some gatorade (because they were out of beer by the time I crossed the finish line) he took my “finished” picture.
Can’t tell you how happy I was.
He took me back to the house where I showered and then took a nap. I was exhausted. When I woke up I cooked him dinner for the first time. I made eggplant parmesan for me and chicken parmesan for him. He told me over dinner that he knew my feelings for him had changed a little because I had touched raw chicken for him. Couldn’t deny he had a point — it kind of grossed me out, but I did it and he said it was good. Gotta trust him on that.
After dinner we went for a walk on the beach to watch the sunset. The weather had cleared a bit and even warmed up a tad. I climbed up on a huge rock to get a good viewing spot. He didn’t come right up and when he finally made his way to the spot next to me he showed me the picture he had taken. I loved it. I was in a happy place.
The tide was coming in and we had to abandon the rock before sunset so we didn’t get stuck. We got to higher ground and I took this final picture before we headed into a bar to drink beer and celebrate a magnificent day!
The day was spectacular and while I barely shaved any time from my last marathon finish I am happy to report that I did finish two minutes and thirty seconds sooner. While it’s not much it is certainly a personal record and I couldn’t be happier if I tried to be.
No complaints right now in my life. None.
The Newport Marathon was a success and Blue Eyes has wormed his way even deeper into my heart. He’s a good man and I am very grateful to have him in my life.
Hope you all have an awesome week!!