Wow, so I ran a marathon on Sunday. Yesterday.
It’s still a little surreal that I did it. And that’s a little freaky since it wasn’t my first marathon, it was my fifth. I knew what I was doing, it wasn’t new territory and on top of that it wasn’t even a new marathon. It was one I had run before. Albeit 3 years ago. When I ran it in 2011 it was my first marathon. It was kind of scary then, I didn’t have any idea what to expect. This year not only did I know what to expect, I was more familiar with the area since Blue Eyes lives in a town a stone’s throw from Vancouver and I’ve become quite familiar with it.
Friday before the marathon Blue Eyes and I drove to Eugene and packed a Uhaul with the boy’s stuff to move him home.
I didn’t pack, lift or carry. I supervised, but the drive down and the drive back was tiring to an extent. Not to mention I had spent the first three hours of the day in a Committee meeting that was BORING and drained me of any energy I might have otherwise had. And since the Uhaul only had two seats I sat on a makeshift seat made of plastic bags filled with clothes on the way home. Ow. My butt was numb twenty minutes into the drive.
Saturday was supposed to be for resting, and for the most part it was. I watched a couple of episodes of Orange is the New Black (okay, yes. I’m addicted. Thank God there are only two seasons). I washed my hair. I puttered around my house until it was time for me to go up to Blue Eye’s house. Once I got up there we went to dinner. I wanted something Asian. Good chow mien would have made me happy. The place we intended to go to for that turned out to have moved somewhere not convenient so instead we went to B.J.’s. I’m on the fence about B.J.’s. They have a good selection of beer, but since it was the night before a marathon I wasn’t drinking beer. They have a ridiculously large book like menu that I’m always annoyed with by the time I get through it and realize there isn’t much for me to choose from since I’m a vegetarian. That’s what happened so I ended up ordering a pasta dish that turned out to be yucky. I was so disappointed it put an obvious damper on my otherwise happy mood. I ate about a quarter of it and then I waited for Blue Eyes to finish his meal so we could leave. Thing is, even though I didn’t eat much I wasn’t hungry. So I didn’t eat anything else.
Mistake #1 – For the entire day of Saturday I ate 1 protein type bar, a banana, a blueberry bagel with jam and a quarter of a plate of angel hair pasta with some gross butter sauce on it. That’s it.
Mistake # 2- Water consumption was nil on Friday and Saturday. Thursday I drank over a gallon of water. That was Thursday. Friday I maybe had 8 ounces of water because we were driving back and forth from Eugene and I didn’t want to have to pee all the time, and then after we turned the Uhaul in Blue Eyes and I went to a local tap room and I drank a pint of beer. 8 ounces of water and 16 ounces of beer and I peed all freaking night. I think I got up 8 times to pee on Friday night. Saturday I never thought about the water, I was puttering, watching my show, washing my hair. Not drinking water. I think I drank maybe another 8 ounces all day and then at dinner I drank about 8 ounces while I waited for Blue Eyes to finish his meal. That’s it.
Soooo those mistakes under my belt I slept well Saturday night and got up bright and early on Sunday. I ate a banana and Blue Eyes drove me to Vancouver, walked me over to the starting line, stood and waited while I went potty, chatted with some of my running chick friends and then took a selfie with me.
Then he left me and I got ready to run. Still excited.
They had three waves. The fast people, the slow people who weren’t walking and the walkers. I was in the second wave and I got behind the 5 hour pace group. I kept telling myself to remember to just run a nice steady pace. I didn’t want to get caught up in that frenzy when a marathon starts and start running hard. I had 26.2 miles to go and I didn’t want to use up what I had in the first 3 miles. Even going slow and comfortable I passed the 5 hour pace group and ran on. I never looked behind me because that tends to stress me out. I don’t want to know how many people are behind me, or not behind me. I was listening to music so I couldn’t even hear people come up on me, which was also nice. The first 12 or 13 miles are an out and back situation through an industrial area. It’s pretty boring, but you turn around at this park on the river which is nice. I would guess all the way out to the turn around is about 6.5 or 7 miles. I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that the first elite runners passed me coming back before I reached 5 miles. Elites amaze me. I don’t want to be one, but I certainly find them fascinating.
I took my headphones out before we reached the turn around so I could take a break and listen to my breathing. When I did that I was able to tell that the 5 hour pace group was right behind me. Not close enough for me to make out their conversation, but close enough for me to know it was them because it was a big group of people running, talking and laughing together. I prepared for them to pass me, and they did, right when we came into the park. I ran with them and every time I slowed down a little bit and they inched away from me I would make myself run faster just so I could catch up. I played that game with myself for probably 3 miles. But then I decided I really didn’t care that much. I just wanted to enjoy the run, so I let them go.
I kept an eye on them, as well as the other people I’d been leap frogging from the beginning. There was a tall black man who ran at a really nice, easy pace that I followed for awhile early on. I liked his pace and I figured I could keep up with him. I named him “Lurch” because he was so freaking tall. When he got way ahead of me I could still see him because of his height. He got really, really far ahead of me. There was a man I named “B.O. Santa” because he had long gray hair and a really shaggy, really long gray beard and he was running without a shirt on (it was not attractive) and the first time he passed me the B.O. almost wiped me out. I’m not judging him. We were all out there running hard and I’m sure none of us smelled pretty, but this man smelled so bad when he passed me the first time I had to slow to a shuffle so he could get far enough away from me so I couldn’t smell him. And then I watched other people react to him when he passed them. Which made me feel not so bad. There was a rather large woman who I didn’t name but we leap frogged each other a lot. At one point she got really far ahead of me and I was sure I’d never see her again. In fact all three of these people I was sure I would never see again at one point. They seemed to be THAT far ahead of me.
Around mile 14 I drank a 5 hour energy drink. I am not one who can handle caffeine so I wasn’t sure I wanted to take the drink, but I figured I’d give it a try and see what happened. Worst thing that could have happened was I’d get a terrible headache and feel like crap for the remainder of the race. What actually happened though is I felt instantly better than I had, even though I didn’t realize I didn’t feel that hot. As I told Blue Eyes later, though, I’m not sure whether it was the drink or the fact that we were finally back into “town” and away from the industrial area and there is something about running through neighborhoods that makes me feel good about running. It might have just been that, or it might have been the drink. I’ll have to give it a go at my next marathon and see what happens. After mile 14 I came upon and passed the large woman. In fact when I passed her I felt so confident in my running I was sure I would not see her anymore. I was right.
I caught up with B.O. Santa too and then we leap frogged some more. I actually think he crossed the finish line before me, but for the last 10 miles we were pretty close. I’d just hold my breath every time I passed him.
Everything was dandy, (even though I didn’t come upon the 5 hour pace group again), until I passed mile 16 or 17. My calves started cramping up on me. Not just a little. It was the most excruciating pain I’d ever experienced and I continued to run with it until I almost fell. I stretched out my calves and walked a little, and then ran. Until they cramped up again. It was the cycle. It sucked. At mile 18 I saw Lurch, which surprised me. I hadn’t seen him for quite some time and I’d imagined he was uncatchable. I saw him, I hurt, but I passed him and didn’t look back. Never saw him again after that. I love when that happens.
Blue Eyes stepped out at Mile 20 and I was thrilled to see him. I fell into his arms and told him I was hurting and that I wanted to stop. He totally ignored me and told me the 5 hour pace group had just passed not to long ago. So I ran on. The people running the half marathon started a couple hours after the full. Actually I think someone told me they started at 10 a.m., we started at 7, so it was 3 hours. Anyway, by the time I got to mile 20 I was amidst half marathoners who were walking. Even though I was hurting it was a boost to my ego to pass so many people, even if they hadn’t come as far as I had.
The run/cramp up/walk cycle got old quick and I was kinda irritated. I calculated in my mind that I would likely not beat my best marathon time, but I would definitely beat my time from the first time I ran the same course.
When I was less than half a mile from mile marker 26 I met a hill. It wasn’t the worst hill I’d ever seen, but it was a hill and I was hurting. I ran up some of it and walked up some of it. At the top of the hill was a volunteer with a really deep loud voice. He was saying things like “Come on Young People get up this hill!” “You’re less than half a mile from the finish!” He said a lot of things that I can’t remember, but hearing him made me laugh and he instantly became my favorite volunteer. His chatter never stopped, he just kept repeating his six or seven phrases and when you reached the top he high fived you, hugged you or gave you some other form of encouragement. I told him he was awesome as he gave me a high five and he thanked me. Blue Eyes was standing there with him too.
Blue Eyes walked with me a ways and then told me I was really close and he would meet me at the finish. I ran down a little hill and turned to see the mile 26 marker and the final stretch. Lots of people were hollering and I started running a little faster. OH MY GOD my calves hurt and I wanted to walk, but you can’t walk in the chute! I kept a silent prayer going asking God to please not let my legs seize up and have me fall flat on my face until I crossed the finish. As is generally the case, he did me one better and I managed to cross the finish, walk over and get my big-ass medal, a banana and some Sun Chips before I thought I would fall over. Blue Eyes was there then and he massaged my calves for me for a good 10 minutes. I love him.
I was a little disappointed because while I was sure I had beat my course PR, I was also sure I’d not beat my overall marathon PR. I even told RunnerGirl that on Facebook when she asked if I’d gotten a PR.
Today as I was putting the information into my spreadsheet, however, I realized I was wrong.
I finished the course 10 minutes quicker than I’d finished three years ago, so that was right. But I also finished 2 minutes better than my best marathon so while it’s not a huge PR, it is a PR all the same AND I honestly believe that had my calves behaved (or maybe had I drank some water, taken a salt tab, and eaten properly the day before) the outcome would have been much better. No way to know for sure. Guess I’ll just have to wait to see what happens at Portland.
I can’t wait to see the photos from the race. There were a ton of photographers out there so my odds are good for a decent picture. 🙂 We’ll see. Anyway, even though today was a little difficult in the walking department, I feel good and I look forward to training for the next one. After I take a week off, that is.
Take care people!!