I ran my first marathon on Sunday! I survived! it was awesome to see how far I could push myself and how much more I could squeak out listening to JT's Sexy Back.
I got off to a great start by making sure my legs were good and rested for the marathon by playing in a volleyball tournament on saturday. well, at least it helped me not be a nervous wreck all day saturday.
sunday was cool and a bit misty. perfect for a run. I didn't sleep all that well and got up at 5:30 to eat breakfast. went back to bed until 6:45. got to the race start around 7:20 and picked up my chip.
I had the prerequisite nervous pee and then meandered over to the start line. the first 10k was pretty good, and I was feeling great so naturally I made the rookie mistake of going out way too fast. I ran for awhile with a girl that taught me about 'brick runs' and tri/du training. brick runs are when you run for a warm up, bike for a good while and then go for a 8-10k run and your legs feel like bricks... hence the name.
we caught up with a girl J-AR from St. Columban and I ran with her for the hardest parts of the race. some nasty hills and long lonely stretches well outside the city. she was full of funny, positive conversation and she revived me. J-A, I don't know if you'll ever see this post but THANK YOU! you are the reason I finished in 4:46. J-A and I ran together until the 31k mark or so, just nicely into 'uncharted territory'. my longest run prior to the race was the 30k around the bay race. it was almost a month between that long run and the marathon so I was really concerned at what would be waiting for me past the 30k mark.
mom, dad and little LH came down to cheer me on and the three of them and ME met me several times throughout the race. it was great and a powerful motivator to hear the cow bell and their cheers and words of encouragement. thank you so much you guys. I couldn't have done it with out you and I'm so glad you got to share this experience with me.
after we pasted the covered bridge and the 30km mark, J-A suggested we put the tunes on. I popped my headphones in and suddenly The Who's Baba O'Reilly got me rolling. I was tearing up the course. as I was nearing the turn off of highway 86 I saw a group of people across the road from the waterstation at the corner. I could see my mom, dad, LLH and ME. I thought I recognized some cars but it didn't really occur to my glucose deprived brain that 'hey, those are my friends' cars!' until I was much closer. by then I recognized the curls of K(M)P, the awesome pink scarf of AVD, the cap of SBD, and the awesome bob of KT (with special mention to KT's bro, and SBD's RB). ME's little brother and nephew RE and NE (N not A!) also were there to cheer for me. seeing them all and recognizing them and realizing that they were all there for me, little hoodieruns, was awesome. I almost started crying then when I figured it all out. ME and KT worked to get everyone out to support and I am so thankful. I have a wonderful group of friends. Thank you for standing in the cold, cheering and waving and smiling, hugging a sweaty, stinky runner, and taking my snotty mitts. I love you guys.
after I went blistering past my cheering friends (narrowly avoiding getting hit by 2 cars), I was out of gels. I carried on well to about 35-37km. that's when I started to lose it. the wall was looming. my vision was getting foggy around the edges and I was so tired. despite Great Big Sea, Billy Joel and others, I was lagging. ME and family and friends met me again in Conestogo but there was a bad stretch inbetween. some nasty hills and a long stretch of running on my own into a headwind, cramping in my left calf and right quad plus mounting fatigue were slowing me down. I just kept picking mailboxes and hydro poles to run to and then I'd let myself walk, stretch and eat some more Sport Beans. it was hard. (try running for almost 4 hours and then stand on one foot in wind on a cramping calf on gravel trying to stretch a quad... it's comical.) ME offered to run with me somewhere before Conestogo I think but I turned him down, thinking I could tough it out. I ended up regretting it when I was lonely and faltering but I held on.
when I got my banana and water at Conestogo, ME joined me for the last kms of the race. I asked him to help break the headwinds by running a step ahead on my left shoulder. it really helped. I sang Sexy Back to myself up a hill. there was some Keith Urban Better Life in there too. this stretch I'm fairly foggy on but I know that KB and JB joined me along that stretch and were a much needed boost to my morale. they had huge smiles for me and words of encouragement (something about 'you're totally going to beat Mark's time!'). the three of them: ME, KB and JB ran the rest of the race with me. the support crew, parental unit, and sister were all waiting for me at the finish and it was awesome. I was much more excited about seeing them, and getting to stop running than I was about finishing and my time. immediately I wanted to do another one and do it much faster.
quote of the day: "I've been running for like five fucking hours."
then I got on a plane monday and flew to Iowa for 2 nights. I'm insane.
pictures to come.