You will have to bear with me, because I’m going to revel in this.
It always seems like the gracious thing to brush off a compliment or write off an achievement. When someone says, “Wow! Great job! What an accomplishment!”, doesn’t it feel like you should say thanks but then try to downplay it, to devalue it somehow? It does to me. I also feel like the polite thing to do would be to whitewash the sentiment of reaching this goal. To do anything else seems like arrogance or bragging.
So forgive me, because I’m not going to do that when I blog about this race, and I hope that doesn’t come across the wrong way. I just can’t help it. It feels so good to admit that yes, I am damn proud, and yes, it was in fact amazing, and yes, people, I did what I didn’t think I could.
I could cry just writing that. I could also cry from the pain in my legs, but I’ll get to that later.
I could cry just looking at you, you gorgeous medal!
Before I drag out the lengthy recap, which I plan to split into 2-3 shorter posts, I’ll hit the highlights.
- Finish time: 4:22:01.
- Division finish (women ages 40-44): 17/47.
- Gender finish: 119/314.
- Overall finish: 346/685.
The bulge to the right is my belt, not my badondadonk…I look like Aunt Fanny from Robots…
And here goes the recap…
Friday was a mix of nerves. I was so scared about my leg. I heard Scar Tissue by the Red Hot Chili Peppers 3 times on the radio that afternoon–I’m not kidding. It felt like a bad omen. I hopped on my foam roller in the afternoon after a 2.75-mile shakeout run, which left my hamstring feeling tight. I was gritting my teeth when I rolled over a tender spot just below my ass, and CRACK!, I bit down and chipped a tooth. Can you believe it? Front and center on the bottom. Now I was a snaggletooth.
TiffeeG and family sent me flowers in the afternoon. I am lucky to have such an amazing sister and brother-in-law. The arrangement was beautiful and lifted my spirits. I talked to my parents on the phone and heard the encouragement in their voices (and a little bit of fear in my mom’s voice…she didn’t want me to hurt myself.) I saw so many good wishes on Facebook and blog comments, and I can’t describe how much they meant to me.
HH was a big unknown at this point. I didn’t know until the last minute whether he would make it home or not. He was in court until about 25 minutes before his scheduled departure. I was walking out the door to take the boys to TiffeeG’s when he texted that he’d made the 6:36 flight (at 6:23.)
I put Max to bed and let Alex stay up while I went to bed early at 9:15. I didn’t think I’d be able to sleep, but I did and was completely out of it when HH walked in the door at 12:45. I mumbled something about being a snaggletooth and peeing and then fell back to sleep.
I jumped out of bed at 4:20. It was time to execute my prerace strategy! I had planned out my routine and put everything downstairs so that I could just leave the bedroom and let him sleep in peace. I immediately strapped two heat wraps on my leg and ate breakfast (some of the info in this post may be boring to non-runners, but some runners are curious about other runner’s routines.) I always eat two scrambled eggs and a banana before runs so that my blood sugar won’t dip, and I added a few bites of a bagel. I drank 32 oz. of water and had two Nespresso coffees as well. I’m a lunatic without coffee, though let’s face it, I’m kind of crazy with it too.
This next part is embarrassing, but blog readers know I’ve never shied away from admitting the gross…I proceeded to pray to the Lord that I could go to the bathroom and spent the next 40 minutes trying to force the issue. About every 5 minutes, I would go sit and give it my all. I’m surprised I didn’t give myself hemorrhoids. Sadly, the big moment never happened.
Around 5:00, I put on sunscreen (my mother will be so happy) and got dressed. I had obsessed about my outfit. Would I get as hot as I do during half-marathons? Probably not, since I would be running a bit slower and for so long. The weather was scheduled to be around 35-48 for the morning, so I chose my funky Nike capris, my mid-weight SmartWool socks, a short-sleeved Adidas shirt, armwarmers (I’m a huge fan), and my LuluLemon thick headband. No flyaways! I also put on a light UnderArmour fullzip jacket at the last minute, because I was so afraid of getting cold muscles. The only thing worse than running overheated is running too cold.
I snorted Afrin hoping it would clear out my nose and rubbed some BodyGlide under my sports bra. I attached my cute little Purell hook to my fuel belt (for use after any bathroom breaks–I’m a germaphobe), then packed it with 20 oz. of G2, two Band-Aids in case I got any blisters, contact lens drops, Kleenex, salt packets and my Honey Stinger chews. I wrote “low blood pressure” on the back of my bib, just in case I ended up on the side of the road somewhere. Finally, I threw my driver’s license in my armband along with $5. Why did I throw in $5? I’ll never know. Was I hoping to see a stripper? A little roadside Magic Mike?
I put on an extra layer of throwaway clothes and hit the road. As I left the neighborhood, I had the strangest urge to hear Anita Baker. I sometimes have one of her CDs in my car, but couldn’t find it. I started flipping through radio stations, and she was actually on, at that moment, singing a song I’d never heard with a line about needing comfort. Spooky ooky. I decided it was a positive sign.
I sipped a little G2 on the drive and hit the parking lot around 6:15. I spent the next 15 minutes watching other runners stream through the parking lot, trying to look at their bibs to see if they were running the full, the half, or the 5k. If I saw a runner with the full marathon bib color, I found myself staring at them. Did they look stronger than me? Fitter? Would I be able to hang with them? Was I really part of their group?
I delayed getting out of the car, since it was only 34 degrees. I was in no hurry to step out in that, because I didn’t want to start shivering. Shivering means energy expended and tight muscles.
Finally, it was time to hit the Port-a-Potty. Thank you, Garmin organizers, for having so many there…I was able to walk right up. Thank you, Potty gods, for allowing me to (ahem) finally take care of my business. There were a lot of runners taking a few extra minutes in those things. People wanted my Purell–I just know it.
Five minutes to the race and time to head to the starting line! I popped a couple of Honey Stingers. The marathon and half-marathon were scheduled to start together, but it was still a small group overall. I bag-checked the throwaway clothes (which I forgot to pick up post-race) and ripped the heat wraps off, saying a little prayer as I did.
Time for a decision! Line up with a pace group or go it alone? I had told myself that pace was out the window and that I should just focus on trying to finish, but I was tempted to join the 4:20 group, thinking that I could always back off if the speed was too much or when my leg started hurting. I asked one of the two 4:20 leaders for a pace band (a little bracelet with paces for each mile based on elevation changes and desired finish time.) He gave me one but encouraged me to join his team, saying, “Don’t worry about it! Stick with us and let the pacers do all the work!” I decided to give it a shot.
“Fuck!” I yelled in the middle of the group as I adjusted my headphones. Not classy, I know, but I was wound up. Oops! It came out a little loud. Everyone looked at me, and I explained that the soft covering on my right Yurbud was missing. Runners gasped…we understand that that’s a major bummer. The little cover helps the earphone stay in your ear without slippage. Everyone looked around, but we couldn’t find it. I crammed the bare earphone in my ear and hoped it would stay.
I took a moment to reflect in that last minute. So many months of training and obsessing had led me to this point, and I paused to think over the training and be grateful. I made it to the starting line, I raised $2495 for my sister’s disease and I knew I had every reason in the world to be thankful. We took a moment of silence for Boston and listened to a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem. The sun was rising and the sky was perfectly clear. The line started shuffling forward, and Born to Run came pouring through the speakers.
It was time.