Monday, October 3, 2011

My 1st Marathon


A day later, I am still feeling the excitement (and pain) from completing my 1st marathon! 

Completing this goal was huge and I could not have gotten here without the love and support from my family and friends!  AND yogatorun!  (thank you, Terry and Jen) Mind you, not even 10 years ago – during 1 mile jogs, that I would tell Ward that “I am not a runner” and that “I have asthma” and “can’t breath”.  Boy things have changed! 

The forecast for yesterday had been on and off for the week.  Depending on the weather source, the forecast ranged from overcast with possible showers to steady rain.  No where in those reports did I hear/see downpours.  Well, weathermen, you were wrong!  Downpours and windgusts are what we had in store for us yesterday.  I know I have said before that I do enjoy running in the rain.  And I’ll stick to that but with a slight modification – I do like running in the rain if the mileage is less than 10 miles without gusty winds and downpours.  26.2 miles in the rain/cold/wind is not my idea of fun.  Was I going to back out of the race because of the weather?  No way.  That wasn’t even a possibility!  I trained for this race for months and I was going to complete it.  No matter what.  And I did!  I think running in such horrible conditions makes me a stronger runner, right? 

I left the house around 6:00 am, by myself.   During the drive, I experienced a huge range of emotions –from excitement to absolute fear/dread.  I sang songs at the top of my lungs and cried.  I know, I’m a freak! I already had my bib number and goodie bag, so there wasn’t a huge rush to get to the race early, but I still felt better getting there early so I find a parking spot and relax a bit before heading down to the starting line. When I got there, I sent off a text to Michelle and Terry to let them know I was there.  I was supposed to meet up with them, but totally missed out on the chance.  I looked for them, but in the craziness of the pouring rain, it was hard to spot anyone.  I was also supposed to meet up with Emilie and the Mainely Running crew – but again, weather, rain craziness took over. 

I grabbed my bag and started to walk up to the gym.  As soon as I got there, I saw the super long lines for the bathroom, so I got in line.  Not even a minute later, I saw Danielle.  She suggested using the bathroom in the locker room area and had her from John stand in line for me (just in case the locker room bathroom lines were longer).  What a sweet guy!  Anyway, we came to realize that the locker room was the way to go, so I stood in line while Danielle went back to relieve John from line standing duties. Soon enough Danielle rejoined me in line.   We got that out of the way and then headed upstairs and found Jess with her husband, Joe, Mark, Christine and their kids.  A little while later Sarah joined us.  This was a great bunch to hang out with in the morning pre-race. 


Danielle & myself prerace


A little bit before the start we headed out the doors to the starting line.  By this point, it was raining pretty hard.  We all tried to avoid puddles, but that was impossible.  My feet were soaked before the race even started.  Danielle and I were going to check our bags.  There was a little confusion as to where the bag check was going to be and when we finally found it, there was a super long line.  We stood in line for a bit, but then we heard the National Anthem, so we found a dryish spot to put the bags and got in place. By that point I had completely lost Jess, but knew (hoped) I would find her. 

photo courtesy of Maine Running Photos 


Soon enough the gun went off and the race began.  It took a little while to get to the starting line, but as soon as I did, I started my Garmin.  Shortly after that, I spotted Ward, the kids, my dad and Barb.  I stopped to tell Ward to get my bag and where it was.  At the time, he didn’t seem to care about my bag and only shouted to me to that Jess was ahead of me and to go get her.  (He did get my bag – thankfully because that now meant I was going to have dry clothes!) 

In less than a half mile, I spotted Jess.  I don’t know how I did it, but I did.  She was wearing last year’s Maine Marathon shirt with black capris – like about another 100 or 300 runners.  The only saving grace is that I knew she had her pink tank on underneath and I spotted someone ahead of me with the white shirt, black capris and a little pink hanging out under the white shirt.  I shouted her name and she slowed down until I caught up.  Phew!  A little panic there because I really didn’t want to run the entire race by myself.  I needed my running buddy! 

Anyway, as with any large race, it was a bit congested in the beginning and then it started to spread out and get a little more comfortable.  That’s when I started to hear some sirens.  My initial thoughts were “that’s great! Sirens for us.  How cool is that?”  But then I noticed that the race stopped, literally, and there were fire engines and other emergency vehicles crossing the road ahead of us.  We were at a standstill for a little bit and when we got going again, it was hard to get back up to pace because of the number of people who had to stop as well.  I seriously think I can deduct at least a minute off my time for that.  Right? 

Just before mile 5, we saw Ward and crew.  What a rush to see them!  At this point, I was feeling warm so I took my arm warmers off and threw them at Ward.  Jess took off her long sleeved shirt and tossed it at him too.  This turned out to be a big mistake a little bit down the road.   

About a mile later, we saw Stacy.  That woman was standing there with our water bottles and food and gum and was ready for us!  We grabbed some food and took off.

For a while thereafter, we’d see Ward and crew and then we’d see Stacy.  I don’t really remember if we ever saw them at the same spot together.  Once in a while we’d see Jess’s family.  Every time we’d see any of them, we’d be so pumped and excited!  We would grab something to eat and then head off.  They always seemed to want us to rush off and were concerned about us stopping to get our food, but Jess and I were not in any hurry yesterday.  Truth must be told, we walked through the water breaks as well.  They were never really long walk breaks, but just enough. 

Coach Ward opening our shot bloks, sharkies or sport beans for us!  


I think it was around mile 7, Jess mentioned something about her hands feeling weird.  And then I realized that my fingers felt numb too.  At one point, we had to have Ward open our food because our fingers just weren’t working anymore and Stacy had to open some things for us as well.  Sad. I know.  I should have kept my sleeves on.  They could have helped, maybe. But really, we were really wishing for some gloves. 

At one point I realized my shoe was coming untied.  So I went over to the side of the road and attempted to tie them.  It took me a little bit to figure out how to get them tied because my fingers were not working at all at that point.  And I while I sat there, squatting on the side of the road, absolutely soaked to the bone, I thought “if I peed right here and right now, now one will have a clue, I am soaked already and people who do tri’s pee on their bikes, right?”  So, I did.  I peed in my shorts, right there.  Gross, I know.   In the mean time, my fingers worked somewhat and I got those shoes tied up and we were off again. 

shoving more shot bloks in my mouth again



Eventually, the rain did let up and the wind did die down. Our bodies started to warm up again and we started getting feeling back in our hands. That part was nice.   But it didn’t last long.  The rain came back – I think, around mile 18.  It wasn’t so bad this time around because the temperature was a bit warmer or maybe our body temperatures were warmer or a combination of the both.  Somehow we powered through the rest of the race in the rain. 


Our longest training runs were 2, 20-milers. Every step we took after 20 miles was a new experience and a new distance.  That part was exciting.   

When we rounded the last corner to the cove, with less than 2 miles left, emotions were running high.  We could almost see the finish line – if it wasn’t raining – we would have been able to.  Since we did run our first ½ marathon on this course last year, we knew where the finish line was and had a pretty good idea that it feels like it takes forever to get there.  That part hadn’t changed.  My mind kept saying, only 2 miles, get there fast, sprint it!  But my body, no way in hell, bitch.  We did have some energy left so we did speed up a little bit.  Our last 2 miles were some of our faster miles 9:11 and 9:05.  Pure adrenaline at that point.  We had a good idea of where our cheering squad was going to be so as we got closer, tears welled up in our eyes.  We knew when we saw our families, the tears would start flowing.  And they did.  Tucker and Max raced out to us.  Then we saw the cheering crew!  Ward, Izzy, my dad, Barb, my in-laws (Kathy and Bou with flowers for me!), Stacy, Joe (Jess’s hubby) and their kids, Jess’s sister – Nicole and her fiancĂ©, Steven, and Mark, Christine and their kids.  Then I saw two (wonderful) people I totally was not expecting, holding up some incredible signs!  My friends, Shannon and Melissa drove up from Massachusetts on this glorious (not really) day to stand in the rain with incredible signs and cheer me on! 

trying to get Tucker to run with me...










tears were definitely flowing here!

Shannon and Melissa - my surprise cheering squad!




We were both so happy to see our families and friends, we were beaming and crying at the same time!  Jess and I surged through to the finish line and held hands as we crossed that line.  We gathered our (huge) medals and space blankets  and started to trek back toward our families and friends.  I do have to mention that the volunteer who handed me my space blanket did say I was the best dressed – thank you Team Sparkle!  I actually received lots of compliments on the skirt today.  It is a great skirt, isn’t it?  It matched my YMX shirt perfectly.  A bright outfit for such a gloomy day.



When I finally got in the car and took my shoes off to inspect my slightly achy feet – I realized that I did not have feet anymore, I had prunes.  And surprisingly, those prunes only had 2 small blisters – that I don’t feel at all. 

prunes

ewww...blister #1

and blister #2
















I know, an ice bath was probably the best thing to do, but I couldn’t find it in me to get into ice after that run.  So when Ward suggested that we go to his parents’ house (in Brunswick) and get in the hot tub, I was all over that! 

After the hot tub soaking, I did put on some Zensah compression calf sleeves. I’ve been wanting to buy some, but hesitant to do so because of the price.  So when I was offered the chance to borrow some (from a former student) I jumped on that offer.  Being able to try some out first was nice.  I wore those babies all night and most of this morning.  The verdict?  My calves only ache a little bit.  They actually hurt less today than they did during the final miles of the race.  I am sold.  I have to buy some for sure.  Now I have to decide on what color to get. 

Today was a recovery day, so I opted to get a sub and not go to school.  How effective would I be as a teacher if I cannot move or if I am found at the bottom of the stairs sobbing?  I’ve been taking it easy, taking ibuprofen, doing some light stretching, and putting on bengay.  If anyone is stuffed up, feel free to come over to my house.  That menthol smell is sure to clear you up. 

I do have to share that I did wear that medal and my Maine Marathon shirt today when I dropped Izzy off at Miss Karen’s and the boys off at school.  I am proud of my accomplishment and I am going to show it off!!! 





Official time:  4:15:30  (9:45 pace)
393/897 marathoners
123/395 women
25/58 in my age group

-- now that is with walking through water breaks and stopping to get fuel from our support team ---

Not too bad for my 1st marathon! 


18 comments:

  1. Congrats! Congrats! Congrats! I thought about you while I was wishing I was still at home in bed somewhere around mile 10. :-) well done. What's next!?

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  2. Awesome awesome job!! So bummed we didn't meet up but we will at one of these races! Loved the photos and the report! Great job!

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  3. Congratulations! I love the race recap and I agree about your outfit. The skirt & YMX shirt are a perfect match! I think that's a great time for your first marathon! I hope I can run my first one that fast!

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  4. Congratulations! You are one tough chik to get that done in that pouring rain.

    The next one will be a breeze!

    :)

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  5. Congrats on your first full marathon! What an amazing accomplishment! Like I said - love the outfit! You guys look like you had an amazing time despite the rain!

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  6. Congratulations on finishing your first marathon. There is no feeling like the first one! Now, it's all up hill from here.

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  7. Yay! I love the pee part. I totally would have done the same thing! Ha ha! I'm glad the Zensah's worked for you. Picking the color IS the hardest! Oh, and I love the last picture. You should be proud, you marathoner, you!

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  8. OMW ... in tears at your report .... CONGRATULATIONS xxx
    Love the prune feet :-)
    and peeing on the roadside :-)
    and the hot tub afterwards :-)

    Oh and compression sleeves - I'll be getting me some of those.

    Well done xx

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  9. Congrats!!! You definitely deserve a day off!!

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  10. I am so proud of you Jen. And, I have to say, you haven't changed one little bit :). Love the pee part! You are definitely inspiring.

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  11. great race and super awesome race report!! i just died laughing about you peeing :) my fingers were SO numb too!! so... whens the next one?! :)

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  12. Jen, Congratulations on completing your first marathon. What a fantastic accomplishment and such an awesome time. Way to go. As a New Englander I can attest to the brutal conditions on Sunday, so good job gutting it out under those conditions.
    Jill

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  13. Congratulations Jen! What an amazing time and terrific pictures!

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  14. Congrats! I live right near where the marathon takes place and was thinking of all of you brave runners in the rain! I can't even run for a 1/4 of a mile without feeling like my lungs are going to collapse (although I think of myself as being physically fit) so many congrats to running your first marathon!

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  15. Congrats on your first marathon! Your race outfit was super cute with that shirt and sparkle skirt :)

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  16. Congrats! That is one awesome time. I hope I do as well as you at my race in a few weeks.

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  17. A little late but GREAT JOB on your first marathon! Glad your legs are feeling better now and you came out of it injury free!

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  18. Fantastic job on your first marathon!!! I really love that you two ran it together all the way. There is something really wonderful about accomplishing a race with a friend every step of the way!

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