I lost my marathon virginity this weekend, and that was a good thing! (OK I nearly put that as the title to this entry, but thankfully, I thought better of it.) I’ll also be losing my virginity where race recap blogging is concerned, as I haven’t run any races since I started blogging. (This is a hint for you to crack open a Corona, so that the post doesn’t seem as bad.)
First, I have to say that the amount of support and well wishes I have received from my friends and the running community has been nothing short of AMAZING. I wish I could list everyone, but the list is so vast that I would inadvertently leave someone off. I never doubted my ability to run the race. I knew that I had the grit, determination and, stubbornness, if you will, to finish. What I did doubt was my body. I almost asked more of my body during training that it was able to deliver. I was REALLY worried about my ITB affecting my ability to finish, and now I know I had every reason to be concerned! Having said that, the outpouring of love really did carry me through when I thought all was lost. I may not have believed in my body, but my friends, runners and non-runners alike, did and I truly needed that support. And, for this tough Texas gal who NEVER sheds a tear, I found myself with A LOT of tears in my eyes EVERY TIME I read a message of support. It seems trite to say that I couldn’t have run this race without all of you, but it is so very true. I can’t even put into words how uplifting it was and how full my heart felt when I stepped up to the start line on Sunday morning.
Last week, I barely slept a wink. Dealing with all the pre-race anxiety (that had been building for well over a year) had caused me to lose my appetite, which just added to my madness! After all I was supposed to be fueling my body for a race and ended up losing 2 pounds! On Friday, I was able to finally achieve some peace of mind and, in the words of the famous (yet irritating) song, I let it go. Then I went to see my myofascia guy one last time before the race so that he could give me a treatment and kinesio tape me for race day. He was so pleased and excited with what he found (or, more accurately, didn’t find) that I was in a purely zen state by the end of the appointment. Before I left, he gave me a big bear hug and told me how much he believed in me and, again, my eyes filled with tears…a few even fell out of this time! Friday night, I slept like a baby. I was soooo exhausted and drained mentally from the week. I didn’t wake up until after 6 on Saturday morning, which is LATE for this gal, but I felt so rested and refreshed!
Saturday morning, I piddled around the house. I drank coffee and washed some clothes, but mostly just sat in the recliner. (ONLY because the dogs needed someone to keep them warm!) We arrived in downtown around 4 pm and went to the expo to collect my race packet and walk around the expo. While we were there, Taylor & Alli signed the banner.
On our way back to our hotel room after the expo, Taylor & Alli were sidetracked by the S’mores bar in the lobby.
We decided to go eat early, which ended up being a good idea because getting back into our hotel was a madhouse. It got even crazier as the night went on, as we were watching from our window. No, I didn’t do any pre-race partying. I was asleep by 9:30. 😉
I actually slept VERY well Saturday night. I guess I’m somewhat used to Bobby’s snoring, or I was just that tired, because Taylor said she spent two hours in the hall and Logan spent part of the night here:
After I got ready, I tried to eat some breakfast. Every day of my life, I eat an English Muffin, toasted, with peanut butter and honey. I almost forgot to bring it on Saturday and turned around to go back and get it!
Finally, it was time to head down to the corrals! I really wasn’t nervous. The time for being nervous was past. I really was looking forward to the experience and crossing the finish line. To be honest, I didn’t feel my best. I had nagging soreness in my throat and stuffy sinuses from whatever has been in the air.
Despite the allergies, I felt great through the first 10k. I felt good about the pace I was maintaining and, aside from the yucky allergy feeling, was doing well. At around the 10k mark, I could feel my ITB getting tight and started trying to mentally prepare myself for the road that was ahead. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel any pain until mile 13 or so. By the way, the famed “Dolly Pardon Hills” were around mile 13. Can I just say that I was terribly disappointed with them?? Plus, I think it was only one hill. In any case, it wasn’t much of a hill at all (by my standards, anyway). The best part about that area of the course was the guys that dressed up with balloon boobs to hand out water. 😉
Miles 13-16 were tough, but manageable. From mile 16 on, the pain became more intense with each step. I had to take short walk breaks to lessen the tension on my ITB and I tried stretching it as well. Then, from mile 20 on, it was basically a battle of stubbornness, because every step was painful. I was determined that I WOULD finish and was fully prepared to deal with all the consequences of torturing my body the way that I had.
The banner from the expo was hanging up at the end of the Santa Fe Trail (around mile 20, I think), and that gave me a mental boost because I remembered Alli’s message she wrote to me. I never expected that little message to mean so much!
Then, at mile 22, I heard someone say “MOM!!” and there they were – Bobby and the kids. It was so good to see them! I told them my ITB was giving me fits and they all assured me that I could finish, and on I limped. 😉 Around mile 24, there was a young lady with a dog on the side of the road. When we were passing, she said, “Less than a 5k to go!” and I thought – she HAS to be a runner! I later learned that it was my Twitter friend Aimee (@aimeelanter)! She was so encouraging, but it would have been so much more encouraging to realize (then) it was someone who I knew! Also, during those last, tough miles, I kept thinking of all my friends who were cheering me on. I also thought about another Twitter friend, Brad (@IronmanBradK) and his struggle with Guillain Barre Syndrome and how he competes in marathons and IronMan competitions, fighting through the pain with each and every step. He was actually pushing a wheelchair bound participant in Dallas. What an inspiration!! Focusing on all this helped me push through those last 6 miles.
FINALLY, I crossed the finish line! Taylor snapped this pic as I passed them down the home stretch.
I nearly ugly cried when the medal was hung around my neck, but I managed to choke that back. A couple of tears may have escaped my eyes, but I’ll never tell! Then I was herded through the system to be given all the post-race goodies. I collected my 2013 medal and then was given the “Unique Finisher Item” of which I’m sure Jane (@50statecanuck) would approve!
Sadly, post-marathon I was in no mental or physical state to think of how I could make this blog post better. If I had my wits about me (no snarky comments, @RunningLonely), I would have taken a pic of the Kenyans with whom we rode the elevator on our way to check out of the hotel. I wondered if it was them, but Taylor removed all doubt when she said, “Wait….are you the WINNERS?? I watched you on TV. You are awesome!!!” To which she added, “I feel like I’m in an elevator with celebrities!” They just grinned. And there I was, the dork with my medal around my neck. LOL
For now, I am committed to rehabbing my ITB properly before I begin training again. Having said that, as I write this, I have the itch to run….I have unfinished business on the 26.2 course. Until then, I have a half marathon goal I would like to achieve and that will best be done if I am healthy! Anyone who knows me even a little will know how difficult this road is going to be (AGAIN!). I have a tendency to rush rehab and over-train. I will be depending on the running community to hold me accountable as I move forward in 2015!
And even though I’ve walked peg-legged almost the entire day because it was so painful to bend my knee, it has been the BEST MONDAY EVER!!!
Hope your Monday was as good as mine!!