I’m a marathoner

I think I’ve kept you waiting long enough.  This is (finally) the marathon race recap.

My Sunday morning started pretty early.  I hopped in the shower and had a couple pieces of toast with jam for breakfast.  The race started at 8:00 and we were about 20 minutes (theoretically) from the start line.  We left my cousin’s house around 7:00, which was also the start time for the half marathon.  I am of the opinion that the full marathon should start before the half, but I guess that my opinion doesn’t count.

We decided to follow the GPS directions from my cousin’s house to the race start.  I thought we should have gotten on the freeway, but who am I to argue with the GPS?  Well, I should have argued.  Somehow, we ended up ON the half marathon course, with the lead runners coming right at us!  I don’t know how we ended up getting past the barricades.  But, finally we pulled up next to one of the race volunteers who guided us off the course and told up to go up and over a few blocks to another barricade….with the hopes that those people would let us through.

We got to the next set of barricades and watched as hundreds of runners scampered by oblivious to our dilemma.  There was a cop on the other side of the road, but he was of no help to us.  A wonderful volunteer told us to wait until there was a break in the runners and she would try to get us through.  We sat there for what seemed like an eternity until a miniscule gap appeared.  She motioned us through and ran along the side of our car with us.  As we were driving off, we could hear her pleading our case to the cop who was NOT happy that we had driven through.  Thank you, wonderful volunteer!!

So, at this point, I was an emotional wreck.  I may or may not have shed some tears.  Tim was trying to be comforting by telling me that even if we got to the starting line late, my time wouldn’t start until I crossed the starting line.  It wasn’t any consolation.  I knew that I couldn’t run an entire marathon by myself.  I needed to know that there were other people around me.  I needed to see other people struggling….misery loves company, right?

Well, once we got back on the right roads, and avoiding any more oncoming racers, we were able to find the starting line and a place to park pretty easily.  It was cold outside.  Meaning: the weather was perfect for running a marathon.  Slightly overcast and cool, with just a hint of a breeze every once in a while.  But, when you are dressed for a marathon, and the race hasn’t started yet, it is cold.  And I had to wait in line for the porta potties.

1

We listened to the National Anthem and I made my way into the crowd of runners.  It was a smaller race than I anticipated.  I know that they cap the entrants at 2000, but I’m not sure there were that many runners.  I lined up in front of the 5:00 pace group and got some last minute encouragement from Tim and Jaden.  I was nervous!!

2

3

4

5

And then, like a herd of turtles, we were off. 

6

The start was a bit anti-climatic.  Usually, I shoot out of the start way too fast, but this time I knew that I had a looooong way to go, so I just started putting one foot in front of the other.  It took me the first two miles to warm up, and even then my hands were still cold until about the 5K mark.

I made sure to stop and get something to drink at every water stop.  I didn’t want to get behind on my hydration.  And I alternated drinking water and Gatorade at each stop.  I’m not sure if that helped because I was still covered in salt by the halfway point and my muscles were cramping sooo bad.

7

This is the first time that Tim and Jaden saw me on the course.  It is between 3 and 4 miles.  I think I’m telling Jaden that I am running faster!  Shortly after this was my first (of many) bathroom stops.

8 mile 10-11

9

This is the second stop, between mile 10 and 11.  I loved the sign, and from what Tim told me, so did everyone on else!

10

Here I come!

11

A quick kiss for some inspiration.

At this point in the race, I felt pretty good.  Everything was going as I expected it….including the bathroom breaks.  The course was mostly flat, so I wasn’t dealing with any crazy hills.

12 mile 12-13

This is almost at mile 13.  My legs have started cramping by this point.  Tim said that I still looked like I was doing well, but my legs were really tight and I was struggling.

13 mile 17 

 

This is at mile 17, which was very close to my cousin’s house.  Tim actually stopped by their house to pick up Jason and Brady (after Jason finished the half marathon) and they came to cheer me the rest of the way.  At this point in the race, life is really not good.  My legs are killing me.  Mentally, I’m struggling and my pace took a nose-dive.

14

I also realized that I hated everyone who had a ‘relay’ bib on their back, like the girl in the orange to my right.  I would be struggling along, about to die and i would hear them tell someone that they were almost done.  GRRR!!!

15 mile 19-20

This is somewhere between mile 19-20.  I have already been passed by the 5:00 pace group, but by looking at my Garmin, I know that if I can maintain a certain pace for the next 6 miles, I can still finish in 5 hours.  My legs are really painful now.  I am taking more walking breaks and every time I start running again, it feels like someone is stabbing me with hot pokers.

16 mile 22-23 17

Jason ran a little bit with me at about mile 22.  He asked if I needed anything.  I told him I needed to be done.  Mile 22 sucked the life out of me.  It was during mile 22 that I saw my 5 hour goal go flying away from me.  It was also at this point that I was physically unable to get any more food down.  I was nursing a gel, knowing that I needed the calories, but my entire body would revolt whenever I tried to eat any.  Mile 22 was not good.

 

18

While I struggled, Brady and Jaden hung out by the lake.  Nice.

 18 almost 25

Jaden ran up to meet me just before mile 25.  There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs from about mile 22 to 25.  If you are actually running those miles, you are in the vast minority.  And, you actually gain a little bit of encouragement from that.  Don’t get me wrong….it still hurts like hell.

 19

Jaden started running with me and encouraging me.  He looked up at me and yelled “Mommy, you’re winning!!!”  Seriously, everyone should have a four-year-old to encourage them the last mile of a marathon.

20

I love this picture.  Jaden is running with me.  Brady is trying to keep up and Anne is up ahead with the stroller ready to help me tackle the next mile.

21

Tim got a picture of me approaching the finish line.  Look for the pink shirt between the rungs of the ladder.

22

23

I basically paused long enough to get a picture taken here.  I grabbed my medal and my shirt.  The I walked through the food tent where the only thing I could fathom eating was some orange slices.  I did snag a chocolate milk for later.  Then I found Tim at the end of the chute and told him that I needed to go to Medical.  My legs were absolutely on fire.  It felt like my calf muscles were going to burst out of my skin.  I desperately wanted some sort of compression, but all they had was ice.  I iced for a while and the medic took a set of vitals and I chugged my chocolate milk.  At some point, I made Tim take off my shoes to let my sore feet breathe a bit.

Then I had to limp to the car to get a ride back to Jason’s house.  I could hardly move.  We stopped at Noodles and Co. for some lunch and I hobbled up the restaurant, but there was a curb and I couldn’t will my legs to step up the curb.  Jason actually had to help lift me up.  At Jason’s we watched the rest of the Packer game and I tried to use the foam roller on my legs, but it hurt way too much.

After a shower, we were on our way home.  Monday I had to work and I could hardly move.  My left foot hurt pretty badly, but that was overshadowed by the intense muscle pain in my legs and the awful chafing on my inner thighs.  Chafing sucks.  Tuesday, the legs pain was slightly better and by Wednesday I could actually maneuver stairs without too much difficulty.  Today is Thursday and my left foot still really hurts.  It’s in the fifth metatarsal area (outside of my foot) and I’m really hoping that it isn’t a stress fracture.  I would actually love to run this weekend to see how my legs feel.

I’m really glad that I did the marathon.  I am a marathoner and that is something that I will always have.  It is an amazing accomplishment and I can’t wait to tell my unborn child that I ran a marathon while he was in my belly (yes, I still think it is a ‘he.’  The ultrasound is next week).  I don’t think that I will be doing another marathon.  Of course I also said that I would never be pregnant again and we all know how that worked out for me.  🙂

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what next year brings.

p.s.  I have the Garmin stats, but I’m on the wrong computer, so I’ll include them in another post.

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8 thoughts on “I’m a marathoner

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  7. Congrats on the marathon!! I loved reading your recap. The pics of your son cheering you on and trying to keep up with you were so sweet. It sounds like you did really well on your race and you were so close to your 5 hour goal!

    I have heard that taking extra salt, as in eating a few salt packets during the race will help with cramping. My coach advised us to take atleast 2 salt packets in addition to the gaterade. Maybe something to try in the future. I know it sounds gross, but it worked for us on our 16 mile run.

    Anyways, I am so excited that you did this race. Your story is truly inspiring. I hope to be able to run when I am pregnant someday. And honestly to say you completed a marathon that is truly something to be proud of! You rock!!

  8. Heather, congratulations again! I’m sorry you were in so much pain, that sounds awful! But you DID IT, and in a very respectable time might I add! I hope your foot heals–be sure to stay off it until you’re ready to run again.

    As for the chafing, I assume you’re using Glide? Next time, if there is a next time, make sure someone has some for you in the later miles, sometimes you need to re-apply. In NY, the medical tents all have vaseline on tongue depressors and they stand there holding them out for you in case you need them 🙂

    I’m very proud of you, this is an accomplishment of a lifetime!

    Much love, NYHeather 😀

    P.S. I keep feeling like you’re having a girl, but without being in your presence I can’t get a proper vibe, looking forward to finding out! 😉

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