This is going to be a long one, so hope you have your reading glasses.
Why do people run marathons? What is it that makes people want to participate in a sport that is primarily pain management? Even more importantly, why the heck did I want to do it? It isn't like I was a runner before a few years ago. If I played sports it was for fun, competition, camaraderie, none of this endurance stuff.
Whatever internal drive that had been pushing me for this past year me came to fruition yesterday. I woke up at 4am, pulled myself together and went to the marathon shuttle bus. Uneventfully I arrived in Staten Island at 6:30 and waited for the race to start at 10:10. Calm and patient, waiting to see what the day would bring.
The time was nigh, I found the 4:30 pace group, and we were off. Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day somewhere around 50 degrees, I couldn't have wished for better. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge offered a spectacular view.
For the first ten miles I stayed with the pace group no problem. My stride was great, breathing felt good, legs felt strong.
But I really really had to pee. In all my long runs I that I have done never had I had this problem. But I worried about the stress to by body and kidneys. Worried because I had no idea if there would be any bad side effects if I didn't go.
So I left the pace group and waited in line at the next bathroom stop. (Every mile or so they have port-a-potties for runners to use). Bad timing, the next stop had no waiting dammit.
When I made the decision to pee I also decided at that exact moment that my race time did not matter to me. Only finishing did. Having evacuated my bladder I got back on track....and got a kick ass stitch in my side. Drat. It hit me so hard that I actually ended up walking up the Pulaski Bridge to the halfway mark.
It is funny, I can remember seeing at one point that I had run about an hour and a half then thinking to myself "only three hours of this to go", then mentally shaking my head. Why did I want to do this again?
The nice part about getting past the first half was that I knew I had friends and loved ones staged along what distance there was left. It was so great to know that people were looking for me to cheer me on. My only real worry was that since I was so far behind my pace group they would think that they missed seeing me and give up, I felt badly that I wasn't easier to find.
At mile fifteen the first group found me, with these in hand:
That would be from left to right La La La, Spaghetti, Gerf, and RFW, with Marathon Man and/or RRR taking the photo. They were waiting for me right at the foot of the Queensboro Bridge, which I think makes the "Bridge Rocks" sign a little funnier. Seeing these guys really did give me a boost, got more stride back into the legs.
They caught a couple of pics of me as well:
(Note the logo on my shirt-totally created by Scho! Doesn't it look awesome?!?)
To top it off my sister and brother in law were on the other side of the bridge in Manhattan! Which is good because that bridge is a bitch to go over, and another boost was great.
Running up First Avenue was as inspirational as everyone tells you. There are so many people, and having them read my shirt and scream "go rockstar!" or "all right rockstar, way to go!" was absolutely amazing. I mean, they really meant it, they wanted me to keep going!
The rest of my race really was me looking forward to seeing my friends. Petey and her bfriend S-man were at mile seventeen, Ctina was at mile 23, Petey and S-man again at 24, Meg Kefel, SN , and Dre at 25, and finally my sis and bro in law were in the finish line bleachers. Every step I made was to see them all and to finish the goddamn thing.
As the race went on I definitely got slower, and I ended up walking more than I would have liked. My heart rate got too high a couple times and I really needed to let it calm down. Somewhere after mile 20 my legs stopped feeling any pain or anything. They just were numb, which was fine. Really the only thing that kept me slow more than my pee break or stitch was my cardio. Healthy enough to go 26.2, but not too fast.
The last three miles of the marathon were pure unadulterated hell. There were a handful of thoughts repeating through my head:
"Mother of god there is no way in hell I am ever doing this again"
"Just a little farther, just a little farther"
"Why uphill? Why why why?"
"God I need a beer"
Then I was there, entering the park again for the last few feet. I passed the damn 26-mile mark and cursed the marathon people for taunting me with the extra .2. Bastards.
I dug down deep and pulled out a good sprint for the end, saw Katie and Scho screaming their heads off for me, then crossed the finish line trying desperately not to puke. Fortunately I did not toss my cookies and walked through to return my chip and get my heat sheet.
Afterwards I got to meet up at the House of Brews with all my cheering squads.
I've got to say a thank you at this point to my virtual supporters! Seattle girl with Microsoft guy, Ali girl and Fish, Stabile family, parents, Kzoo Jen, Jensniffer, Jess, and all you other wonderful people who have been behind me all the way. Really all your encouraging words helped me along as well. Even though it would seem you are alone when you do something like this really you aren’t.
Everyone asks now if I will do it again. Run another marathon.
My first reaction is HELL NO. Being in motion for 5:04:33 was not fun, it was torture. Torture that was completely voluntary. I have enjoyed running half marathons, and I had even enjoyed running the 18-mile tune up. But this? This was hard.
Maybe I could change my mind, maybe the memory of the long training or the pain will pass and I will want to push my self to that limit again. It could happen, but right now I just don’t see it.
Oh, but the best part is I don’t have to run a marathon in the future. You know why?
Because I've already done it. Booya!!
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