Monday, December 15, 2008

World's longest race report, part 2: running

Marathons are butterflies and sunshine (miles 1-4)
A few steps into the race, I remember looking over to Speedy and saying with excitement and fear in my voice "We just started a marathon!" Carrying my iPhone was going OK so far and at 8am I got a reminder from my calendar that I was running the Tucson Marathon (it made me chuckle). The sun had just risen and the desert glowed in the morning sunlight. There were a few locals out and we waved and hammed it up for them. Around mile 3 there was a garage sale. They were selling a bike and I asked Speedy how much she thought it was going for (hindsight later made me wish we actually had bought it). We were holding around 10minute/mile pace which Speedy kept reminding me was too fast for us and for the first half but I FELT GREAT and just couldn't fathom why we would slow down.

Running is fun! (miles 5-9)
I honestly just felt in the groove here. The course was beautiful and I was just picking off the miles. I felt sort of hungry/rumbly in the tummy but I decided it was just nerves and I needed to relax and enjoy the run. Speedy and I were able to have intermittent conversation and wound up running with a woman who was also doing her first full. We all chatted for a bit which I thought was great since it meant we weren't pushing too hard in the first half (as per GuySmiley). Then I sighted the first porta-potty. I was happy to see it UNTIL I stepped in and saw that it was (so as not to be too graphic) left out of order by the previous user. Hmmm, OK, I said to myself, I'll use the next one. We had slowed a bit to a 10.5 min/mile pace which I was happy with.

Training has done me good (miles 10-16)
These miles were starting to be tough but I could feel all of the miles I'd put into training. My legs felt strong and I was THRILLED to be through the halfway point. The temperature was still pretty comfortable but I had heated up enough to the point where I had to ditch my fave fleece running vest. My stomach was feeling...heavy and a bit gurgle-y but otherwise I was having a great run. At this point Speedy tried asking me about my job and I could not for the life of me answer. I was looking forward to seeing some spectators at mile 18. This may be a time to mention the hills. This course was advertised as a downhill course but they failed to mention that there were PLENTY of rollers to contend with. I was also feeling the pavement a bit since I had been training on a mix between pavement and dirt, the slope of the road was also a bigger deal than I expected and the sligt curve was making me a bit uncomfortable.

Why I should never listen to SpeedyDMD (miles 17-18)
Mile 17 is where my stomach started yelling at me. I was so sick to my stomach. My feet were performing fine but my innards were rebelling! I didn't know what to do. Speedy wasn't feeling too hot eaither, her legs were hurting and she wanted to walk. My idea was that we try to get to mile 20 running and then figure out our next move but in teh middle of mile 17 my stomach was so upset I had to walk. Speedy was glad for the break but we were both slightly freaked. We made a plan: we would run to the mile markers for the marathon then walk the 0.1mile between the marathon and half marathon marker.
So we did...

1st Marathon DNF (mile 19)
Mile 19 I was SO SICK. I didn't know what to do. I used a porta potty again and tried to breathe through it a bit. I was scared though. As much as we joked about not finishing I honestly never thought I wouldn't. I always felt like I would cross the finsih line on my own two feet. As much as I joked about dying on the course I never really thought I'd have to be driven back. But at mile 19, I did. I just didn't know how to make myself feel well enough to run anymore.
But Speedy started running at the mile marker and so did I and once I got running I could maintain it. So we carried on like that, I would keep us running then we'd walk that 0.1mile and she would get us going again. I have never needed a friend as much as I needed her that morning and I felt like she needed me too. It helped a lot.

Why I should never listen to SpeedyDMD, part 2 (miles 20-23)
Here is where I started getting mad. I was pissed at the freaking race. the was NO WAY I was going to let it defeat me...I am WAY too stubborn for that. I wanted to just get it behind me because it was really annoying me to no end. I was mad that I had spent so much energy being sick to my stomach when my legs were performing exactly as I wanted them to. I was mad that I couldn't get myself back on track physically or mentally. I was just mad.
Si Se Puede (miles 24-25)
Here is where we realized it would take a miracle to finish under 5hours. For me this was deflating, fopr Speedy it motivated her (we would have had to do the last 2.2miles in 18minutes in the condition we were in). But I did relish in the fact that the home stretch was in front of me and I had come WAY too far not to just figure out a way to finish. Speedy's bpyfriend caught up with us and ran with her, which mad eme smile and gave her a bit of a kick and we seperated for the first time that day.

Did I accidently sign up for an ultra? What if mile marker 26 never comes? What if I throw up and die with less than 1/2mile to go? (mile 26)
OK, I started feeling defeated again...WHERE WAS MILE 26? I started walking around 25.7miles and was inconsolable until I saw mile marker 26.

HOLY CRAP (and please don't pass out right after crossing the finish line)! (mile 26-26.2)
Jubilation, I ran that mother in. Speedy had finsihed ~1minute ahead of me and we smiled and took breathless pics. We did it! It wasn't perfect and it wasn't pretty but it really did feel sweet.

Stats and deep thoughts to come tommorrow.

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