I've started several posts and they all end up so long winded. Here is the short(er) and not so sweet version.
I had signed up for the relay when I was still injured and had a "back up plan" in place in case i didn't get better soon enough to run the full. My friend TD and Bernie were running it with me. Both of them made their relay legs into 2 legs so they could get about a half in. TD the first half, Bernie the second. I also ran with Liz who was trying to get a PR since she seems to always come in right around the same time. 4:25-4:30 mark haunts her...
We went to the the expo and got our stuff then headed to Lucca for dinner. They didn't have on the menu what I've eaten the last two years and instead of asking I went with the spaghetti and meatballs. Since gluten is not my friend I should have known this was a disaster in the making. My tummy was in shambles the rest of the night. BIG FAIL #1. I drank Nuun the day before to make sure my electrolytes were balanced even thought my tummy is not the biggest fan. BIG FAIL #2. I went to bed early! That's a good thing... but sleep eluded me. Good thing I slept well all week. At least something was going right.
We got up at 4:30am and ate... I had a bagel... BIG FAIL #3. Bagels have gluten hu? yea... I know this but they are easy and I was afraid the Hyatt's breakfast would just be more bagel type foods anyway. So I ate it. Good for fuel, bad for the tummy.
We met Liz at the Sheridan and boarded the buses in a breeze. The ride was uneventful while I ate breakfast and drank some more water. We expected the weather to be wet and planned accordingly. Liz stripped out of one layer of her clothes and should have left our jackets in the sweat check too. The weather was not warm yet but the streets were wet and the air was balmy even at 6:15am. We met the group at the #1 pump at Chevron station after our first bathroom stop and got a group picture. When I get it I'll post it. We did a little warm up and headed out.
I had little to no expectations for this race. The longest I had run was 16 miles and hadn't felt my best through a lot of the program. My speed workouts were modified for various reasons but mostly to keep from throwing myself back onto the injured list where I lived in boredom the whole first half of the year.
The race started and off we went. Less than a mile in it was too hot to tote the jacket... first unzipped and by mile marker two it was around my waist. I felt OK and Liz and TD kept up a decent pace. We hung in close to the 9:30 pace once we cleared the cluster of of slower paced runners and kept up good time. Liz was feeling it early though and she had some inner hip/groin pain. She thought if she ran faster or slower it would help... then she ran faster so it would be done with sooner. Sometimes it was hard to keep up. BUT for me miles 1-15 were hard but fun. I thought this was going to be a breeze and I took my GU chomps at mile 4 at mile 8 and mile 12... but by the time we got to 15 my GI track was done with it...We did say goodbye to TD and our Jackets at mile 13.8 or so and we were on our own. It never rained and in fact it got really warm, not good for long tights but that's what I had so that's what I used.
Miles 15-19 were close to tragic and 3 potty stops to boot.I lost Liz in there somewhere and I don't even remember. It was not pretty and I'm not fond of reliving those miles at all. Miles 20-23 weren't as bad but they weren't good either... actually I can't tell you much except that I don't remember much other than I saw coach Paul and he told me where the next port-o-potty was, I saw his wife, little girl and Tiffany from our group and I saw my husband who had little to no sympathy other than "you better get going"... I looked as bad as I felt and he didn't want me to stick around long enough to go jump in the truck and give up. Those miles were just putting one foot in front of another. At mile 22 they were giving out GU packets. I do remember asking for a vanilla and eating it but I didn't remember eating it or I would have realized it was orange not vanilla, but I did find the wrapper in my little pocket thingy later.
At the mile 23 marker I felt a little more like me. I wasn't shuffling anymore and my feet weren't killing me they were finally numb. It did hurt more to walk than run so running was an easy choice.I passed several of my running friends and touched base with Julie and Donna for a mile or so in there. I gave Kimmy a little pep talk and waved and cheered on Beth and Ellen from those last few good miles. I went from shuffling at an 11+ minute pace to a 9:30 minute pace that felt like I was flying. I came in at 4:39:14 and although I didn't have high expectations I was pretty disappointed at first. Then I realized that no matter what the time, a marathon is more than 26.2 and running the perfect race.Its more about giving more than your all and getting it done. I definitely did that... and I got lots of new blisters for the effort.
I do have to say my hubby (FFP) and Liz's and my kids met us at various places along the route and gave us great inspiration and met us at the finish line with beautiful flowers. That made all the pain, all the potty breaks and the crampy tummy, made the endless miles and the one foot in front of each other to just the next street mentality, the super negative self talk, the blisters and sore feet and tight hip all worth it. Because if they see that I can overcome these things and still cross the finish line. That I can start and finish something so hard even with all the adversity... that I will set an example of the thing that they can try and not give up on too. I'm a lucky mommy, a lucky wife and a dedicated runner. That warm December day it all showed.