The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. From an emotional upheaval and shock and dismay, to the marathon and the trip home…I would have to say that yes. Everything hurts.
This last week, my foot hurt so bad, that I stayed off of it for 5 days, babied it, wrapped it, iced it…so that come race day, it would be in perfect shape. I had an X-Ray, and the doctor told me not to run the marathon…which, of course, I ignored. Never ask a Non-Runner what to do. Had I called my Orthopedic Surgeon, the UltraRunner in 105 heat, he would have said to run! (We are having an MRI next week)
By the time last night came, though…my foot was the last thing on my mind. I was completely blindsided with an emotional pain that I simply did not care. In fact, I went to the Inspiration Dinner with my TNT teammates, and sat there. Stunned. I ate, but barely. I drank and drank water. I watched as all the Leukemia Survivors and Honorees were splashed across the screen. My Grandpa. I talked with teammates, but barely.
I went to bed, after putting everything out on the chair. I talked with my bestie about the race plan. I had a 3am wakeup call. I cried. I was in shock.
At 3am, the alarm went off, and I methodically put everything on, made my oatmeal, got it all together. Went down to the lobby with the team. Again. Silence. Eating, drinking coffee, water. Got on the bus. Quiet.
We had been told that it was going to be hot hot hot…yet, the weather prediction was 72 at the highest, and 48 for the first 3 hours of the day. I was freezing. And quiet. I huddled with others in the corners of San Luis Obispo High School, and tried to get warm. I peed on the side of the track (sorry SLO, I don’t do porta-potties)…and they called the runners to the starting line. I was still stunned.
There were only 800 marathoners. It took seconds to cross the start line. That’s it.
Mile 1-4: I could only do a 12:02 pace for these miles, and was shooting for a 5:15 marathon. I’ll give you the heads up: I finished an hour later than my PR hope. I ran really slowly, and stayed on pace. However, I was nauseous. I was hurting at mile .35, thinking my foot was hurting, or my head or something. But. It was my heart.
At Mile 4, I asked God to come into my race. I realized that whether I was sad or happy, it would not change the turn of events. So, I asked God in, and He really did carry me. Miles 4-11 were wonderful. I thought there were a few hills, and I ran them all. In fact, I didn’t really stop running until Mile 11. I asked a guy where the turn-around was, and he said a half mile. 1.5 miles later, I realized I gave away my power. I should never have asked, because that’s when my mental game changed.
At Mile 12, I started slowing down. I was taking Clif Shots every 4 miles. For the first time ever, I brought my own water…not because it was a “Green Marathon”, but because it takes me a quarter of a mile to take a Clif Shot, then water…and so, I can’t rely on the volunteer stations.
Let me say right here. The volunteers were amazing. The race tables were well stocked. Great support, and great cheer. Loved it. And. The weather. Let’s say how great it was to run in overcast cool & windy conditions for 4+ hours. The sun peeked out at 11:30 or so, and it was never bad.
Hills. It’s pretty bad when you can’t see the top of a hill because it’s overcast. The hills. This course was advertised as “gradual rolling hills”…which was so wrong, let me say right now. This was a HILLY course, and very challenging and demanding. Hill after hill after hill. There were only a few flat spots…and I do mean a few.
From Mile 12-15, I watched my PR slip away. My quads were screaming at me. My shoulders ached from the constant up and down of the hills. At Mile 15, I saw my coach, and I was still clipping along. Miles 16-18 I saw my pace slip down into a scary place…one that I was struggling to keep. The hills kept coming. At Mile 18, I had a foot pain…the right foot…and took off my shoes to see the biggest blister on my toe. First Aid came, and I slapped on two bandages. I had already peed and pooped on the course several times. In fact, by mile 18, I tried to urinate, but I couldn’t, but needed to. I was full of fluid and Clif Shots and oranges, but apparently, my body needed it all.
I was pretty much alone. Me, and the volunteers. Families also came out to the course. It was lovely. There was never a wall. It was all hard. From Mile 19-Mile 24 there was just. Hills. We turned on a trail, but then I was completely alone. It seemed all flat…and then, a cruel overpass that wound round and round until it traversed the freeway and train tracks. I could barely make that…it slayed me. But. I kept going.
There I was. Alone. I had been fighting crying for several miles. And I said to myself, I can cry at the end. Only at the end.
I moved very slowly for the next 2 miles. I barely made headway. At this point, there was no PR, no sub-6, and no nothing. At mile 26, I was on a very flat part of the course. The teenage volunteers were TOTALLY screaming me in. They were amazing. And one said, just go under the underpass, then go by that fence. Up there. When I saw at Mile 26 that there was a hill, I couldn’t take it.
I hit the high point of the hill, and I started bawling. Like, I could not stop. Snot coming down my face. I stopped and bent over. I finally understood that when you’re done, you’re done. I simply could not do the .2 left of the race. I was hysterical. People on the side cheered. I was wailing at this point. It was the worse feeling I have ever experienced on an emotional level.
I started shuffling again. I wanted to walk off the course. I kept going. I think that some people came on the course with me, and I continued to cry. They were yelling “Grandpa Eddy”, because I ran with his name on my shirt. The announcer came off the tower and came down with me. Then the race director. And I couldn’t move.
Something like 6:15. Something like that.
I hurt. I hurt all over. My hair hurts. My quads hurt. I drove home 3.5 hours, and still was in stunned mode.
I had amazing training, and I will do the same for my next attempt, but there are a few things I need to accept:
- No matter how you train, there are just some things you can’t prepare for on race day.
- My body hurts, not only because it’s a marathon, but because I’m 53 years old.
- I typically have the same experience on marathons. I accept that I walk. Walk and run.
I trained alone. I planned my own training plan. I ran alone. I took all my own waters and Clif Shots. I relied on nobody. No one ran me in. And now. I’m sleeping.
Everything hurts, but the bug bit me 5 marathons ago, and I’m sure I will be back. Right now, it’s enchiladas and chocolate milk.
By the way. My foot is fine.