Oh where to start....I guess at the beginning...this is a bit long, but it has a good ending.
Rochester is about an hour and a half from my house, so I thought it would be smart to stay overnight, so we'd be able to wake up a little bit later, and not have to worry about getting a flat tire on the way to the race. So Saturday afternoon, Jeannine, Norine and I headed out to the race expo, then on to dinner and our hotel.
The expo was pretty small, it was held in the gym I used to belong to, I lived in Rochester for five years, so it was great to go back to complete the circle...from running on the treadmill in that basement gym, to running a marathon around the city. We checked into the Hyatt, which was the official race hotel, and it was fun to see other runners in the lobby. Around five we headed to dinner at an Italian place that a friend of Norine's had suggested, where I had a perfect slice of lasagna, it wasn't heavy at all, with a bit of ground meat and tomatoes and cheese, which I paired with a beet salad. We gazed at the bottles of wine, and talked about how low our tab would be, since we were sticking to just water. I was careful about what I ate all that day, had a turkey sandwich for lunch, nothing that would give my stomach any trouble (a little bit of foreshadowing here). I was feeling stuffed up, I caught another freaking cold, which I think I picked up at a baby shower last weekend.
I was in bed by ten, reading my book, I had all my gear laid out and ready to go. I had a solid nights sleep on Friday, which I was glad about, since the sleep you get two nights before the race is what's important. I did my fair share of tossing and turning, and I woke up once during the night to the sound of rain.
I was up right before my alarm went off at 5:45, and I felt good mentally. I was calm, excited, I just wanted to get the heck out there and run this thing!!! I drank a lousy cup of hotel room coffee, ate a banana, and half a bagel with peanut butter. I was coughing a bit though, and was still stuffed up. We made it to the staging area at 6:45, picked up our time chips, then hit the bathroom. The walk to the start was only about a half a mile, and on the way over I had a couple of Norine's Cliff Shot Bloks. Time was going fast, so we took a quick photo, one more bathroom stop, and hurried to the start, with 2 minutes to spare. Which was a good thing, it didn't give us time to get too nervous.
After the national anthem, I touched my flag pin, the gun went off, and we got moving. I couldn't believe it, G-unit got all wonky, for the first time ever. I restarted it, and could only get the pace part moving, which was fine because that's all I wanted it for. My plan was to stay around a 10:30 pace for the first half, I didn't want to blow out my hamstring right away. Then the rain started falling. And falling. And falling.
But I was feeling good, rain aside, this 10 mile stretch went out of the city, along East Avenue, which is lined with trees and beautiful homes. I saw my friend Karin on the side at mile 3, with a big Good Luck sign for us, which is always fun to see. I sucked a GU at mile 5, my plan was to have one every 5 miles. I usually wait longer, at mile 6 or 7, but I thought since I was going to be running for so long, I needed more fuel (did I mention foreshadowing?). I had a bit of water at each water stop, I wanted to save my water bottles for the last part of the run, I think I'm scarred from the memory of the Mountain Goat run, where they ran out of water at mile 6. I also had Nuun with me, which I sipped every so often.
The course then turned onto a stretch of the Erie Canal, which was a dirt path, with puddles and mud in a few places. I found out later that Rochester changed the course this year, because it was too costly for the city to close the streets. So instead of 9 miles along the Canal, it was.....12. And I'm telling you, it felt it. No spectators, aside from those at the water stations, it felt like I was on a long run by myself. So I turned my ipod on, and in keeping with my history with ipods, it crapped out after about an hour. Must have gotten wet in the rain. But temperature wise, everything was good, the rain stopped, but it stayed cloudy, and it was in the low 60's. Perfect running weather. I had another gel at mile ten. At fourteen, I was excited, I was thinking how I had 12 miles left, which was totally doable. Then I reminded myself to stay in the moment, enjoy the fact that I was running a marathon, and to absorb it all. I had another gel at 15.
As I was nearing mile 16, my stomach was feeling a little off. So when I saw Karin again, I stopped for a second to stretch my hamstring (which, thankfully was feeling pretty good). I mentioned that my stomach was feeling weird, then I set off again.
I was trudging along, and I noticed the same group of people over and over at all the water stops, it was the family of a girl who was running the same pace as me. They had a big sign with the numbers 1 to 25 on it, and they crossed off each number as we completed them. I started talking to them as I came into each stop, and they would cheer for me as I ran by. At another point, a huge group of people had a whole pirate theme going, and a woman in wench attire offered me a shot of rum....yeah, maybe later.
Hate to say it, but I started to feel worse. This had never happened to me before, ever. My stomach had that weird unsettled feeling, I was craving a saltine. As I passed by mile 18, I saw a porta-john sitting by the water, so I thought maybe I just had to go to the bathroom. I ran up to it, tossed my fuel belt in the grass, and gagged. Opened the door to go in, and started heaving. I mean loud, throwing up your toenails type heaving. Although nothing came up. So I came out, and noticed what a pretty spot I was standing in, on the side of the river, with a guy fishing on a boat, people running by, and I'm acting like I just finished a bad night at the bar. But I felt better, so I grabbed my belt and got moving again. And I thought, "Tri Diesel would be so proud."
This part gets a little blurred. I was really getting tired of the canal path, it felt like it was never going to end. I saw Karin again, and she tried to give me some jelly beans, I looked at them like they were poison, but I took one, and it wasn't doing it for me. Karin has run the marathon before, and when I asked her when this boring stretch was going to be finished, so gave me a true look of pity, and said "Oh Moll, it's going to be boring for a while."
Before I pulled my hamstring, I had hoped to complete the run in 4:30 - 4:40. I had a solid 10:15 pace for all our long training runs, so I thought it was doable. But after my hammy issue, when I didn't think I was going to even be able to run the race, I threw all time goals out the window. But I still wanted to finish under 5:00. I got into my head a bit here, telling myself I can do this, think of all those people who want to run who can't, think of how I'm capable of more than I realize (which has been my training mantra, and I don't remember where I got it from).
Karin popped up again at mile 22, I was coughing and gagged once more on the side of the path, and one of the guys who had been running near me told her what I was doing. She got me some water and said I had 50 minutes left to finish in five hours. I stretched my hamstring which was starting to feel tight, and opened a GU and ran. I took little bits of it very slowly, I ate about half of it, and my stomach finally settled down. I was thinking, "Holy Cow, I only have four miles left, I can do that in my sleep!" Yeah, okay.
I had to stop a few more times for my hamstring, and I thought "well, I don't want to ruin my leg and not run for 3 months, so whenever I finish, I finish." I almost started laughing when I saw the 24 mile marker, I felt like the time went by fast, but also pretty slowly. Or maybe I was just hallucinating.
At this point we were finally back in the city, and I was so happy, I got the energy from somewhere, so I just kept moving. I looked both ways when I crossed a street, and the cop standing there laughed, and said "Don't you worry about looking for cars, I'll take care of it!" Then I passed a guy walking and I waved my arm at him and said "Oh come on!!" He said, "you're right." and he got moving.
And then, I had half a mile left.
I came down the road, and I saw Jeannine's Dad, and her daughter and niece, the girls started to run with me, and then I saw Jeannine, Norine, her husband Phil, my brother in law Rob, and Jeannine's sister Gina and Mom. Later on I saw video they took of me, and my arms are flapping so hard that it looks like I'm trying to fly, not run.
I finally rounded the corner and saw the finish, with Mike and the kids and all our friends, including Karin, waiting at the side, she was truly an Angel to me during the run, I don't know what I would have done without her. I came along and saw 5 little hands in a row waiting for high fives. I crossed that finish line feeling good, smiling, and as I passed through I struck a happy pose, which the photographer said was the best she's seen all morning. My time was 5:09:41....okay, I'll take it.
I went over to the food area, and grabbed a water, but nothing was appealing to me, so I plopped down on the wet pavement and started stretching. Then I met up with everyone, and as soon as I saw Mike it was Niagara Falls, my tears just started flowing. I couldn't even talk when I hugged Gina, I just cried silently. It was a relief to let it out.
Then I got it together, Rob handed me a cold Powerade bottle which I immediately put on my hammy. Then a runner came over to me and said, "was that you puking in the porta potty at mile 18? I recognized your fuel belt. Man, I would have never run after that, nice job!" Then I ran into the family I made friends with at the water stops, the Dad came over and shook my hand (but it seemed like he wanted to give me a hug) and said how they were rooting for me, and at one point it didn't look like I was going to make it, but they were so glad I did. Then they gave me the number poster.
After the race, we headed back to the hotel. Where I discovered how chafed my inner thighs were. I had put Glide on them before the race, but it must have washed off in the rain. They now look like a piece of overcooked ham.
I took the best hot shower of my life at the hotel, then went on to my friend Dawn's house for a post race party. I ate some veggie chili, crackers, water and nursed a glass of wine, but I had no appetite. It wasn't until we got home that I felt really icky, I was cold, shivering and tired. I sat on the couch with my comforter and barely made it through the finale of True Blood.
Now I'm sore, and coughing a lot more. So I don't know if my stomach problems during the race were because I had too much gel in too short a time, or if I was really just sick. In either case, it doesn't matter. I did what I set out to do, and I'll do it again. I'm still processing the whole day, as I look at my "trophy" that Luke made me out of Bendaroos and cardboard.
I have some catching up to do on everyone's blogs. Honestly, I have "met" some great friends through blogging, so thank you, for all the supportive comments you have given me. And I'm lucky to have an understanding husband, family and friends who encouraged me through this whole thing.