First off, a little celebrating and bragging: WOOOOO-HOOOO! I did it. Thirteen-point-one-freaking-mi
les! Yes I am proud of myself. I set a goal. I planned the work, I worked the plan. Six months ago I got the ok to jog ONE mile, and a week ago I made it 13.1! (Toot-toot! That's me honking my own horn!)
Now for some details... I started out strong and spent the first 3 miles smiling all the way. My "strategy", if I had one, was to use the first bathroom stop, assuming most people wouldn't. Then I would cruise along the rest of the race not having to go. That did pan out. There were only 2 people waiting at the 1.5 mile mark which was the first water/potty stop. (I didn't have to stop the rest of the race!) At mile 3 my iPod died. Horrifying! As I reset and reset it I started getting very nervous. Music is the thing that motivates me, and the one run I have done without music proved very hard for me. I don't like to listen to my own breathing because it reminds me how tired I am! I had planned for that too, though, and brought out my second iPod, which was also not responding! Not good news for me. I finally got the first one working again, but the Nike software wouldn't work. Fine. I would have to watch my pace on my watch and do the math, whatever, just GIVE ME MUSIC to plod along to!
This was about the time I hit my first hill. I knew there were hills I hadn't trained for, but I had no idea how big those hills were. This first one was something like a 650 foot ascent and it just killed me. I spent much of the first half of the race angry that I had walked part of it. But it just went on, and on and on and I thought I would never stop climbing.
After that killer hill things went along ok. I was maintaining a 12 minute mile but was ok with that as the route was very hilly. Seems Worcester only has uphills! I had no pain whatsoever and had taken my Gu at miles 4 and 8 and was drinking water often. (I think I saved some time being able to cruise through the water stops without stopping.)
Somewhere towards the end of mile 8 someone shoved a knife in my back and began twisting all the way through Mile 9. I had to walk some more, and the more I walked the more angry and defeated I felt. The start of Mile 10 was another big hill, the second largest in the race. By then I had vomited twice in my mouth (too embarrassed to lean over and let it out, as there were others nearby). I walked most of Mile 10 and 11. I started feeling a bit woozy, broke out in goosebumps and had hazy vision on my right. I stopped at the aid station at Mile 11.5 and took Gatorade and water, and ate an extra Gu that I had brought in my shorts pocket "just in case". By Mile 12 I was feeling good enough to do a jog/walk pattern that I kept up until about the halfway point and then I ran the rest.
I spotted my niece toward the end and her smile and encouragement was enough to give me the last bit of energy I needed to finish looking strong. I may not have felt strong, but I came across that way. My brother, girlfriend and my son were all at the Finish Line waiting for me, cheering, clapping and holding the big posters they had made for me.
Someone handed me a medal, someone took my timing chip, and suddenly I was surrounded by love and hugs. I was tired but exhilarated. I had finished!
I have to say I am disappointed in how I performed. I really wanted 2:30 and ended up with 2:46. But it's not so much the time difference as much as how I suffered through so much of it. I thought I was stronger. I knew I should have been training for hills but didn't do it, that is disappointing. I was moaning and groaning and nearly crying on the course - not something I would want anyone to see, but I was unable to control it and stopped caring at some point. It was SO much harder than I thought it would be. But I did finish. Four hundred runners did not finish. I wasn't dead last...I only beat about 60 people, but that's not what it was about anyway. At least I started. I said I would do it and I did it.
HAHAHA does this medal make my butt look fast?