Yeah, I didn't forget.
I should have written this while it was still fresh and I was on the marathon high! I sort of hit the post-marathon doldrums and lost all motivation for pretty much everything.
So, I'm going to try to do this as best as I can(!) and see if I can capture some of the marathon high again for just a little bit. We'll see!
POINTLESS TRAVEL STUFF YOU CAN SKIP!
Race was in Mankato, which is a couple hours from my stomping ground in St. Paul. I did an early morning shift so we could leave in time to get to Mankato for the packet pickup and expo. Checked my bags about a billion times, fed the critters and hit the road. Pretty sure I conked out on the drive as I'm am prone to doing. ;)
We found our hotel and checked in and then it was off to the expo! Really small little guy (compared to TC marathon expo - which is a MONSTER) but Aaron and I dug through just about every headband that Bondiband had until I found one that mentioned marathons! I wanted a 26.2 one but settled on "virgin Marathoner". Yeah, I know. It was pretty funny to me, too. But I'm a dirty dirty weirdo.
Super hungry at this point - time to eat some carbs! I'm a little jumpy about GI stuff so I wanted to find safe food. Stuff I've eaten before and know will not rise from the bottom of my stomach to wreck unholy vengeance upon me come race day. I had my heart set on vegan pizza from Papa John's. I could eat breadsticks! For a GOOD reason! LOL. GPS insisted no Papa John's even though I GOOGLED it, darn it! Vegan food was not plentiful in Mankato so I checked my pre and post race options well before we left. Decided to head to the hotel and see if they knew if PJ's was around. Lo and behold, we spy a PJ's delivery truck while heading back to the hotel. This made me happier than is cool to admit. ;)
Unpacked my stuff and obsessively prepared my race stuff. Pinned on my number, attached my chip and laid out all my clothes. Prepped brekkies for the morning (raw chia overnight oats with almond milk, pumpkin and cinnamon) since I was, once again, all about safe food! Ate loads of pizza and watched a couple (too many) episodes of Dead Like Me on lappy. Went to bed a bit later than expected but not too bad!
Got up on time without too much trauma. Two alarms on our phones plus wake up call, FTW. Got dressed, feeling absolutely SICK with nerves. Put on my awesome Team Vegan shirt (back says "Go Vegan Go!") Ate (most of) my VOO/chia blend. Had a banana and some water. Went potty as much as humanely possible. See above re: GI issues phobia!
Headed downstairs to catch the shuttle to the start line. It is dark and spitting rain. Yay.
The start is PACKED. This is a small, inaugural race but the Half peeps and Full peeps are starting together. I think this is cool now. Later, I will hate them and their being done when I still have 13.1 miles left to run. Jerks. ;)
It's dark! And still rainy!
But I'm smiling. I'm cold, mind, but I'm SMILING and cold!
The sun starts to rise as we mill about...
And mill about...
Then we are off!
As chance would have it, my pacer is a gal I've had pace me before. :) She's pretty rockin'. Becca says she'll pace us to mile 10 where our second pacer will join us. Becca will then split off at 13 and leave us with our second gal (who's name I forget - Lori, I think.)
I love running with a pace group, btw. I've done it a few times now (three times with Becca! She paced me at the Monster Dash Half the next weekend after the Marathon...) and it's so nice to feel like you have a group that's pulling for you and totally sharing the experience. Plus, it gives you someone to talk to! I had my iPod "chicklet" but I never turned it on.
Nothing much of note in the early stages. I was running with a gentleman who was running after a huge weight loss, with a pacemaker and after back surgery! He was being filmed for the news(!) so whenever we saw the cameras we all teasingly called Don to make sure he got close to us so we'd be on the news, too (and we WERE!)
Mile five and all smiles...
Around mile 7 or so my quads started to seize up. Not painful, just tight. I shook it out but didn't want to stop and stretch for fear of losing my pace group. In hindsight, I should have stretched! The legs didn't let go for the rest of the run. :/ Pacers would say things like "this pace should feel easy to you, still. You should be feeling no pain right now." Eep. I swallowed back some serious dread on those words. My legs felt heavy and tight and clenched - pre pre-charliehorseish. Before it gets painful. I'm sure you know what I mean.
Mile 15, looking like I'm fresh as a daisy.
Legs are like marble slabs, though. Still, the dread is gone and I'm able to mostly enjoy the day. The cloudy rainy cold badness is gone and it's a lovely day for running. Not too cold or hot, not humid or windy. Just cool enough and no beating sun. Score.
I'm going to take this minute here to give MAD PROPS to my awesome boyfriend. That man drove all around the city of Mankato to meet me at mile markers. He was at the start, mile five, 13, 15, 19 and I think 21? plus the finish. He brought me coconut water cans, medjool dates (when I realized there actually were NO carbs at any of the water stops! NONE! and my supply was low in my belt) and his smiling face and cheering. He even got some other people to cheer for me by name at mile 19. :) He's awesome and I appreciated his support so much. Yay Aaron.
Around mile 19? we hit a HUGE downhill. Steeeeeepppp. My tight quads HATED this hill. Everyone around me was like "yay!!!! downhilllll!!!" and I'm going "*bleeped for expletives* this downhill *bleep*... ow ow ow". My legs are getting tighter as time goes on and I'm feeling worried again. I do not want to cramp up. I'm determined to stay with my 5 hour pacer to the bitter end! I will triumph. But owwww.
Pacer Lori gets me talking about the rat kids for mile 19-20ish and I'm blessedly unaware of my legs as I talk about them and their adorableness. :) We trade tofu recipes and I do a refrain of my "being vegan is so awesome and man, do I love food!" song that I love so much.
Still smiling at mile 20. I'm obviously mental by this point. Why am I smiling? Poor Jeremy next to me looks so tired. :( I went oooohhhh, when I saw this pic of him! I feel like he looks.
At this point Aaron informs me that there are goats coming up. Goats? What the heck? Did he say GOATS? AM I GOING CRAZY?! It was mile 20. My sanity is at low tide, people. And yeah, I think he just actually said goats.
And then there were goats!
We went through a petting zoo(?) type deal. No sooner did I see the goats (and say a very enthusiastic hello) did roosters start crowing in the next pen. Then the cows saw me and started to moo. I was JAZZED. I started informing the cows and chickens that "yeah, I'm Team Vegan! I'm running for you guys!!" *thumbs up to barnyard critters* *barnyard critters go ape and moo and crow like rockstars!* I take this as them cheering, thank them, and keep going. As soon as I'm out of the zoo area, they go quiet again. Best part of the run.
I am on a farm animal cheering section induced high for the next two miles.
Things don't get dire until mile 25. My pacer and I are now alone. All the boys have dropped back behind us. Lori tells me we're way over pace. We've got a 2 minute buffer. She waves me on and tells me to go go go and beat her. I can come in under 5 if I keep the pace. My legs are concrete encased in fire rolled in fire ants. And they are mad fire ants. I keep going.
It is at mile 25 that my body declares it's So TOTALLY Done. That last mile is the longest mile I have ever run. I keep looking for the mile marker for 26. SURELY it must be soon? SURELY!? I mean COME ON!!! I am nearly in tears, I'm exhausted. I see the marker! Hooray!
And then... the worst! That .2 miles is the killer, my friends. They don't tell you that part. That .2 can break you. Worse, I had to turn TWO corners before I could see the finish and the masses of cheering people. I find some fuel in the tanks left to do what feels like a sprint (but might be a slightly faster zombie death shuffle, my perspective is skewed!).
I sob as I get my medal and shirt and get asked by 52 race people if I'm okay. I'm not sure if I'm crying with pain, relief, pride or some crazy hybrid of all of them. I drop my banana while trying to open it with shaking hands. I cry more. I get a new banana. Still crying.
I find Aaron and realize my legs are broken.
I can't even lift my knee enough to clear a curb without help! I decide I DO want my shiny space blanket, after all. It's so iconographic! I want that! I wince my way back down the curb and get my blanket.
Back to all smiles (I'm not moving so my legs don't want me to die at the moment).
I cheer some of my fellow pace group people in, drink some coconut water and eat some carby foods. Then it's off to the car (slowly) and into the car (slowly). I find that I have to freefall into the car seat and then move my legs into the car using my arms. They are broken and will not move.
Off to Panera for a big bread bowl. Haven't had but two of these in the last year (first one was after my 20 mile training run). Thumbs up for carbs and ear to ear grins (I'm sitting, so my legs don't want me to die at the moment.)
Then we hit the grocery store for vegan ice cream, cookies, stock up on my favorite PB2 (defatted powdered peanut butter!) so I don't have to order online and get some car munchies. Head home - call mom and dad and my bestie, HEZLIZZIE, checks in with some support and love. :) I am tired and thirsty and still ravenous. I eat and drink and snooze and wince.
I am a marathoner.
Home for a hot shower complete with Lush adzuki bean peppermint massage soap - tingly! - and liberal tiger balm. I can lift my leg enough to get into and out of the shower. This is progress.
My friends Scott and Abby are waiting for us at their home with homemade pizza, two types of vegan apple pie and lots of congratulations. :) We have a great night and a fun time. I can barely move but I'm happy.
I have to walk downstairs backwards for three days, don't gain the ability to swing my legs into the car for two days and get sore shoulders from using my upper body to raise and lower myself onto the toilet, couch and any other seat. My toenail is a goner.
I'm a marathoner.