So it has taken me almost 2 weeks to reminisce about this day, but alas, here it goes…..
I started training for this race in January with no goals other than completion of the marathon. I was so excited to be running again after several months off due to some health problems. I took the training in stride, almost all of it on a treadmill due to a harsh winter here in Maine. My first long run outside was an 18 miler and every joint in my body ached afterward. In retrospect, its funny to me that I was able to train from 0 to 18 miles on a TREADMILL, when before this winter, I could never tolerate more than 3 miles on that thing. I am humbled and have learned a new appreciation for this piece of equipment, as I would not have been able to train without it.
Fast forward to Race Day (aka:the hottest day in Maine in 6 months): I was very excited for this race and felt prepared. I had not logged a ton of miles, but I had hit all of the long runs, and had maintained decent paces (for me) during those runs. Initially, I had no time goal, but as race day came closer and my running fell into place I decided to make some “loose” goals. Essentially, I wanted to finish in 4:15 at best, 4:22 at worst. This seemed realistic, consistent with my training, etc. “nothin’ crazy!”
Cue Race: I neurotically had everything organized, checked once, twice, three x’s, etc. everything is ready! The husband drops me off at Start Line, i head immediately to the Port-a-pot, wait in line for 10 minutes.., oh no, my stomach feels wonky, I start worrying about running and the bathroom,… I take 2 Immodium, which I had in my fuel belt and finally take my turn in the green plastic bathroom. Now it is 7:25 am, race starts in 5 minutes, still huge lines at the bathroom, Yikes! I’m off to the start, got in my assigned 4:15 to 4:30 wave and was ready to go. This was the smallest marathon I have done: 600 + people, the other 3 were 25,000 + people. Honestly, I loved the smaller group, right from the start!
My initial pace was a bit faster than I had planned, but the first several miles of the course had a bit of a downward slope to flat and I felt good, kept my pace conversational 9:30’s. I was happy at this pace, running joyfully through beautiful Southern Maine, tons of spectators for a small race. I loved it! I saw Coach Jen at mile 1, then again at mile 6, I was Happy Happy Happy!!! Then the clouds lifted and I was running right along the ocean, watching the crazy surfers in their wetsuits in the frigid waters, soaking up the beauty of the waves and the coast and Just Maine, when it hit me! Mile 8: Sun out in FULL, not a cloud in the sky! I’m feeling a bit hot, oh, take some honey stingers, hydrate, ok better…slow down that pace! ok… chug, chug, chug…much better, rounding the turns along the coast. Upcoming “Walker Point”, wow, I just ran by George Bush’s house, no sighting of the former President, but the Guards at the gate were rooting for me! I got this!
Round the corner up a little hill, I do have to pee…perfect a Porta-port! I knew my pace would suffer, but I wanted to finish comfortably and there was no line, so had to do it! This was at 12 isn miles, I headed out and started running again, and found a big hill around 13 miles, I plugged through it, but began feeling tired, so I took out a gel and slowly took it in, good! feeling better, crossed the 13.1 timing mat..right on target- 2:09!! Mile 14,15, oh…I’m not feeling so well.. What?? I still have a long way to run, then i see Coach Jen, she starts running with me… I told her that I didn’t feel well, it hit me like a ton of bricks, nausea, dehydration…the legs & lungs were fine, but I just did not feel good, and honestly, I had not ever felt this suddenly bad during a race before… She told me to slow down, make sure I hydrate, & lay off the carbs. I did all of this, slowed way down to the point of not looking at my watch. I saw a few people walking and one person that was sick and hunched over at the side of the road. I started to have serious concerns about finishing! The heat was brutal for me and I was so nauseated. DNF was not an option, I felt like I had to finish this, even if it was not in the time that I wanted. I kept running, around mile 18-19, someone sprayed me down with a garden hose, thank you stranger! I don’t know where my pace was at here, but I kept running ever so slowly, but I was Running! At mile 22, I saw my husband, he had snuck away from work to cheer me on! (we had a huge scheduling fiasco this weekend!). He was smiling and taking pictures and I was telling him that I would Never Ever, Ever run another marathon. He said “4 miles to go and I’ll remember what you just said!”. The next 4.2 miles were a dehydrated disaster! I was out of all my fluids, I was terrified to take a gel or anything solid because I didn’t want to vomit. They had cold watermelon around 22-23 miles, which Would have been awesome, but no way was anything going in this gut without immediately coming back out. Ugh! 2.2 &$@”!? Miles to go. I was so thirsty, I saw some dude on a bike and asked him for water, he poured some into my bottle. I sipped some and poured a little on my head. I quickly regretted not drinking it all. Then someone showed up on the side of the road and handed me and another runner some mini Poland Spring waters he had in his car. Again: thank you stranger on bike & kind stranger in car!! My lips were do dry, I think they were sun burned too. I was in agony!! I poured the water on my head to cool off and drank the rest. I really needed gatorade or something with electrolytes though!
Ok, about 2 miles to go… It took forever to get to mile 25, I was so parched and there was nothing I could do! Where is that Aid Station? Finally, I see it at the 25.5 mile mark! I have less than a mile to go, but I stop pour water on my head, than grab a Gatorade and walk for a minute. Then I start to slowly run again and see the 26 mile sign. .2 miles to go! I started to Really Run, knowing that this was almost over! I can see the Finish Line, there is a turn here & there and I heard the announcer say my name and it was OVER!!! 4:44:12…almost 30 minutes longer than I had planned. I was in pain, disappointed, a little angry with myself. It was a huge ball of emotions!
(This is where I say: “I’m never ever doing this again!)
I wanted so badly to have a “good” race, but it was just not my day! I had trained in 20 to 30 degree weather. The day of my last long run (in mid April), there was fresh snow & ice on the ground. Logistically, I know my body was not acclimated to 78 degrees and running this distance, but my heart wanted more!
So, first thing my husband tells me is that he is proud that I finished the race! Then, he immediately asks “Soooo, this was it? Your last marathon??” I firmly answered “Yes, never Again!”
Day After Marathon: I can barely walk, but had not planned to take the day off work, so as I am hobbling around, my husband checks in “So, I guess that was it for you, you have retired from marathons?” My reply, “Well, I don’t know, I think I need to do that again next year, I just need to train better, be more prepared”… and on and on I went!! 🙂