As I approached week 18 of training, my two goals were 1) stay healthy and 2) don't trip. Too much time and effort had gone into this to be ruined by a runny nose or falling over a cherub during 2nd grade recess duty. At 3pm on Friday, I was pretty sure that I would be making it to the starting line.
The reality of the race started to settle in Friday night. My parents, traveling over 600 miles (1200 round trip), had made it to the Cape for their first visit ever. They picked up my mother-in-law in NY so she could be with us for the big event. We also were meeting and spending most of the weekend with our aunt and uncle who live on the Cape. Having all of these people with me for this race reminded me how fortunate I am. No matter what, they would be there for me.
On Saturday, I started getting messages from friends and family wishing me well.
Run like the wind my friend!!! You’ll get this marathon in right before the big storm. Time means nothing, it’s crossing both the start and finish and enjoying the miles in between (at least the early ones) that really matters.
I wish you well on Sunday. Bring home a personal best. Ok, that's guaranteed but may it be a great one.We traveled around Cape Cod to show my parents some sights. Turns out you can get pretty close to the Kennedy compound when Uncle Don is driving. We also swung by the Marathon expo to pick up my race packet.
Then, it was time to load up on carbs for the race. Yum-O! (Which reminds me... this was probably my most favorite week of training because I didn't have to run much and it was OK to eat a lot!)
Afterwards, I got everything ready for the race. I felt like I was getting ready for the first day of school. And who knew a person would need so much stuff to RUN?!?
Sunday arrived and after a peanut butter bagel, coffee and OJ, we were out the door and headed to Falmouth. The race had about 1300 marathon runners plus a few hundred relay runners. There was plenty of parking and the porta-potty line moved quickly -- all good signs for a good race. Then, it was time to start!
I felt good right from the first step. Thanks to a week of little running, I was well-rested. Now, I'm no expert, but I could tell that marathon runners were different from 5K, 10K or even half marathon runners. No one was sprinting out of the start or shoving elbows to get a good spot. Everyone was locking into their pace and taking it easy. I followed their lead and found my comfortable pace that I hoped to maintain from beginning to end.
Along the race, I tried to people-watch the other runners around me and here are some memorable ones:
- Sandra Bullock - So, she wasn't the real Sandra Bullock, but she looked just like her! Sandra was running with 3 other women and clearly she was the coach. She kept running back and forth to support each of them and make sure they were feeling alright, keeping them on pace, helping them find a place to go to the bathroom on the side of the road. Sandra definitely ran more than 26.2 miles.
- Rock Solid Red Man - I was near this guy at the beginning and he was one of the first people I noticed who was really holding it back so as to not start out too fast. Hence, rock solid for staying solid in his time and well, he was wearing a red shirt. I was near him several times throughout the race, so maybe I could call myself Rock Solid Blue Girl.
- Falmouth Fireman - This guy had a Falmouth Fire & Rescue t-shirt so I figured it was good that I was running by him for two reasons: 1) If I needed help, he probably knew CPR and 2) I was keeping up with a fireman!
At mile 20, there was a decent hill which started to take a toll on my legs. 20 miles was the longest I ever ran, so I was in uncharted territory. I had stopped at every water stop along the way and had been eating my ClifShot Bloks, so I never felt like I hit "the wall." If I did, it was the kind of wall in an inflatable bouncy house.
I took every mile, one at a time. I found myself looking at my watch quite a bit at this point and it did seem like it was taking longer to get through the last few miles. I remembered something I heard Sandra Bullock tell one of her women earlier in the race, "Trust your training!" So, I did. I knew that as long as I was shuffling my feet along the finish line would arrive.
Finally, I made the last turn into Falmouth. There were people cheering and that's when I heard people say, "Looking good, Marathoner!" Wait, you mean me? I could see Mike and my family ahead and I started to cry. Some tears were because I was hurting, yes, but it was mostly because I made it to the end and I didn't know that I could.
My time -- 4:23:22!
Huge thanks to everyone who helped me start and finish my first marathon. Couldn't have done it without you! Future plans... I dunno... Boston 2013?