Thursday, October 24, 2013

Columbus Marathon Recap

Sunday was the Columbus Marathon
The day I've been training and working so hard for has come and gone.


What a day.

It was exciting and awesome and terrible and excruciating and fantastic...not necessarily in that order and sometimes all at once.

Settle in, folks.  Mama has a story to tell....

I went to bed early on Saturday night.  Started the process at 8:30pm. 

Yes, bedtime is a process.  Oh!  I forgot to pack (insert item here).  Oh!  I should put a spoon in the baggie for breakfast tomorrow so I don't forget it.  Oh!  I should start the dishwasher.  There were about 15 other Oh!s before I finally got under the covers.

Lights out at 9pm.

I slept most of the night.
Alarm went off at 4:25am.  Not much different from a normal weekday morning...well, except that I had a marathon to run!

I quickly got dressed, applied my Nationwide Children's Hospital butterflies and Island Boost logo tattoos and I was ready to meet Laurie and Amy to drive downtown.

Powered by Island Boost
Island Boost is still raising funds for their new Chocolate flavor!
Laurie and Amy are both members of a local marathon training group that meets in a hotel near the starting line before the big races.  Since I planned to run with Laurie, we felt that it was best for me to stick with her all morning, even though I'm not a member of the training group, because we were pretty sure that we'd never find each other in the crowd if we arrived at the starting line separately.

I ate my breakfast of Greek yogurt and granola in the warm hotel before we all marched ourselves to the corrals.

It was really cold out before the sun came up.  Trash bags really help keep body heat in and cold wind out.  I was surprised how efficient this was.

Sexy in my trash bag and I know it.
Before we could get to the corrals, we had to go through security.


Yep.  Homeland security was checking every single person through a gated area and if the person didn't have a bib, they didn't get near the corrals.


I have something to say about this.

Are you shocked?  I have something to say about everything.

Good for them.  Good for the Columbus Marathon, good for the Columbus Police Department, and HOORAY for everyone who was involved in keeping all of the runners and walkers safe.

I don't know that this had anything to do with security, but I've never seen more German Shepherds in one day, ever.

The corral was pretty full when we got there, but we managed to nestle ourselves among 10 thousand or so of our closest friends in Corral C.

We three in the front, Me, Amy and Laurie.  I love the excitement in our faces.
Picture taken and owned by Amy.
The first half of the race went really well. There wasn't a whole lot to think about. One foot in front of the other, the streets were crowded, so starting off too fast really wasn't an issue.  The crowd support was amazing.  People everywhere!  My friend Christa, one of my mom-friends, was at mile 2.  I saw her just as I was passing by.  She didn't see me in the crowd, but I know she was watching for me and that's what counts.

A few other friends, Anne, Kate and Andrea, were also somewhere around mile 2 but, with the crowd, I didn't see them at all.

Luckily, we come back on that same road, so I did get to see Anne, Kate and Andrea at mile 7.  We also saw friends from another running group at mile 9.  So many people out there yelling our names.  It's quite an experience.  I felt a little famous.

I stationed Randy and the Little Ladies at a playground park around mile 10.5.  It's great to see friends on the course, but my Little Ladies totally make my heart sing.

Miles 10.5.  Just caught sight of my babies.
We got to see Anne, Andrea and Kate again at mile 12.  They are rock-star spectators.

Just before mile 13, the half marathoners split off and head to the finish line and the marathoners keep running straight.  To my delight, more friends were right at the 13.1 timing pad.  I heard my name and looked up to see Erin and Sarah jumping, waving and screaming.  (It was Erin's wedding that we all went to a few weeks ago.)

Have I mentioned how awesome it is to have friends cheering along the course?

Randy told me that he would try to be on Lane Avenue (mile 16) but wasn't sure if he would be able to get there (road closures) or be able to park.  When I ran down Lane, I looked for him, he wasn't there, so I assumed he wasn't able and I'd see them at the finish.  I was a little bummed, but I was sure he tried and just couldn't make it happen.

At mile 17, we ran through Ohio Stadium.  When I came out of the stadium, I heard a familiar voice, "Look!  There's Mommy!"

And there they were.

After I high-fived all three of them and ran away, the gentleman in the red shirt in the picture said to me, "That must've been a nice pick-me-up."

Dude, you have no idea.

...well, yes, he probably does.

Laurie and I had gotten separated after mile 14, but at 18, when I stopped for a porta potty break, we were reunited.  Somewhere around mile 18, Laurie started feeling really sick.  She was really nauseous and felt like she was going to vomit.

Several months ago, when Laurie and I decided to run together for the marathon, we made rules.  Well, one rule: if one of us couldn't keep up, the other leaves her behind.

Not being able to keep up is one thing.  Sick is a whole other animal.  I quickly weighed my options:
  • stay with Laurie until she felt better and throw all goal times out the window,
  • leave Laurie behind and chase my time goal.  At this point I was looking at a 4:45ish finish time, a 15+ minute PR.
There will be other marathons.  Laurie cannot be replaced. 

I walked with her.  Had I left her, I would have done nothing but worry about her for the next 8 miles.  Of course, I've played this over and over in my head since and every time, I'd make the same choice.  I'd like to think that any of my friends would do the same for me.

Just before mile 20, we walked past one of my mom-friends, Melissa, from a playgroup the girls and I used to go to.  Her husband happens to be the orthopedic surgeon I saw when I tore my calf earlier this year.  It was super fun seeing them and their little ladies.

As we walked, Laurie ate a little bit of a granola bar and started to feel better around mile 20 so we got back to running.

I think it was around mile 22 when the fatigue started catching up to me.  I remember thinking, "This is really starting to suck."

At mile 23 there were angels with bowls of gummy bears and Skittles!  They also had oranges, bananas, pretzels and cookies, but I had no use for that stuff. Give me the candy!

We walked for a few minutes while we stuffed handfuls of food in our mouths, then we were off and running again.

Thank you, people at mile 23.  You're all going straight to Heaven.

Mile 24 was rough.  There was no more conversation between Laurie and I, it was all I could do to put one freaking foot in front of the other.  How I longed to sit down on the curb.

The spectators were fabulous.  "Keep going!  You look great!"


I was hanging on to my sanity by a freaking thread.,  I did not look great.

But thank you for being out there and telling me that I did as I shuffled along.

By the time my watch hit 25, I was running.  And I wasn't stopping until I got to the freaking finish line.  Kate, Anne, Erin, Sarah and Andrea were waiting just past mile 25.5.  I told them I needed someone to talk to me.  Kate jumped in and ran with me for a few minutes, telling me about our friends who had already finished and their times.  It was really helpful.  That last three minutes would have felt like an hour without the distraction.

And then I was at mile 26.  Randy and the Little Ladies were just past the mile 26 flag yelling and cheering for me as I ran down the chute and crossed the finish line. 

Of a marathon. 

For the third time. 

Let me tell you, friends, that never gets old.

Mile twenty-freaking-six.
That poor chick in front of me looks exactly how I felt.
I knew as soon as I crossed the finish line that this was not my last marathon.  Heck, I knew at mile 18 that I'd do it again.

There's something magical about crossing the finish line of a completely erases all of the pain that's felt in the previous 4 or 6 or 10 miles.  Until you stop, of course.  Then the pain comes right back.  But for a moment, everything is just.....awesome.

On my way out of the finishers area, I picked up the water, chocolate milk and snacks that were offered and went out to the Family Reunion area.  I dropped my medal off at the Finish Line Engravers tent, then went to find my family.

Ah, it felt good to be done.

Laurie and I
WE DID IT! (again!)
Here we are, 4 days later, my legs are feeling GREAT!  They were pretty sore for two days, duh, they ran 26 miles.  That shit doesn't tickle.  My knees and IT bands were not my friends for a couple of days, but they're coming around and starting to forgive me.  I can now climb and descend stairs at a normal pace without holding on to the railing or groaning like an elderly woman.  I think I just might have escaped Marathon Number Three uninjured!  WOOT!
My story is done, if you made it to end, thank you for reading.  I'll leave you with a fun picture of Ellie posing all badass-like using my Mylar blanket as a cape.  She cracks me up.

Official time: 5:3:11
43 seconds slower than my fastest marathon.  I'm nothing if not consistent, right?

Talk to me!
Have you ever run a marathon?
If yes, how many and which ones?
If no, what are you waiting for?!  No, seriously, what's holding you back?

Special thanks.....
To my awesome, supportive husband, who wakes up alone 6 days a week and spends his Saturday mornings making pancakes with the Little Ladies while I train.
To my Little Ladies, who love to cheer for every runner they see in a race or in our neighborhood.
To all of the spectators in Columbus, especially, Kate, Anne, Andrea, Sarah and Erin.  Y'all know how to make a girl feel special.
To Laurie, who is just crazy enough to wake up at an asshole time of the morning to train with a friend.