Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I DID IT!

Saturday afternoon we attended the pre-marathon expo at the San Diego Convention Center to pick up our bib numbers, timing chip, and other miscellaneous items. I met my brother, Karl, there as he arrived directly from his flight, with Dad (who drove him) to the expo. He was amazed of the magnitude of the event. He mentioned the last marathon he ran the just had a couple of tables for race numbers and a couple of tables for t-shirts. There were vendors selling mostly athletic gear, gels, shoe inserts, and so on. We didn't linger there too long since we had our carb-load dinner reservations at PF Changs. It was a very yummy meal, and we made choices from the sections that they have for a marathon they sponsor in Arizona. We loaded up on brown rice... Karl kept insisting that I load up so he kept ordering more... Karl stayed at Dad's house. Michael and I went to be relatively early for us, perhaps around 9 pm. Sunday morning we woke up at 4:45 am. I didn't sleep all that great because I was feeling like a 6 year old at Christmas time with a head full of anticipation and excitement . I had all of my marathon gear prepared the night before so it was easy to put on. We attached our timing chips to our shoes the night before because, knowing us, it would have been a disaster to put those on in the dark, early morning. Our brother-in-law, Jim, was kind enough to get up early and drive us near the marathon site. We took a slightly different route since traffic to the marathon site was backed up for miles. We arrived with plenty of time to spare. With the help of cell phones we found Karl, took a a picture, checked our gear in at the UPS trucks, and before you know it, it was time to cruise over to the starting corrals. Even though Michael and I had different corral numbers, we stood side by side in my area, as people with different corral numbers were already mixed in, anyway. The start gun went off but it took a good 8+ minutes to make it to the start line where the true timing starts, and that's when people began to run. Yeay!!!! There were rock bands already playing. I can't remember what songs they were playing but I remember running to the beat and being really happy and feeling great. Karl phoned in when I was at about mile 2 and asked where I was. He was already near mile 4. At that point Michael gave me a kiss, said "good luck, honey, I'll see you at the end." Michael doesn't really run and didn't train as I did,so I knew he was going into his run/walk pattern at that time. It was fun seeing all the people cheering us on, the various cheerleaders from local schools, and other groups who so gleefully cheered us on, like the guys dressed in drag :) I would high five any of them who had their hands out -- that helped with motivation in a big way. There were also several runners with interesting sayings on their shirts. Of course the TNT people in their purple shirts had the names of loved ones who had passed away on their shirts, and there were folks who had funny sayings on their shirts. Since I lost my mind after the marathon, I can't remember the majority of those funny shirts, but the one that sticks out said, in big letters, "START OFF SLOW, then taper," (in small letters)... I just wore a white Nike tank made with that wicking material. Next time I'll get creative... (See, I said "next time.") I kind of got that "runner's high" sensation running down SR-163 through Baloba Park, probably between miles 9 and 11. It was wild to run down a stretch of road that is normally filled with cars and traffic, and it was also very scenic. At the halfway point my time was 2:26:24. Still doing okay. Right after mile 17 were the Powergel booths, and I grabbed one of those and downed that with a little water. I needed to use a port-o-potty so I found one around mile 18 with no lines (a miracle!)... But once I got back into the run my arthritic knees started giving me grief! UGH! I stretched a little then visited the medical tent at mile 18, got a couple of Tylenol, and did a run/walk pattern every half mile for the next 5 miles. At mile 20 I noticed that something felt weird in the toe of my left shoe... It felt like a big rock but then it dawned on me that it was my toe nail on my middle toe coming off... It didn't hurt, it just felt weird. Mile 20 is where Karl called me on the cell phone to announce that he had finished. His chip time was 4:19:41. When I arrived at the point where people were yelling "you only have 5K left" I began to run again, and kept running past all the other people who were hobbling and walking. I was guessing that my time was 6 hours because I had to slow down, but when I crossed the finish line the time above my head was 5:39. Okay! I know the chip time is going to be a little faster than that -- which was 5:30:53, even better! I'm good with that! Happy, Happy, Happy! They handed out bottled water right away. I came in with a girl who must have been in her 20's or so. I told her congratulations. She said this was her second marathon, and I said it was my first. She said "Wow,. You did well!" Then we had the medals placed around our necks and wished Michael was able to run with me the whole way so we could hug each other, but I knew he was a good 45 minutes behind me, since he called me on the cell phone around mile 19 or so. I had my photo taken with my medal then went through the finishing area to get bagels, bananas, yogurt, powerade, more water, dorky green rubber slippers that actually were like heaven to wear at that point, and Powerbar Protein bars. Since the marathon ended at MCRD, I has cell phone issues. Dad kept trying to call me but I kept cutting out. Since I couldn't really reach anyone I just took off my shoes, noticed the slightly blood stained left sock (I was afraid to look so I left my socks on) then put on the green rubber slippers and ate what ever food and drink I happened to have in my hands. I waited for Michael . He came in at 6:18:17 chip time. God bless him. He did this to support me. He said he had to stop at medical tents twice, once for Tylenol and once for blisters. After he collected our things from the UPS truck, we gave each other a big hug and kiss. (I was on the other side of a fenced area that I couldn't get back into when he came in.) Michael found a nice grassy spot to lie down on and stayed there for a good half hour while I found Karl and Dad. At that point Karl has been finished for a good 2 hours and was ready to go home. Michael and I were still trying to find our minds. Michael did find the free beer for marathoners booth... He also picked up a bag of kettle corn. Kettle corn doesn't rock me one way or the other, but that day it had to be the best thing I had ever tasted. I didn't want any more Powerade... Next feat, getting up to go home! We hopped on a shuttle bus to Dad's car and Dad took Michael and I home. (On a side note, it felt like Karl and I were 10 and 6 years old again, sitting in the back of Dad's car...) I must give out big hugs to several people: First, the people who live in the neighborhoods we ran through, who took it upon themselves to have orange slices, sour hard candies, pretzels, water, and lots of cheering support for the marathoners, second, to the people who volunteered to help a this event -- as there were many to pass out water, Powerade, medical attention, etc. -- I plan on being a volunteer if I don't run next year. Third, hugs to the on-line support I have found. I've discovered that I'm never really alone and someone has been through what I am doing. And finally, hugs to my family and friends who first thought I was out of my mind when I started to work out and exercise, and say "no" fattening foods and lots of alcohol. Now they're on my side and realize that, just maybe, I am on to something. Preparing for this marathon was definelty worth the effort. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. It's one of those things you have to do for yourself to know exactly what I'm talking about. Okay, I am now officially emotional...

6 comments:

Cathy said...

Great write up Irene!
Congrats on finishing. Your hubby was incredibly nice to come along and run it with you as support.
Congrats again.

Noames said...

Congratulations!Great race report. I'm so excited for you, and I totally feel you on the "one of those thigns you have to do for yourself to know exactly what I'm talking about."

Can't wait to read about "next time." Can't believe you're already ready to contemplate a next time....

Irene said...

Cathy,
Thanks for backing me up with blog feedback and marathon support. DH was a real trooper. On Monday (the day after the marathon) his employees and business partner were taking bets to see if he would go into the office or not... He did go in and showed off his race number. :)

Naomi,
Thanks! It certainly was mind boggling. I know, it's insane that I would want to even consider doing another marathon, even while I'm stil sore and my toenail looks funky. I've been bitten by the long distance running bug! I think my next big event will be a half marathon, but I would love to do the RNR marathon next year, and hook up with TNT. I look forward to hearing about your event in Alaska! You'll be great!

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE AWESOME, IRENE!!!!
Sue bflgirlsover40

Irene said...

Thanks Sue!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

GREAT post thank you for sharing!! Amazing how food can taste sooo amazing after a run. It has been a month since my first marathon and I sware I am still salt depleted. Cheetos never tasted so good..