November 29, 2015
I didn’t sleep well at all last night. I knew that I had to get up early; 3 AM early; so my fear of oversleeping kept me tossing and restless. Needless to say, I actually woke up before my alarm sounded.
I crawled out of bed as quietly as I could so as not to wake my mom. I had all of my gear piled on the chair next to the bed, so I grabbed all of it and headed to the bathroom. I was slow moving but got dressed without making a lot of noise. When I was finished, I left the bathroom light on and went into the main room so I could put away my pajamas and such. I also wanted to get my food so I could head downstairs to eat.
My mom was awake so we chatted for a minute while I got the rest of my stuff together. I told her that she would be able to catch the bus downstairs probably right outside the lobby. She said she would be on the bus around 8 AM so that she could get to the park. I told her she could take her time; the marathoners don’t start running until 6:30 AM and it’ll take me about six hours.
I head downstairs with my hands full of my food and such. I meet several other runners on the elevator and one mentions that the bus is supposedly almost full. If we don’t get on this one, we may have to wait until 5 AM to catch the next bus. I want to make sure I get on this bus.
Once we’re downstairs, I head to the food area to look for a spoon. I finally have to ask for one because there is not one to be found. The lady from the hotel gets one for me and I head to the bus. It isn’t packed but it is nearly full. I find a seat and start opening my cereal so I can eat.
While we head to the park, I eat my cereal and my yogurt. The bus is packed by the time we leave. Most of the runners aren’t very talkative; I think everyone is still in the stage between asleep and awake. I’m not functional yet either.
Once we arrive, I find a place to sit so I can finish my breakfast. After awhile, another runner; named Bonnie; sits down next to me and we start chatting. This is her first marathon. She is super nice and I learn that she will soon be moving to an area near where I am from. I am very familiar with the area where she will be so we chat about that for awhile.
Before we have to head over to the starting area, I head to meet with a couple of my friends for pictures and go to the bathroom while I can still use a real bathroom. Once I finish, I head over to the start area. I find the 5:45 pacer and decide I’ll run as long as I can with him. He is going to do 30 second/30 second run/walk intervals. I normally do 1 minute/1 minute intervals so this will be a little different. I kind of figure that I can do anything for 30 seconds so maybe this will work.
It is finally time to start. With a rocket blastoff on the big screen, we are off. Once we are out of the crowded area, our pacer sets a comfortable run pace. I feel pretty good about this pace; everything feels good so I’m partially optimistic about keeping this up for some time.
In between miles two and three, I had a side stitch. I fell off the pacer to walk a little longer and then picked back up when I was ready. I wasn’t far off and was able to catch back up easily and with little extra effort. From there, I was comfortable until about mile 6.5. My side stitch flared again so I took some extra time to walk. Once I was able to get it sorted out, I started to run again. I still wasn’t far off the pacer and felt like I could catch up again easily. However, every time I tried to run, my side would ache terribly. So, I resolved to walk for a bit. And that was where it went downhill.
I was able to run small sections from about mile seven to about mile nine. But, I couldn’t keep my side stitch from flaring no matter how I moved my body. I stretched both sides and tried to massage the area but it just wasn’t going away. Eventually, I resolved to just keep walking.
By the time I passed the halfway point, the sun was up and it was hot. I believe this race was hotter this year than it was last year. I was mostly miserable. And, to make matters worse, my mom had been texting me since about mile nine. She went downstairs to catch the bus and the front desk at the hotel told her the bus wasn’t running because the race was over. They told her she could try to take the city bus but that the city buses don’t run frequently on the weekend. She was frustrated and wasn’t sure what to do.
After a short conversation by text, mom said she would drive to the park. I told her the information for the park was in the race guide that we had put on the table in our room. She was able to put the address in her GPS on her phone. Once she got close, she was able to find parking nearby and walk to the park. She let me know she made it and then texted me again letting me know that she was near the finish line.
The last half of the marathon course is the half marathon course (Course Map). It isn’t as hilly; rolling hills; as the first part but it still has some hills. The residents are great on the course. So many of them come out and setup tables with food or drinks to hand to the runners. Because it was so hot, a couple of residents were standing by the road with water hoses and they would spray runners that wanted to be sprayed. I had one of them spray my hands and I splashed the cool water on my face. That felt really good.
When I made it to the turnaround point; around mile 20; I was miserable. I could feel the blisters on my feet, my hands were so swollen, and I could feel the sunburn on my shoulders and face despite the fact that I lathered on sunscreen. When you’re sweating profusely, sunscreen doesn’t last long, I suppose.
I finally made it to the final stretch and I texted my mom to let her know I was in the final 0.2 miles. As much as my feet hurt, the crowd energy was incredible and it motivated me to give it all I had. I ran; not fast but ran nonetheless; and was able to see my mom in the final turn just before the finish line. She got a video of me coming around the corner. I’m all smiles in the video despite how miserable I was feeling.
I collected my medal and my finisher’s towel and then made my way around so I could find mom. I had her come into the runner’s area so I could get something to eat. I got a pancake and a coke and both were the best food imaginable at that moment.
I had taken off my shoes while I was sitting down. So, I walked back to the car in my socks. Mom did great; she had gotten a parking spot not too far from the park entrance. I have never appreciated a close parking spot more than right this moment. My feet hurt in 100 different ways!
Mom said she would drive so we headed to find the local YMCA where runners were supposed to be able to shower. We drove around and never could find the place so I had mom stop at a gas station so I could at least put on dry clothes. I can’t ride almost two hours in my sweaty clothes. I’ve already got chafing and riding in wet clothes won’t help that.
Once I was changed, we headed back to my house. I was so tired but managed to stay awake for the drive. I know when I hit the pillow tonight I will be out in nanoseconds. In fact, it will be challenging for me to stay awake until at least 8 PM. I could seriously use a nap but I know if I sleep now, I won’t sleep well tonight.
This race wasn’t a total disaster. I knew I was under-trained and under-prepared going into it. I knew I could get through it but I had hoped it would be better. I’ve never had blisters on my feet like I have now so that concerns me somewhat. With Dopey coming in just a few weeks, I need to figure out what to do about this. It’s not like I was wearing new shoes or new socks.
Considering all things, I am as happy as I can be with this race. I finished. I didn’t cry and I didn’t give up. It was so hot and I chafed and got sunburned. It wasn’t pretty but I did finish. It is the worst marathon time I’ve had yet; 6:35:47.
I am also very thankful that my mom was there with me. I would not have been happy about driving home considering how badly my feet were hurting and how gross I felt from being so sweaty and not getting a shower. I also would not have made it back to the hotel in time for late checkout so my stuff would’ve still been in my room and it probably would’ve caused some ruckus that would’ve made me even grumpier. Mom was a total trooper about the whole situation and I’m glad she was there for this race.
Looking forward, I’ve got to figure out a plan for Dopey. I will try to get some miles in but I also know I need to rest and rehab some muscles. I’ve had some nagging issues and some of those flared during parts of the race; not badly but enough that I know I need to give them some attention. I’ve also got to figure out what the hell happened with my feet. I do NOT want a repeat of that if I can help it. I know I won’t be setting any records at Dopey but I want to feel like I will be able to finish. Dopey is a lot of miles and it’s no joke. I know I am not as well trained as I have been in years past so I know I will need to approach these races with a different attitude.
Space Coast by the bank:
Gas: ~$20 (mom paid for one tank and I paid for one)
Total: ~$376 (not including anything mom paid for)
Until next time…gotta run!