Monday, October 10, 2005

Marathon Race Report

I don’t know where to begin. How can I capture the experience of a marathon in a few paragraphs? I will try my best and warn you that I will probably go in and out of past and present tense and forget all other rules of grammar (right *Brent?). :)

Friday Night
The Connecticut RBF met for dinner. We enjoyed a night of laughing and relaxing. We talked about our goals, why we love the RBF and the way Susan likes to cook. :)

Saturday Race Morning
I woke up to the sound of rain drops. Today was the day one of my dreams was about to come true and surprisingly I wasn’t nervous, only excited. I ate my oatmeal and an english muffin and soon we were on our way to Hartford. I followed Dianna, Jasaon, and Michelle in my car. As fate would have it, I got lost, but thankfully not for long. :)

Starting Line
Dianna, Michelle and I were able to start together. We found our anticipated pace leaders and waited for the start (The 4 hr. pace leader was barefoot! We smiled and thought of Mark). While we waited for the gun, it started raining harder and all we could was laugh—there was no turning back now.

Miles 1 - 4
The first three miles felt good. Michelle and I ran together. Our pace was a little faster than my pace leader, but I wanted to stay with Michelle. I knew the next 23 miles might be lonely, so I would enjoy the company while it lasted. We chatted away and bumped into Sarah for a quick minute too. After mile three, I slowed down and watched Michelle speed ahead. I found the pace leader at mile 4, but he seemed to be running faster than I expected, so I decided to keep my own pace. (After that, he stayed ahead of me the whole time.)

Around Mile 6
I overheard two older women and a guy my age talk about their 4 hr. goal. I told them I was interested in the same pace, so we stayed together for a little while, but the two women quickly picked up their pace. (Of course this is all relative. In reality, they could have kept the same pace and I could have been slowing down, but who knows?!) :)
I hit the 10K mark at 57:02 = 9:11 pace (a little slower than I wanted)

Mile 7
My first quick stop at the bathroom.
After running next to the guy my age for about two miles, casually chatting away it suddenly hit us–we didn’t even know each other’s names. I think it went something like this
"Oh, by the way I’m Matt"
"I’m Aprilanne, nice to meet you"
"And this is Tom. We met at the starting line." (Or was it John, I can’t remember now. He had quickly joined our little group after mile 6 with the same goal.)

Mile 10
1:30:52 = 9:06 pace
The three of us are excited. We had picked up the pace and were 38 seconds ahead of schedule.

Mile 11
Dianna’s husband, Jason, hands me a peach and gummie bears and gives me an update on Dianna. I share the food with my running partners and we are all in high spirts. I feel really good. Most of the time it was either misting, sprinkling or pouring, but we were running and life was great. After discussing where we were from, Matt said, "This is what a marathon is all about-eating peaches, meeting people, and talking about statehood". (Am I remembering that correctly? Hmmm...well, it was something like that. At the time I was thinking, You’re right. This is great.)

At mile 13
The wind picked up and for a second I think, Why didn’t I register for the half marathon? But only for a second! :)

Mile 14
Matt, Tom and I separate and I’m on my own for the rest of the race. My socks are sneakers are completely soaked and I suddenly have a pain on the bottom of the feet. I think it is the start of a blister. Somewhere around this time I make my second quick stop at a bathroom. I realize my pace has slowed down, but I’m still running.

Mile 19
I turn the corner and see my dad standing there, smiling. I quickly see the rest of my family huddled under their umbrellas in the rain. I the most blessed girl in the world or what? They are cheering for me! In the rain, they came to see me! My sister hands me a new gatoraid bottle. (I carried my first one from mile 1 to 15.) My brother starts running next me for the next 30 seconds, while he takes a video clip of me from his digital camera. It’s funny because after I watched it yesterday, I realized I wasn’t really making a lot of sense.
"I have a splinters on my feet and it hurts. Thaks for being here. I really appreciate it. Wait, I mean blisters. Can you take my sunglasses? Where do I put them?"

Mile 20
3:04:25 = 9:14 pace
[When I arrive at mile 20 I search the crowd for Wade. He is no where to be seen. I thought this was supposed to be the best day of my life–get engaged and finish my first marathon, all on the same day. What happened? (J/K hahaha)]

When I reach mile 20 I feel tired but excited. Seeing my family was just what I needed. I pick up the pace (but probably only for a minute) I have been racing on and off since I was a freshman in high school and this was the first race my dad and brother have ever been to, so I was so excited to have them there. I start thinking about how blessed I am and then it happens, I break down crying because I am so happy. Wait, I thought this was supposed to happen when I cross the finish line, not at mile 20? I quickly gather my composure and focus on getting through the next 6.2 miles.

The Last Six.2 Miles
The last 6 miles are the hilliest part of the course. Up until that point, the course was mostly flat. What type of person would design a course like this? It was difficult, but not impossible. Mentally I was doing okay. (Although a little delirious at times–at one water station I thought I saw the swim instructor from this past summer and I said-do I know you? He quicly said, No, I don’t think so. Opps!) :) I felt strong enough to finish, granted I wouldn’t reach my goal time but I knew I would finish. During the last few miles my heels were really hurting me. It felt like I had two huge blisters near my toes. Every step hurt, I had to gave up any attempt of chi running and I was a "heel striker" for the last 6 miles-sorry Mark!

I didn’t get my second bag of gummie bears at mile 19 and I need to refuel, so at mile 22 someone handed me a mini butterfinger bar and I ate it. The first bite I had to spit out because I didn’t think I would be able to keep it down, but I forced myself to swallow the next three bites. There was some walking too. I stopped twice to walk, once up one of the hills and once because I was tired.

I looked at my live strong wristband and thought of Lance Armstrong. I thought of my family. I thought of the running chicks. I thought of my blisters. I thought of the rain. I thought of Matt and Jon reaching their goals. I repeated some scripture verses in my head and I remembered all of you cheering for the running chicks.

Finish Line
For the last .2 miles I picked up the pace and I was happy with my final kick. Okay, so it probably looked like I was running in slow motion to everyone else, but it my head it felt like I was flying! I crossed the line and was greeted by congratulations and hugs from the running chicks and my family. (My grandparents were there too, all the way from Ohio!) I was happy it was over and happy to see my family.

I was a marathoner–one of my lifelong dreams come true!

Net time finish = 4:11:20 (Wahoo–good enough for me. I made it, even though I missed my perfect 4 hr. goal. I guess that means I will have to try again!!) ;)

Later in the day
I tried to take a nap, but I couldn’t. I was still on a ‘Runners High’. That afternoon my dad came over and said I will never forget your face at mile 19. You looked like you were having so much fun. That night my family took me out to dinner and then we had cake to celebrate. What better way to end the day?
I was really soar after the race, but two days later I am feel 90% better and I hope to meet my running class on Wednesday for a slow, relaxing trail run.

Mark Twain once said, "To get the full value of joy, you must have somebody to divide it with."

I could probably write three pages of thank yous to everyone who helped me reach my goal, but I’ll try to keep this short.
Thank you to the running chicks for all their motivation. If it was not for you girls, I never would have ever thought about the possibility of running a marathon at this stage in my life. Thanks for organizing the training runs and getting me out the door every Saturday morning.
Thank you to my family (especially Dawn and Kia). You girls are the best cheerleaders! Thanks for listening to my complaints and for always being supportive.
Thank you to the RBF! Your posts inspire me and make me laugh. What could be better than that?


Cassie (TIGGS) said...

way to go AA! you should be really proud of yourself- we all are! you did awesome!!! Congrats1

Joe said...

AA, what a wonderful report!! A great run on a miserable day. Many blessings are yours, indeed and it s wonderful that you grasp it!

Sarah said...

First off, April-Anne, your positive attitude is really inspiring. I remembered that about you after our very brief (2 min?) meeting in New Haven...if I stole just a smidgen of your outlook, well, I'd be a much happier person :-)

A huge congrats to you for all the hard work you put into training and running the race! One down, many more to go, right?! :-)

susie said...

AA, you made me cry!! And laugh!! What a wonderful post. I am so, so happy for you. I wish I hadn't fallen apart after my race, so I could have been there to give you a big hug, too. You should be so proud of yourself:) (And my face is still red!!) Hope we can run together soon.

Rae said...

Way to go!!! That's so awesome and I'm really proud of all you running chicks. You all did amazing!!!!!

Mark I. said...

That's so awesome, April Anne. And you know what? 4:11 is an AWESOME result - especially for a first marathon!!! I'm very proud and happy for you. :)

jeanne said...

What a wonderful race report! and 4:11 is unbelievable!!! Reading all of your recaps is just so inspiring! Congratulations!

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

What a great race, April Anne! That's a fabulous time too! Made me sniffly just reading it. Ahem! Well, not so really sniffly, but just in a manly kind of way you know. :)

You should be very proud of a great race like that (and in the pouring rain too!). Did ya wear that medal all day or what? I sure as heck would! :)

a.maria said...

totally tearing up. great report and AMAZING job!! you had a phenomenal first marathon time!! i'm super impressed!!!


brent said...

what a great race report april anne! i had a lot of fun reading it! you did so awesome out there, what a great day. woohoo!!!

David said...

I think your race went very well. You made good decisions along the way. The gurney wagon might have had to pick you up if you ran with the big dogs early on. You conserved and managed to have enough to get through the hardest part. 4:11. That's excellent. I should do so well some day.
Long live the Running Chicks!

Danny said...

It's true what everyone says - that positive attitude is just infectious. I can't help smiling just from reading about your race! I really enjoyed that report.

Keep it up!

Jack said...

Awesome report, awesome marathon. Congratulations again! You have such a positive upbeat attitude that is totally infectious and says a lot about your life!

Michelle said...

AA I'm all choked up. You did a great job recapturing your day and sharing it with all of us. I am so glad and lucky to have such awesome running partners. Ditto to what David said "Long Live the Running Chicks"!
Congratulations again- YOU ROCK!

Running Chick said...

I still can't get over how lucky I am that I got to share some small part of this experience with you!!

Whenever I look at the picture of you getting your chip taken off and just BEAMING...I can't help but grin and I just about bust with pride!

You are an amazing woman April-Anne! Think about all the discipline and strength it took to get through the training and the marathon...and take those lessons with you into the rest of your life!

I eagerly await the next Running Chicks adventure!

Liz said...

Congratulations April Anne. I am somewhat jealous of you that you have finished your first marathon. I am so nervous!

Oh, and I started crying when I was reading your post. I hope I will have a smile on my face while I am running as well.

Thomas said...

Congratulations! You know, you'll never forget your first marathon ;-)

Stephanie said...

Such a wonderful report and way to go! Great job!

Mike Paus said...

Good Job April-Anne! That's a really good time! I'm very proud of you!

Joe said...

I thought this was supposed to be the best day of my life–get engaged and finish my first marathon, all on the same day. What happened?

Kudos on the marathon finish! Too bad about the engagement -- tell him to hurry up already!

I thought I saw the swim instructor from this past summer

Are you swimming regularly right now?

Oldman said...

congrats on your first mary and a great time!

runner792 said...

Congratulations. My first marathon was one of the most fulfilling events in my life. Right up there with gettng married and having a new baby in the family (of course I could not make my non-running wife understand that). My 2nd marathon was a disaster, but we don't need to discuss that. Again congrats!

Joe said...

So now that it's Thursday, how do you feel? Are you still really sore?

Lara said...

Awesome April Anne!!! I so enjoyed your report and I'm so happy for your wonderful accomplishment! Congratulations!

partyrunner said...

almost forgot the connecticuters with all the chicago talk...
but so glad to read your report. my favorite part was about the splinters.
;-) what a fantastic run and lucky you for having family there!

beverly said...

April Anne, I'm late to the party, but I really wanted to say a big congratulations. What an awesome result, and an equally awesome race report ... well done!!!

Richard said...

Wow - what a great experience - and I only got to it a week late. Boo me! Anyway, congratulations, and here's to the many more fun times ahead of you.

brent said...

hi april anne! thank you so much for taking to time to write your comment, i loved it and thought it was awesome!! i should really read my purpose driven life book...i read few sections a long time ago but maybe its time to dust it off again and read on. i liked your story about teaching swimming...thats so great that you had that experience. i'm still looking for my "swimming instruction" assignment but i'll just keep praying and i know its out there. take care! thanks again for the comment. ;)