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Friday, June 09, 2006

Finally, the Marathon Report!

I arrived at school on Wednesday to a chorus of "Did you win Miss. N?" My students were so cute and very excited for my race report. Even though I didn’t win, I finished and that in itself is an accomplishment I am thankfull for.

The day before the race I arrived at the RBF gathering in down town San Diego with Nic, Susan, Amy & Troy, Dianna, Anne, Jeff, Karen, A. Maria and Laura. I was quickly greeted by Anne’s enthusiastic attitude and smile and I immediately knew it would be a great afternoon. Everyone I met was even nicer than I imaged and I only regret that I was full of pre-race anxiety and a little on the shy side. We had a great time talking about the race, filling on carbs., and drinking glass after glass of water. Half way through lunch Dianna stopped by with bad news. She would most likely not be running the marathon because of a sudden illness. Not Run?!? My faithful training partner? My pacer? My encourager? My ‘tell me when to eat and drink’ coach? How would I survive? I felt awful knowing how hard Dianna had trained and I hoped that she would feel better, but the chances were not good.

I started to panic over the fact that Dianna would not be running and then I heard Jeff would not be able to meet me on the course to hand me re-fuel food. My heart started racing. Without Dianna or food, the race was destined for failure. But then a wonderful thing happened. The Amazing Hip (aka Jeff) pulled out his super-hero cape and told me he would run the marathon with me!!! The Amazing Hip really is Amazing and so is his wife smsmh (who volunteered to hand me food at mile 18). I really can’t thank them enough and if I think about it too much, I get tears of gratitude in my eyes.

Marathon morning, I woke up at 4:00 am, put on my new running skirt and quickly made it the race start on time. I found Jeff, smsmh, Karen, A.Maria and Susan near the starting line. After a few ‘good luck’ exchanges we separated and awaited the starting gun in anticipation. It was a sureal experience waiting for the race to begin. I can’t believe I’m really in San Diego, running another marathon, with palm trees in the distance and standing next to the Amazing Hip.

The first few miles were great (maybe I should have stopped there). :) The pace was a little fast, but I felt strong and ready to accomplish my perfect 4 hour goal. Thankfully, most of the race was under an overcast sky most of the time, although it was humid at the start (if you want to know how humid it was, read what Jeff did with his socks).

The first 12 miles-ish felt relatively good and bands entertained Jeff and I along the way (especially the band Slither–although I think the name was more entraining than the music). Unfortunately, I had to make three sudden bathroom stops along the way (and they were not due to the fact that I was drinking too much water). Ewww! I am going to have to do some research on this bathroom ‘issue’. I felt especially awful because it seemed like every time Jeff started telling me a sweet story about his uncle (who he was running in memory of) I had to dart off the course.

Jeff and I hit the 13 mile marker at 2 hours. I was perfectly on schedule and although I was starting to feel the ‘pain’ of a marathon, I still thought I could reach my goal, but not for long. In no time at all I slowed down and felt really sore. I don’t remember being that sore during the Hartford marathon or even during my training runs on the trails. I still don't know what happened out there.

For the next two hours, poor Jeff, listened to me complain and vent about running. Normally, I try to stay positive while running, but I couldn’t. I felt needy and discouraged. I stopped talking for awhile and hoped the pain would end. I never specifically ‘hit the wall’ at a certain mile, because the entire last half of the marathon felt like I was running into a wall.

Even though I hated the last half of the marathon, I still had a great time. A contradiction? Yes, but it’s true. Jeff was full of positive energy and he was very supportive. He told me jokes and stories and would hand me cups from the water stations. He even ‘let’ me walk 2 or 3 of the last water stations without guilt. And every time we saw someone running in a running skirt, we thought of Mark and smiled. I can not thank Jeff and smsmh enough for their support. I never would have made it without them and I am thankful Jeff made it the finish line alive. (He had a close encounter with an escape golf ball that came flying over the net, crashing on the road right next him.)

During the last half mile-ish Jeff and I picked up the pace. The strangest thing occured when I picked up the pace, all of my muscle and knee pain went away. The last few minutes felt awesome. I was really happy with my final kick (it didn’t hurt that a few marines were cheering from the sidelines–pure motivation. Thankfully I didn’t fall on my face this time). ;) I crossed the line next to Jeff, chip time, 4 hours 12 minutes and 12 second. After the race I met up with some of the RBF members again. We refueled, took pictures, told race stories and said our goodbyes until the next race.

Despite the pain during the race, my post-race recovery went awesome. I took a long afternoon nap and by 5 pm I felt rested. Since Wade was MIA at mile 20, I put on my high heals and headed off to an evening church service. Unfortunately, Mr. Right was not to be found, but the service was perfect and it was a great way to end the day. Two days later I headed out for a 30 minute run and this Sunday I am going out for a semi-long run with Dianna.

A huge thank you to the RBF for your support. Your posts encourage me and make me laugh.

A true highlight of the trip was catching up with an old college friend, meeting RBF members and running with the Amazing Hip. I am blessed. It is a beautiful life!

10 comments:

Anne said...

I am so glad you and your friends got to join us on Saturday. You are as sweet and kind as you seem on your blog! It sounds like San Diego lived up to your expectations, even with the pitstops that threw off your game. And don't worry about me; I'll never stop running. At least not on my own. I'm looking forward to reading about your future running adventures....

Michelle said...

that's a great post. hmm, motivating marines? marine corp marathon in oct for #3 perhaps?

Laura Lohr said...

You did an awesome job. That was so sweet of Jeff to run with you. So, what is your next running adventure?

Susan said...

My goal in life is to now look as good as you in a running skirt. Forget running Boston cause I need to look good in the skirt!

Joe said...

What a great time! You almost did a negative split too! Congrats!

warren said...

Congrats on the marathon, AA. Obviously, you encountered some huge obstacles, and you should take pride in how you persevered, and overcame them.

David said...

I KNOW that feeling you described about running faste and the pains going away. I fonly I could remember that sooner than I do ....


Nice race. Good time. The aging hipster is the super hero, alright.

Jack said...

Great race, great report, thank you for sharing your story. Jeff and his wife really are amazing, a great role model for all of us! Have a happy recovery.

Jessica Deline said...

Great job! And how cool that you got to run with Jeff and spend 4+ hours with him! he's a great guy!

brent said...

great report april anne, you did awesome. thanks for sharing!!! that is so cool that you got to run it with the amazing hip too, an rbf legend!! :) wish i could have been out there to cheer you on.
whats next? :)