Monday, June 6, 2011

I am a marathoner! Rock N Roll San Diego race recap.

First of all, I would like to say thank you to you guys in the running community. It never ceases to amaze me how generous this community is with support, advice, love, shoulders to cry on and everything else in between.  I truly don't believe I would've gotten to this point without you all.  It truly took a village to raise this runner…

A huge thank you especially to Lesley at Racing It Off. Lesley you are wonderful. Beautiful inside and out. Your generosity of giving a place to "some girl on the internet" to sleep and having this experience with you was absolutely priceless and I'll always remember the entire thing as one of the highlights of my life. Thank you, thank you.

Sherry, many thanks to you too. I loved getting to know you and had a fabulous time.

jen - lesley - sherry - Jion AKA "frankie" ;)

Now on to the race:

I landed on Saturday and as soon as wheels were down and Lesley had made the pickup we were off to the Expo. The place was a mob-scene and I was starving so we pretty much made the bib pickup and headed out after a little looking around.  The rest of the day, we took easy. I even had a "celebrity sighting" at the hotel! No other than The Boring Runner himself, Adam! I was so excited to see him but unfortunately didn't get a chance to chat or get a picture with him. (If you don't read his blog, you should. He's a talented runner/writer and don't let the name fool you - so funny and awesome.)   

Then, we got all of our race stuff set up and ready to go.

We visited Little Italy and found a delicious little Italian restaurant to carb-load at.  

The next morning we were up and off to the race by 4:30 AM. 

Got in my corral which was an embarrassing 32 out of 34 corrals for full marathoners, but we all have to start somewhere. My est. time of arrival at finish was around 5:45 - which I was pretty confident I could nail.  (And probably even do a wee bit better…. but.)

Only 31 more corrals to go!

So after waiting for 31 corrals to go before me, finally it was our turn - And off we went.  The weather was perfect. I was feeling excited and optimistic in-spite of a weird cramp in the arch of my foot (before I even started running!) and the fact that I had lost a GU .5 miles into my run. Oh and for some reason my Nike+ started and then stopped so I got ripped off of a few miles of running… 

Kind of a crazy start to a race but I wasn't gonna let anything break-a my stride…

The first 5 miles were glorious, I was happy and feeling good. And then, OH NO. What the hell!?  Why does my tummy feel so icky??? 

TMI alert. If you're not a runner or a parent you may want to turn away now.  You've been warned.

I had just taken my first GU and all of a sudden I needed a potty. Now. And the "please don't poop my pants" inner chant started. My stomach was revolting. Was it the Cyto-max that the race had in place of the gatorade I was used to? The pasta from the night before? A gu gone bad? The morning coffee brewed in that little hotel room pot or just the stomach flu coming in at a bad time -- I don't know but it was one of the worst things that could happen.  Let's just say that I made BFF's with every porta-potty stop along the route - I lost count after visiting around SEVEN of them. Fantastic. Running made it way worse and this was upsetting though I tried to keep my spirits as high as possible. I ran when I could, jogged/walked when I had to. 

Right past the half way point, I even ran a block off the race course to visit a 7-11 to buy a travel packet of immodium. The teenaged clerk gave me a funny look and I kind of shot him a look that said "F" you in return and headed back out. For the record, the medicine didn't really help but it was worth the try.

Whoaa! We're half way there! -Jovi

No matter what, sometimes sh*t happens. Uh, sometimes literally and I was determined to still enjoy this day and make it the best day ever, dammit. My legs felt good, my mind appreciating as much as possible and I told my tummy that I wouldn't let it rob me of this day.  Once I started, there was never a doubt in my mind that I would cross that finish line. Lesley even promised to come back and drag me over the line if she had to- so I had faith I would get there.

I ran/jogged/plodded/walked on only 1 1/2 GU's and a half packet of sport beans. Not ideal fueling. I kept drinking water and took a little of salt but even water hitting my belly sent the wave of cramps and another "please don't poop my pants" awful feeling but I knew that I had to at very least hydrate if nothing else.

Right around mile 15 when I was feeling particularly ick there was an angel sent from heaven in the form of an old friend I know from a job we both worked at years ago. I knew she was a runner (in fact she did the goofy challenge at Disney this past year) and TNT coach but never thought I'd see her on the other side of the country during a marathon.  At just the right time, I looked up to see Alison and it was like the happiest moment ever. I didn't know she was going to be there and she didn't know I was running. I saw her and screamed her name. She looked at me and I could tell she didn't recognize me.  Alison hasn't seen me in 65 pounds or so. When I identified myself, she almost fell over and her warm hug and "OMG you've lost so much weight, you're running the full!?) and other enthusiasms gave me so much needed energy - it was better than anything.  I'm so grateful that i wasn't looking the other way, or at my feet or whatever else that I do when I run and saw her. I needed that SO BAD.

At mile 18 I helped a girl who looked like she was going to die. She was panting. People were just running by her and I felt like she needed at least a kind word. I reluctantly gave her the half of my remaining sport beans and found her some water.  She was cramping bad and didn't look great. She was TNT person so someone came to help her and a medic came - then I was on my way again.

My tummy never got better and I spent a "blissful" 21.2 miles running with a rumbling tummy and underfueled but what are you gonna do? 

When I hit mile 25 I started to get choked up. I was gonna make it. I did it. I faced down no fuel and tummy troubles, previous injuries, foiled running plans, an imperfect training regime and making friends with 50 porto's along the way and I was going to complete my first marathon.  I thought of my friend Sara and her recent journey and her mom - I thought of Lesley and Jason who've been great, great support. I thought of Emz and her 24 hour treadmill run, I thought of my darling husband and son and I thanked God that I made it the whole 26.2 without pooping my pants.  

I came down the homestretch and ran that last mile. Finish strong. I saw Lesley cheering me on -- when I crossed, I smiled big for the camera (as Jason suggests) and then broke down into an ugly cry. I was so happy.

26.2 and still smiling
It was the best day but the worse "race."  Well. I beat Al Roker's time but my final time? A disappointing but it is what it is, 6:20. Boo.  I am disappointed. Mainly because I know that if I didn't stop every mile and could've run what I was planning to, I would've done way better. But, I am proud that I didn't quit and kept my spirits up in the face of the troubles. Plus, the upside to all that stopping/walking nonsense, I never hit a wall, never really had leg issues and it was a good experience in that regard. 

And while I'm a little creaky today, I'm really no more creaky than the day after any long run. I feel like I really didn't give it my all if I'm feeling this "good." I know I didn't (even with very good excuse) and that bums me out. 

I am definitely having the post-marathon day blues. All that training, anticipation, bitching, moaning, dreaming, fearing, looking-forward to - gone. Done. Over. Do I dare sign up for another? Oh I want to with every cell in my body. But we'll see. For now, it's just we'll see.

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