My mom (the sherpa), Beth, and I all left my parents house at 4:30 am to get to the race start. It was cool in the morning, but the day promised to be a super nice one. We were at the start around 6am. My pre-race routine consisted of using The Stick on my calf, eating a bagel and banana, and popping a few Advil. Pretty intense, I know. I popped a few more Advil a few minutes before the race.
I love this photo of Beth and I at the start line early in the morning.
This is a pretty small race, about 330 participants. It is no frills, little swag, not even a timing chip to be found. Oh, and I should just say this now. The famous sticker was not in the swag bag. As a matter of fact, there we couldn't even buy a sticker at check-in. Beth and I were devastated. Since I have the JPEG, we plan on making our own somehow. Actually, we are going to make magnets instead. If anyone has any ideas how to take this:
So Beth, my buddy Steve W. and I were talking at the start line when this gun went off. We started laughing, because there wasn't much announcing, just a gun going off. They both ran ahead fairly quickly, I had a plan to take it easy (~ 10 minute miles or so) right from the start, baby that calf (which until I Advil'd up, wasn't feeling great) and just enjoy the day. Plus, I haven't really run any distance since early April, so I really wanted to just make sure I finished.
So much for plans.
I ran into these 3 girls who were super nice and we started chatting. Before I knew it, we were climbing the hill at mile 7 and my watch read 1:00 Oops. I know that isn't blazing up the pavement for many of you, but for me on almost no training, it was a lot faster than I had hoped to be at the start of a marathon.
So I kept going, because those girls were really nice. The hills come at you for about 3 solid miles, some steep and long, some gradual and long. Around mile 9 I gained some sense and decided to dial it back a lot. I said good bye to my new friends and started running my own race (as I should have from the start).
The highest point of the race is around mile 10 or so. These are really some tough hills, and the awesome views of the Bigelow Range off to your left do lessen the sting a little. Then it drops steeply for a mile down to mile 11 where you pass by the Sugarloaf access road.
My moment of darkness came so early it kind of scared me. If you have run a marathon, you know what I am talking about. It is when you get to that point where you need to push past a wall. This happens to most folks around mile 21-24. It happened to me from mile 13-15 and kind of came out of nowhere.
I kept running, even though I really didn't want to. I started getting frustrated and discouraged when people kept passing me like I wasn't moving. I finally pushed through when I reached inside my head and pulled out one of my favorite Randy Pausch quotes from The Last Lecture:
Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something. ~ Randy Pausch
I came through the back end of mile 15 running strong, passing the people who had passed me. By mile 20, I was feeling pretty good about a 4:20 finish time, as long as I could keep up the 10 minute miles. It was at that time that my calf started growling. At first a soft rumble, it eventually became really angry. I stopped to massage it a little, but then decided that keeping moving was my best bet. I think it was a smart move, because I could have wasted a lot of time wallowing in misery trying to make it feel better. Accepting it was going to hurt and moving forward seemed to work.
I was pretty happy to see the mile 26 sign, I wasn't really hobbling but I was ready to get done. Steve W. greeted me and ran the last .2 with me, which was awesome. I finished doing the Blais roll across the finishline, which baffled all who were watching. I hope someone got a photo of it.
I just wanted to end with some photos. Here is Beth crossing the finish line. Congrats Beth on a strong finish!
And here I am, coming into the finish. Final time 4:35:01 - not bad for a gimp.
Congratulations Steve W and KC!!
Congrats to my buddy Steve W. (the person who started my endurance addiction - thank you Steve!) Here is is, all pumped and ready to go in the morning. Steve BQ'd AND PR'd on this race with a 3:31 - congrats Steve! That was a hard-earned BQ and PR my friend, you totally deserve it. WOOT!
Congrats to KC on her super finish on Saturday, placing 3rd in her age group! Check out her awesome race report here! Way to go KC, you are a rock star!