I am now sitting in the airport and probably don’t have enough time to get my thoughts out there, but I can get it started. Time fades memories. I especially have the
gift curse of losing details quickly and that wouldn’t be fair to me or this race.
5am comes early but with a little bit of enthusiasm on race day. I shower, shimmy into my race day outfit, throw my hair up, and then head to breakfast for my bagel with peanut butter and banana. Jim and I are supposed to meet COL at 615. We walk over to the start area, wish one another a great race, and then part ways to do our thing.
It was a chilly 50 degrees with a nasty 10-17mph winds. The race started at 7 am but there were waves and I placed myself in the 4:50 pace group to make myself lay back and cruise. I didn’t train for this race, so I knew better than to blitz out there. Instead I made myself a promise not to walk one single step. We started our race at approx 7:50 and I was worried about the temperature rising towards 75 with 7 UV index. I get heat sick easily and that sun can be so brutal.
Finally the start line was in sight and my nerves actually calmed. That’s so unusual for me. It dawned on me I was thrilled to be there. I have no real expectations other than I want to run/jog/shuffle the entire 26.2. I also knew I needed to be sure to fuel often and drink water. I AM BEING PAID TO DO THIS. I spend a lot of time chatting with those around me and passing the time. My upper arms were beginning to hurt because of how much I was tensing up shivering. Many of the gals around me were running their first half or first full.
The first 3 miles I ran with the 2:25 half marathon pacer to cushion myself from 4:50 just a hair. That was quite smart of me but then I just got tired of being there so I ran a hair faster after consuming my first GU. I felt good, it felt right. I can’t even begin to describe the atmosphere of this race. So let me share a few smiles.
Guys, I saw a full costumed chewbacca, people with coffee and doughnuts, so so SO many clever signs… It kept a smile on my face. I collected high fives like I needed them to survive. I swear everyone that lived along the route was out. I saw a teen in a gorilla costume in a hammock, Darth Vader, and thousands of encouraging smiles.
Before I knew it, I had enjoyed my way to mile 5! Selfie time! After I finally managed to get my phone back into the arm sleeve thingymabob, I heard a gal say “where did you get those pants?” I laughed and asked if she was still shopping because I had heard her a couple miles earlier. Not entirely sure what happened but we were magnets, one was north and one was south and we frikkin stuck together. I actually have no pictures from while I ran with her. It was her first half. She’s a triathlete but sprint and Olympic distances are her thing. I basically told her she was about to have no excuses for a half ironman. I needed her and she needed me. We laughed and enjoyed the hell out if one another’s company. I truly felt like I was helping someone out. I barely remember the 10k mark, 7mi, 8mi… I know we mentioned them but it was more of a comedic sense. It was like we were honing our cleverness out there. Mi 9 brought a significant little hill with jelly beans, a weird m&ms and skittle mix, and gummy bears. She would grab a handful and share with me. Haha. I had also grabbed a handful of sliced banana. I never saw mile markers for 10, 11, or 12 but we kept chugging along. Around this time, Kristin starts telling her legs to shut up aloud. We had caught up to the 2:20 pacer by this point which was like a gigantic high five. It was sad to have to part ways. I know she secretly was wondering if she could sneak into that marathon with me. Haha. She didn’t walk a single step and had only ever run 10mi before once. I was inspired by her and it came into play later on. Another notable at this point was me seeing people with their medal, damn them for being done. I was told the medal was a giant penny… Lies.
I took this photo mostly to remember. There were A LOT of thoughts going through my mind right here. Mi 14… Against the wind for half a mile now, miserable on the concrete, little shade, sun just beating down… I eat my 2nd GU starting here. (I’ve eaten chomps and the candy too) I’ve really started to miss #10090 (Kristin). A lot can happen in such a little bit of time. It wasn’t “the wall” but it was definitely a mental bump in the road. I kept chugging along in good spirits allowing myself to relax a little knowing I can make up time on the way back when the wind will be at my back gently guiding me even more quickly.
Mile 16 and change brought the executive decision to phone a friend, the hubby to be exact. The conversation was brief. He asked how my race was and I took that small blow to my pride in stride (literally haha). I had told him there was live tracking at 7 points and this question told me he wasn’t tracking. At this time, COL strolled by on his way to finish and gave me a holler. I’m sure Paul’s ear was thrilled by the change I’m volume. I told him I loved him and I’d talk to him later. My soul was smiling; it escaped to my face and I kept running. Decided to potty at mile 17, I ran in and ran out. I took a GU the support team was offering and slowly ate it.
And then this happened. I saw this monstrosity mysteriously appear in my line of sight. I had to take a picture. The weird thing is I didn’t dread it, but I distinctly remember thinking “where the hell did that come from?”
This accidental selfie captures the struggle to continue running and shove everything (that fell out) of the arm band. I literally laugh when I see it. Can you imagine how jacked up my running form was while this was going on?! Thank God I don’t know the witnesses. My struggle doesn’t end here though.
I text my brother at mi 18 to let him know I’m alive and diligently chugging along without walking. Then I see Jim and he hollers some variation of a cheer and my heart soars with the support (especially since later on I learn how much effort it took for him to compose the amount of enthusiasm he wanted to show. He had a painful second half of the race). There were signs with random facts and I can’t remember a single one today, but I found them interesting at the time. And then I saw my FAVORITE sign, “don’t trust your GU farts.” I burst out laughing and around a small corner the next sign said “if you laughed, you’re probably guilty.”
Finally, I make it to mile 20 where my next set of photo taking issues happened.
The front screen on my phone is shattered but somehow I turned it onto front camera and snagged these beauties which also bring a grin to my face today. Clearly, that selfie is real. Au naturale…. Considering I thought I was taking a picture of the road in front of me… Ugh. Finally, the out&aback turn around point comes and goes….
Wind is now sideways-ish….. Wait a second…. Wait one damn minute….. Why isn’t it behind me!?!?!???!?
I don’t let it deter me (much), I keep chugging along. Silently cursing it only a lot.
Knowing I had less than 10k to go was comforting. I felt good. No cramps. No pain. I can breathe.
I laugh as I pass girls singing a terrible but cheerful version of “Let it go” and I think to myself “nope, not yet” 5 miles is a lot on legs that have run 21 untrained.
I text my brother an update and read the encouragement of his response to mile 18 which is helpful in a reassuring sense. He reminded me that if I “have the urge to walk, chances are my mind is tired, more so than my body” 23 was a great time for that reminder.
I didn’t really hit a wall, but I think mile 24 was where my body hiccuped and was contemplating a wall…. I started hyperventilating out of the blue. No pace change or anything, I just suddenly started hyperventilating. I focused on 4 in and 4 out (I usually do 3) to coax oxygen into my lungs. I hardly considered walking, but in the brief moment I did, I remembered Kristin. I took control of that situation and sailed through to 25 where I took one more photo of the mile marker and sent James a message letting him know I survived 2 more and only have 1.2 to go.
First of all, that final 1.2 seemed so long but not torturous. Secondly, I wasn’t thrilled about the finish on the Cornhusker 50 yard line as a Spartan fan. Thirdly, I literally realized I could have kept this pace up to complete a 50k in under 6hrs and then laughed at myself because clearly I wasn’t thinking straight.
Alright final bit is a ramp down onto the field where I knew I had just enough for a sprint. I was cursed with inconsiderate people walking 2-3 abreast down the relatively narrow tunnel. I yelled “excuse me, move, running” and the looks of horror/terror I got from these ladies was comparable to that of the looks we see people give monsters in movies. I was like a wild animal letting loose down that ramp and would have ran those bitches over if they didn’t move… I did have to guide one that wasn’t moving fast enough. She was the last one, not like she didn’t hear me coming…. Anyway,THEN I hit the field and it was like suddenly hitting a soft sandy beach. Imagine 26.1(ish) mi of hard concrete and asphalt to suddenly hit grass. I felt like I got stuck in a slow motion. Haha. And then I finished and a General put my medal on me! Whoa, that was weird. COL happened to see me finish and gave me a half hug saying he was proud.
I staggered over to this to catch this photo. And that is where I will leave off. I will have one final blog of post-race, travels home, and lessons learned. I’m wordy. Ha. That’s the beauty of having a blog I suppose. I did find one photo of me running and stole it.