fast forward to the first week in june this year when training began for maine. i had it all planned out, and day 1 of training went just as expected with a track workout consisting of a mile warm up, 8x400 meter sprints, and a mile cool down. im pretty certain this was the only day i actually followed of the 18 week marathon plan.
anyone who works nights knows its not easy to get training runs in when youre supposed to, especially with long runs scheduled on days youre working. i thought i was going to be able to change my training schedule around to accomodate work but it just didnt happen. 5 weeks before the marathon i began freaking out and decided i would just do the half marathon instead.
2 weeks left to go til the big day and i found myself running through the backroads of new hampshire with 11 other crazy teammates in the reach the beach 200 mile/24 hour relay. the day after that i ran a 10k.... for a total of 26.55 miles. despite the fact it took me over 45 hours to run that distance, i changed my mind (for the millionth time) about the marathon once again. i was going to go all out. (katie also said i would be her hero if i ran a marathon without training... who wouldnt want to be someones hero?!) :)
the day before the marathon i worked at the expo with sarah at the train 4 autism maine chapter table and we met a ton of people and really got the word out about what we were doing, why we were there, and how they could help. it was so much fun! (but sorry, no we cant get you into the boston marathon... we were asked quite a few times).
i picked up my electric lime green gear bag and headed to my parents house for dinner. i felt really sick (nerves, im sure) and really didnt eat much. i went home and watched some tv, and fell asleep about 10pm. of course i woke up at 3:30am ready for the day.
i called dunkin donuts to see what time they opened (5am) so i stretched and danced around the apartment to some good tunes til i could go get some caffeine.
andrea and jaime picked me up at 6:30am and we were off. i was still pretty nervous about the whole thing and really didnt want to have a DNF (with my longest training run being 16 miles over a month ago, who knew what was going to happen today), but there was no turning back now.
before leaving the house i realized i only had one espresso love GU (usually i go through about 4 or 5 during the marathon), so i decided to pack myself a lunch. half a peanut butter sandwich and a bag of ruffles potato chips. protein and salt, yum! andrea thought i was nuts and decided she needed to take a pic.
i think the race pretty much started on time at 7:45am with a loud boom. the start is really slow since its just a two lane road for the first few miles, and 3500 marathon/half marathon/relay runners makes for a crowded run. we saw sarah working the water stop at mile 1 and just waved as we ran by. i snapped this pic at mile 4 cuz i think its one of the most beautiful parts of the whole run.
i was just about to mile 5 at 45 minutes or so, and the half marathon leader was on his way back (almost at mile 9). speedy!! i like this part of the race because from this point on until the half marathon turn around at mile 7ish you get to cheer on the half marathon runners who are coming back the other way. when i got to the turn around i asked the flag man if i could change my mind… he laughed and said "no". thank you! although i may have felt like i wanted to turn around, that is actually just what i needed to hear at that moment.
things went pretty well for the first 10 miles or so. a weird hip pain developed about mile 8, which is sweet since ive never had hip pain before (but hey, thanks for showing up on race day!)
i got to 13.1 at 2:07, so i knew i wasnt running super fast, but i was having a good time. i had met up with a man from iowa who was doing 50 states, maine was #44. we talked for about 2 miles... i hope i didnt annoy him! its nice when you can find someone to chat with, it gets lonely out there!
shortly after mile 16 i felt a familiar pain forming in my left knee. this same pain had been felt two years ago on a run, shortly before my knee popped and i couldnt even walk. stupid IT band. i knew at this point it wasnt now a question of “if” my knee would blow out before the finish line, but “when”. walking felt much better than running, so i hobbled along for a while. i tried running again, but the pain was still there. i had already taken 8 ibuprofen so i waited until the next med station to lather up with icy hot and tried to keep going. over the next mile or so my knee loosened up and i was able to run again.
i saw this guy shortly before mile 19 and just had to laugh (and of course take a pic!).
when i got to mile 20 i knew i had some power left in me to try to run the last 6.2 miles. one of my huge twitter supporters, @MiniRowRow (check her out here!) texted me right before the race and reminded me of a phrase she heard over and over when she was running one of her long runs last week…..“just f’n FINISH!”. i just kept repeating this to myself and trying to enjoy the beautiful day for what it was. i was out here doing something not everyone can do, and i was going to get myself to that finish line one way or another! shortly after mile 21 i heard people cheering for me up ahead, and as i got closer i saw it was megan and josh! thanks for cheering me on guys!! i needed this more than you know.
so far ive taken a pic at every “mile 22” sign in my marathons. almost there!
and going across the bridge between 22 and 23 my friend Diana drove by honking and waving out of her car! i had no idea it was her at the time but she told me on facebook. haha love her!
just before mile 25 the marathon course turns onto baxter boulevard and you can see the finish line. this seriously annoys me and is such a difficult part of the race because you just want to be done!! there is a water stop right after you turn though, and elizabeth had made orange jello shots for her favorite runners (21+ of course!). i had run out of water in my camelbak about a mile back so i was so happy to see her. her motivating words and pat on the back (plus about 3 cups of water) really helped push me to the finish. (i didnt think i could stomach a jello shot though. maybe next year!)
and then just like that, the finish line was upon me. the whole crying thing began again but i choked it back and pushed on as hard as i could. my mom was right before the finish line jumping up and down and cheering so loud, and i could see andrea up ahead of me at the end of the shoot.
i seriously started crying when i saw andrea here at the end. even though she had finished over a half hour earlier, she stuck around and waited (and wanted to give gross sweaty me a huge hug!). i probably would have backed out of the full had it not been for her…. mostly i think it was her ridiculous text messages that she sent me the night before the race haha xoxo
we always do our hardcore pic before races, but we forgot… so we attempted one after the race. note to self: dont do that again.
the marathon winner was a 29 year old male from new york, with a winning time of 2:36:35 (5:59). the female winner was 27 from connecticut, with a time of 3:00:54 (6:54). i cant even run one mile that fast, let alone 26.2. amazing.
my 26.2 info-
i was the 705th marathon runner to cross the finish line. i was 264th of 357 females, 102nd of 125 in my age group. gun time for the half marathon 2:07:27, gun time for 26.2 was 4:44:35, with a net time of 4:43:30 (10:48). that makes this a marathon personal worst by 30 seconds (maybe if i hadnt stopped to take pictures, gotten those damn rocks out of my sneakers, downed the 3 cups of water at elizabeths water stop....) but im totally fine with that. i know i didnt train like i should have, and when i could feel my knee locking up i knew i needed to just finish however i could and keep myself from getting more injured. i dont recommend what i did to anyone, but i do not regret my choice to stay with my original race plan and finish what i started. the marathon is tough, theres no doubt about that. but its totally worth it.
i came home right after the race, took a shower, and got into bed for a quick nap. all i could think about was how badly i wanted a huge towering plate of nachos... so after nap time i went to the grocery store and got all the fixings. yummy!! the hungover boys on the couch (tylers bachelor party was this weekend) swore they didnt want me to make them any, but when they saw me eating them they both went and made some of their own. never underestimate the power of nachos!!
a HUGE thank you to everyone who supported me before, during, and after this nerve wracking endeavor. (id love to think everyone will read this post and see that i thanked them but thats probably not really true, haha). a sincere thank you to my mom, tony, tyler, aaron, kellie, john & debra. thank you sarah (x100!), andrea, mr. and mrs. lapointe, and melissa. thank you also to very supportive twitter friends @MiniRowRow @operationjack @keeponrunning @RunnerDJC @BadEmma @obie_one @runkerrierun @BeckOnTheRun @allyspeirs @thisamazingday @vtmelj @liquidluncher @jcurtis028 @runnergirl33 @edwandell @chanthana @HealthontheRun @mainetriguy @jhanken @djgray1200