i awoke feeling well rested and headed toward the kitchen for my usual pre-race ritual of coffee making. to my horror i was out of coffee and after bitching at T about it for a few minutes i walked over to the donut shop and bought a cup, grumbling and feeling guilty for getting so annoyed.....hmmmm, this day was getting off on the wrong foot already. i guess i had a few pre-race jitters after all and the upset to my routine kinda threw me.
i'm so glad i picked a race closer to home, i was able to leave the house at 8 am and be there in plenty of time for check-in, which essentially meant walking up to a woman at a picnic table and saying "hi, i'm here" T hung out with me for a little bit, i met catra's friend jolynn, and after awhile T sensed that i was settled he took off for home. he would be spending the day with M shopping for birthday party/halloween decorations. btw, M's had a change of heart regarding a home party and assured me that she's still my little girl, yeah!
the air was cool and crisp, and while in line at the porta john, an extremly fit young man, a real cutey patooty with a brazillian accent was shivering and hopping around to keep warm. i looked him over and said "yep, with zero percent body fat it's gotta be hard keeping warm." he smiled at that and wished me luck as we headed over to the start.
one of the first things i noticed at this event were all the western state shirts. quite a few really. i thought to myself, yeah, this little race is a recovery run for these folks. the 50 miler's had a 6:30 am start from the opposite end, and carl one of the directors reminded us to share the trail. at times when jolynn and her friend and i were together we would see the 50 milers coming towards us, and we'd exchange "good job, looking strong, yeah!"...but whenever we saw the ladies they got the biggest props. these women are my heroes!
as i predicted the trail was good and muddy, i carefully selected just the right stick to scrape off the mud and then found my place way in the back of the pack. as usual i didn't hit the garmin right away, throwing me off a bit for distance. not allot but enough to mess with my gu schedule. i forgot to shut it off as i crossed the finish too and it still read 25.84...so me!
despite the mushy trail conditions everything pointed to a good race day. the weather was sunny and cool. the vibe was mellow and charged at the same time. i felt so at home, so good that even when i noticed my ipod was hadn't rec'vd all the new tunes i just purchased. it didn't phase me a bit. i was ready to do this thing.
as was the plan i walked the majority of the hills, flew down the downhills and plodded/shuffled/walked along the flats. i played leap frog with jolynn and her friend (i'm so bad with names!!) for quite awhile we'd run some together and either i would stop, they'd stop. jolynn's friend and i caught up with each other several times over the course.
now ya'll know i love me some fast downhill. it's one time i'm truly appreciative of my ample backside and thighs. the wet conditions did little to temper my enthusiasm and it was during these sections that i felt best strength wise. i have to wonder though if holding back more would of left more gas in the tank towards the end.
function wise everything was holding up well. i decided against the camelbak, and chose my big fanny pack(mistake) and a another handheld. this race was so well supported that i could of easily taken my smaller waist pack with two bottles and been set. oh well, live and learn. i wore comfy shorts and a singlet. the only chafing i experienced was a tiny spot on my left ribcage where the pack rubbed after doffing my singlet (i had a sports bra on!) feet were all good, not a single blister or hot spot.
the one pain that showed up fairly early on and would remain with me the entire day was a tight left lower calf. i'd stop to strech it out perodically. it didn't feel like a cramp, as it was duller in sensation, but i wasn't too sure. i hadn't experimented much with electrolyte supplements and was wary of trying them now. the pain persisted like i said so i gulped a handful of salty sunflower seeds and when that didn't seem to help i did take one e-cap by mile 20. the pain wasn't causing any real problems just distracting and annoying.
hills and more hills. the start was pretty mushy like i said, which was a good thing really as it guaranteed a nice slow start. i'd walk for a while until my shoes got too heavy and i'd scrape the mud off with my carefully selected stick. once i got to the top of the first serious section of seaview, i found my running legs. this part was in pretty good shape a little wet in places but for the most part totally runnable. it wasn't long before the next climb though. i kept to my plan and slowed to walk. this pretty much describes the entire day. i have to say the toughest part of the day for me was Bort Meadow, that fucking climb was the longest hottest stretch of the day.
as i mentioned this race was very well supported. i never felt more cared for. you could tell these folks really wanted us to have a good day. people were just so nice and helpful. when we got to the first of several road crossings each time i felt like a baby chick be carefully escorted by the mama duck, our cross guards were on the J.O.B no doubt. for the most part i didn't linger too long at the aides stations. (hey kinda like you olga!) at sibley i did use the restroom. at bear station i filled up my bottles, and casually glanced at the array of food, a volunteer teasingly said, "hmph, turning your nose up at my pbj's huh" i assured her they were lovely, but that i had a plan and didn't want to mess with it, being this was my first marathon. at the second to last aide station, a man said "it's all downhill from here" i smirked and said "uh uh". at the last AS i stopped for bit to stretch my calf, boy that drew allot of attention "here hon, get in the shade" "you want a pretzle, fluids??" i was a little embarrassed by all the attention to tell you the truth. i assured everyone i was okay, and then i saw jolynn's friend pull in and go. i had to keep moving. she was my rabbit.
The Final 10k
this is were the reality of my lack of training really sank in. another women at the last aide station cruised in and asked how much further, a volunteer shouted out 3 miles, the fit older gal, perked up and said "oh, see ya!" and was gone. i could only wish for that kind energy at this point. according to my garmin i was at mile 23:84 when my fantasy of 6 hours came and went. remaining consistent with the rest of this course that last 3 miles were hilly too! jolynn's friend and i played leap frog for a good bit, at one point we hung together , but she was much stronger than i on the flats and i once again was looking at her from way behind. i'm pretty sure she came in a minute or so ahead of me. when i saw the finish line i tried to look less like how i felt and with a huge smile on my face and quick glance at the clock i crossed the finish in 6:29.
i told T to be there by 3 o'clock, even though i wasn't overly confident about finishing within 6 hours. i didn't see them anywhere and i kinda just walked around for abit . i was done. no big wave of emotion, just happy to have done what i set out to do. i wonder if i had been greeted by a familiar face at the finish if i would of lost it, so maybe it was better i got to the finish on my own. i was able to cheer jolynn in and not long after that my peeps arrived with chocolate milk. M even made me crown, so sweet.
and so there you have it. my first marathon report. i did what i set out to do, not exactly how i envisioned it but i can live and learn from it. it was really great meeting jolynn and her friend, they made a long hard day fun and added a friendly element of competition that made me work harder. i do hope our paths find eachother again. they are my heroes too! i'm sorry i never found #551, randy i hope you had a good day!
i already had a mad crush on trail running when i set out to do this race. i'm totally smitten, head over heels in love now. i want to be that gal at mile 23 that say's "see ya!" i want to get better, i want work harder. also, i want to thank everyone who followed along and wished me well on this crazy trip. i have even more respect and admiration for you guy's now that i've towed line myself. but right now i want to clean up this house and get ready for a birthday party at home. life is so good.