It's a mad, mad, mad, mad, marathon
Well, I finished. It was a lot harder than I had expected. When I finished my last 22 mile training run in Salt Lake, I felt ready. I had included 5 miles of climbing up City Creek Canyon so I felt like I could tackle anything that those rolling Vermont hills could throw at me. Boy, was I wrong.
We arrived in Waitsfield, Vermont on Friday evening and I was a little nervous, but pumped for the race. Then we drove the course on Saturday. Shut the front door, sweet fancy Moses, and any other ridiculous non-vulgar phrase that can indicate to you the real words that were going through my brain as we climbed and descended enormous hill after gargantuan hill. The hills seemed endless and horrifically steep. On the bright side, the scenery was gorgeous. Although, at the time, it seemed like a weak consolation prize.
I spent the rest of the day convincing myself that I hadn't really seen that many hills and that it was going to be easy peasy.
Here I am after a lovely melatonin-induced sleep all rarin' to go:
Here I am with my two man support crew.
At mile 13, already hit my first wall, the first 6 miles were mostly up hill, the rest is just crazy up and downs.
I won't belabor the point, but I definitely didn't meet my time goal. I made some mistakes along the way that cost me a few minutes, but mostly it was the insane hills and the heat. Ooooohhhhhh the heat. I do recall thinking about ice-cubes for at least an hour when I happened upon a spectator handing out otter pops. I think I said something like "I could make out with you right now!" as he handed me that magical sugary frozen treat. Ahhhh.
It was one tough race, I'm glad I did it, but words cannot express how happy I was to be done! The Bean is scouting the horizon for more blueberries (he ate his weight in them this weekend).
All in all it was a good, very hard, learning experience. I am glad I ran. But everyone (myself included) that I talked to was a half hour off their projected finishing time. Looks like I'll be doing another marathon in October just to so I can see what one feels like without the insane hills. Here's a recap of what I learned:
1. It's ok to re-evaluate your goals in tough terrain.
2. Don't ever, ever, ever let someone else dictate your pace. *
3. Bananas are an awesome mid-race snack. Around mile 13 just when I was thinking I'd barf if I had to eat my next Gu Chomps, Jeff appeared with a smile, a cheer, a banana and some ibuprofen. I love that man.
4. Don't let Jeff run the last mile. When Jeff appeared I had just come down a 4 mile hill and my quads were nearly at the breaking point. He started to run with me and all I wanted to do was cry on his shoulder about the heat, the hills and being off my goal race time. He was so sweet to run with me but I'm afraid it brought out my inner wimp. What I REALLY loved was him at the end getting the crowd all stirred up, chanting my name and helping me sprint the last 100 yards. That was awesome.
So, for those of you that care, sigh, I'll tell you what my time was. I'm not proud of it, but it will give me something to beat in October.
Official race time: 4:26:55
You live and learn. Marathon, you haven't seen the last of me. I will break 4 hours and someday I will qualify for the Boston.
*Around mile 7 or 8 I caught up with (and would have passed) this girl. She was really nice and we had some good conversations. We ran together for about 8 miles, maybe 10. It was a slower pace than I hoped for, but I was worried that without company I'd get discouraged on the hills. After about 8 miles I realized the pace and the fact that she kept asking me to wait for her was more discouraging. After the words "looks like another 5 hour marathon" came out of her mouth I cut my losses, told her she'd do great and took off.