Sunday, October 20, 2013

Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon Recap

I have had two weeks to process the big race, and now I can finally write about it. I will need to do a follow-up post about my thoughts post-marathon. But for now, I'm going to revel in the joy of being a new marathoner.

I started race day with a big bowl of oatmeal and a nice fresh coffee from down the way. Our motel had a communal microwave and that served my needs just fine. I was really happy to be able to eat my own food and not have to worry about what I was going to eat...especially since I can be picky about pre-race foods. All seemed to be going well.....until I discovered this situation in my bag.....

Yes - I packed a pair of mismatched socks. But not even two of my own socks - one of my own and one of Tim's! Ah! For a split second my mind screamed and raced with the lack of possibilities. Luckily, my real life scream woke up Tim and he saved the day. You will notice in photos that I am wearing mid-ankle length black socks. They are definitely not appealing to the eye, but his men's large socks saved my feet from terrible blisters.

I was lucky in that this was the only problem of the day. Well, unless you count cold, wind and rain as positives for a 26.2 mile run! I bought a lovely raincoat in August and I told the cashier this is my "no excuses, I am running 26.2 miles no matter what the weather brings" and my prediction was right. Plus one for preparation!

So clean & dry .... no idea what's coming
As I said earlier, my goal was to finish strong, happy, and healthy. I seeded myself in the last wave and enjoyed the company of ~5,000 other runners for the first eleven miles. The first four were along the ocean, the middle fiver were among neighborhoods, then we wound back along the ocean for another two. The split of marathoners and half marathoners occurred at mile 11 and man was that a lonely first mile. To go from running amongst many cheery people to a few determined runners was a lot to handle.

Luckily, Tim was waiting for me at mile 12 with the goods - Arnicare (right knee was trouble), banana, chocolate soymilk, and a refill of my homemade energy drink. I also took the chance to take some ibuprofen. He grabbed a quick shot of me and I was off.

The weather did not deter me, nor did the lack of runners in sight, and I'm not sure why. I had not run in about three weeks by the time the marathon came, so I think I truly got lost in the meditation of running. That, and Radiolab was helplful in keeping my mind occupied on others' stories. I ran the first half in 2:26:27 and was glad to see that my slow pacing was on track. I had trouble going slow on my long runs, but knew it was absolutely key in this - the longest run of my life.

First I passed the three hour mark, then I passed the 18 mile mark, and I was completely in unknown territory. I told myself to keep doing what I was doing and the miles and minutes continued to add up. I got a call from Tim somewhere around mile 18 saying that he was going to run with me. That thought kept me motivated until the end, and I couldn't wait to see his smiling face waiting for me.

Around mile 22 we returned to running along the ocean and it was so beautiful! I snapped a couple photos with my phone, but obviously I was coasting downhill so they are a little blurry. I did what I could to share with everyone!

Tim met met at 24 miles and I was so happy to see his blue raincoat from afar! It was like a snow day or Christmas morning, the anticipation of finally coming across his face. We chatted and ran together for two miles until it was time for me to close in on the finish. He sprinted alongside me - but on the other side of the barrier - in hopes of catching me at the end. It was so adorable and lovely!

I ended up sprinting the last .2 miles and finished feeling very strong, with a huge grin on my face. I got a time that was a *little* disappointing, but I accomplished my main goal: I crossed the finish. I did not walk once (well - except for the THREE bathroom stops I had to make). I did not sustain any significant injuries during the race. I was secretly afraid of DNFing due to freak injury in the unexplored miles of 19-26.2. Oh and my proudest accomplishment: I did not hit a wall!

4:56:10 ... avg pace of 12:26
My Mom and Stephen were waiting for me at the finish and it was really great to have more fans. I wasn't sure how social I would be feeling afterward, but it turns out I was excited and on a high that had not yet run out. We grabbed some photos at the finish then ran to the warmth of the motel room to freshen up. I had no trouble scarfing down a plate of nachos (I NEVER eat those) and a spiked hot apple cider. The little celebration lunch was perfect and hit the spot. We went our separate ways afterward and the big marathon weekend came to a close with our journey home.

Logistics-wise, this was the easiest race I have ever done. Our hotel was two blocks away from the start line, the check-out time was waived so we didn't have to pack nor move the car, and I was able to shower in my room! Kudos to the community of Hampton for being so accommodating to the runners.

It's hard to believe that this marathon has passed. I had never been so nervous in my life, even before my first 5K four years ago. I was so close to throwing up that morning, I hardly spoke to Tim before the race, and my mind was swirling with a mixture of doubt and excitement. But - I can now call myself a marathoner. This journey was a whirlwind....and I'm not sure it's over yet. To be continued.

No comments:

Post a Comment