Tuesday, October 27, 2015

26.2 miles . . .

Oh where to start? 

I guess I'll just start with my weekend . . . this may be a long post, sorry! 

We didn't get to my parents' house until close to 9:30 on Friday night.  I only had to wait a half hour or so after I got off work for Chris to come and get me.  (I had to wait for him to finish work and then drive down to Everett, thankfully, he got off at a decent time, and not too late.) 

Saturday morning we all got up and went to a nearby town where my aunt, who died in April, lived.  My Mom was having a yard sale and we were expected to go help her.  She had it scheduled from 9am to 6pm (which I was unhappy about being so late). Anyway, it was pretty busy from 8am on, we didn't even get everything out before people were there going through things.  We were just trying to get things out of the house, so we were bringing boxes outside and setting them down to let my Mom put on tables.  People showed up and were going through the boxes on the ground, but my Mom was happy to accept any money, so it was okay.  :-) 
I rode in with my dad.
Damian and I relaxing inside, it was cold!
Just some of the stuff inside, most of it was outside.
It started sprinkling rain around 1pm and things slowed down considerably, so my mom decided to pull the plug on the yard sale around 3.  I had been planning to leave a little before that to get my marathon packet, but I decided to wait to help her pack up. 

Packet pickup for the marathon started at 4pm, and my sisters and I were going to go check out the course to find good spots for them to cheer me on. We were going to go early, but with the yard sale and packing up, we ended up getting there a little after 4 so we went to do that first and then went to check out the course.  There was a park about 4 miles into, and since it was a (mostly) out and back course, the park was also 22 miles into the race.  There was another park 2 miles past, but I told my sisters they didn't need to be there at 6 miles, but it'd be nice to have them there at 20 miles.  The next park was at the halfway point and I definitely wanted someone there to refill my water bottle wit Nuun.  We looked at other spots, but I didn't think it was all that important to have them meet me elsewhere.  We headed back to my parents' after that.
The park at 4 miles, it was so pretty, especially at sunset, which
is when we were looking.
Dinner was later than I wanted it to be.  Chris started the briquettes around 5:15, but they were old, really old, like from my aunt's house old, maybe 20 years old, so it took forever for them to start and warm up.  When it was finally ready I ate a ton.  Chris made steaks and baked potatoes, and I burned green beans (which became a joke, my Mom is notorious for burning food, which is why Chris and I volunteered to cook).  And then a little bit later I ate some pasta that I had brought from home for "just in case" in the car on Friday. 

Saturday, while I was waiting for dinner I was running around trying to get everything in one spot for the morning.  I thought that I was going to cry a couple times because I couldn't find things.  Each one was just as important as the last.  At first it was my water bottle, then it was my armband, then, even though I had it at first, I misplaced the extra battery for my phone.  I found each thing, and put it all together. 
I got things ready for my family to bring to the marathon, extra Nuun, eggs, peanut butter, and my clothes for afterwards. I also had gotten some snickers bars for some sugar at the end, and those were there as well.  I put it all in a spot together and my sister said she would bring it all.

When I woke up on Sunday morning (at 5am) I was still full from dinner, but I forced myself to eat another steak and a couple eggs. I had made a big deal about someone making orange juice for me the night before, so I forced myself to drink some of that.  I was so full, I felt like I might end up rolling down the course at the beginning.  I drank a bunch of water, on top of my normal coffee.  I kept telling myself I needed to eat, I couldn't start a marathon with just dinner from the night before in my stomach.  I couldn't even enjoy my steak and eggs, seriously, I forced it down my throat. 

My dad and I left at 6:30am to get to the race on time.  We were there plenty early, but I had to use the bathroom.  I will say, I didn't like their set up at the start at all.  It started and finished at the Shilo Inn in Richland, WA. They had no signs, except for one small one at the entrance to the hotel, however, the gathering point was on the side of the hotel and the start to the race was on the road.  They had no porta-potties, just the hotel bathrooms to use.  Which I suppose is nice to use an actual bathroom rather than a porta-potty, but there were no signs, or anything, and they had 2 stalls in the bathroom and that was all. 

Anyway, I used the bathroom and then made my way over to where everyone was gathering with my Dad.  They had some people talk before hand, and then played the national anthem.  We all went over to the start and they had a couple wheelchairs start and then it officially started. 

I felt good starting out, although at mile 2 I needed to use the bathroom again.  I knew the park my family was going to be at mile 4 had restrooms so I thought I could wait till then.  In the Tri-Cities there are 3 bridges that cross the Columbia river, and the course crossed all three bridges (on footpaths).  The first bridge (and the last) at mile 2 had a very steep trail going up to the bridge, as I was going down the steep hill after the bridge I thought there was no way I would be able to run up that hill after running 24 miles. 

I got behind some people early that I thought was going a good pace for me, but when mapmyrun app told me how fast I was going at a half mile, I realized I was going a little fast, so I slowed down.  A guy passed me and I thought I'll follow him for a while and see.  When a mile came around and mapmyrun told me my split pace (currently I have it set up to tell me every half mile) it was perfect, right around a 10min/mile.  So I decided I would stick with that guy. 

When I got to the park I was pleasantly surprised to see my family there with signs.  I didn't think they had made any because my mom said they were going to make them Saturday night and they didn't.  I thought maybe they made them after I went to bed.  Anyway, I waved at them and hugged Maddox and then made a beeline for the bathroom. 

(hopefully those videos work)

I wanted to stay with the guy that was going my "perfect" pace, so I decided to run faster to catch up with him and hope it didn't cause problems later.  Mile 5 was my fastest mile, a 9.17 min/mile, but I caught up with him and slowed down again. 

My family ended up at the park at 6 miles, which I wasn't expecting.  They were a large group, 10 of them, with signs and all yelling at me.  It really was awesome.  I wish I had pictures of them, they were fantastic!  But I didn't want to stop and take a picture.  I wish I had asked one of them to take a picture.

I decided to change my fueling back to what I was doing early in my training because it seemed to work so well.  And the way I did it at the end of my training I didn't think worked as well, but I was so worried about gastrointestinal problems.  So I ate 2 or 3 honey stinger gummies every 2 miles starting at mile 7, and I drank Nuun at every mile.  I think this worked perfectly.  Of course I got tired, but I could definitely feel the difference in the increase in energy versus one gummy every mile. 

I was worried just before halfway, because I was thinking I was more tired than normal, but I kept going.  The park at halfway was a longer out and back, all the way through the park.  I think the park started at mile 9 and went all the way through mile 14.  Anyway, my family split up at that point, one group was at the beginning cheering me one and another group was at the turn around point, with my Nuun.  ; ) 

Since I started running almost 4 years ago, my Dad has mentioned several times that he thought it would be cool for me to run the Boston Marathon.  I keep telling him I have to qualify for it, and be much faster than I am, but he keeps bringing it up.  In fact, he told me the solution to qualify for it is to "run faster."  =)  Well, when I passed him in the park he had a sign he had made, it was by far my favorite, again, I wish I had a picture.  It said "Think Boston."  It definitely made me laugh. 

At the turn around Chris and my sister, Nancy, refilled my water bottle with Nuun, and I quickly went on, had to keep up with my pace guy.

Around mile 5 I caught up with some wheelchairs.  They were being pushed by people running, but I noticed that the people pushing them were changing.  I played leapfrog with them for quite a while.  While in the park I talked to a couple of the people pushing the wheelchairs and it turns out they were volunteers just doing small sections of the race.  Around mile 15 the wheelchairs got some really fast people pushing them and I didn't see them again. 

After the halfway park, Nancy and Chris veered off to go get food at Chris's favorite restaurant in the Tri-Cities and I didn't see them again until the last park at mile 22.  My other sister, Barbara, her kids, and my parents all leapfrogged me the entire second half.  Every couple miles there they were, cheering me on.  The second half of the marathon I don't think I went more than 3 or 4 miles (and that was only once) without seeing them.  Everytime a road came up to the trail I was on, there they were.  They would drive by me honking and yelling and then I'd see them up ahead.  It was really awesome. 

At the last (or the first, depending on perspective) park, my son, Damian joined me for the last 4 miles.  By that time my pace, and the guy in front of me, had slowed down to around a 11min/mile.  The guy in front of me had gained some distance and I wasn't as close to him.  When Damian joined me, I said, "see that guy up there in the green, I need to stay with him."  But I couldn't speed up to get closer, so I decided to just keep the same distance between us.  However, in mile 23 he started walking quite a bit.  It didn't seem like I was gaining on him though, but I did end up passing him just before the mile 24 marker.

When Damian joined me, I told him I was moving pretty slow and couldn't speed up.  I let him know I just needed him to keep me going and keep my mind off of running and I didn't want him to push me.  He said he was "pumped up" and looking forward to it.  He said he was going to push me a little, I told him he needed to let me do my thing.  I also warned him about the hill at mile 24, and that it was steep and I would most likely be walking up it.  He said "okay" and let it go. 
This is the only picture I have of the two of us and Damian
hates it so won't let me share, don't tell him it's here!
When we were approaching the hill I pointed it out to him (or at least where it was because it was around a corner) and he said, "okay, Mom, you got this, you can run up it."  I did not believe him, but he said you can do it, I know you can."  And I ran up that hill.  He was soooo encouraging and so fantastic, I can't tell you how much it meant to have him running with me.  I asked him to take a picture of the water over the bridge because it was so pretty and I hadn't been able to take a picture at all. 
We got off the bridge and it wasn't very far to the finish line.  Damian kept asking if I could speed up, and I said not yet.  When we hit 26 miles I sped up (instead of 11.22 min/mile, it was 10.50 min/mile lol).  Damian veered off and I finished on my own. 

They had free massages by physical therapists, so I got one of those (it was short but nice).

All 3 of the above were at mile 4.  The guy in the green is the guy I ran behind the entire race . . . well, until I passed him at mile 23.  =)
Sometime between mile 4 and mile 6


Finish line!
I will have more pictures, Chris took some good ones but when I sent them to me yesterday, they apparently didn't send.  My Mom also took some on her camera, but who knows when or if I'll see those.  She's not good at getting pictures of her camera and worse and getting them sent to people.

 My app got a half mile ahead of me, not sure how, but by the end it was telling me I was ahead of what I actually was.  My "official time" was actually 4.38.04

 Oh, and did I mention that I got 3rd in my age group??  When I saw that Sunday evening I was bummed we didn't stick around for the awards ceremony.  Chris called the race director and they may put my award, a commemorative glass, on hold at the running store in Tri-Cities and my parents can pick it up.  =)


  1. Oh my word! I was in tears for you as I read this. You rocked it! I loved the support of your family!!!!

    1. Thank you, MaryFran! My family were rockstars!