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Archive for the ‘running in another state’ Category

I finished!! 

 
Not just now.  It’s three days later and I’m just now really getting around to doing an appropriate race recap.  I put my legs up on Monday night as Matt and I were watching Dexter, relaxing after the whirlwind of a weekend we’d just had, and started to try and do a recap here, but it just wasn’t happening. 
 
I needed a couple of days to take it all in.
 
In a word?  Awesome.  The race was amazing.  From the million + spectators (no joke!), to the event itself, to the thousands of volunteers handing out water and Gatorade and bananas on the sidelines, the whole experience was hands down one of the most thrilling of my life.
  
I’m a marathoner!
  
(Picture of me dorking out when I saw Nilsa at around mile 23.  Hey, at least I’m smiling!)
 
What an incredible race.  I’m not sure that I’m really allowed to have any complaints at this stage of the game, first marathon and all.   Afterall, I finished! My only real complaint, was that it was HOT.  Super, crazy hot.  Not unlike the heat that I have trained in many a time this summer, BUT, when you sign up for a Fall marathon, you kind of hope and somewhat expect that it will be a nice, crisp, Fall day.  Well, not so much.  While I knew that the weather was one of those things I just had no control over, when I saw the reports of temps reaching near 80 on Sunday, I wasn’t too excited. But, I knew I could do it, given that I’d done training runs in much worse.
 
While the heat most definitely had a huge impact on my time, the fact of the matter is, I finished the marathon!  And I’m so, so excited about that. 
 
Heading out of Charity Village, where I checked some stuff in the Girls on the Run tent before the race, I was beyond excited to run into my buddy Kevin!  We had tried connecting the day before, both on our cell phones walking around downtown, SO CLOSE to one another but not able to find each other.  Then, out of a sea of 45,000 people, who do I run into?!  KEVIN!  (I have a sweet picture of us at the start that I’ll have to upload here… I’m still working on getting all of the photos from the weekend organized.)
 
It was so nice to be able to start with my Boston running buddy.  If I didn’t have to stupidly stop to pee at mile 3, chances are we would have continued the whole race together.  Kevin finished about 4 minutes before I did, just about the time it took me to wait in line for the porta potties, do my thing, and get back out there.  In the humungo crowd of thousands, I wasn’t able to find Kevin again to catch up.  But I knew he was out there… somewhere!
 
Speaking of starts, and sweet moments, one that has special meaning to me, and you will understand this more if you know the background story about Matt and his marathon journey, is that the two of us were able to start together.  I can’t tell you how meaningful this was for me.  To be able to start the race with the man I love, when I wasn’t sure up until just days before how that would all work out, well, it was really something, let me tell you.
 
Here we are AFTER the race…
 
(He was apparently planning to go hunting after the marathon!?)
 
Matt and I stayed together until about mile 5.  We were pacing really well, going under a 10 minute mile, which was my goal for a sub 5 hour finish.  I knew I wasn’t supposed to have any big time goals in mind, or any time goals AT ALL for that matter.  I’d been warned about that from seasoned marathon buddies.  But I think on some level, we all go into a race like this with some sort of goal in mind.  Anyway, at the end of the day, my main goal was to just finish, and finish happy which I totally did.
 
 
Matt and I smooched and parted ways at the 5 mile mark.  He told me that he was going to find the moms, who were there cheering us on.  This was our plan from the get-go.  If he decided he wanted to stay behind, or stop, he made me promise that I wouldn’t let this affect my race.  While this was hard for me to accept, I knew that it was the right thing for this race.  We’d talked about it in-depth many a time.  He knew how conflicted I felt about not sticking with him, the guilt I experienced.  How I felt that I would be “leaving”  him.  He talked me right out of that.  Matt is amazing that way.  He didn’t make me feel bad for a minute for any of that.  He reminded me of how hard I had trained for this race, and encouraged me over and over that when he decided he would hold back, that I was to go on.
 
And go on I did…
 
So turns out, Matt told me he was stopping at mile 5.  But he told me that so that I wouldn’t worry.  And obsess, and worry some more (worry is what I do best?).  Instead of stopping at 5, guess what this champ did?!  He went on to run half!  This came seemingly out of no where, for a guy who hasn’t been training for such a distance in months.  Though it surprised me on some level, at the same time, I knew Matt had it in him to pull something like this off.  What a great accomplishment for him; I am elated for him, and so proud of his strong finish!
So now Matt was off on his own, doing his own race (unbeknownst to me!).  Up until the halfway point, I was pacing pretty well.  I wasn’t even paying too much attention to my watch, I could just feel that I was running well. 
 
And then, the heat hit.  We’re talking upper 80’s here, whooboy, it was a hot one.  I kept plugging along, but I knew I was slowing down.  I was craving more and more water, but conflicted because I didn’t want to chug the water at the aid stations, for I knew that would make my stomach a mess.  I walked through every water station from 13.1 out.  Walked slow, real slow, at some of them.  And then you know how it goes, once you walk, getting back to it and running is even tougher.  But I didn’t have too much of a choice.  I knew I didn’t want to walk any of the race OTHER than the water stops, so this was my chance to kind of regroup.
 
 
The one and only time I walked besides the water stations was when I saw Nilsa and her husband around mile 23.  They ended up being the only people who I knew that I saw on the course (more on that in a minute), so I had to pull over and say hello for a minute.
 

And stretch.

The main “hurt” that I had during the whole race was my hips.  So weird, because my hips NEVER hurt.  I guess you just never know what will happen on race day! 

Speaking of cheering and all?  Having my name on my shirt?  Such a good idea!  People were cheering for me left and right the whole entire race!  While I’d heard that this could either be a good or a bad thing… could give me some great motivation, might get a little annoying, I loved it.  I figure I put my name on there for a reason, and you’re damn right I appreciated every single “go Meg!” that I heard on the sidelines.

So, the second half of the race was getting hotter and hotter.  And the course went from a “yellow” caution level to a “red,” “high” alert level.  There were warnings on the course to slow down, to walk if needed, not to push it.  And a lot of people did walk.  This is a part that I struggled with, seeing people hurting.  Not for nothing, because hell, I was hurting in my own right, but seeing people on the sidelines walking, or limping, or worse- at the first aid tent getting IV’s, that was tough to see.  I really felt so much empathy for them.  I can’t even imagine training so hard for such a big event, and having to bail out midway through because of a medical emergency. 

Some people say that the last 6 miles are the toughest.  Afterall, I had never run beyond 20, so yeah, I was pretty freaking nervous for 20-26.2.  But the worst of it for me?  Was roughly miles 17-19.  It was just so god damn hot out there.  This whole second half of the race was in the blazing sun, whereas the first half was at least in the shade.  While there were spectators everywhere, they kind of dwindled down a bit at around mile 17 or so, and I found these 3 miles to be the toughest.

Around mile 20, I kind of felt a burst of energy.  And I mean, that’s all relative because it wasn’t as though I was going into sprint mode here.  But I did feel like, holy hell, I’m six miles away from being a marathoner!  Something clicked then, and I knew I could do it.

Mile 20 was also where I was hoping to see the moms.  I knew there was a very likely possibility that I would miss them, or they’d miss me, and unfortunately that’s what happened.  Turns out, the moms were on the left side of the road cheering, and I was on the right.  I knew my mom was out there, nearby… somewhere, and though I didn’t actually see her, that kind of helped me get through another mile a little easier.

One of my favorite moments of the race was when I could have sworn that I was coming up on mile 21, and not two minutes later, I saw that I was actually at 22!  WIN!

When I say that miles 20-26.2 weren’t awful, they most definitely weren’t easy.  It’s that feeling where you know you’re close, but I also knew I was about an hour away.  My everything was kind of aching at this point, the sun was beating down like crazy, and damn, was I thirsty.

This picture is one of my favorites for two reasons.  First, look at how freaking happy I am, at mile 26?!  I did make it a point to try and smile every time I saw a photographer (but also have learned that I run with my tongue out a lot?, thanksverymuch marathonfoto.com).  Secondly, see this dude  here in blue?  He’s from Ireland.  I came across him right here, and he was walking.  He looked so strong and I don’t know, I know some people may find it annoying when they are walking, to have another runner to tell them to “be strong!, you can do it!”… but I had the sense that all this guy needed was a little encouragement.  I looked over to him and told him “buddy!, we’re almost there!  come on, run with me!”  And he said his legs felt so weak, he wasn’t sure he could do it.  I told him damn straight he could do it; we were SO CLOSE to the finish line.  He told me this was his third marathon, that he had come to Ireland for this race.  I told him how this was my first, and told it to him straight right then and there, that we were running to the finish.

He cooperated.  😉

He was so gracious and such a cool dude.  At the last couple seconds, when we could see the finish line right there, he pushed me, “go ahead girl, you go for it!”  And you can see above, we finished pretty much right together.  Kind of fun, and definitely memorable, that little encounter.

And so, I finished!  I’m a marathoner!

(I had one sip of that beer, and then tossed it.  One of those things that seem like a good idea at the time.  And who am I to pass up a free brew?  Remember, it had been a week since any alcohol consumption over here.)

What a race.  To say I had an incredible, amazing, wonderful time, would even be an understatement.  I’m just so, so excited about it all.  I trained hard for this thing, put in some serious time and energy into this, and I achieved my goal!

I’m totally loving the marathon.  Would you think I’m crazy if I told you I tried to sign up for another one in about a month in NH, but found out that it’s on a weekend I have clinical? 

I’m already addicted!  I want more!  More of the rush, more of the energy from the whole experience.  I loved most everything about it, and I am so, so happy that I’m able to say today, that I am a marathoner.  No one can take that away from me!  Woo!

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IMG_9809

That right there, outside the window next to Matt is a hell of a lot of open land.  Open, flat, seems like it goes on forever road. 

And it’s awesome for running.

So was the temperature.  While still wicked hot, it really wasn’t the type of hot that we’re used to.  Meaning, we weren’t dripping sweat the moment we walked out the door.  We didn’t even break a sweat until a mile or so into our run, even though we were working hard.

It was just nice to be out in the fresh wide open, knowing that we were doing something good for our bodies whilst away on vacation.  (ie: knowing that we were burning off some good calories which allowed us to eat stuff like this..)

they really don't give you enough food at these places...

they really don't give you enough food at these places...

So we got two runs in.  Neither of them were the exact amount that we were supposed to do according to our training schedule, but I didn’t take that all too seriously.  We were on vacation afterall.  It was still nice to at least get a couple runs in, and both of them felt pretty good too.

This week I’ve been prepping for a 6 mile run on Sunday, which I’m looking forward to and am not even all that nervous about.  Four or five weeks ago?  I definitely couldn’t have seen myself running anywhere near that much.  It feels really good to be able to see and feel tangeable improvements.  Both in my time, in the rate at which I fatigue, and in distance.  This program seems to be working out really well.

So that’s the running scoop as of late!  Here are a few more pics from the trip.  We had a wonderful time.  It was so nice to just get away for a few days, to relax and have some fun, visit with my dad, spend some time with Matt, go out for some really good food and cocktails, and just kick back and enjoy ourselves.  As always, the time goes by really fast.  It was Thursday and then before I knew it it was Monday and time to leave.  We had a blast, and I can’t wait to get out there again!

Matt and I with my Dad and his new Wifey, Benala
Matt and I with my Dad and his new Wifey, Benala
too bad he doesn't make me happy?
too bad he doesn’t make me happy?
the famous arch
the famous arch
one of the best sunsets ever
one of the best sunsets ever

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