I don't know where I got the idea that I would like to try another marathon. I think it was to prove that at 30 I could be wiser, stronger, and faster than when I was 10 years ago. I mentioned my marathon desires to Tim. I had been sort of procrastinating the few clicks it would take to enter. ON Valentines Day Tim capitalized and signed us both up for the marathon. Wow, that meant a lot. However, did he really want to do that. It's a long race.
In college I ran the Detroit marathon. I trained for hard and ran at a painfully slow pace. I remember seeing people pass me and thinking "there's no way I can be running this slow" Despite the accomplishment and the runners high, I remember thinking the race would never end. Did I really want to do this again?
Tim and I trained a little bit. We never did a long run beyond 16 miles. I concocted the theory that running on fatigued legs counted as double:) I also adopted the theory that 20% undertrained gets better results than 5% overtrained. (So 30% must be even better). I read all this stuff in "Runners World" about cross training by swimming and running. "Yup, I'll be just fine" I told myself in the weeks before the marathon.
About 4 days before the marathon I got a little nervous. Ok.... a lot nervous. I wasn't trained for this. I can ride my bike for 8 hours but running 26 miles??? Friday I went to the expo. I bought a shirt that said "I kinda love running 26.2 miles." Well Kinda was the opperative word. I saw some familiar faces. Bob Babbit from "The Competitor" asked me if I was excited and ready to race? Uh....um, what exactly defines being ready. I saw Elliot from B&L Bikes, he told me I would do fantastic. I felt dishonest at that point."Um I do a lot better when I have my pink bike" I didn't traaaiiin. It was like the panicked voice 5 minutes before a test. "I didn't study". "20% under trained is better my dear" he said.
I had to come up with a mental strategy to get through the race. I decided to think of as many funny thoughts as possible so when the going got tough, I'd have a laugh.
The day before the marathon I ran two miles. My rested legs felt great. I had been hydrating and using Hammer's liquid endurance for the past few days. Now if only 26 miles would feel that great.
Race morning came early. I was up at 0330. " 0330 is the time others our age come home on Saturday night, not wake up" I grumbled (ok if you know me, I giggled). We sipped espresso and Hammer sustained energy. Sustained Energy is a high priced, high calorie powder that you put in your water bottle. It tastes like cheerios. On second thought, maybe it is crshed up cheerios. I have been played a fool.
After hanging out in Balboa park, stretching, drinking, jogging (because 26 miles wouldn't be enough) I needed to use the port a potty. The line was a mile long. No problem I'll just hike halfway down the canyon and find a bush. At that point I realized I was a true multi sport athlete.
The Catholic girl that I am felt slightly guilty starting in the sub 4 hour corral. I was secretly hoping not to go plus 5. The race began and we were supposed to go slow. Tim's dad, Bruce flew down from the Bay area to help pace us. To run slow enough to pace us he had to ride his bike 100 miles in the mountains the day prior. Some would say I started out too fast. Honestly, I just couldn't stop my legs. I was trying to imitate Heather Fuhr's running form. Don't tell Tim this because I told him I was sacraficing my own race by being his rabbit. We left Bruce behind for a while, where he paced our friend Jonah. Mile 7 I started feeling like I had to work a little bit to stay with Tim's long legs. I'm going to chill I said and that was the last I saw of Tim until the finish. Mile 11 Bruce and Jonah caught me. This was good as the muscles around my left knee were starting to fatigue and I needed to stay on pace. The company helped. The next two miles sailed by and we hit the 1/2 way mark at 1:53. I was happy because, I had just PR'd in the half marathon while pacing for a marathon. Real marathoners run negative splits but I figured I should emphasise the first 1/2 because I might walk the second. The other thought that tickled me was that I felt a zillion time better than at Wildflower. I had the same distance left to run and no hills. Things were looking good.
Soon Bruce, zipped off to catch Tim. He never did though. Tim, in his first marathon went on to run a fabulous race. I took two Gu's (energy gels) for nutrtion during the race. They work for me on my bike marvelously. At about mile 18 I decided GU stood for Gastric Upset, and started praying that the finish came soon. It didn't come soon. I made it there despite falling off of a sub 4 pace. I didn't care, I was happy to finish. I had so much fun running I kept waiting to hit the wall, but I didn't.
Once in the finish I was given a ice soaked towel to wipe my face (....ahhh)and Spenco made in China sandals. I eagrly threw my running shoes in my bag and donned the sandals. This was not wise. Not only were they too large, the left was a size bigger than the right. I started trudging toward the "Reunions" area when the velcro gave way. Big deal right? Yes big deal after you've run a marathon bending over is hard. I should have asked for a gurney.
I met up with Bruce, but Tim was no where to be found. Uh-oh, we started to worry about all of the what if's. We never passed him. Did he drop out? Did he get injured? Just as Bruce was leaving to check the med tent. Tim showed up smiling. He had been soaking his feet in ice, waiting for us to finish. He was enjoying the fact that he beat his Dad by a few minutes. Imagine,the miles of razzing he can get out of this.
We walked another zillion miles to Tim's car then headed home for a late breakfast and a dip in the pool. Just an average Sunday. A few hours later Bruce flew home and Tim went to work in the ER. He worked all night, tending to the complaints of post marathon runners begging for IV's. I don't think they got much more than a glass of water. (What will they want next......a ride to track practice)
The next day I hobbled through the airport and flew to Oakland to see my brother Tom. We had a very adventurous day. We treked all around the Golden Gate area, Berkley, and got bizzled at Sbux. Tom laughed, because despite his unhip hip causing him to limp,I couldn't keep up. He laughed so hard he nearly broke a rib. He dragged me up 5 switchbacks to the highest bluff in Berkley. When he bored of this he took me for a ride down Lombard street in a Lincoln Towncar. This was the icing on the cake to end a very memorable experience.