Monday, June 22, 2009

What Was I Thinking? (*with updates)

(* I just realized, as I re-read this post this morning, that you will probably feel like YOU ran the marathon after reading it! Hahaha, now you don't have to go run one! Isn't that nice of me?)

Thursday night:
I've got to get this house cleaned up for Trina. She'll be here for the weekend with the kids and needs a clean slate. Plus, that way I'll know that it's not MY fault when the house is messy HAHAHA if I come home to a messy house on Sunday!

Butch needs some sort of vacation after this event. What can I do for him. Too tired to think of something so I'll have to revisit that one.

Will all the kids be safe while I'm gone? Will I remember to pray for the people I promised to pray for? Yes. I just have to believe in those things or this will all be for nothing. I have to make this be for SOMETHING.

Friday morning:
Are all the kids safe and where they should be? I hope I don't get sick on the ride up to Duluth. I'm getting a little sick on the ride up to Duluth. It was fun though! It was great to bond with Trine and have an exciting talk about what and how we would be feeling re:the race. We need to pray for Anna who is saying she has a bad head cold and will have to RUN tomorrow with that awfulness! Do we have every thing we need to make dinner tonight? Will we be able to have time to do the things we wanted to do (like see the talk by Dick Beardsley at 4 pm, watch Anna's Matt and her bff, Maggie race the 5k at 6pm) and still get to bed on time? Will we be able to sleep at all? Probably not. Nobody sleeps the night before a marathon. Too much to worry about...holycrap...did I remember to pack my SHOES? Haha just worries, I remembered everything. We watch Matt and Maggie come in from the 5k and they do GREAT. We are so proud of them! Dang, it's downright COLD! We are shivering and a fog is rolling in. It's hard to see even a couple hundred yards away. I hope it's this cool tomorrow!

Friday night:
I can't think about the race so I'll just practice the guitar. I've got a great audience. Miss Maggie is singing along and we are having a great time. Food was good for on the fly (darn boys burnt the chicken on the grill...ate it anyway). Hope I ate enough FIBER. We ALL hope we ate enough fiber! Hope we didn't eat TOO MUCH fiber! Can't sleep. Knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. How could tonight be any different than ANY night of any week? I will just lay here and try not to think about how quiet this house is, about how sore I'll be tomorrow at this time, about how I hope they don't have those loud frogs like we do in the pond outside my window, about how great it is that the weather report we last saw said that it will be 65 and partly sunny tomorrow! PERFECT weather for a run!

Saturday morning:
I'M UP! I'm ready! We are getting dressed but I don't know if I should put my shoes on until the verrrrry laaaaaast seeeeeeecond because DANG I'll be in those things most of this day! We are taking some pictures outside before we go and over in the woods Butch spies a deer! Is that some kind of good omen? I hope so. We are all feeling pretty good but there is the ride to Two Harbors and three girls who get easily carsick...
What if we have to go pee and the start is too close? What if we have to pee during the race? Wonder if we'll see anyone we know? There are THOUSANDS of people here! Whoa. We see Andy B., Trine's old buddy from school! He wishes us luck and we wish him the same. We all go into our zones (Trine at 3:50, Anna somewhere around 4:30 and me in the back forty hahaha. I'm juuuuust in front of the "Walkers" sign. Sigh. Oh well, I know my limits. I chat with some folks who don't mind the chat. They aren't bothering to stretch or anything. It seems like I'm not the only "firster" here today. What's that over ther...WHY CAN'T THOSE DUDES SEE THAT I CAN ACTUALLY SEE THEIR JUNK WHEN THEY PEE BEHIND THOSE BUSHES? I am TRYING to avert my eyes but sheesh could you get any more gross, you guys? Those bushes are NOT opaque and do you even care? I don't think they care. People are ditching their sweatshirts ALREADY! Noelle sends a text (I am carrying my phone. I am used to it because I carry it for training, for safety so I figure that's does feel a little like I'm cheating for some stupid reason.). The text reads "83 percent humidity UGH!". Uh oh. This is NOT good. This is not according to plan. We did not train in any humidity. Wind. Yes. Extreme cold. Yes. Rain. Yes. Heat and humidity? N O
What's my plan? My plan is to scrap any plans. Just pretend it's a normal, training run and drink a little more than usual. Pray for the peeps and just GO.
I love those fighter jets and the loudspeaker playing the theme from "Top Gun" WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!
And, WE'RE OFF! It's 7:30 and most people are still sleeping in and I'm running a MARATHON! HOlYMOLY. I try not to but I can't help but text Trina to tell her we're starting. I take a picture of myself going through the starting line. It takes me a while to even get there after the gun goes off. Actually, I can't even HEAR the gun because I'm so far in the back of the line! I hear some peeps behind me talking to a very old man and asking him if he's "that guy" who ran 100 marathons or something like that. He is. They clap for him. I think, "way to go, old dude! I bet you'll BEAT me" hahaha.
It's pretty hot. No, it's REALLY hot. It will get cooler next to the lake, right, RIGHT?

Mile One:
Remember to pray. This one's for the hubs. I can't believe he's here. Wonder when I'll actually see him on the side. Wonder if I'll actually need the food in the bag they're carrying. It's REALLY hot. It's not really cooling off at all. Oh well, it usually takes me around 3-5 miles to get the legs working. Pace yourself, Laura. Pray for a while. It's hot.

Mile Two:
Oh, those balloons came up really fast! Yeah! Mile one gone! Okay, gotta pray for Trina now. Pray she's doing well with the little ones and everyone is safe and happy. Prayingprayingpraying...sheesh, it's pretty hot still. I think it's getting hotter. No, I'm getting hotter because I'm running. Keep praying. Oh, here come the balloons yay mile three already! Wow, I might have to start kicking it up a notch, because I'm doing so well already but I have to remember to pace myself yes pace myself pace pace pace pray pray pray.

Mile Three:
Wow, it's friggin hot. Okay, pray for Matty now. This mile is like Matty. It started out pretty tough, got easier around the middle, and now it's getting very hard at the end (pre-teen aaaack!) but it's totally doable. Even though it's veryveryvery hot now and I really could use a drink. I can tell because my throat is dry and my gum is getting sticky already ALREADY? Wait, I'm only on mile THREE? That never happens when I train!?
I'm in trouble.

The only time that's ever happened was during the 22 mile training run where we didn't drop water and I got dehydrated and almost passed ou...NO. That will NOT happen! YEAH! There's PLENTY of water here! Here it comes right there get some water in you now NOW. Noelle said "if you drink water you just mix a little of the replenisher stuff with water, take a little when you slow down a little, then dump the rest" yeah, I'll just do that. One thing though. I can't run after I drink THREE CUPS OF WATER. Why am I drinking so much dang water? Why do I still feel thirsty after I drank so much but my stomach is sloshing around and I can barely JOG now?

I'm in trouble.

Mile four:
This is just a regular run (pray pray pray for Weazy). I should just treat this like a regular run, right? It's VERY hot. That is true. But if I just treat it like a regular run I'll be just fine. I just passed the 4:30 balloons yay! I might even do better than I thought by one, whole hour! I COULD do better...I've certainly TRAINED to do better! Yes, I really can do bett...Oh, I'm super thirsty again though and I'll have to take some water at the next aid station. Oh man, I don't drink this much water when I train. This is getting really bad, I don't know when to stop or when to pass the water and wait until the next one. What if I don't get water but I need it, then I pass out halfway through the mile because I didn't drink? Man, it's just flippin hot. I can't cool off even though I'm stuffing icecube after icecube down the front of my shirt and splashing a whole cup of water on to my body and head at every stop. I am not drying off in between. That's significant, isn't it? Keep praying, you still have to pray for Weazy on this mile, right? Or wait, is it Bocker now? I don't remember if I passed the balloons for mile 5. If I pass the balloons, does that mean I've RAN for five miles? Or, does it mean that this IS the fifth mile? I've got to keep that straight.

Mile five, or six or both:
I'm losing touch of reality. There are so many bodies around me in varying states of sweat and the sounds are getting to me. The dragging of feet, the sliding of shuffling feet, the smell of the overdose of cologne, perfume, sweat, dirty hair, ugh. It's all probably ME I'm smelling. I'm a mess already. This sucks bad. Have to remember to pray for Weazy, Bocker, or whomever. Okay, it's gotta be Bocker but I'll pray for both of them, just in case.

Mile six, I think:
Waterwaterwater. I see a bathroom. I don't really have to go but I should. I've been drinking buckets of water and a person who drinks buckets of water SHOULD pee, for gosh sakes. I wait but don't mind the wait. That's good. I'm very controlled. I really don't care that I'll have to add about 5 minutes to my finishing time. I mentally pat myself on the back for being a good sport about it. Some guy comes out of the stall on the right and says, "It's kind of a mess in there."

Talk about understatement of the WHOLE DAY.
There's poo EVERYWHERE. It looks like someone took a poo gun and it exploded right as a crap bomb went off around the time a cow took a break from chewing it's cud and shat all of the contents of her stomach in the general direction of the exploding shit bomb.

Wow. I think and SAY to the lady next to me, "Ya know, maybe TODAY isn't the time to do the 'hover' maneuver. I think that today, a person could just suck it up and go ahead and SIT when they have to do something like that!!!".
She agrees.

We use the stall on the left and leave the stall on the right for the boys who only need to STAND and don't actually have to risk touching anything other than their sweaty selves. Ugh.

I step inside the biffy and it's 200 degrees AT LEAST in there. I gasp and try not to touch anything, or breathe. I realize that I can only manage a few drops and then my stomach falls to my feet as I know what that means.

There's really no coming back from dehydration, Laura. You gave it a good go. Today is not your day. Just finish this dang thing.

I go out and start running but I know it's just a matter of time before I can't anymore. Pray. You promised you would so do it. At least you can do that. I see the bridge, buildings and town of Duluth and that is my destination. Geez it's far away! Imagine if I have to WALK there?! NO. I WILL run there. It will only take a few more hours. Pretend it's just Albertville to Corcoran, you've done that before! You can do it again! Oh, wait, pretend it's Albertville, to Corcoran...twice. In one day.

Oh geez.

Everyone around me is breathing a sigh of relief because there is a slight, cold breeze around this corner. Oh, wait. It's gone. It WAS wonderful though. It keeps us going, hoping that the closer we get to the lake and Duluth, maybe we'll get more of it?

Mile 7,8,9ish:
I'm thinking very hard about my youngest three kids but the doubts and heat are getting to me. I'm trying to balance all the scales in my head at the same time. Do I push it and keep trying for my goal? Do I take it easy, knowing I'm already so parched and I will never recover or might even pass out or hurt myself? Am I needlessly worrying and should I just slow down on the water a little? The next water station comes up and I'm determined to just take a few, little sips but I end up drinking four cups of water, one cup of replenisher, and grabbing a cup of ice for the road.

I officially "give up" I start walking with the ice and give in to a moment of absolute, self pity. I start to inwardly cry for all the hard work that I believe is for naught. Something stops me. I tell myself "NO, you promised to pray for people. Remember WHO they are and why you are praying for them!!!" So, as the ice melts (so I can drink it...I'm already thirsty again). I remember that moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, brothers and SISTERS are next.


I see Butch and the boys and I try to eat half of a nutrition bar but that just depresses me. I almost feel like I haven't worked hard enough to deserve "lunch". They tell me that Anna is only about five minutes ahead of me and that Trine is about 20 minutes ahead of her and they are both suffering but Anna is really bad. (I found out later that she lost it and cried like crazy because her nose was really running and her cold was making it impossible to run with any kind of comfort). I keep going because I'm running again after the little break and I don't want to stop running because it's SO HARD to start running again after I stop to walk. Why is it HARDER to walk, but almost impossible to start running again? My muscles don't even REMEMBER how to do that dang 'walking' thing that my body is making me do.

Miles 11-16ish:
GUTTING through. Praying, walking, jogging, trying not to get distracted by evil thoughts about the annoying lady who is blahblahblahing about crap I don't even care about. Why does she have to be so loud on this road where everyone around her is panting, sweating, walk-jogging, to get to that place waaaaaaaay over there in that foggy distance? Doesn't she KNOW how long I've trained for this EVENT? I've half a mind to turn around and punch her lights out but I've no energy left.

Say the St. Michael prayer for the runners around you. You can't be the only one suffering like this. Pray nobody pushes too hard and actually dies. It could happen. St. Michael, protect us all.

I've forgotten the part about "just have fun!". I'm a double loser. Pray. Okay, I've officially "given up" for about the 5th time now. I see Elvis in white and Elvis in black and I need to get a picture to text to Trina at home. I might as well enjoy the goofiness around me instead of get frustrated with it. There are SO MANY GOOD FANS around and they are encouraging EVERYONE alllllldaaaayyyyyy. It might even be harder to be a fan than to run this thing! I take a picture with Elvis. I decide that I'm going to notice the nice things around me instead of that pavement four feet ahead of me. LOOK UP! Be glad you are not the lady who brought the whole belt full of heavy things to weigh her down. It looks HOT to carry all that stuff! I only need my phone, my gum, my lip stuff. People are handing out all the necessary things along the way (YAY SUNSCREEN! YAY ADVIL! HAHAHA VASELINE EW NO THAT'S JUST GROSS!). I need to remember to pray for the peeps. Praypraypray. Walkwalkwalk.

Mile 16 I think I don't remember: I see Butch sometime again and I tell him, "I know I can make it if I can just get to mile 18. He fans me with my "Go Laura!" sign and a nice lady fans me with a HUGEMONGOUS sign because she's all out of orange slices and I think she sees me eyeing the one she's saved for her daughter and I feel like I could grab a rind off the road and suck on it at that point. I NEED to stop. I want to stop oh how I do. What's the point of this thing again? I could just hop in the car with Butch and Matt (Anna's Matt) and drive off. It would be sooooo nice. Everyone would understand! Off I go, see ya suckers...yeah, right. Everyone would understand but I wouldn't. I would always feel like a huge bum if I didn't at least just TRY to finish. I'm not going to KILL myself, but I WILL finish! Mile 18mile18mile18...bye boys! See ya at 20!

I am tanked. There is a really skinny, older woman who is walking the same pace as me. She's super tanned and looks like "a runner". I chat with her a little and then a lot. She's got a son who lives in Africa who runs a mission for children of AIDS and they have 6 children. I find out also that her husband had spinal stenosis or something like that and we walk and walk. We talk about our training and our goals and she's pretty much in the same boat as I am and that makes me feel better. She mentions after mile 18 (yay! we made it!) that she's glad she has someone to talk to because she's not really feeling all that good. I really look at her and decide to slow down even more because she's not really LOOKING all that good. I ask her what she needs and she is quiet for a bit. We walk and chat some more until we hit the next water station and she perks up a bit and says "if you feel good, you should just go when you feel like running" and I say that when I see Butch at 20 miles, I might just do that.

Mile 20-24:
No Butch. It's okay, we're in town now and the fans are getting closer together and louder (but it sure seems like there aren't as many as last year...that must mean something). Still praying but it's getting hard to concentrate with obnoxious music all around but I promised.

I start jogging again but stop when I get to the water. WATERWATERWATER why do I have to drink so MUCH of it??? I am totally screwing myself every time because it SLOWS me down and I have to walk for about a half mile and it's SOOOO hard to start again after that!? UGH! I am frustrated, sore, my knee hurts (NEVER happened BEFORE) and my hands are swollen to twice their normal size. I alternate being hot and feverish and being cold and shivery with goosebumps and everything. I am angry because if my knee didn't hurt so bad, and if the humidity would die down a little, I could actually RUN the last, few miles. I really try but there's the dang bridge and there's NO WAY I'm running up that thing. Some time ago, the balloons passed me for 5:30 and I'm waiting to get passed up by the six hour balloons. I figured maybe they passed me when I went in for my second, futile bathroom break sometime in there? Whatever. I'm in town now. I'll just take it easy and jog when I can...or not.

Mile 25:
All along, I'm thinking about how it's "just ___ more miles" but this idiot guy says something like "It's only .2 more miles!" HA, I think and I say "you are a liar!" because I remember that jackass from LAST YEAR and I know where I am. It's ONE point two miles 'til the finish you jerk. How dare he get my hopes up like that? Especially now, so close to the end and me at the back of the line anyway???
oh yeah
PRAYPRAYPRAY that I don't have enough energy to go back after I've finished the race and poke that guy in the eye with a stolen fork from Grandma's restaurant.

I hear him protest that "I'm not lying...somethingsomethingwhateverwhatever" and a lady looks at me funny as if to say, "WHY would you call that guy a liar?" but then she looks ahead to how much more we have to run and she doesn't say anything. One mile after 25 sure is a lot harder to manage than one more mile after 12, I'd just like to state that one for the record.

Mile 26...point two:
I bump into a group of women who are wearing the gear belts with all the bells and whistles. I hear one of them say to the group, "lets just stop and walk for a bit then we'll jog strong around the next corner!" they all agree and I say, "Yeah, I'm in for that plan." We walk for a bit with me, feeling a little like the 5th wheel lame-o girl picked last for the kickball game and I mention something about should I have these goosebumps and should I actually be cold? One of the ladies grabs a gu packet and hands it to me saying something like "Oh, you must be (insert runner lingo for "you need some nutrition of some sort" here) do you want raspberry flavor?". WHATEVER lady. I take one just to be polite but then realize my mistake as it goes sliding down my throat and gums up the works. ACK! There are no water stations and I'm too polite at that point to ask her for a swig of whatever water she might have on her cumbersome, yet oh-so-handy, saddlebag laden belt. Yikes. We hit the next corner and I say something super dorky like "Yeah, lets do this thing!" (oh my Gosh, did I just say that? I MUST be going loopy!) so we jog really strong for about 2 blocks then fade like a bunch of losers when we realize just how far we are from the finish. We say to each other "The NEXT corner...for SURE!" and laugh at how stupid that sounds this late in the game. I let them jog away from me and figure I'm just going to have to end this "race" the same way I started...all alone.

HEY! There's MAGGIE! Right there on my left, screaming and shouting "LAURA!". I feel happy that I'm jogging and not walking because she's there cheering me on and that is so nice of her! I whip out my phone and film myself crossing the finish line for Trina and see Butch and Trine's Matt on the right. They say "good job" and fill me in on where Trine and Anna are. They are in the restaurant, trying to keep cool. Don't you know it's 91 degrees? I've waited SO LONG to go get some food and strawberries and all that good stuff...
I'm cold, and shivering, and thirsty, and tired, and wet.

Someone puts a heavy medal around my neck and I wait for the handing of the water and the wrapping of the mylar that I was so surprised by last year after the half marathon.

I cough...ahem, sir, could I please have some water? This kind man with a huge tub of Aquafina bottles hands me another CUP OF FREAKIN WARM WATER and I just about lose it. I don't even have the time to grab a bottle of that nice stuff so I ask him for more when he sees that I gulped the whole thing down in .2 seconds, didn't he realize that I would need another...
Oh whatever.

I go to pick up my T-shirt and think it's a nice shade of green but can't they see that I'm tired and where can I change my sopping, wet clothes?

I go pick up my race bag and practically collapse on the table where I dared to lean on it, waiting for the man to get my bag for me.

I forget that Butch told me to go to the "C-D" sign to meet him and Matt and I go to the changing tent. I give myself a wipey bath with my winnie the pooh wipey container that I had put in my racebag, change every stitch of my clothes, put my wet junk into my racebag and put the whole works into the really neato backpack-like thingy I bought at the expo the day before. That was a good idea to pack that thing in the racebag. ONE good idea for the day, anyway, right? Heh heh. I'm feeling a little perkier now that I'm out of my icky clothes. Some lady starts chatting with me from across the tent and I don't feel like chatting with a naked lady when I have this mixed blessing of a photographic memory so I won't get the sight of her nipples out of my mind forever so I gather up my stuff and see a black pair of shorts that are really sweet, but not mine. I snatch them (they were abandoned) and think "Yay, sweaty free shorts!". I figure they would be just fine after they were washed with all my icky stuff. Wow, I'm pretty much losing any kind of germophobia I may have had before all this, aren't I?

I hobble over to Grandma's restaurant and find Trine and Anna dazed and confused on the floor. They try to get up and we all try to make a plan of what to do next but none of us knows. We eventually (after Butch and Matt come and find me and yell at me for not meeting them at "C-D" hahaha) decide to just sit down and eat like normal people and we all re-hash what we just went through.

I ate a rueben sandwich in about 3 bites. Also, a plate full of french fries sopping with ketchup.

There. Whew. That was kind of hard to do. I can tell you more (especially if you ask me specific questions), but that was basically it. I left out a lot of the details of the people watching that I was doing and a lot of the emotional stuff I kind of stuffed to the background or was overcome by the prayer. It was a HUGE learning experience, that's for sure.

The end was so...anticlimactic, I guess. I was expecting it to be a little more like last year where I felt so GOOD after the race (...emotionally. I felt a lot worse, physically last year so I know the training worked well this year!) and people were so attentive. This year, I had to go up to some guy and say "Hey, I have the SHIVERS!" before he wrapped me in some mylar and said something like "There ya go! That oughtta do it!" and he acted like I had the plague or something. I didn't expect confetti, or fawning accolades, or anything but sheesh!

Alrighty, it's late and I gotta go to bed. It feels good to get the whole story out there, though. Your story will/would be different and mine would probably be too, if I ever tried this again. There can only be ONE "first marathon" though! This is probably the longest post I've ever posted. I'll try to post the pictures that go with the story tomorrow.

(*I can't believe I forgot to post my final time! As I came up to the finish line, I saw the clock read just under 6 hours so I thought my final goal could be to "beat" that six hour mark and that's when I tried to push one, last time.

My half marathon time was only slightly longer than it was last year, which is pretty good, considering how hot it was and how I was trying to go a LOT slower to pace myself for the whole thing. It was 2:34:12. Last year, it was 2:22:40 WITH an 8 minute bathroom break. My final chip time was 5:48:05. It took me seven minutes to even reach the start line so my overall time was 5:55:12. My pace for this race was 13:33/mile. My training pace was between 9-11 minutes per mile, depending on snow/wind/ice/length of run.)