This post is going to be long and chatty, so I suggest you go get yourself some popcorn or pretzel stick and pop open a cold one. If you have one of those mini fridges now would be the time to fill it with some beers and cheese to snack on while reading…
October 2nd, 2011 I became a marathoner. Something that I thought I would never say. Something I thought I would never want to say. But right now, I couldn’t be more proud of myself or more happy. I DID IT!! I RAN 26.2 MILES!!!!
Quick background for some of the new followers…I have been running since the summer of 2009. I did my first half marathon on September 19th, 2010 and have done a few more since then. I signed up for the Wineglass Marathon this past January. However, due to a hip injury this spring I didn’t really follow any marathon training plan. In fact, my longest run to date before Sunday was 13.25 miles…yup. But I wasn’t going to back down. I was determined to do this and to get it over with. So I did just that…
Sunday morning…4:30 am alarm clock to wake me up before having to head out on the road at 5:00am. The marathon was in Corning, NY which is 2 hours away. 2 hours in a car ride before my first marathon?? YES PLEASE….not!! But whatever. My mother met us at our house and we woke the zombie from his slumber…that’s right…my stepson came to this race!! It was the first time he has come to any of my races. It really meant a lot.
The weather was…AWFUL!! It was pure and utter shit. It was POURING rain and cooooold (around 37 at the start). It doesn’t help when the rain is cold as ice as well. There was a little bit of wind too which just made it worse, but thankfully that let up some.
Because I knew it was going to be cold, I was sure to bundle up. I had my compression shorts & socks on, with a pair of Nike tights over them. I planned on using them as throw away pants since they are big for me anyways, but thanks to the rain, I kept them on the entire time. I wore my Nike Dri-Fit shirt along with the homemade arm warmers I made out of long socks. Over that I had a black fleece that I wore, also with the plan to throw it off mid-course…but that never happened either. I had a pair of cheap $2 gloves, a hat, a water belt and my spi-belt.
The start got off about 15 minutes late. The weather caused a lot of problems for runners and for the crew setting up the start line. We were told to park at the Philips Lighting parking lot and go to the start…well the start was over 1/2 a mile away so there was no way people were walking to that. They had busses to take the runners over there, but it sucked because my family couldn’t get on them so they weren’t there at the start :(.
Finally we start. I couldn’t feel my feet or my fingers. They were numb and tingling. It threw my rhythm off big time. Originally I teamed up with the 4:40 pace group, but telling the lead pacer that I had no time goal and definitely not one of 4:40…maybe around 5:30?? Well, I couldn’t keep up with them to start. My body still hadn’t adjusted to the weather and I didn’t feel right starting out under 11:00 a mile. So I let them go ahead and tried to find my own stride.
By mile 5 I was running with about 20 extra pounds on me because of all the water. But it was so cold and I was so soaking wet that I couldn’t even take them off. I could feel all that extra weight. I felt so heavy. It sucked. A lot. All I could feel were puddles in my shoes and socks and my hands were shriveled up because of the wet and cold. I wanted to cry. It was so awful. So many people I talked to along the course said that these were some of the worst conditions they have ran in. Mind you, it was pouring rain and cold the day before too…Bath/Corning was taking a beating. When I told people that this was my first marathon the main reaction I got was “oh you poor thing!! this is awful for your first marathon.” Thanks?? LOL.
Other than the weather, how was it??
It was…exhilarating!! It didn’t feel like I was running 6 hours…in fact, some of the 1/2 marathon’s I have done felt like they took longer, lol.
Miles 1-6…trying to find my rhythm and trying to get adjusted to the weather. Just as I would get used to the rain, it would start raining harder. As soon as I could get a little warmer, the wind would blow a cold breeze. My pace was slow, I tried to stay anywhere between 11-12:30 and I did just that. I met a young woman named Dee Dee who is running the 50 marathons in 50 states (there were A LOT of those people at this race) and we chatted a little bit. I was able to keep a nice breath…no gasping for air or choking on my sinuses (Thanks Breath Right strips!!).
Miles 7-13…Believe it or not, these were the hardest. I was questioning at time if I could really do this. My hip was starting to hurt and I thought “way to early for that you stupid hip!!”. My legs already felt tired. All I wanted to do was see my family, which were meeting me around the 1/2 way point. I felt like if I saw them I could get a recharge…and I did. I also got 3 Alieve’s and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Right before I saw my family though there was a girl who was in a GIANT sweatshirt. Someone must have given it to her while she was running because she had barely anything on underneath it and was FREEZING. She was starting to cry and turned around saying “I cant do this.” I stopped and walked towards her and said “You don’t want to quit do you?! I know your cold and this sucks but you can do it! If I can do it, you can do it!” Either my words helped her or I just made her feel guilty because she said OK and started running again. I don’t know if she finished but I sure hope she did.
Miles 14-20…Well, I have done it…I have officially ran my furthest distance. I looked down at my Garmin and saw that it read 14.45 miles. I told myself, get to mile 16 because then its only 10 more miles and who stops then?! I met up with an older woman (another 50 in 50 states participant) and she thought the same thing. She gave me some good advice and tips. She was very encouraging and it was a pleasure to meet her. Her spirit really kept me going. When I hit mile 16 I knew I was going to finish. There was no question. I had already felt like I was a marathoner in my mind. I ate my pb&j and kept going forward!! At this point, the rain had let up which was a HUGE blessing, but the course got SUPER boring. I didn’t turn my Ipod on until about mile 17 and only listened to it until about 20. Oh wait…I earned some props….I threw up a little at mile 19 :D I think I had a little too much Gatorade or something.
Mile 20-26.2…These miles were not as difficult as I thought. That doesn’t mean they were easy, but I expected to be dragging my ass at this point. Yes, I had to stop and walk a little bit more frequently, but all I could focus on was that finish line. The last 2 miles seemed SO long. But I still had a smile on my face. In fact, for last 4 miles everyone at the aid stations kept commenting on my smile and one couple even said “that’s the best smile at this point in the race we have seen all day!” That made me feel great. Before turning a corner a lady goes “Keep on smiling…the finish line is right around this corner” to which I screamed “THIS CORNER?!?! HOLY SHIT!!”
The Finish…IT WAS HERE!! I WAS AT THE FINISH LINE!! I WAS GOING TO BE A MARATHONER!! I couldn’t believe it. I just kept smiling. I almost started to cry, but then Damon came out, grabbed my hand and with me up until the I crossed the finish line. Officials threw one of those space blankets on me and another threw my beautiful glass medal around my neck…and I have never felt like more of a bad ass!!
Official chip time is 5:59:19 (which oddly adds up to 83, which is my birth year…1983). My Gamin says 26.45 miles 5:42:47. To my surprise, I ran A LOT of this race. Actually, after mile 16, anything but running hurt more. I would say that I ran at least 85% of it…no less than 80%. My pace overall was 13:38.
However, let me tell you what really added to my time…bathroom stops. You know what doesn’t mix well?? Compression and water. And of course, I had to stop at pretty much every porter potty. It took me AT LEAST 5 minutes at each stop just to get my gear down and back up. And thanks to the difficulty and my not wanting to waste anymore time, I have two HUGE welts on the inside of my thighs thanks to all the rubbing. Ouchies.
Time didn’t matter to me though…honestly. For the first time in a long time, I ran for fun and to just finish. And I did just that!! Not only did I finish this race, but minus the weather,I had a blast. I never hit a real wall!! I never stopped and cried and told myself to keep going. Sure, I got weak at moments early on but I said “fuck that, you are Suzi Fucking Storm…get a move on!!” and I did just that. Looking at the DNF list online makes me feel bad for those that couldn’t finish (the list is 450+ long) and even the 5 elites that were there hoping to qualify for the Olympic trials missed their mark by over 15+ minutes. This may sound rude, but hell, if the pros had a tough time in the conditions, well, I really do kick some ass for just finishing!!
This race was amazing, and not just because it was my first marathon. It was a great showing of just how strong I am and just how determined I can be. I had a goal, and I never gave up on it. I never gave up on myself. It was the experience and a lifetime and one that I will never, ever forget.
When you want something bad enough, you just do it.
Maybe going from 13.1 to 26.2 wasn’t the smartest idea in the world (so my body says today)…but rockstars tend to make their own rules. ;) I know people that train day in and day out for marathons..go run them and have a shitty time. You know what?? I didn’t train to a T and I had an AMAZING time. With that said…Don’t be expecting me to run another one anytime soon (long distance running and I are not quite having a love affair this past year).
Thank you SO much again to everyone here, on Twitter and Facebook and my real life friends, for all of your support and love and encouragement. I thought about so many of you during my run and that is what helped to carry me through those 26.2 mile with a wave of ease and comfort. I can never thank you enough. I love you all!! xoxo
And of course….there was beer!!
Now if you excuse me, I have to try and get up the stairs to our bathroom. I’m thinking that starting tomorrow I’ll just be pissing out by the tree. Screw what the neighbors think!!
(There is still time to enter the CEP Compression short giveaway!! You have until midnight on Wednesday 10/5 to enter)