Well, that didn’t go as planned.
Let me break down the weekend for you, because after all, this was my first marathon weekend.
Drove up Friday evening with my parents, had a healthy dinner of fish, and rice with corn on the cob. I sure do love camp-fire food! Checked into my room at the Hilton, was in bed before nine and had a wonderful night’s rest until 7:30 the following morning. I never get to sleep in that late!
Saturday morning I got up, ate some oats and raisins, and got ready for a relaxing day. I met my parents at the Farmer’s Market, did a little shopping and found Lindsey, my partner in crime. I had lunch later that afternoon at a delicious crepe place, The Skinny Pancake, and then scoped out the finish line. I wanted to find a place where I’d meet the beau afterward, just in case it was so super crowded (which it always is). We drove to pick up my race bib, get my free (and super cute) t-shirt, and free goodie bag. We took our photo in the booth sponsored by KeyBank. That evening my parents cooked me a foil dinner, my all time favorite camp meal, which was clean and good for fueling me for what was to come. Everything had gone as planned- even that night’s rest.
I surprisingly fell asleep around ten, woke up only once around 1 to make a quick trip to the bathroom and rose again at 5:15 a.m. with my alarm. The nerves officially kicked in. I drank my gatorade and pre-run shake just like I had trained to. Drank more water/gatorade. Packed. Tried to relax. Hit the bathroom like six times. Finally got dressed. And before I knew it, Lindsey and her husband were there and ready to walk to the start.
I found my friends and family fairly quickly (mainly because the beau made shirts and they were all sporting them) and we all posed for pictures. As Lindsey and I were in line one last time to use the porta-potties, we both had this look like, “OMG, what the hell is about to happen?!” But they were good nerves and we were so happy that the weather was cooperative. It was overcast. It wasn’t humid. And there was a slight breeze. Before we knew it, we gave our last hugs and we were squeezing our way into the mass of runners.
It all happened so fast. We didn’t hear the countdown and barely heard the horn; we just felt the crowd walking forward. It took a few minutes to cross the start line as expected and we were off!
The first 1-3 miles are always the hardest for me, having to find my groove. And with the course being slightly uphill and having to dodge thru a crowd, it was taking me a little longer than normal. The crowd was inspiring, the shirts were fun to read and follow, and the downhill sections I used to propel myself forward and gain ground. I passed my family and friends around the third mile and I knew I wouldn’t see them for an hour or so, so I focused on the out-and-back that I knew I was about to experience– if only I knew it would be so boring!
It was an out and back of nothing but highway and marshes! But again, there was no sun and a wonderful breeze… that for some reason, made my situation worse. I was struggling, bad, and around mile five I think I finally said something to Lindsey. “Something isn’t right.” My chest was tight, I was kind of experiencing something in my head that wasn’t dizziness- but confusion as to what was happening… and I was FREEZING! She asked me if I wanted to go to an aide station and I thought, “hell no! It’s mile five! I have at least 18 miles in me before hitting THE wall.” But then it got worse. I told her I’d walk for a minute and we did. This continued for miles, 1 minute walk, 8 minutes run. I was glued to my Garmin, gasping for those eight minutes go fly by so that I could try to straighten my head and thoughts. It was around mile eight that I finally expressed to her, in almost tears, that I knew I couldn’t do this for eighteen more miles; I was fading, and fast.
I ran past my family around mile nine in almost tears because I just wanted to feel normal. I ran down Church Street past the drag queens in cheerleading outfits, past an Irish Band, a fun rock band, and all of a sudden it hit me. It was my heart and it was cold and I had to stop. She and I decided to walk until we found an aid station and I called the beau to give him the news. I didn’t start sobbing until I saw Lindsey run away from me and realized that she’d be crossing the finish line alone.
The medical team got my information and were shocked a) because I had the surgery just a month ago and b) I passed two other aide stations and made it that far. It took them a while to get me hooked up and got an EKG, where my heart was calm and okay to be released. I met the rest of my family and friends that drove out to see me, cried some more, and then got in line to watch Lindsey finish. And she finished strong.
So, where’s my head today? Disappointed. Sad. Angry that this happened Sunday and not during my eighteen mile training run just two weeks ago. As though the last four months of training was wasted. And although I know it wasn’t, it’s still how I feel. The encouraging detail I take from this race is that even though I walked a significant amount, especially during the last few miles, my pace was 10:25. Slower than I trained but with miles of walking. I was hustling it! I was so embarrassed to have to announce this to all of you, but I just keep reminding myself that my health/heart was more important in that moment and still is. I now have to go back to my cardiologist and see what the next step is. In my head, my next step is to find the next marathon. To continue running and staying active.
Just want to say thank you for following my training over the past four months and continuing to come back and read. For all the thumbs up, encouraging comments and messages that you’ve all sent. I don’t know if I could have done it without your accountability. On to the next one.