Sunday, December 9, 2012

MY FIRST MARATHON!!!

Steph and I decided to head to Delaware on Friday afternoon so we could have a carby dinner in Rehoboth and get to bed at a decent time. I got to meet the lovely Theodora and Laura, both of whom I've heard about/read about in Steph and Fiona's blogs. Always happy to make new runner friends, and these two (who are now part of my 5 readers) are both hilarious!
My survival kit for the trip down (the trip-home kit included a lot more junk food!):











Rehoboth was looking very festive
Theodora introduced us to two more runner friends, Ericka and Lindsey and we all loaded up on pasta for dinner:
I think we all managed to sleep pretty well. I thought I might be too nervous, but I was a) not nervous and b) completely exhausted. When we woke up in the morning, I did not want to eat because I was still full but they made me (thank you, I knew I needed the fuel!).  Note: ww bread, banana slices, and Nutella is the breakfast of champions. 
I was so excited to wear my bright yellow shirt, pink compression calf sleeves, and sparkly headband! I loaded my SPIbelt and sports bra (BAD, BAD idea) with gels and we headed off to the start. 
Picture right after our last minute bathroom stop:
I lost my sparkly headband :(
I decided to start a bit apart from my running buddies because I wanted to run my own race, whether that meant faster or slower than them...first marathon and all, I didn't want to be influenced by anyone else. I didn't wear my Garmin, but did wear a watch with a timer and my goal was to keep every mile right around 9 minutes for the first half, then step it up a bit until 18 or 20, then a bit more, then give everything I had for 24-finish...but no idea if this is a feasible plan. Can one actually run hard after 24 miles? We'll see. Also, the goal I told people was "I just want to sub-4" but secretly I hoped I could beat that 22-mile run prediction of under 3:50. 

Internal monologue for the next ~4 hours:
*1: shit, I have to pee. No you don't, you JUST went. Shut up.
*2: ugh, can't wait til I'm at 6, I know I'll feel better then
*3: my hamstrings really hurt
*5-6: ok, finally settling in and feeling good about this. Maybe going too fast
*8-10: slow the f&*k down, you will not keep this pace the whole time! This is where the half-marathoners turn around, they are jerks.
*11-13: I can't slow down! You have to, just let people pass you (I let a couple wearing red pass me and then tried to keep them within 50 feet of me)
*14-15: omg, why is there this hill here? I love hills but this one sucks. And running down it hurts even more, shitshitshit my shins hurt! Dammit, the guy in red stopped to pee by the trail so now he's behind me. I wish I could pee on the trail.
*16-18: red guy caught up to red girl so I'm following them again. My hamstrings and one calf/achilles hurt. Stop whining, this is not supposed to be easy. Ok, now we're counting down miles. 8.2 to go
*18-22: to paraphrase the NY Times, how is my pacing? Will there be more hills? Am I going to hit that "wall" soon? WHY AM I DOING THIS???? (actually, I'm kind of loving it) And I left the red couple in the dust
*23: watch says 3:20. Holy hell, I can beat my secret goal if nothing falls apart. *mental prep for the hardest 1/2-hour I've ever experienced
*24: cruising through a picturesque, misty field, mostly alone, it feels nice. I'm glad there is a cooling mist...lots of people are walking here, I want to grab them and drag them with me. Dammit, where is the 25 marker?
*25: lots of walkers, and I'm passing plenty of runners at this point...they call out that I'm doing great, being really encouraging, it feels really nice (I do it back!). But seriously you guys, where is 26???
*26: there it is, and the finish line is just around the bend, and there are lots of cheering spectators and ohmygod this is happening
*26.2 in 3:48:09!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One reason small races are amazing because you get to hear your name as you're approaching the finish line. I grabbed a bottle of water, my medal, a Mylar blanket, and walked around in circles for a bit. Then I stood at the finish line to cheer for people and look for my friends. One little girl, about 4 years old, jumped in and crossed the finish line with her dad...so cute! Another point for small races:

*Begin somewhat personal reflection: Watching all these people cross the finish line, some like it was nothing, some nearly collapsing, some cheering and shouting...at some point, it really sank in...last spring/summer, I hoped for under 4:15...sometime in late summer I started thinking I could do it in 4 hours but then I got hurt. Part of me feels like I don't know how I beat my secret goal, since I didn't follow any training schedule that well. But I also know that I give my body the breaks it needs, and when I am running, I push myself and make the miles count. This year had its ups (mostly ups!) but some pretty difficult downs too, and even though that's in the past, this accomplishment was something I really, really wanted. So yeah, I got emotional standing there, and there may have been a minute of some teary eyes (the good kind, I was really proud of myself) but then a guy Gangnam'ed across the finish line and I snapped back to the moment. end personal shit*

I waited for the rest of my new friends (actually, Lindsey had finished in under 3:30, and Theodora had dropped to the half so they were already in the finish tent). I saw Steph, Laura, and Ericka cross the finish line (right around 4:13) and we all went into the tent. There was mac 'n cheese and pulled pork but I couldn't eat. I finished my water and took a Sprite for the sugar. I went into the physical therapy tent for some stretching, where they were worried because my lips were blue and I was visibly shaking. One of the therapists laid her fleece jacket over me and brought something to keep my head warm while I was getting worked on. I was pretty unhappy at this point, soooo unbelievably cold, nauseated, and kind of light headed. Full disclosure...I did throw up. Guess I know I gave it everything, huh?
After a shower and a nap while the other girls showered, we were on the road. First stop:
We got Arby's for real(ish?) food, and had a lot of snacks in our car. When we got back to Manhattan, I jumped in a cab and went directly to Brooklyn for the annual holiday dinner I have with my oldest NY friends. Luckily they're like family, so rolling in in flip flops, sweats, and a hoodie was acceptable. Oh, and I wore my medal all day :)





4 comments:

Neon Blonde Runner said...

CONGRATS!!

Laura said...

Congratulations! You totally crushed it and gave it everything you had - I was so proud to know you and hear how well you did :)

Shaya said...

Thank you both!

Ericka Andersen said...

Hey Shaya, I've been trying to respond to your comment on my blog from yesterday but my comment system is a major FAIL and will not let me reply to anyone! The answer to your question is ...I am actually in Congo in that photo. That's one of the little girls at the orphanage I worked with last summer! Thanks for reading the post!