Monday, October 14, 2013

Green Mountain Marathon report, Part 3

And now for Part 3 of 
The Really Long-Winded [pun intended] Race Report:
(inexplicably being posted exactly one year after the fact. Sorry!)

Miles 19-26.2
I caught up with Alan somewhere around 18 or 19 miles in.  I was a little concerned that if he was slow enough for me to catch up, he must be in bad shape, but I was craving the company and tired of chasing him.  Once he knew I wasn't planning to blow past him (as if I could!), he was happy to have company, too.  By now, the wind was constant and cold and always against us.

Hard to see, but this is a "kite-surfer', alternately riding the waves and hanging on the wind.
We were like, "What the ?@#&*%?!?!"
Do you SEE Madeline's hair whipping in the wind?! 
From then on, it was a joint effort of power-walking into the wind, swearing at its bitterness, and encouraging each other to jog little bits here and there to boost our over-all pace in order to beat that 6 hour goal.  And thanks to Alan's garmin we had a really good idea of exactly how close a finish it would be. We were well-matched; neither one dragging the other down, each of us  pushing in turn.

At the end we were both exhausted and in pain and could barely run at all but attempting to "sprint" to beat the clock.  We actually saw it flip to 6:00:01 before we crossed which was disheartening but neither of us could have pushed it any more than we did.  As it turned out, the clock was a little off and our official times--both net and gun--were just under 6 hours.

Later, I really wished we'd gone inside to greet and thank all those awesome volunteers, but after we crossed the finish line, and got our medals, and a nice person with clippers removed our chips from our sneakers, and we hugged our family and posed for pictures, I looked straight ahead and there was our car in the parking lot and I just started limping toward it.  I sat down (easy) and hauled my legs up into the van (not easy) and said "ok, let's go".  Rich drove the two of us and Sam (who conked out in the car) back to the house, while Helen and our kids went to Al's (a fast-food joint, what is it with that name?) to pick up burgers and fries and milkshakes for all.  At the house, I was able to function long enough to go downstairs, get clean clothes, climb back upstairs, shower and dress, and then sit down to eat.  The shake and fries went down easy but about a third of the way into my cheeseburger (with bacon*) I just kind of shut down.  I announced that I was done and went downstairs to crash.

Random thoughts on how it feels now:
You know those signs people sometimes hold up that say "By tomorrow, you'll think this was fun"? I kinda get that.  I might just amend it to "By next weekend...".
Even the very next day, I felt pretty good, all things considered.  When I wasn't climbing stairs. Or walking. Or holding up anything more than my own head. And even that seemed abnormally heavy.
We both came out of the race with no blisters, but my big toes were really swollen, and still feel bruise-y.
Mostly, though, I feel really proud and happy. I'm glad that I toughed it out, and feel very fortunate that everything worked out as well as it did.
A week later, people were still asking me, "how do you feel?"  Some people meant "Are you in pain?" and others were asking "How does it feel to be a marathoner?"  For the last 10k or so, my legs hurt. My feet hurt.  Even my back hurt. And my muscles were sore the next couple of days.  But I never experienced dehydration.  Mostly, I experienced extreme tiredness that lasted a good 6 days.

I'm also really grateful to all who helped us out:
~Helen, Rich & Sam for hosting us all weekend, chauffeuring, feeding, housing us and for doing the whole race support crew thing all day with two of our kids and yucky weather;
~Alan, for believing in me all along and pushing me to do more than I think I can;
~Nana Mary who stayed home with James and Mum & Dad who brought us dinner and custom-decorated balloons the night we came home and for all the other times they've provided race support and childcare.

*Our friend Anne-Marie (reputedly a former vegetarian who came back for bacon) had a pre-marathon anxiety dream on our behalf in which she attempted to make us breakfast but only cooked 5 slices of bacon for 10 people, got annoyed with herself, and went back to bed!  In her honor, I made every effort to alleviate any real or perceived bacon deficit throughout the weekend.

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