Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Zip-pity Do Da 21.5 Mile Almost Marathon

100% chance of thunderstorms predicted on race day. Whadda ya do?  Already invested a hundred bucks and endless hours of training.  You go for it with an attitude like Lt. Dan "You call this a storm? BLOW, you son of a B%$#@!, BLOW."   You prepare your mind with nothing but positive thoughts.  Songs like Zippity Do Da, You Are My Sunshine, Singing (running) in the Rain, Sunshine Day, and Kermit's 'Rainbow Song'.  I was going to embrace whatever came my way on my second marathon. After all, I trained in sleet, blowing snow, and negative wind chills so what's a few raindrops and claps of thunder?  Well...that's about the only thing I don't like running in (and no one should).  Lightening is nothing to be taken lightly. The race officials had to do what they had to do, such is life.

My goal was to run the Illinois full marathon (26.2 miles) in 4:45 so I signed up with a pace group.  A few miles in, I met a gal and we hit it off. She was running the half. It's funny how instantly you bond with a fellow runner.  I already have a place to stay if I wish to race in the St. Louis area!  It really helps having a running buddy, keeps your mind off what you are doing.  There was an on and off drizzle for the first half.  Right before she left me, I spotted another Break Wind Running Club runner! He was doing pretty awesome. I saw my new friend PR'd.  What a day for her.  PR means personal record, all runners are truly happy for each other when they hear someone does that!  After I left her, I had to catch up with my pace group.  About mile 14,  my dear husband brought all 5 kids and they were holding awesome signs they made.  I stopped and kissed each one. Got a little teary eyed.  I gave him my jacket (mistake) and took off thinking I would see them again along the route.

I was in mile 17 when we heard the announcement "the race has been cancelled, seek shelter immediately."  UGH!! I was doing so good! No porta potty stops YET!  Well...I didn't know what shelter to seek and our pacer left us.   Just about mile 17 was when I was beginning the stages of self-doubt and despair. "Should I just leave the group and slow down?"  Mr. Thunder robbed my of fulfilling those stages of the marathon and I never got to meet 'The Wall.' Shame on him. Decided to NOT run with a phone (dumb).  So I did what everybody else was doing...just kept running.  A police officer said we need to go to a high school. Well, I didn't see anyone going inside so I...just kept running.  I heard another say, a bus will pick you up. Mile 18, no bus.  They blockaded part of the route so I was able to skip over to mile 23.  About mile 23.5 I thought "I bet my family is at the 20 mile marker, but not turning around now."  I did see a bus ahead of me, but missed it, so I....just kept running. That's when the downpour started.  Heard 3 claps of thunder. I never felt really threatened.  It was a little storm, but lightening none the less. Started saying some "Hail Marys".  My body wasn't feeling that bad, my feet hurt, my calves were chaffing (who would have thought to lube the calves?), but my pace did slow.  The community is so awesome in Champaign-Urbana, there were signs on yard saying 'emergency shelter'. When the water stations closed down the people still gave out waters and jelly beans!  So, after missing the bus, I thought it's just another 5K to finish line. If I see a bus or my hubby, I will stop.  It was very weird when the 9 minute pace group passed me. I actually did LOL!

So, I....just kept running to the finish line. Got my undeserved medal and cool fleece blanket. My Garmin said 21.5 miles.  Trudged up the stairs for water and pizza. I called my husband and he had no idea the race was cancelled. He thought he missed me finish! As I was walking through the crowds of people to get to gear check, I thought my calves were going to explode. One lady looked at me and said "are you all right?" NO! but I said yes.  I was so worried about meeting up with my family, I didn't properly cool down and stretch (big mistake, still paying for it 3 days later).  I stretched my calves a little and then took off for the most miserable walk of my life.  There was construction so to get to the shower and the meeting place of my family, I had to walk another 2 blocks in down pouring rain.  I could hardly move my hips.  I thought to myself, forward is a pace.  The bag they gave us had a mesh side and so my clothes I was going to change into and my towel were getting wet.  But once I was able to get in the shower, all was forgotten. I tried stretching in the shower stall! Funny.  I paid $5 for a shower, but it was well worth $100! I did leave my "I have to poop" headband there. Bummer.

Afterwards, we went and got my post race steak, drove an hour home and laid around the rest of the day cuddled in my finisher's blankie, watching movies.  Why I didn't stretch and ice?  I don't know.  Another mistake. I was just spent.  Now that I have had time to reflect, I still don't know what to do.  I researched May/June marathons in the area. One June 6th possibility but our local 5K is that day which I always do and love to support.  I guess, I'll just let it go.

What did I learn from this?  Lots.  1. Attempting a marathon in a thunderstorm is the most insane thing I have done, but I was glad to run with others that share this insanity. 2. I appreciate so much  volunteers!!!  Especially those that were directing traffic. They had NO choice but to continue. Some runners had to keep running to the finish line because they had no ride or bus.  As I thought about this I got teary eyed.  I even said to one police officer "thank you for putting up with our stupidity."  He just smiled and laughed.  Also thanks for those who still stayed handing out waters at the station and at the finish line.  They really deserved medals too!  3. Life is like a race, you must embrace what comes your way, weather the storms, enjoy the mile you are in, love the rain, the finish line is your rainbow and...just keep running.

How do you embrace the storm?

My race fans...