After several weeks of panic and anxiety, it was finally time to pack my gear and head to Dallas for my first marathon! My goal was to avoid having to make any unneccesary stops along the way. Do you think I packed enough? Some of this is road trip snackage and some is race fuel.
I was kind of sad leaving because Big J wasn’t coming with me. Initially he was supposed to be working, then ended up feeling under the weather. He stayed behind and took great care of Lil P. She’s such a daddy’s girl! Road trips are never as much fun alone so I brought a co-pilot.
It was brought to my attention that my speedometer is slightly off. Not only that, it’s apparently illegal to be in the left hand lane after passing a truck! Seriously, I was maybe 2 car lengths ahead of the truck I was passing when I was brought out of my happy solo jam session by the red & blue lights in my rear view. Dude seriously?!?!!? I was less than a quarter mile from the Buccee’s exit in Madisonville where I’d planned to stop anyway. Luckily, Mr. State Trooper was kind and possibly a fan of pretty girl runners because he only gave me a warning. Thank you sir, for not f’ing up my trip with a nasty ticket!!!
I found my way to the packet pick up location without much trouble. There was nothing fancy, no expo, no vendors, no frills here. Just check you in, hand you your bib and shirt and off you go….blah… although, I was pretty stoked to find that my bib number wasn’t what my registration said, it was my area code! H-Town Represent, yo!
I met up with Hammi (Robin) and we headed to her friend’s house in McKinney. Thank you Beth for your hospitality and for your hubby’s cooking! Yay for full tummies! After dinner we walked around the town square, there were adorable boutiques and restaurants. I saw some awesome antique vehicles and we stopped for the most ridiculous gelato I’ve ever had. How could I say no to the salted caramel divinity that whispered to me from behind the frozen glass?!?!?! We walked back to the house and settled in to watch Spirit of the Marathon. Oh so many emotions. I had the worst time trying to sleep. My nerves about the next day. Not having Big J beside me. Somehow I finally dozed off…..
Despite my lack of sleep, getting up Sunday morning was easy! I quickly rearranged my things so I’d be ready to go. Before long we were on our way. I managed to choke down my protein bar and my pre race fuel. I mindfully stopped drinking fluids about half an hour before the race was to start so as not to start off with a sloshy belly. I was terrified of cramps!
Robin and I talked about what we thought we would be comfortable with for the race and we settled into the crowd with the 5 hour pace group (that’s an 11:27 pace) even though we’d agreed to use her Garmin set to 11:45 to pace ourselves. We’d agreed that we would hang with them as long as we were feeling good.
The announcer called for the countdown……No time to hit the port o potty again….damnit!
We were off and running!!!!
I felt good, really good. Confident. Strong.
I’ve never really run with a group but I found it fun to be able to run and chit chat a little. I usually run with music, but opted not to this time because, well, I had Robin and now we had the 5 hour group.
We hit mile 1 without trouble. The lead pacer mentioned that there were supposed to be water stations at every mile or so. There wasn’t one. I wasn’t concerned. I had my Camelback.
Then it all started to unravel. We came upon mile marker 1…AGAIN….
I want to be able to tell you that it was no big deal, but it started to play tricks on my brain early on. As the course progressed and the difference in the mile markers and the distance recorded on my app began to increase, the more my brain began to tell my body I couldn’t do it. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
I took advantage of the first potty station and Robin waited for me. I was thankful. We never really got back up to pace with our 5 hour friends, but I was grateful to have Robin with me. The sky was slightly overcast for the first part of the race. The lake was beautiful and hearing the water lapping was peaceful and soothing. Unfortunately that wasn’t to last. The sun began to peek out from clouds and eventually it drove the clouds away. It began to heat up fast. As the temperature began to rise, my attitude began to plummet. The wind, while lovely against my skin and helped me to feel cooler, it was brutal on my ability to breathe. I tried not to panic when I found that I’d forgotten to put a dose of Primatine in my bag. Stay calm, slow down, breathe. My legs began to feel like lead and there seemed to be nothing I could do to coerce them to go faster. I saw Robin pull ahead of me. What seemed an eternity later, I’d caught up with her at a potty stop. We cursed the course and the sun and heat and Texas humidity, but we kept moving. One of the neighborhoods we ran through had the most adorable water stop attendants. These beautiful littles took it upon themselves to set up a table with iced lemonade and ice water. I wish I’d have noted the address to send them a thank you card. They really were lovely! One of the little girls had a popsicle- I’d asked her where the runners could get one, her response, “Sorry, they’re for employees only.” How cute was that?!?!?! I somehow found some strength in my legs and began to jog again. It wasn’t until I was nearing another potty stop that I’d realized I’d left Robin behind. I couldn’t see her anywhere. I felt horrible. We were supposed to do this together and now I can’t find her. I came out of the potty to the sweetest sight, ROBIN!!! She was coming. We cursed all things some more as we alternated between walking and the most pathetic jog you’ve ever seen. 25 miles announced my app. I wanted to be excited. I wasn’t. I was angry. At everything. The course took us back toward Fair Park where we started, but quickly we realized we weren’t on the homestretch yet. The park faded away again. Then through a very sketchy area of town that we were happy to get out of as quickly as possible. Mile 26. LIES!!!! Our spirits were lifted when we saw our NF friends cheering from there nice and shady NOT RUNNING spot. We summoned enough willpower to keep up a jog as we passed them. Mile 27… Are you kidding me? Where is the fucking finish line. I am never doing this shit again. I have never felt so emotionally and mentally and physically wasted in my entire life. Passers by kept shouting to us, “You’re almost there!” and “Just a little ways to go!” SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!!
We finally trudged into fair park and we knew the finish was close. NOW we could finally see it. A year of training, 6 hours of suffering, we’re going to do this. We are seconds from being Marathoners! Or as we’d decided on course with numerous other runners- we’re going to be ULTRA marathoners!!! We grabbed each others hands and emptied our hearts and souls into our legs and TOGETHER we became Marathoners. In an instant, all the pain and anger and disgust and frustration melted away into a glorious celebration. One that will never be duplicated!!!!
We also did this- It was a good day…
I’m already trying to figure out another full to do. Now I know I can finish, I want to push myself- I want to run the whole thing!!!