Ok obviously the “official” race pics aren’t ready yet but I know we all have more important things to talk about. Here is my best version of details and making sense for this past weekend.
We left the house around 5 pm which I was pretty sore about but what can you do? It rained the whole way there so I couldn’t be a speed daemon either! Of course PA has some of the most annoying highways when it rains since the roads aren’t curved and the water just piles up, add to this crazy trucks and leaves all over and it was a scary little commute. Mom was sick too so I tried not to bug her too much. We made it to our hotel around 9 and we went for a small walk down to the lights and sounds, eventually going through Ripley’s Believe It Or Not? which was awesome! Then no one was opened for food so we settled on TGIFriday’s and at home this place is a little over priced for the bland food you get. The prices looked high but we thought maybe it was the exchange rate, and we ordered. OMG were the portions HUGE and it was some of the BEST food I have had in my entire life. No joke. The broccoli soup has giant real pieces of broccoli, the steak was so tender, the left overs cut easily with plastic silverware, the potatoes, I have NO idea what magical potatoes they used but there was seasoning and skins and I’ve never had anything like these before. YUM YUM made my mouth water. The waitress was SUPER nice and friendly and funny too. I would have thought we were fine dining. Afterward we settled in for a nice night’s rest.
Saturday I was all perky and ready to go to the EXPO! We arrived and I had to talk to customs and we received our free gear bag. This is one SWEET swag! lol. It’s HUGE I mean the size of a small suitcase or something, with reinforced straps, vented sides, black and blue coloring, reinforced bottom. Excellent quality all the way around and probably more useful than another shirt to be honest. The EXPO was nice, I’ve been to better. Nothing will ever compare to Boston’s EXPO lol. I got a bunch of literature about other CA marathons, I should be a dork and only run marathons in Canada! There is one in Quebec where the medal actually lights up…like those should that were popular in the 90s. How fun! And there is a 1/2 in Toronto for women only and you get a really pretty necklace as your finisher medal, Mom said she might do that with me next year. We also got these funky little things for microwaving eggs, YOU KNOW I was all over that! And I bought some arm warmers, that are of course giraffe print, and luckily Bondibands was there so I bought my white band with the red Canadian leaf ( ; I forgot I was wearing it and one person says to me “you have a very Canadian forehead” and I was like “you have no idea”. Mine is exceptionally high, if I pull my hair back and tilt I look bald. After we went there Tom and his family came in and he went through kinda quickly. OH I forgot the best part. They had race shirt for sale. Well I’m not a big jacket fan and the hoodies were cute but they all said full and half on them and I REALLY wanted something with marathon ONLY. They did have a clearance rack from 2008. We saw this really soft grey hoodie and they image was the same as this year and it didn’t have the year and it said marathon only. It was ONLY 20 bucks! I bought it. They had maybe a handful of these things and I’m small and it fit me nicely. So that was the bargain of the century or something.
The rest of Sat was spent going through tourist like attractions and calling it an early night so I could gather all my stuff and TRY to sleep.
Sunday my alarm didn’t even go off because I was excited and nervous I was awake long before it was. I put on all my clothes and grabbed my bad I had prepared the night before and it did take about 30 mins because I was taking my time and double checking. Mom snapped a pic right before we left for the bus. Even though the hotel was walking distance Mom wanted to drop me off or agreed to I don’t know.
I boarded the bus about 730 and could hear the people on the radio talking to each other “So umm what aren’t these people wearing much clothing?” “Why are all these people crazy enough to be up this early to go RUNNING” my personal favorite “Why don’t I see anyone out here who weighs more than 100 pounds?” Thanks bus drivers, thanks. As we were about to leave a guy enters the bus with a giant wooden lighthouse. This my friends was Larry and he is the NJ marathon mascot. Oh boy.
We start our drive to the race and a few people are friendly enough to talk to me. The woman who wanted to use this to quality for Boston was nice. We get to the border and the guy who gets on the check passports is a DICK. I kid you not. He started demanding to know who is in charge, where we are all going, why we started in Canada, why were aren’t all the same citizenship. One guys says “we are going to the marathon man” and he replies “I wasn’t talk to you now was I? Don’t talk to me or look at me when I don’t need your attitude sir” A woman offers him a map of the course “I didn’t ask for that did I? I’m just looking for a few simple answers to my simple questions” YIKES.! Another guy gets on after him who is a million times nicer. He looks at the costume and says “Well what do we have here? The Stanley Cup?” We all try to smile but are SCARED! He asks if we’re ready, he asks if he ate any bananas…no one says a word. He laughs and says “C’mon runners the potassium is good for you” I tell him we were afraid if we said yes we’d get kicked off the bus. After we are over the border someone asks what the 1st guy’s issue was. I told him he wasn’t hugged enough as a child.
We get there with about 45 mins to warm up. I ditch my thrift sore warm up gear near the trash and go into the museum. We walk about and stretch, people take photos and before you know it we’re about to leave and I’m so scared! I get to about mile 2 before meeting up with a nice woman named Lilly. It’s her first race too and she’s aiming for the same time goals. So we run and talk until about mile 8. At which point I was a lil weak from not popping my salts as I should. I dropped back and it took a while to feel good again. I was still on track around mile 10 at 2 hours. I tried to pee and it took several minutes for it to work so I questioned my hydration levels and began grabbing water at every mile marker. I still felt weak and couldn’t run very well despite my IPOD telling me to “Don’t Stop Believing” I get to mile 13.1 @ an embarrassing 3ish hours! Yikes. I have already figured out though that they LIED about crowd support, I don’t see ANYONE around and it’s like a painful boring training run and I don’t want to keep going. I try to tell myself to go to 15 and see how I feel. I walk to 15 and I still feel like crap. Around 17 I feel sick I feel weak I feel bored and I’m crying. I’m telling people I won’t want to go on, they tell me I should. I’ve already been stopped my a car @ 13.1 who asks me “You know you’re at three hours right? Are you SURE you wanna go on?” Thanks. Really. So I wonder if maybe I’m hitting the wall and I get myself to eat a Luna bar for hopes of energy. I’m so out of eat I think I’m going to choke because I can’t figure out how to chew. I get the bar down with some water and within a lil while I feel 100% better. I tell myself to move forward I’m making great time compared to my training runs still and Mom should be at 20. Well I get to 20 and no Mom. ) ; I get to 20 at 5 hours to I was ok with this. I’m look at a 7 hour time and I’m sad but I’m thinking I can still DO this” A car went by @ 18 and tells me it’s my last chance to stop and have a ride. She tells me no one is left at the finish, I ask her how that can be when people last year finished in 8 hours. She says that’s just what she knows and leaves. The lighthouse passing me somewhere between wall and 20. I’m saddened. I’m listening to Phedip. and the podcast is telling me even when we are running alone we don’t have to be lonely. Thanks, chine up! The next one mentioned this blog in it and I start to cry. I cry remembering when I started this blog and the dream of doing a marathon. I think of all my readers and the people I read and how sometimes we have GREAT days and sometimes we have LOUSY days but somehow we keep going back out there…and I think of how great I’m going to feel when I tell everyone I did it and how my real friends won’t care if it took 1 hour or 10. And I keep walking. And then I realize I’m walking not at 20 mins but at 18 and then less and then less until I power walk up to mile 23 in 17 minutes and I can’t believe I do not HURT at all and I only have about a 5k left and I’m at 6 hours. I can finish this thing in under 7! So I start to run and I don’t stop. I have my workout mix of ABBA and I’m lip-syncing and dancing my arms and putting on a lil show and it makes me feel happy. I know I’m nothing special but I’m within reach of my goal! So I get to mile 24 and then I see mile 25! And I see my MOM! She’s been helping at the water station the whole day. She starts running with me and talking to me and asking me questions. I managed to tell he to stop talking to me. lol. I give her my fanny pack and my rain coat and I keep going. One foot in front of the others, don’t think don’t stop just go go go. Oh DAMN shoe untied! Keep going! So somehow I see the falls and they are the most BEAUTIFUL thing I have ever seen and a HUGE bright rainbow is coming from inside and it’s JUST what I needed! I see the clock and I hit the mat with mt foot and people swoop down on me. I feel like my heart is about to stop because I’m not in motion and I get to the point where I’m gagging as they hand me a medal and my balloon blanket and goodie bag. They try to cut my chip off “no I own it” I managed to gasp…and they let me stumble around a bit since apparently I can’t breath standing still. Mom finds me and she takes some pics of me. The one lady who ran me in was talking to me “How do you feel? Would you do it again?” What HUH go away! You’re ruining my moment! I tell he I have no idea who is out there and that I feel “Just OK” and I would do another one. Oy. I do get her to tie my shoes for me though since I wasn’t about to bend over! Tom had disappeared about 40 minutes before I was done (grr) and I get in the car with Mom pop a Vicodin and settle in for some sleep.
Today I don’t feel so icky. Legs are a lil sore but not too much. Probably from all the walking. But I didn’t know if I could do it so better safe than sorry. My legs make me feel like a failure like I should be MORE sore. My time makes me feel like a failure, 6:40:00 boooo but I guess I can always improve at the next one…yes there WILL be a next one ( ; I will say the course is pretty and it’s unique but it’s HORRIBLE for the first race if you want other runners or more importantly if you want/ need people waving along the way. Volunteers were let go 5 hours into it so the water stops were either empty or there were a few cups on the ground and those how bits of trees falling and floating in them. I learned not to depend on the race for your water (duh) I learned not to wait until it’s too late for food (duh) but I learned I can do 26.2 and well better luck next time. It was an amazing experience though and I am VERY happy to have done it…don’t get me wrong.
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