John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." NIV

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MCM - race recap - part 2 (of many)

The sun was rising, E and I headed back to where we started. As we passed some empty potties, I decided to wish him luck and part ways. I needed some alone time.

I was nervous and anxious all at the same time. I walked to the corral just before the 5:00 pace group and decided to stay there. People were already gathering. I met another first time marathoner, Chelsea from Raleigh, NC. She was a cute red head and had only done 1/2 marathons up until this point. We talked about the race, our strategies to get us to the finish line. This is the second part of the advice I was given. Talk to the people! This really helped to calm my nervous. In between the conversation, I started to pray. I was feeling ready and just wanted to get this under way.

Chelesa and I tried to get into the corrals, but they were crowded (before we were standing next to them). Some smart guy actually decided to move the corral barrier and we asked some people to scoot in so we could join them. I heard the cannons and could hear the cheers.. it was RACE TIME.

As we were moving up, I shed my pants and for a split second forgot to use Glide. When I remembered, I kept thinking... that would have been awful. I had bought a small glide and then started to apply it. Of course, wearing a running skirt, made this a little risque, but the other runners around me did even blink. I lathered up and tossed my pants. I took my arms out of my shirt but kept it on to keep those warm. At this point my legs were surprisingly warm. As I started to see the start line, I began looking for my friend Beth and her daughter. She has said that she would be at the start line with a large neon green sign. I shed my top and then spotted them. I was so excited, I started waving, like I was finishing the race instead of starting. I wanted them to see me, and when they did... it just ROCKED!

I was so pumped to see them. The third best advice I was given: Allow your friends to come cheer your one. NEVER underestimate their power to uplift you!

After being self conscious that I was waving like a fool, I stopped and got focused on what lied ahead. I remember praying, "God carry me. I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me."

And I was off. I never knew that my skirt flipped up in the back when I ran... I hope I did not flash too many people.

 I also started my Garmin too early. I had thought the start line was at the balloons, but it was just after it. Not enough time to restart it so, I went with it. I kept my gloves on for the first 3/4 miles. I felt really good and my pace was around 10:30, which was really good for me. I wanted to start slow. As we approached the first hill - the first 2 miles are a slight incline, people started to walk. I was kinda weirded out by this... walking already. Maybe they chose to walk all of the hills, not sure, but I wanted to just maintain my effort (not pace) and make it up the slight incline.

I really tried to soak it all in: the racers (many of whom wore costumes), the spectators (many of whom wore costumes), the fall weather, and the gorgeous leaves. At the top of mile 3, we started down Spout Run. It was a long hill and there were tons of men running off to pee in the woods - I had to laugh out loud about that - Bob told me it would happen. No women though, just men. I decided that I really wanted to preserve my IT Band, so I took the hill very slow. I did not want it to start acting up already. As we rounded the bottom, we had to head up a very sharp, hilly, exit ramp to go over Key Bridge. I was just approaching mile 4 (my planned fuel mile) so I decided this would be a good time to walk to take my GU (I use plain by the way). I ended up walking up the hill faster than people were running. Immediately I was pleased with my decision.

Once at top, there was a water station and I will just go on about this once in this recap. (The water, food, and fueling stations along the course in this marathon STUNK! There was no way to opt out, meaning there was no clear path. There were cups EVERY WHERE making it very treacherous to run through. I had carried my own stash, so I did not need anything but had to suffer through it anyway. And the food station where they handed out oranges... UGH! It was like I was running on squashed worms and then my shoes were sticky for at least 2 miles. And the fuel station where they handed out sports beans.... so bad. People grabbed bags, but did not eat it all or at all and discarded it where ever. Do you know how hard it is to run on top of sports beans? And at no point was there an area to opt out, go around.... you would think for a race of this size, they would have done better planning.)

Running over Key Bridge was fun. Some runners even stopped to take pictures here. I imagine they were from out of town. The Key Bridge takes you into Georgetown and as we headed down Canal Road, the runners who were head of us, started passing us coming down MacArthur. I looked for my sister-in-law Kirsten and her husband Colin. I had no idea what they were wearing, but thought it would be really cool to spot them. No such luck! Canal road was gorgeous. With the canal on our left and a wooded area on my right, it was spectacular. At this point there were more and more runners heading off into the woods and the women started to join them. I was good, so I just kept running and checking out the backs of the runner's shirts. Many were running in honor of someone lost to war, cancer, Alzheimer... so special. I was pleased that a lot of shirts read: "Jesus is Lord!" or "Jesus Saves!" or had bible verses written on it. Awesome encouragement.

As we approached MacArthur, I had already decided to walk up this large hill. It was large and many people did walk up it. We had just passed the 7 mile mark, so it wasn't time for me to fuel, so I talked to people. I met an Omega who was singing Gospel music softly. I met a District Superintendent for a Methodist Conference in Ohio (I think). His shirt said, "Are we there yet" - cute! I met a Marcalus - very cute Hispanic guy that said, "Just keep swimming, swimming!" (Dori from finding Nemo).

As the hill up ended, what goes up must come down, so I started to run again. I fueled and headed up the next hill. I started my Gymboss to 4:1, run:walk ratio. I wanted to make sure I did not run out of umpfh. As we approached Georgetown again, the crowd was AMAZING. I looked for my friends, but instead saw tons of kids in costumes - I probably high-fived 3 dozen kids who were all so happy that I did. Their little hands offering encouragement to me meant the world. I imagined my children there... so emotional.

I started down the hill in Georgetown to head down around the Kennedy Center and heard a familiar voice yell: "JEN!!!!" My friend from college Cat and he husband Craig were standing there waving and hold their signs. I ran over to them and hugged them and kissed them. It was AWESOME and encouraging to see them. I meant the world to me that they came out to see me. I did not mind at all taking time to hug them... it lifted my spirits and I knew before long, I would be meeting Bob and the next 10 miles would be much easier on me!

(The photo of me waving and crossing the start line were taken by my friend, Beth)


Anonymous said...

Awesome report so far. Sounds that you had a great race (well at least so far)

Anne said...

Congrats on your first marathon did an awesome job!!!


How did you remember so many details? Can't wait to read the rest!

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

Wonderful report. I love your recall.

I always wondered if skirt wearers know their skirts "kick" in the back when they run. At least skirts don't bunch up like shorts!

ajh said...

I feel like I am running it again. Woot Woot on a good job!

Janet said...

this made me cry so many times.. Awesome

Chelsea said...

Hi Jen,
I found your blog! It was great talking to you before the race. It was a long hard race for me but I did it. I loved reading your recap.

April said...

Wow! You really have a great race memory! I hope I can remember half as much during my first!
I love that you brought your glide with you to the start line. I'll have to remember that!;)