Sunday, May 31, 2009

My final blog on the 2009 Cleveland Marathon

So it's been a couple weeks now, and I figured I needed to do my last blog on the marathon before I forget. I've been on a blog vacation lately, but I do need to do my final update. I'm going to try and do my best to remember what exactly happened at certain mileage points. Here goes!May 17, 2009.For once, it was not raining. It may have been windy, but at least it wasn't raining. It seemed like that has been the story every year at the Cleveland Marathon, rainy and cold. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and started to drink water. I showered, then at 4:00 I ate a good breakfast of oatmeal topped with blueberries and bananas and continued to get ready. By 5:00 my 24 oz of water was finished, and that was the end of that. I gathered up my things, and left with my biggest fans by my side - my husband and son.

5:30 - I was in tears because I really REALLY had to go to the bathroom. Only 30 more minutes until we reached downtown though, so I told my husband not to stop.

6:00 - We arrived downtown, parked and started to make our way to the Galleria. Now - every year they had the Galleria open to racers before the race - and open to their families before and during the race. Who would've thought this year would be any different? There was no notice on the Cleveland marathon website that this would not be the case. It was odd walking downtown and seeing all the runners in their shorts hugging the walls of the downtown buildings due to the cold. The whole time I am wondering - Why don't they just go into the Galleria??? And then we found out why. So, things started with me pretty much ticked off. What the heck were my husband and son going to do the whole time in this cold? Sit in the car in the parking garage? Couldn't the marathon higher ups have warned us about this? Not to mention the now reduced number of toilets. UGH! We went back to the car and sat for a few minutes. I ate half of a power bar. Then, I figured I had better get to a port a potty now - or else. Not to mention I still had to go REALLY bad. In my grumpiness I had just forgotten about it for a minute.

6:30: In the port a potty line. Didn't seem too long, not so bad.6:45: Still in the port a potty line and starting to worry. The line hadn't moved at all.6:55: FINALLY! Nothing like waiting until the last minute! I'm doing my thing and my cell starts to ring (Dropkick Murphy's) I am embarrassed as I cannot get to my phone. Nothing like sitting in the port a potty with Sunshine Highway playing. WOW!

6:58: Trying to push through people to make it to the pace group. Found my husband and son, gave a kick kiss to each and posed for a super quick photo. BYE!7:00: (My time) Found the pace group, inched in front a little. Relief rushed over me as I got situated. There I was. At the starting line and actually not nervous at all. I think I was still ticked about the whole Galleria thing.The start of the raceThe horn blares, and everyone is off running! Everyone was glad though, because it was really cold. We start running! And thennnn.......stop. HA! Even though you know it's going to happen, it's always funny when it does. Everyone's pumped when you get the signal to start, then a traffic jam to the starting line. That brought a smile to my face - finally :)

Mile 1: My goal was to stay just a little bit ahead of the pace group. Not a great distance...enough to hear pace team leader Mike's voice.

Mile 5: I saw a parent of a child that was on the swim team with my son. I noticed he had a half marathon bib on. I never really talked to him before, and he didn't notice me - so I kept running. It looked like he may have been struggling. All I could think about was how how crummy that must be.

Mile 9/10: I wanted to stop running at this point. Not because I was tired, not because I was sore, not because I wanted to give up. No - I wanted to stop running and watch SURFERS! Surfers on Lake Erie! I have heard of people doing this before, have seen videos, but I had never seen it in person. It slowed me down a bit - and I thought that was the coolest thing! They were in full wetsuits of course - but I imagine they still had to be cold. I mean, it's not like their face was covered! AWESOME!

Mile 13: I started to have a conversation with a school teacher from Michigan. I noticed here pace bib and soon realized that she was also trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. (I did not wear my pace bib as the pace runner put a big red BQ on my pace bib. "What if I didn't qualify??" I thought. I'm such a pansy!) After talking with the teacher a bit, we discovered the we both had pneumonia at the same exact time and missed the same exact runs! What a coincidence! I mean, really what are the odds of that happening in a crowd of what?? 10,000 people? Strange! Even more amazing though, is we were both on track. She had told me we were about 5 minutes ahead of the pace group. That scared me a bit, since I didn't want to do that. We then lost track of each other at a water stop.

Mile 15: Even though I had been keeping track of every mile and my pace at each one - I saw the sign for mile 15 and had a mini heart attack. It all just hit me. "Was I really here already?" I thought. I really couldn't believe it! This caused me to run faster out of excitement. I tried not too, but it was hard. I just couldn't believe it. This may have caused me to hit the unforgiving wall towards the end.

Mile 17: Ran past a considerably older man as he exclaimed: "I can tell that you're on a mission, GOOD LUCK!" I smiled and wished him well, and went about my way.

Mile 18: Talked with an older guy from North Carolina for about 10 minutes. He was an ultra runner as well, and we talked about my ultra plans for September. I'm not quite sure where we lost track of each other.

Mile 19/20: It was time to put the headphones on. Fumbling around a bit, I finally got it. I'm still not so sure about headphones and races though. People were trying to talk to me when I had them on, and of course I could not hear them. I did not have easy access to turning my volume down to, so I felt rude. I just would smile and keep running.

Mile 21: I was feeling fine. But...I closed my eyes for a brief second, opened them up again and felt slightly dizzy. I knew what was coming. But when? All I could do was just keep on pace for now. Maybe I would get lucky. Maybe I wouldn't hit it.

Mile 24: No. I hit it. Wow I really wanted stop. I couldn't push on. I just wanted to walk. And then I saw them. They passed me. Oh my god it was the pace group! The people I had stayed in front of for 24 miles just passed me! I wanted to die right there. I thought "What's the point now, I'm not going to qualify." Every single step I ran I had to convince myself to run another. Positive thinking turned to negative thinking. I tried really hard to reverse that. Every time I thought of stopping I would think of how much it would suck to finish the race in something like 3 hours and 41 minutes instead of the 3 hours and 40 minutes Boston qualifying time. That kept me pushing.

Mile 25: The home stretch. I'm still thinking I just may do this - but at the same time I am not fully convinced. My hat blew off. I did not look back, I did not even think about getting it. HELL NO! Another runner behind me did grab it and give it to me though. I was thankful for that. I did not put my hat back on though, as it would of wasted precious seconds. My headphones were also dangling since they flew out of my ears when my hat blew off. I was such a mess! But I could not would not stop. It was just too close and I had come too far.

Mile 26.2!!!!!!!!!! I did it! I FINISHED! As I crossed the finish line I saw the time on the clock, 3:41 something. (Since it goes by chip time - starting with the time when you actually cross the starting line - because with 10,000 people it takes awhile to get to the start after the signal goes off) I was not sure what my actual time was and did not yet know if I qualified for Boston or not. I hobbled over to get my medal, and was so dizzy. I tried to look for my husband and son who I did see at the finish line. I grabbed up some pre race goodies to take to them, constantly dropping them along the way. I almost passed out as I reached the cheetos portion of the goodies line :) Someone reached out to catch me, but I righted myself. I found the family and collapsed in the grass after some hugs. My husband's phone rang. It was a text with my final time. He smiled as he read it....3 hours 40 minutes and 44 seconds.

I QAULIFIED FOR BOSTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Still in a daze, all I could do was smile and give a couple high fives. I couldn't believe it though! My husband had later confessed that he was hoping if I didn't make it in 3 hours 40 mins that I would not make it until say....3 hours 50 minutes. He didn't want me running in at 3 hours 41 minutes because he knew how that would make me feel. Yeah - um I am glad I didn't do that either! I sure did cut it close though! 16 seconds, and I would not be going to Boston in April. All the what ifs ran through my head. Especially....what if I would have stopped to get my hat?