Sorry for the delay on this, but I really wanted to get over the cold I got this past weekend. I did stay home from work yesterday, stayed in my pajamas all day and “fed my cold lots of vitamins, zinc, and Mucinex.”   When I woke up yesterday, I was wheezing, and could tell my cold was working its way into my chest.  It was bad enough that I called my doctor for a refill on my fast-acting inhaler. (I love Mucinex, by the way, although the pills are just enormous.  They are well worth the money.)  What a difference a day can make, when you get a lot of sleep (12 hours or so), and feed yourself lots of good vitamin and protein-filled food like tomatoes, peppers and mixed greens. (Big salad for lunch.)

My legs are pretty much feeling back to normal, except for my left ankle, which I believe I hurt in the shower Monday (go figure, I run 26.2 miles with no injuries, then I hurt it the day afterward.) No stiffness left though, yay!

I have to admit, I was strangely calm that morning of the race, so much so that Lis asked me if I was feeling alright.   I think I was just trying to treat it as a really, really long weekend run, with the fun addition of spectators and my family.  Here’s my play-by-play for the race (apologies for it being so long, but well, I was out there for just under 5 hours!!):

  1. Start of the race – wow was it cold. I guess it is all relative considering I’ve been sweating my butt off in the heat and humidity all summer. What a difference the humidity makes. We ended up starting about 10 minutes late, I’m told, by Bill.
  2. First few miles we planned to run  about 11:30 or so, to make sure the legs were properly warmed up and the last thing we wanted to do was “boink” during the last 6, as everyone says we as humans are prone to do. Lis has a tendency to start out fast, as she will admit, but she did pretty well that morning. We had three watches, two of them Garmin 405s. Here’s the weird thing – more than once, we both looked at our Garmins at the same time and found that they were listing our paces as completely different, as in hers would say 11:15 and mine would say 10:50.  She joked that my Garmin must be communicating with a Soviet satellite, and it was time for it to learn that the Soviet Union no longer exists.
  3. Mile 3, I think it was, you run over a bridge and can see the ocean in the distance. Absolutely gorgeous the way the sun hit the water, and not to mention the ocean breeze. It was especially nice on the way back at mile 23.  Right on the other side of the bridge, there were a lot of TNT cheerleaders – that was pretty cool.
  4. Miles 4 and 5 – I believe there were what the race organizers probably consider “rolling hills.”  Jamie even commented that he thought we both were handling them well. We looked at him and said “what hills?” 🙂  (Compared to my Winchester hills, they were nothing!)
  5.  Mile 6 was the first time we knew we’d see Bill, my in-laws, and my mom, as well as Lis’ family of supporters too. That was pretty cool!
  6. Right after mile 6 were the cones where the half-marathoners turned around. I had joked that at this point, we’d have to use my “KungFu death grip” on Lis to make sure she didn’t turn around halfway.  All of us full marathoners looked very longingly at the halfers as they turned around and headed for home….
  7. Around mile  7 or 8 (not really sure because I didn’t want to constantly be staring at my watch), I saw what had to be one of the most gorgeous houses I’ve ever seen. HUGE front yard, inground pool, very regal looking driveway, and a HUGE backyard too. While I’m busy ogling it, Jamie starts using his cell phone (the first of many calls, actually, that tells you how much faster he is used to running) to keep his girlfriend, April, and my family updated on where we are in the race. Bill and my mom later told me how funny it was to be getting calls from him during the race, so they’d know exactly where we were. 🙂  Lis and I were joking that if he started to text people or check email, we’d have to hurt him… 🙂
  8. Mile 9ish? I believe Lis reminded me that I needed to be the rabbit like I was during our speed workouts together.
  9. Mile 10ish – we started seeing the leaders of the marathon coming back in the other direction – I don’t feel so bad now that I know the guy who won was an Olympic Trials qualifier this past year – Art Siemers.
  10. Mile 11ish? Jamie and I came upon a woman in a red shirt who was trading teasing remarks with some spectators. Turned out she had run the New Hampshire marathon the day before.  I said to her “ok,you’re my hero!” and she responded with “no, I’m just stupid  is what I am!” 🙂 She told me I was doing well for my first marathon.
  11. Mile 13 or so – we came to a dirt path with cones at the end – I yelled to the folks standing there – “halfway?!” and they said I was almost there – whooppee!  As we looped back around, we saw Lis – she was really not far behind us, but she didn’t have a happy look on her face. Jamie ran back to see how she was doing and she said her hip was bothering her – which sounded like what had happened on the day I ran the 21 miler and she ran 10 miles. I told Jamie I had to keep going at the pace I was running at, to feel comfortable, and I thought Lis was going to just remain that far back, within our sights. He later told me she had said she couldn’t keep going at our pace – she had to hang back a bit.  I think we were doing something like 10:40 minute miles at that point, not sure.
  12. After the 13.2 mile point, there was a man running near me with the following written on the back of his shirt: “Crossing something off of your Bucket List: Priceless.”  I told him I thought that was awesome.  Helped to place things in perspective.
  13. After mile 14 or so, we were nearing an incline and in front of us were the Maine National Guard Tribute Marchers. That helped inspire me so much, I thought that if they can march with all of that weight on their backs, there is no way I am stopping to walk on this hill.  I had been wanting to come across them all day, just so I could thank them as a group for running. They gave me such a boost!
  14. Around the same time we saw the Maine National Guard, Jamie and I came upon an older gentleman who was walking and he said that there was no shame in walking. It would help keep you strong for the end.  I asked him how many times he’d done this kind of thing.  He said it was his first Maine Marathon, but overall, his 80th marathon.  He said he’d done about 30 ultras, and that he had done the NH Hampshire Marathon the day before. (We later figured out he was running with the lady in the red shirt.  You can see this gentleman in a grayish/olive green shirt, near us, around the Mile 16 or Mile 20 photos, I think.)
  15. Around mile 18 or so, I realized there may have been a few different places on my arm that I had not used BodyGlide on. Ugh.  The burning begins.  Jamie again takes out the cell phone and calls Bill.  (By the way, Bill said every time Jamie called him, it sounded like he was just sitting on the couch, not like he was running.)
  16. I had it (Body Glide) in my red shoe bag I’d given him earlier, but it was the one time that Bill had not brought it with him to where they were sitting by the road, so he ran the half mile or so back to the car to grab it, and just got back about 30 seconds before we came running/shuffling along.  (Luckily along the way, we also saw Jean Ann, the Cambridge TNT coach, and she had an extra in her bag – oh the power of BodyGlide!!)
  17. Word to the wise – NEVER use the Body Glide with the red top – you know, the type that also warms your muscles, on an area that is truly chafed – it BURNS!!!
  18. Around mile 21, I started to feel some cramping/spasming in my legs. From there to around mile 23, I just kept on going – I told Jamie if I stopped, I was worried that I would have even worse cramps. This was also around the time that my Camelbak ran dry, and I started to do the airplane refueling maneuver that Jamie and I had practiced – he’d pull out the Camelbak hose and I’d run up alongside him and drink. That must have looked so weird to people behind us!
  19. Around mile 22, I said to Jamie, I am so happy that I can do something like this. There are so many people out there who can’t run, like my Grandma and Cheryl. Their names were on the back of my shirt – although they didn’t have leukemia or lymphoma they are both gone now, both had cancer at one point in their lives, and both made me strong for that race.
  20. Right around the mile 24 sign, there was a traffic guard who told me that the rest of the way was mainly down hill. Remembering the last time someone told me that during a race, on my Trail Race from Hell, I said to him “you wouldn’t be lying to me, would you now?!” He just laughed, said he’d been out there all day, and that there was a tiny incline that we still had, but otherwise it was all flat or downhill. (I am happy to say he was right!)
  21. Also around mile 24, the gentleman who had done 80 marathons asked me how it felt to be on the last leg of my first marathon.  I said “good, a bit painful but good!”
  22. Around mile 24.5, I was walking with Jamie. We could hear the drums in the distance (my Bubbleshare photos here show them, with Jamie playing them too!) but it sure seemed much further around the water to get to the finish line. There was a lady who saw my TNT shirt, and said she worked in the field of leukemia research. She said she loved seeing so many purple shirts out there that day – that it made her feel so much better. I think that was the inspiration I needed because I said to Jamie, “ok let’s go, I need to end this goddamn thing!” and we took off, at a pace that was faster than  before.
  23. Mile 25.5 – because we had taken off faster than before – averaging something in the 9:30 or 10ish minute miles (it may not seem that fast, but when your legs are so tired like mine were, everything is relative), I just said to Jamie “I don’t think I can do this, I don’t think I can make it.”  I have to be honest, this was the first time I had a negative thought all day.  Weird, huh?
  24. To his credit, Jamie remembered that I had told him earlier that one of my goals was to finish strong. He didn’t let me stop – we just slowed down the pace a bit, and he reminded me that we had less than a mile left. He said if I thought about how much I had run this entire year, it was probably hundreds or a thousand times further than a mile. That kind of put things in perspective, plus, then I saw the Mile 26 sign.  That definitely energized me, and in the pictures on bubbleshare and on Sue’s blog, I am actually sprinting  or doing as close a speed as I could get to a sprint.
  25. By the way, we DID pass people on that last mile – about 20 or so, maybe more – I couldn’t really concentrate at that point, but there were so many people walking it in!
  26. So exhilarating to finish and then have one of those mylars put around my shoulders! I thought to myself “so this is what it feels like to wear one of those things!!”  So surreal.
  27. I was so happy to finish and see the number 4 at the very beginning of my time.  I believe I finished first of my TNT teammates who I regularly practiced with, a total shock to me!
  28. Since I beat Katie Holmes’ time, Bill (aka “Coach”) said I wouldn’t have to ride in my mom’s dog cage she has in her minivan – what a relief!  🙂

All in all, Jamie and I were on pace to finish in around 4:40 until the last 3 miles or so, when the cramping just got too be too much for me and honestly, I was pretty tired and we started walking some.  The first time I had actually walked during the race was around mile 15.6 (not including some of the water stops) and he was pretty impressed by that.  I think with the lessened humidity, I didn’t drink enough, which caused some of the spasming. I’m glad to know though that I was able to overcome it mentally. This whole thing has taught me a lot about myself, that is for sure.  I’m still happy with my 4:51 time though – hey I just did something a lot of people only think about. 

I did not realize until we got to the finish line that Lis had fallen as far back as she had.  She ended up having her IT Band pop around mile 15, and she started to think she would have to walk the entire 11 remaining miles. Some sports physiologists saw her, saw that it was swelling already, and told her she’d likely not finish. She proved them wrong. She did finish, and not in last place either. Her time was around 5:35.  She said our teammate Charlene had seen her about a mile from the end, and she kept her company for a while.  I saw her about a half mile to a 1/4 mile out and ran to meet her and then to the finish line. Jamie took off his medal and started running in front of her like it was a carrot on a stick.  She had the same question that I did at that point – where is the finish line??!!  She amazes me how mentally strong she is.  To finish with shin splints like she had (which didn’t start hurting until around mile 15 she says) and a snapped/popped IT band is just amazing.

By the way, here are more pictures, which I was able to put on my Bubbleshare account, thankfully!  Jamie has said he’d do another marathon with me any day – I need to think about when I’ll have that much time to train again, but it sure was fun!

If these pics stop working, please let me know by making a comment if you can, thanks! Or, try using the links, here, here and here!

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