Mile One Through Mile Nineteen: Part Two
If you missed Part One of the Epic-Length Marathon Report, click here.
The goal was to start out easy, then build a cushion of time in the middle, and then account for slowing near the end.
Mile One ticked by in 8:58 as I crossed over the Founder’s Bridge for the first time. Right on pace, wanting to warm up and conserve some energy for the later miles. I ran with AA and Michelle for about a quarter mile, making sure that AA was connected to her pace-leader and then I pulled ahead just a bit.
Mile Two provided a moment of surprise as I heard someone talking to me and looked over to see Sarah! We chatted for a moment and then she rocketed ahead. She must of caught me up in her jet fuel, as my split was 8:21. That was a little too fast!
During Mile Three, I relaxed and found my groove with an 8:41 split. I spotted my husband as he cruised by on his bike, in the rain. I watched as he pulled in to a convenience store – where I later learned that he was buying some gummy bears for Michelle since she had dropped hers in the mud before the start.
I still had to pee by Mile Four so I started to look for a porta-potty. I told myself I would only stop if there wasn’t a line. I clocked this mile at 8:39. It was still raining. A light, gentle, constant sprinkle.
Jason rode by and checked in with me, offering to sell his bike to any runner with the most money.
Mile Five may or may not have been when I found the open porta-potty. And I should be able to tell because my split would be a little longer right? Yeah, well…when I did stop to pee, I stopped my watch out of habit (stop running=stop watch). I didn’t realize until I was leaving the blue box of happiness that I now had NO IDEA what my chip time was! Ggrrr. Oh, and there really is no feeling like pulling on sopping wet shorts. (Turns out, this stop cost me about 35 seconds). Split here was 8:35. (or 9:10, adjusted)
Mile Six saw another ‘on-pace’ split of 8:34. I was running alone, so I took it upon myself to eavesdrop on conversations to stay entertained. I heard two women talking about pace, so I politely interjected and asked them about their pace goals. One of the women looks over at me and says ‘Are you the one from the website?’ And I just had to laugh! That’s the second time I’ve been recognized at a race! She went on to say that she reads my blog regularly, although she doesn’t have a blog herself – so to my race-day friend from Massachusetts – “Hi!” Feel free to contact me if you are doing another CT race anytime soon!
Mile Seven was more of the same – left, right, left, right, rain, rain, rain. Split was 8:35.
Mile Eight brought me by Jason, waiting with my ‘refill’ of gatorade. I opted to grab it on the way back, so he got to stand out in the rain even longer.
The weather report had said ‘Rain, heavy at times’ and all of sudden, we got hit with the ‘heavy at times’ portion. My sneakers had been doing OK prior to this – moist but not squishy. But within seconds, I had buckets of water in my shoes and the puddles tripled in size. I smiled at the lunacy of it all and plodded onward. Somehow, this split was 8:13. I dunno, I think I was trying to make up for the time I lost in the bathroom.
Mile Nine clocked in 8:55 with an uphill in very heavy shoes.
Mile Ten clocked in at 8:28 as I tried to make up some lost time from Mile Nine on the downhill.
Mile Eleven brought the gatorade exchange with Jason. He asked me how I was doing and I said ‘Good. My feet are a just a little wet.’ I’m not sure he picked up on my sarcasm through the sounds of all the squishing shoes hitting the pavement. I was on pace with an 8:32.
Mile Twelve showed us the ‘winds 15-20 mph’ that were promised with the rains. I slowed to an 8:49 here.
Mile Thirteen and halfway home! Brought the pace back to 8:34 but was a little discouraged when I realized that I was a minute behind schedule and still had the toughest part of the course to tackle.
Mile Fourteen had me making friends with a biker(bicycle) who was supposed to have ‘Gu-On-Demand’ but there was a communication glitch and none of the bikers knew where to get the Gu from. I was talking to him about running, as he said he was inspired by us, and I mentioned that running is not as hard on the knees as people think. I said this specifically to him, as I know many hard core bikers scoff at all the ‘pounding’ runners do to their knees. I went to the suggest to the biker that he look into ‘proper running form’ before he starts so he can protect his knees. Mark would have been proud of me!
Jason cruised by again, and I handed him a ‘plain’ gu that I knew I wouldn’t need. I noticed he had prunes-hands from being out in the ran. What a trooper! I was still holding on to the 8:35 pace and feeling good.
Mile Fifteen brought thoughts of all your triathletes, as I spotted a man with an Ironman shirt on. I asked him about his shirt and he said he wasn’t feeling like an Ironman at that moment. I asked which race he had done, and he was a four time finisher (Lake Placid twice, Wisconsin and Florida)! I smiled, thinking about my tri-blogger friends with their eyes on IM.
I also thought of Annalisa as I passed by the spot where she met me last year, with her homemade dancing-banana sign. Another smile. And I slowed just a bit to 8:40 as we were doused again by some heavy rains and pushed around by the winds.
Mile Sixteen and my feet were feeling really heavy. I was lonely. I slowed down to a 9:03 here.
Mile Seventeen and I’m running through mud and grass to avoid lake-sized ankle-deep puddles. Losing steam, I walk thru the water stop and the pace slows more to a 9:17 split.
Mile Eighteen is the Gu-Station and I’m reminded to take my third Gu for the day. As I walk to eat the Gu, I almost get tangled in a strand of yellow caution tape that the wind is whipped right at my neck. The Gu plus the fear of being stranged by caution tape help me pick up the pace to a 9:03 again.
Mile Nineteen crosses up and over the Founder’s Bridge. Usually the crowd support here is great, with people lined across the bridge cheering. Not so much today. Did I mention that it was raining? And I was lonely? And I had my period? My sneakers felt like they weighed 100 pounds each. I thought about having a pity party for myself, but then thought of everyone waiting for me at mile 20.
And then I passed (let me repeat that – I PASSED) the now-former pace-leader for the 3:45 group. He’s running alone with his pace shirt turned inside out. I took some small comfort in knowing that I wasn’t the only person not reaching that particular goal, but I also felt bad for the runners who were relying on him to help them reach their goal. And I felt bad for him, knowing that he must be having a terrible day on so many levels. My split was 9:52.
The final and last installment up next!