Monday, December 14, 2009

An Experience to Remember!

I am a 1% - er now!
During the marathon yesterday we were told that only 1% of people ever complete a marathon, so if we made it to the end we would be in that 1%. What an amazing experience this was for us.

We determined very early on that we were in this as a "fun run" not a race. We weren't able to train like we really needed to - in fact the farthest we ran before the race was 13 miles! Only 1/2 the distance we would be "running" or should I say covering for the marathon. We knew we weren't going to be setting any major records! We did relax a little in the week before to give our bodies time to rejuvinate a little. We had completed the P90X program along with a few days of Insanity. This helped with core strength, but it is murder on your upper legs - so we gave ourselves a week back at the gym plus a couple of "off" days. It was nice - but I sure felt lost on those days off!

The marathon kinda started on Saturday for us. We got up early and attended our WW meeting first - had a lot of well wishes there joining the ones from other friends and family. We then drove over to pick up Cotton so we could all go to the EXPO together and pick up our bibs and know - part of the reason you run these things, *laughing*!

The expo was really nice - very well organized with a TON of sponsors there! We got our bibs and our goodie bag - but you had to go to the other side of the room to pick up your T-shirt, so we wound our way through the maze of sponsor booths. Along the way we picked up 3 bags of free dog food, LOTS of business cards - our favorites were some chrome auto emblems we may get (for the 26.2 instead of a sticker!), Heavy Medalz which make hooks and jewelry for many sports, lifespeed sports which make these really nice wood stands to display your medals on, and the vitalsox booth...Cotton and Rick both got a pair of really nice compression socks there. We also went through Lukes Locker - Cotton found the shoes he had been looking for all over his size! As he was trying them on he talked Rick into trying on a pair of Luna Gliders as well...Rick loved them. On our way to the Expo Cotton had talked about how much Angel loved her new Gliders, so I thought, what the heck, I'll try a pair too! Well, let me tell ya - they are amazing! Angel's words, "Like walking on marshmallows!" We asked the salesman how long the break-in period was and we were told it is extremely short...he had people wear them the next day in races - so that is what we did! We finally made it over to pick up our shirts. It was kinda cool, because when we gave them our bibs the person behind the counter yelled, "First timers" and everyone there cheered for us! Really starts to get you pumped up!

We left the Expo, went by Sweet Tomatoes for our "carb-load" lunch, and then took Cotton back home. From there we came back by the house to change clothes and ran over to the mall to get in some steps and a little window shopping. We then drove on over to the kid's church to watch the Christmas program. Sydney did a really great job in her roll. We all went out to dinner, although Rick and I didn't eat much - didn't want to have a repeat of the tummy troubles from the DRC half!!!

We came home a little later than anticipated, packed up, got the running gear laid out and went to bed to try to get as much rest as we could - it was going to be an early morning!

Race morning we were up early and ready to head to the train station nice and early. I ate the small sample Cliff Mojo bar and a banana before we left as I have learned I don't want to run on a completely empty tummy, but I can't have too much in it either! We met Cotton at the train station and rode the train to the American Airline Center and Victory Park which is where the marathon was to start. We got to go inside where it was warm to wait - I for one was glad of that! About 7:30 we went ahead and pulled off the outer gear and packed it in our bags to take to the bag check and headed to the start line. Cotton was in wave "A" with the speedy guys, Rick was supposed to be in wave "D", and I was in wave "E". You are placed in the waves by your estimated finish times, so of course I was in the final wave of the afternoon! You can't move up a wave or you can possibly be disqualified, but you can move back, so Rick moved back with me so we could run this one together - I'm so glad he did!

We stood in line for the 4 available "potties" and were ready to go just about the time the gun went off. This was MUCH better than the Turkey Trot. Even though we were in the last wave it only took us about 15 minutes to get to the start, and everyone there was ready to run - no dodging walkers right away! As we got to the start line there was this machine shooting confetti into the air that you ran through and a GIANT t.v. screen showing the start - which was being televised - and a live band. It was sooooooo cool!

I really don't remember many specifics about the actual run. Just flashes. I know my first three miles were a little slow, but by the 10K mark I was right on my normal pace...stayed that way through the 10K, and even finished the 1/2 marathon a little faster than normal! Whoo - hoo...I was very excited about that! We kept right on running, it kept running through my mind that at this point I was in new territory - I had never run this far before - but I was really feeling good. The new shoes were awesome! My feet felt better than they ever had on any run - so breaking the rule of never wearing new shoes in a race was actually working for me instead of against me this time! No hip or toe problems after 13 miles!!!

We ran and ran and ran....each mile a new experience! At the 17 mile water stop I had to go to the medical tent and get a bandaid for one of my toes - a new blister - from my sock, not the shoe....the toes I had bandaged before the race were doing great! I also was pretty tender on my heel, but it wasn't too bad - just a little redder than normal.... I made it all the way to mile 18 before I started really tiring out. We walked just a little, and then ran a little more. At mile 19 we saw our good friend Mary from the DRC (this was their water stop and was by far the best of the race IMHO! - of course the fact that they had Hooter's Girls handing out water may influence some of the guy runners to vote for this stop as well!) It started to get pretty hilly here again and my legs let me know I was done for a while. We decided to take it easy for a bit and walk.

This turned out to be a pretty wise decision. We walked the rest of the way in - about 7 miles of the course...but we ran close to 19 miles with only one small walk! I was so proud of us!!! Even with the walking our slowest miles according to Garmin was 15:08 at mile 21 and 15:05 at mile 23. Those were the only 2 miles we were over 15 minute miles! We were walking at close to the pace I was running when I had to stop!

As we continued on the course it was uplifting to have people call out to us - "Way to go first timers! " (They knew we were first timers by the color of our bibs) - and, "Go Rick", "Go CJ"! (Our names were on our bibs too!) There were many families out handing out small treats like peanuts or skittles to keep the runners going, a lot out in their yards cheering the runners was really something!

I got more and more excited as we got closer and closer to the finish....first it was just a 5K away, then just 2 more miles, then 1 more mile - people would cheer us on with kind words expressing their confidence that we could do this - but by far one of the best moments of the race was at the very end. We came up the street and we could see the finish line so we talked it over and decided where we were going to start running again...we were going to cross the line running, not walking. We started running and crossed together. As we were walking over to get our solar blankets I heard someone call out to us and looked over to the sideline and there was Clint! He had come out to see us finish! I nearly started crying!!! Our son's friend was there just to see us finish - you see, I knew he was there for us because Cotton had finished nearly two hours before we did - so he was there for us! I feel so blessed! We got our medals and walked over to get our pictures taken, then walked over to meet him and give him a hug! At this point we were exhausted and starving, but mostly ecstatic!

We had been saying all along that our major goal was to finish before they tore down the finish line,(or sent out a search party looking for us!)....They gave you 6.5 hours to finish the race. My goal always was to complete it in under 6 hours. Then at the Expo one of the vendors was giving out pacing bracelets...I picked one up for 5:45 laughingly thinking that would help me make my 6 hour goal. I also picked one up for Rick with a 5:30 goal time. For most of the race we were within sight of the 5:00 pace group - until I stopped at the medical tent. Even when we lost sight of them I was feeling pretty upbeat because we were still ahead of the 5:30 pace group. It saddened me when they passed us by and I knew in my heart I couldn't realistically keep up with them, but when we took off running and crossed that finish line and the clock said 5:58:08 - well, that is JOY! I completed the race in under 6 hours CLOCK TIME! We called Candy to let her know we finished and she told us our chip time was 5:44:04 (well, Rick's was 5:44:03 - darn his longer stride...hahaha!) so we even beat our 5:45 pace by 0:0:96 seconds! How cool is THAT?
I'm VERY glad we did this. Our real goal when we started this was just to lose weight, then to get fit...along the way we discovered running and the keeps us focused - this was our hardest challenge to date - we met it. I don't think I'll every run another, although I won't say never! Just not in the forseeable future, but I'm awfully glad to have done it's to 1%!
For my "statistical" friends - here is the total Garmin info:
Mile 1 11:00
Mile 2 10:32
Mile 3 10:48 5K time about 32:21
Mile 4 11:11
Mile 5 11:23
Mile 6 11:33 10K time about 1:06:30
Mile 7 11:52
Mile 8 11:23
Mile 9 10:55
Mile 10 11:23
Mile 11 11:08
Mile 12 11:20
Mile 13 11:36 1/2 marathon time about 2:26:11 with NO WALKING!!!!
Mile 14 11:52
Mile 15 13:04
Mile 16 12:18
Mile 17 12:52
Mile 18 13:43
Mile 19 13:32
Mile 20 14:16 (see what I mean about it not being that much slower walking, lol)
Mile 21 15:08
Mile 22 14:14
Mile 23 14:43
Mile 24 14:39
Mile 25 15:05
Mile 26 13:36
Mile 27 9:35 for a total Garmin time of 5:34:54 (it pauses and lost connection a few times)

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