Let’s start with the good:
We finished! And with a new personal record for me: 4:53:57 (According to my watch. Official times have yet to be posted).
Let’s back up.
Dave and I left our house at 8am on Saturday and drove to PA. We saw a really weird car on the turnpike.
Along the way I read to Dave out of Born to Run… I’m like a personal audio book.
We headed straight to Presque Isle, where we met up with Kelly (my sister), John and Corrine (my brother and sister-in-law), and Lizzie and Clare (my nieces)!
We had a lot of fun playing in the sand with the girls and catching up. Then Dave and I followed Kelly back to her house. We made a delicious dinner of pasta with sauteed kale, basil, parsley, tomatoes, chard, and garlic. Fantastic! I had two bowls, plus a side of bread. I’d also been chugging water throughout the day, trying to make sure I was really hydrated. Keegan (Kel’s husband), Kelly, Dave, and I took a brief walk to stretch our legs and check out an old mansion nearby.
We also made our breakfast the night before, since we had to get up pretty early. We made pinole and chia pancakes, using a recipe this recipe. We sampled one and it was sooo good.
We were in bed by 9pm – pretty good, right? The alarm went off at 4:30am and we hit the start button on the coffeemaker, got changed, and made pinole chia banana peanut butter sandwiches (say that 5 times fast). Then Kel and I hit the road – we were out the door by 5am. The drive to the park took about 50 minutes, and race directors had requested all runners be parked by 6am. We aim to please. We parked, did some business in the port-o-pots (at that time still clean and no line), then got ourselves organized for the race – pinned on our bibs, ate our pancake sandwiches, etc. There might have also been some nervous peeing in the bushes (the port-o-pot line was now considerably longer), but I’ll never say for certain.
And then without much fanfare we were off! I told Kel I was going to hold the pace back a little bit, just to make sure we started slow and didn’t burn out. We did the first 10K (6.2 miles) in slightly over 9 minute miles, which felt good. Around mile 12 my stomach started to feel a little unsettled, but it didn’t seem a big deal. We crossed the halfway point (13.1 miles) at 2:10ish, still feeling good.
At mile 14 I stopped to puke. This was a little troubling since I also threw up in my last marathon and things hadn’t gone well afterwards. (Not to be graphic, but when I say “puke” I don’t mean just a little. I mean everything up and out.) After I threw up I felt better, except I didn’t have any water to rinse out my mouth with, so I was rocking some serious dragon breath and acid mouth. Yum. Keegan and Dave met up with us on their bikes about mile 15, and rode with us for most of the remainder of the race! That was really fun!
Around mile 16 or 17 my stomach started to clench and cramp again. I puked again at mile 18. A wonderful woman (who was running her 196th marathon!) gave me some tissues to clean up with. Kel and I theorized I should probably start drinking the energy drink at the water stations, since I couldn’t stomach food and I was probably dehydrated/electrolyte imbalanced/had no calories in me. Miles 19-23 were hard. My stomach was clenching and cramping, my head was pounding and felt woozy, and I was really tired. I puked again at mile 23, which helped. From there it was just a final push to the end. It was rough, but knowing I was close to finishing helped.
Bringing it on in.
I had so much fun running with Kelly – we talked, we zoned out, we kept pace together. It was so fun to have someone to run with and push me along. I am certain that my finishing time would have been much, much worse without Kelly helping me along. She kept me going. That being said, I feel really bad for Kelly for staying with me (even though I really really appreciate it). This was her first race and she was doing really well and was feeling really strong. I know she could have gotten a really good time – probably below 4:30 – if she hadn’t had to stop for me or walk with me. I’m so proud of her, and I wish her first marathon story didn’t have to include a “if” – “if my sister hadn’t been puking we/I could have finished in ____.” I hope maybe she’ll take me back for another marathon!
As for the race itself, I loved it! It was a beautiful, serene run. There weren’t tons of people to dodge, runners were friendly, and a decent amount of fans came out to cheer. Where there weren’t fans cheering there was beautiful woods and the sound of the water – it doesn’t get much better than that! The course is also flat – another perk! I’m definitely hoping to do this one again next year – it’s my favorite race I’ve ever done (at least course-wise)!