Cleveland May 20, 2012
After the most awful night of sleep I’ve ever had, the alarm went off at 4:00am. I hit snooze. There was no race excitement in my body, I just wanted to sleep. It wasn’t a night of race anxiety that I had the night before. It was just general discomfort with the bed, the sheets that wound up around my neck and the comforter that seemed to prefer the floor. And I don’t like king size beds! There was too much distance from Ben to the edge of the bed and my half asleep body did not know where to be. I hit snooze a few more times and then jumped up to make coffee, get dressed and see if the hotel had anything out early for breakfast. (I had backups, in case they didn’t.) I toasted a raisin bagel and put my own honey peanut butter on it and drank another cup of coffee. Everything seemed to be taking longer than it was supposed to. After a near accident on an empty street, we made it to a parking garage about a mile away. Port a Potty stop on the way in and an extremely crowded, barely moving, walk down a ramp to the start corrals. (While stuck in the sea of people, we heard announcements telling us to avoid the ramp.) I got to my corral just 9 minutes before the start.
I started with a 4:40 pace group, which would be about a 10:41 pace. I wanted to start slow and relaxed so I would have something left at the end. I was still terrified of what happens after 20 miles.
Mile 1: 10:48 –The crowd was getting to me, feeling claustrophobic, I made the decision not to stay with the group, it seemed like a hassle keeping track of them.
Mile 2: 10:01 –Doubting my decision, I wasn’t trying to speed up THAT much.
Mile 3: 10:05 –Well, at least I’m getting some quicker miles out of the way while it’s not that warm.
Mile 4: 10:32 –Potty stop? Nope. LINES of people! I can hold it.
Mile 5: 10:26 –More potties, even longer lines.
Mile 6: 10:28 -Feeling good! I finally relaxed. Crossed the 10k at 1:05:31 10:33pace. I was excited to know that people would be getting texts about my progress. I was just 30 seconds faster than I told Ben I would be at this point. Ate a gel I had on me.
Mile 7: 10:18 -Water stops were getting insane! People were crashing into me, just grabbing their cups and STOPPING in front of the tables. I was getting irritated; I didn’t even walk to drink as I had planned because I wanted to get away from the crowds of people that seemed oblivious to others around them. I wondered if faster people have better race etiquette.
Mile 8: 10:22 –
Mile 9: 10:35 –Holy Hill! I didn’t expect that on the course everyone told me was flat. It was getting HOT. I felt like I was the only person not walking up the hill, the crowds hadn’t thinned out so it required a lot of weaving around. I followed someone else running the hill, which was helpful. Grabbed the gel they offered, just hung on to it.
Mile 10: 10:35 -Passed the faster walker I’d ever seen. He was a short man that seems to have double jointed hips, his stride didn’t look human! Oh! And NO WATER at the water stop, at least they had PowerAde.
Mile 11: 10:30 – I was getting excited to know the half marathoners would be gone soon. A lot of them looked like they were in very rough shape, many stopping to walk.
Mile 12: 10:05 –NO WATER! No PowerAde. But they had two people with hoses at the stop misting the runners?! I don’t know why they weren’t filling the cups with those hoses! I was angry, probably the reason that mile was a little faster.
Mile 13: 10:14 -Passed the half point at 2:19:24 10:38 pace The half marathoners were gone and downtown streets were fairly shaded. Found a lineless potty and pulled on the handle to startle another runner with her pants down. Why would you not lock the door?! Went to the next one, peed quickly and got back on the course.
Mile 14: 10:35 -Back in the sun! Ate the GU I’d been holding.
Mile 15: 10:26 -Getting hotter, drinking PowerAde and water at every stop.
Mile 16: 10:42 -I could feel the heat getting to me. Someone informed me that Martin Luther King Drive was around the corner and we’d have a few miles of shade. I was excited for shade.
Mile 17: 10:44 -In the shade!! It was at this point that I noticed that no one had passed me for at least a mile. I was passing A LOT of people. That felt good.
Mile 18: 10:39 -Everyone is walking. It started messing with my head. Should I be walking? I feel okay, my knee was a little weird, but I was loving the shade. Two runners at the medic station covered with ice packs. Scary! I decided I would walk through the remaining water stops. As a little “reward” to myself, I put my headphones on.
Mile 19: 10:23 – EVERYONE is walking. A lot of runners were lying in the grass or sitting in the shade stretching. Someone told me that the race had been red flagged. I remember thinking: I guess working in a hot warehouse is good for something! Did I miss a GU stop?
Mile 20: 10:41 -Crossed the 30k at 3:26:43 11:05 pace –I’m still not sure how that pace can be right. Maybe my watch is wrong? Somewhere along mile 20 my knee started hurting, it almost felt like a little electric current shot through it. Without a second thought, I grabbed the packet of Advil hiding behind my iPod and swallowed two pills without water. That’s a first!
Mile 21: 10:10 -Back in the sun. More walkers. I don’t remember a single person passing me since mile 16. I even did a few math problems in my head to see if was okay. It took me awhile, but I did them. Grabbing three cups at every water station, drinking one PowerAde and one water, dumping another water on my head and down my back. Ate the last gel I had on me.
Mile 22: 10:30 – I remember thinking: This is the farthest I’ve ran before. I’m so thirsty.
Mile 23: 11:17 –This is where I fell apart. I stopped at the water stop and my body did not want to drink. Every drop felt like it wanted to come right back up. I was forcing it down. I didn’t want to run anymore. My knee felt like it exploded inside. I looked down to see if it was swollen and got dizzy. Hop, jog, walk…drink… jog… walk. People were passing me. There ARE still people running! Then I yelled at myself: Its three more stupid miles! You can run three miles on your worst feeling day! Finish your water and go!!
Mile 24: 10:24 – I feel okay, but already thirsty again.
Mile 25: 10:39 – I just want to be done. I THOUGHT I had picked up the pace.
Mile 26: 10:49 -There’s Ben! I realize I can still smile. He mouthed, “Are you okay?” and I nodded.
.2 (which was actually a .6 for me) was a 9:55 pace. Loved the downhill finish!!!
Finish time: 4:38:43 Final Pace: 10:38 (Exactly the same as the half!!)
Big smiles when I was handed my medal. I did it. Me. The girl who never finishes anything, just finished 26.2 miles in unseasonably warm conditions. Ate a banana instantly, drank water, grabbed some fruit snacks, realized there wasn’t anything else to eat or drink. Bummer. I walked off to meet Ben. There was definitely something wrong with my knee. Walk, drink, stretch… until Ben gets to our meeting spot. I glad he remembered to take some pictures, my mind was fried!
Clock Time 04:47:11
Chip Time 04:38:43
Overall Place 1426 / 14664
Gender Place 427 / 8275
Division Place 94 / 1492
Most interesting thing I learned about Cleveland: East side people and West side people do not consider themselves part of the same city.
Best sign I saw: Chuck Norris never ran a marathon.
Grossest thing I saw: The aftermath of a very brown accident all over someone.
Costumes: Surprisingly, none. I did see a few ladies in sparkly tutus though.
My knee is fine. My legs feel heavy. I’m a bit achy everywhere, especially my shins and my hips. I feel better than I expected to. Still a little sick to my stomach from the heat, but the more I drink, the better I feel. Still eating like a horse, even with very little appetite. The best part: No foot/ankle pain! None! Not yesterday, not today!
I will run another. Hopefully, in cooler weather!