It seems as though there should be so much to say, here on the other side of the marathon. Tips for people just starting out in their training, or words of wisdom for those tackling 26.2. But somehow I'm at a loss...it all just seems as though it came and went, quickly down the path.
We both finished. That's what we set out to do. And I posted about the weather. Ugh theweather. Here's my first piece of advice: do not go north for your first marathon. Go south. Go as far south as the globe will take you. Do not run in a nor'easter. You will be cold and wet and the course that seemed lovely against the coast of the Eastern seaboard will seem miserable when it's freezing rain and borderline hail and 25 mph wind gusts.
But anyways. Here's a race recap.
I arrived in Boston around 7:00 p.m., and by the time my gate-checked bag (ahem thank you fellow Jet Blue passengers for taking all the overhead compartments) was retrieved, Ange had already been circling the parking lot 20 times. Bless her heart. I took a mental picture, got in the car, and we were on our way......to the grocery store, where we shopped for our "day before the day before the marathon" meal. And we were set to feed a family of four, what with our rotisserie chicken, two (2) orders of garlic mashed potatoes (Dear Shaws, I'm in love with your mashed potatoes. Love, Sarsh) , green beans (and more! including cranberries....found in your freezer section) and crescent rolls along with some brownies. So to say the least, we had a feast. muahahha I rhymed.
After a few episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" (which I'm convinced can be transferred into anyone's life), we passed out.
For the first time EVER, Ange woke up before me. Yea. Let me repeat that. Ange voluntarily woke up before me. I didn't wake up until 11 a.m., and Ange had been hopping about beforehand. We needed to be ready to leave her apartment and head down to Rhode Island by 2:00 p.m., including errands, so we had to move quickly.
So we went to Dunkin Donuts, where I showed my love for all coffee and pumpkin products with my pants and my happy smiling face.
Then we went to the Boston running store to get Ange some chomps, and we were ready to tackle showering and packing. Before long, we were ready to meet the photographer and begin our road trip to Newport, RI.
We headed to the race expo, where we were greeted by 12 year old volunteers who looked at us like we had 6 heads when we inquired about pace groups (hahahha why would we think they would have them?) and then checked into our hotel (this was lovely for our purposes, but if you're creeped out by costumed characters like I am, watch out for Sleepy the Bear). After a great carbo loading dinner and driving the marathon course, we came back to the hotel, enjoyed some tv and fell asleep.
We were up and at 'em by 5:40 a.m., ready to tackle the day. Ange, always thinking, had brought a toaster so we could enjoy our carbohydrates of choice (bagel for her, toast for me) before kicking things off. We woke up to rain, but we knew that was the forecast, so we were as prepared as possible, and headed to the starting line about an hour before anything kicked off.
After waiting in a holding cell, aka Dunkin Donuts at the Newport bus station, for about an hour, we were ready to get the show on the road.
We set off and it was pouring. Buckets of rain were falling from the sky. This didn't let up throughout the entire marathon. It was 26.2 miles of Noah's Ark. The first few miles were great, I think we were so happy to just be running that we didn't notice anything else. Around mile 7 we hit the part of the course where we were running along the coastline, and running directly into headwinds. This is when things started to get not so great. You could see all the runners literally bending at the waist to try and fight the wind. Not fun. Then around mile 8 my ipod shorted out due to the rain. Around mile 10 Ange's ipod shorted out. So were left with no music and fighting Mother Nature, before we even reached the halfway point.
At the halfway point, the course split into two sections, one part for the half marathon finishers, and the other part for the marathoners. I'm not going to lie, the half marathon finish line looked pretty tempting, especially after running in horrible conditions for 2 1/2 hours. But we pressed on, and continued with the marathon course.
The rest of the course consisted of two turnarounds, which again, I'm sure are lovely in normal weather, but are absolutely miserable in what Sunday's weather consisted of. We were again running along the coastline, and it felt like the temperature dropped 15 degrees by the time we got to mile 17. I honestly don't remember much between this point and mile 22, I just know that I wanted to finish and be dry. Around mile 20-21ish, Ange started to pull ahead of me, and I encouraged her to not wait for me - I knew I was lagging and that something wasn't right, and that I would just hold her back if I insisted on her staying with me. At mile 22, my left knee completely locked out, and I made the decision to briskly walk the rest of the way. I could have run more, but I knew I wasn't feeling great, and rather than risk an injury, I decided walking was less painful. Again, I don't even remember much, I just remember being freezing cold, and being pissed that I had to walk, and just wanting it all to be over.
At the very end, Ange's friend Jeff spotted me from a sand dune and walked with me for a bit.....God bless you Jeff, it was such an encouragement to see a familiar face at mile 25.9, and to keep me going even though all I wanted to do was curl in a ball on the side of the road. Or flag down an oncoming vehicle and curl up in their backseat. And Ange, who had finished ahead of me, came back around (After finishing!) and walked through the finish line hand-in-hand with me.
By the time I crossed the finish line, I could have cared less what my time was (5:50) or what Ange's time was, or how many people had finished ahead of us. We had finished a marathon in a nor'easter. Not many people can say that. Over 700 people had registered for the marathon, and around 450 finished. I'm proud to say we were 2 of those people. It certainly wasn't an ideal first marathon experience, but I'm so happy we did it, and let's be honest, we finished and that's what matters.
As for my thoughts on running post-marathon and whether I'll do another one...well that's going to come tomorrow :)