I realized later today that all that anxiety from the week subsided as we met up with the entourage in Portland yesterday. So glad they were there. You’ll see a lot of those Real Runners using marathons as a metaphor for life and most essential of their platitudes is to have your own cheering section. Indeed. Special shout-outs to those who came along — sprizee, her dude, Mr./Mrs. Toad, Celeste & Ian, and my Mr. T. Your presence was priceless. I cannot thank you enough.
In the weeks before, I got countless crazy looks with comments along the lines of “I have never had that urge.” Never say that to a first-timer. You’re not helping. I mostly understand as I’ve thought that once upon a time myself. What led me to such a crazy idea of 26.2 miles? Well, about 8 years ago, I lost nearly a third of my body weight, partially due to running. I’d never run a full mile, even as a child, until I was 23. A year or two in, my motivation waned. I have never considered myself an athletic person. It’s a means to an end. I noticed if I signed up for 5K races, and later half-marathons, I’d practice and the rest fell into place. I also didn’t have to go hungry nearly as much. This is essential. I see her all the time; my inner fat girl is DYING to get out and take over the eating situations. Yes, I identified with Monica on Friends.
In April, I ran my 3rd half-marathon with a gaggle of pals on Whidbey. That was a great time, but the ending felt incomplete despite that fun finish with Uncle Tom cheering me to the end like a maniac. I knew it was time to step it up, but I had an upcoming surgery. For a month, I couldn’t work out under doctor’s orders and was stunned at the anxiety issues that surfaced. When the waiting period was up, I began training for the marathon. Signing up mentally, following a prescribed plan — that gets me out the door. It’ll get me up at 6 AM to run for 5 solid hours after I pay $100 for the privilege.
This morning, I was in the lobby at a quarter to start time where Mr. and Mrs. Toad saw me off before they headed back for Seattle. It took less than five minutes to get to the starting line. I stayed remarkably calm, despite the fact that waiting gives me time to think about what’s ahead, which = anxiety. Who needs to think? I’d rather just plug into the Shuffle, sing along with Walk Like an Egyptian (thanks, Debi!!) and maybe some Livin on a Prayer, then put one foot in front of the other until the end.
I started with the 4:30 group as there was some weird crowding near the 5:00 wave. We crossed the start 10 minutes after the gun after waiting for the faster groups to move ahead. I ran with 4:30 til nearly mile 18. Impressive, considering I thought it could take as long as 6 hours to finish, given my final practice run. It also rained HARD for an hour, despite the announcer saying in 20+ years, the most rain they had was scant. He paraphrased, “Let’s hope in this case, history is prologue.”
At the expo yesterday, I’d picked up a 5:00 pacing wristband and told the guy it was overly optimistic. I was thrilled I was hitting marks with time to spare. My energy was great through mile 13 and I was buoyed by my unexpected speed through the teens. Then, mile 17 hit with its big incline to St. John’s Bridge. I ran most of it, singing along silently to ol’ Eminem, and know people were bemoaning the hill, but I couldn’t hear much over my music in the solid rain. Somewhere between 18-20, my hands started swelling up. Real bad. I twittered, “Hey dr. Google why are my hands swelling Mile 21.” Ask and ye shall receive the advice to drink more. I did and it worked. Miles 23-26 were decidedly more upbeat than 19-22. The texts during those later miles were a boost, too.
I saw my people two blocks from the finish, yay. I crossed as U2’s In God’s Country started. I love that song. I finished in a little over 5 hours. Then I wandered the finishers area dazedly, navigating that final gauntlet of medal, pin, fruit section (took a pass), Creamsicle (NomNomNom), tree sapling (this is hippie-land Left Coast, after all), Finisher shirt, then the reunion area where my people awaited. I skipped the official portrait with my sapling as the lines were long and I figured I could ask sprizee if I really wanted it later. 🙂
Celeste and Ian offered to get me a pedi-cab, but I thought the wind-down walk to the hotel would be good. I was halfheartedly wishing for it in the final block.
We lunched at Kenny and Zuke’s Deli (NomNomNom – squared). I realized I’d die if I walked much more, so we drove home. I napped til Seattle. It was delicious.
6 replies on ““I literally just ran a marathon.””
Congrats!!! What a great accomplishment. Oh, and it’s always good to see a shot of your chest. 😉
LOL, girl. LOL.
w00t! you are my hero. no really, you are! I can’t run 10 feet much less an entire marathon.
You are the (wo)man!
Man, nice call on the chest comment. Rachel, I’m one of the schmucks who needed to be punched. Feel free to farm that out, but if I have my choice, can I request Luim? I’ve never had the desire to run a marathon, but I think many of us are jealous of your ability to set the goal and then not let bed, bar, TV or just apathy talk you out of reaching them. You amaze me. “You’re a freak” is just a less mushy way of saying it. And you do have a damn nice rack.
Rachel, I kinda love you for your thoughtful account here, and you are definitely my hero. A girlfriend just yesterday wrote and said, “Hey girls, let’s train for a marathon!” to which my response will undoubtedly be “Um… no thanks,” which just goes to show how much more courageous you are than me. (Maybe someday)
Most importantly though, what’s on the marathon mix?
Aw, thanks Reese, Debi and Misty. A little verklempt over here.
Misty – maybe that marathon mix will be an upcoming subject. I’ve had a few requests…