(COURTESY: Victoria good life marathon)
So I already covered the race, the emotions before, after, and during the race but I have yet to speak about the race. Well Sunday came faster then anticipated, not only was on east coast time but an accelerated work / wake time. It was 4am and I was up with little to do, so I showered, stretched, ate a few bananas, and waited… well and waited.
I started getting hungry but I’m not comfortable eating too much before running.. this proved to be a mistake later on. Now the other runners stirred, walking in various layers of spandex, various amounts of vaseline, and lots of weird smells.
Now after some more waiting in the early morning Northwest cold with some last minute prep, bathroom, bag drop, I lined up for the start. Again some more waiting and then the siren signaled the start.
My goal was to run a 10 minute pace which would be slower then my training pace, factoring in the fact I only went as a far as 16 miles at a much faster pace. However, this idea blew up as quick as the race started. First I had to go to the bathroom really bad, then I was hopped on way too many emotions, and finally the cold. I ended up hitting the first 5 miles at around 8 minute per mile pace. As I was here, I so thirsty, but also I needed a bathroom so badly, my only other experience of a long, large race, they had bathrooms every 3 miles, nope not here, the bathroom finally appeared at mile 10, and after the 1st beverage at mile 1, the first reasonable beverage station also at mile 10. I ran in took a leak, grabbed water and all of sudden my body started to seize from the sudden stop.
The first 12 miles was a gradual uphill, with a short down hill and then another 4 miles of gradual uphill. Now the new trouble began, my right calf froze and my quad became tight. Even with these set backs, I set a new personal record for the Half Marathon granted I’ve only run the race twice.
The cramping continued, and became more frequent but some rubbing was helping me continue and I hit mile 17 a shade under 10 minutes a mile pace. Now my goal changed from running sub 4:20 to just making sure I finish before they shut the race down.
Around mile 23 the gramping just became awful, and as i shuffled slower then people walked, my right leg gave out and I took a slight spill. I just wanted to stop, but I paused with medics finally asking do you need help, I said YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. They are like do you want to sit, where I was hoping for fluids, or heat, or stretching but nope. Finally a bystander is like I have gatorade and i was so grateful.
For the next 3 miles I tried to at least do a a slow jog but that became harder and harder and a stiff walk was all icould muster for long stretches, sipping on the gatorade. With no one along the course, other runners sparse, I began to just hallucinate for an italian sub sandwich intertwined with the hope of finishing before they removed the finish line.
Then with 600m left, one of my Friends appeared, one of the reasons I signed up for this race, and he started to jog along me. It felt so good, at that moment a lot of the pain left, I couldn’t go any faster but I felt awashed with happiness and I kept limping along. I asked him if he achieved his goal and that made me smile then I had to wish him a good trip since he was flying immediately down to LA for a funeral with only those few words to celebrate. then with finish line chute appearing, my other friend, the person who introduced me to the greatness of the Pacific Northwest appeared. He ran alongside me into the finish as the announcer called my name in a perfect British accent. No matter anything I finished!
Immediately after i was taken to the medical tent which was in the process of shutting down, and provided a luke cold ice bag and nothing else for my cramping. After that I got my medal, jacket, photo taken, and proceeded to get food, but nothing was left save for a single chocolate milk. Now the rain started falling in earnest.
I still had to get my bag, and with the rain falling, the temperature dropping and in tremendous stiffness my mind had become numb. At this point I was not suffering fools, and well this race had many fools. I got into an argument with the bag drop people. Afterwards I hobbled over to my prepaid massage where finally i felt better, and met some nice people who gave tips about food and all things victoria.
This concluded my first marathon, I’m glad I did it, it wasn’t what I expected but I can say I did it.