Sunday, October 07, 2012

I Am So Very Happy

I'm so very happy right now to not be walking, or worse, running.  Remember that whole signing up for a marathon thing?  And then doing a half marathon and realizing I was not cut out to be a distance runner?  And then pretty much stopping my training?  And then still doing the marathon I'd signed up for over a half a year ago?  Yeah.  That was today.

My alarm was set for 5am, but I woke up at 4:25 and by 4:30 realized there was no real chance of me going back to sleep, so I got up.

In addition to putting on the clothes I'd laid out last night (for 45 degree early morning temps with 65 and sunny for the finish temps - what to wear?!), I added these little fashion items to my ensemble.

Then I left the house and walked to the bus stop.  In case I was in doubt about the fact that I was really up in the middle of the night rather than in the early morning, I saw a couple of racoons scooping out the side yard as I walked across our parking area.  Additionally, even though I can count on our near by busy streets being, well, busy pretty much any time I might venture out (say walking home around 2am from some event at Poekoelan), I saw all of one car pass by on my way to the bus stop. 

I arrived in downtown Portland way too early.  I spent my time wandering around the starting/staging area, sitting and people watching, using the port-a-potties and then lining up in my "corral" with the other cattle waiting for slaughter.

I had this totally unfounded, it turned out, opinion that I'd do okay.  When I'd registered 8 months ago, I'd given my projected finishing time as 5 hours.  I knew I wasn't going to get that at all.  I'd been fluctuating between thinking I'd take 6 and 7 hours to finish.  I figured about 6.5 would be pretty realistic.  Turns out, that wasn't unfounded at all, just the idea that I wouldn't be dying most of the time and finish a crippled old woman was unfounded.

If I'd done the event at a pace that would have left me tired, possibly sore, but more or less intact, it probably would have been closer to 7.5-8 hours.  However, I had pride.  And when everyone else started running, so did I.  My pride stayed with me and I added to it the idea that I could make the 6 hour goal when I ran slowly but successfully for over 10 miles.  Keep in mind that, while I do walk a lot, work out in a majorly sweaty way at Poekoelan three times a week and run three times a week, I don't really run more than 6 miles at a time these days.  Thus, 10 was a big bump up.

Things started to hurt.  I kept running anyway.  I ran 15 miles, aside from a couple of potty breaks and walking while drinking at the aid stations.  By then, I was in a good deal of pain, but figured it'd go away if I started walking.  So, I started walking.  It was worse.  What the hell had I done to myself?  I alternated between a slow, shuffling hugely painful jog and an even more excruciatingly painful walk for the next couple miles.  I cried a bit.  I told myself that if Anthony and Davan showed up, I'd go home with them, but they weren't likely to show up, as I'd been very clear that they didn't need to and Davan had Seeds of Hope rehearsal today.  What in the world was I thinking?

Then came the St. John's Bridge.  With it's ridiculously long and steep on ramp.  Mind you, on a normal day, it might not have seemed so daunting, but there it is.  I had no choice but to walk it.  And, maybe because of the incline (I don't know), it was only really painful to walk.  This was an improvement and I began to feel hope.  Also, although you only pass mile 17 on the St. John's Bridge, it still felt like it was the home stretch.

I gritted my teeth, told myself I really didn't want to have to go through all this again to be able to say I've done a marathon and, besides, I didn't really have a choice, as my family was stupidly following my instructions and abandoning me, and kept walking.

And then, guess what? 

My family showed up after all just after mile 18. 

 They were such a sight for sore eyes and Ranger was so happy to see me.  It was a nice little moral boost.  They walked with me for a little under a mile and lied to me about how I was looking good. 

I whined a lot and asked Anthony in what I'm sure was a seriously pathetic tone if he'd come pick me up at the end after all.  It was projected to be a mess at the finish and we'd decided I'd just bus home, but I wasn't feeling like I could handle it.  Anthony, of course, said yes, and then they left me again.  Sigh.

I went from my earlier 12 minute miles to 17+ minute miles, then, eventually, down to 16 minute miles after I took some kind unknown children up on their offer of drugs.  I think it was Tylenol.  They had a big container and were offering them out to all comers.  I'd blithely passed them by at mile 14 and had been regretting that pretty much ever since.  Then, suddenly, there they were, like marathon angels, offering up drugs again at mile 21.  I refuse to feel bad about taking drugs from strangers.

Pretty much the last 10 miles was done purely on determination.  The pain was big, even post drugs. 

I finally made it to the end.  And there was Anthony, snapping pictures.

The time in the picture, as you may be able to see, says 6:39.33, but, as our corral didn't actually start until around 7:20, my official time will be closer to 6:20.  My Garmin, which I paused for my three bathroom breaks, is better yet at 6:15.  We'll go with that time, shall we?

I finished, then slowed right the heck down to a crippled old lady's shuffle.

I only look like I'm moving in this one.  Really, I'm so happy to be done walking, I could cry.

I eventually made it though the maze of the finisher's lane collecting my medal, snacks, a finisher's shirt, drinks, a rose and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting and found my husband and dog.  Ranger was really happy to share my snacks.

We started to head toward to car only to have me remember that I needed to pick up my dropped off clothing, requiring an extra couple of blocks of shuffling along.  Eventually, Anthony left me at a bus stop and went to get the car.  I wasn't moving very well.

Getting home, I had the stairs to face.  Luckily, my arms, while sore, are doing okay and my right knee is okay in comparison to my left knee (I'm hoping that knee comes around quickly, but right now, is more painful than I'd like to admit), and I was able to haul myself up with heavy usage of the hand rails.

Anthony kindly unpacked my bag while I hit the shower, after going back and forth for a bit on the relative merits of shower vs bath - standing vs having to get down there and then back up again, not to mention the whole rinsing of the sweat is nicer than sitting in it aspect.

Anthony also kindly did his best amateur job of giving me a massage.  He's a keeper, that one.

My plans for the rest of the day include not going anywhere and eating vegan pizza.  And, of course, rejoicing in the fact that I am no longer walking, much less running.  Whew. 


  1. Jesus God, Harold.

    Do you remember when the Girl Scout council lost all my leadership paperwork and I used you as a reference? I recall asking you to leave words like lunatic and nutty OUT of the conversation.

    Turns out it was YOU that I should have been worried about. :)

    Congratulations on an utterly amazing accomplishment. Seriously. Even if the word lunatic crossed my mind, I promise never to let it cross my lips.

  2. Unbelievable. I could never do this. I am seriously impressed. And I would have taken drugs from strangers too! :)