Back again after a year's break from this blog, but not from running. Julie and I decided to run the Flying Pig Marathon again this year...well, Julie decided and then I agreed...and then before I could change my mind she already registered. So we started training again in January.
We had the best winter weather training EVAH! Warmest winter on record, no snow to speak of and only one or two days where it was icy, making it difficult (but not impossible with my new Yak Trax :))
Still, it seemed like a long training season, but we were infused with excitement in April when we got chosen to be in the Nike Womens Marathon in San Francisco!!!! Super excited about that.
Our training was marred with Julie's stomach issues...the running part was fine, but the poor thing had to find a bathroom several times during most of our runs...no pun intended. :) And I put some excitement in to our 18-mile training run. I had a horrible cold (and probably a slight flu) in the morning, but didn't cancel because I knew we wouldn't be able to schedule another long run in anytime soon. I felt bad pretty much right from the start, and the Eden Park hill that is usually pretty easy for us, was extremely difficult. I was breathing hard and could barely make it up the hill. I just wanted to get the run over and done with! This time it was my turn to have to make several bathroom stops, and on number 4 or 5, I got a surprise of blood (it's a runner's thing)...but not what I needed right then. When we had about 4 miles to go, I tripped and almost fell. Was able to stop myself, but then a little while later I tripped again...this time going down hard. My wrist immediately hurt, and I later found out that it was broken in two places. I got to enjoy a bright purple cast for a month. The surgeon told me not to run until I got it taken off, and while I pretended to listen to him, it didn't stop my training (I had a marathon to train for, for goodness sakes!!)
Julie went on a strict super bland diet two weeks before the marathon, and we unbelieveably didn't have to stop to use any porta potties on race day.
And race day was PERFECT! The weather forecast was for a hot and humid day, but we got lucky -- it wasn't nearly as humid as they predicted it would be. (The organizers were so worried about the heat that they let people defer their run till next year if they wanted to). We started in a faster corral (E), and got off to a much faster start than in years past. We started out running 10-minute miles. I was so happy about that...Julie was, well, sort of happy about it -- I figured if we could get a few fast miles in, it would help us with our time when it got hotter and muggier (which, yay!! it didn't do!). So we just kept up these 10-minute miles..the second 6 miles (the HILL MILES!) was even a bit faster than the first six miles.The Eden Park Hill seemed So Easy! I was feeling great! The crowds were amazing, as usual, and we were making great time. We saw Judy around mile 9 again and we both got a big hug from her. We saw Jeff and Jim again in Hyde Park! A fun surprise sighting! And running through Hyde Park is a blast on top of that!
My only issue was the bottom of my left foot - what started as a slight annoyance got worse and worse until finally after about 13 miles I had to stop and take my shoe off -- I was hoping my sock was just bunched up weird...but straightening it out didn't help out any, so I just kept on running. Every step was pretty painful and I tried to run more on the side of my foot that flat on it. Ugh.
We saw Jeff and Jim again in Mariemont, and Jim had a nice cold Dos Equis waiting for us! We had our nice, cold sips -- it tasted so good! We kept on running and saw them a half mile later. They are goofy, but were having fun!
Around mile 20, Julie needed to slow down a bit. She encouraged me to go ahead, and since I was feeling pretty good, I decided to try to run a while at my "comfort pace". It took a while, but I eventually was ahead of her enough that we couldn't talk any longer :( It was lonely running by myself, but I also felt happy to be running at my pace, and I know she was happy to be able to set her pace as well.
About a half mile after we separated my foot got worse -- all of a sudden what I now know to be a blister got huge -- it felt like I was running on a bumble bee...and then I think it must have popped (sorry for the grossness of that image!) It felt weird and hurt just as much, but at least it was better than that 30-seconds where it just felt huge and weird to step on it.
I saw Jim and Jeff at the 21.7 party zone and explained that Julie was just a minute or so behind me. I got my final hug and went on my way. The last miles were hard, but not painful. I was tired and just wanted to be done. I longed for each water stop where I could slow down and get something to drink. Around mile 23 they handed out cold, wet towels, and they were awesome! I think I was running faster than my comfort zone, but I just kepy thinking how happy I was that I didn't have as far to go as Julie did! After all that running, you just want to be done. I kept up the 10 minute pace, and the last mile, the cheering of the crowd helped me do a 9:57 mile. I had no idea I was running that fast -- it felt like I was crawling!
My final time was 4:33!!! Twenty-one minutes faster than last year. I was so thrilled! I got my medal and a cup of water. Then I elevated my legs for a minute...then I remembered I could greet Julie as she finished so I got up and headed back...I was almost there when I saw her -- she had just finished -- in a time of 4:40!!! We both had PR's and both ran just about as good as we could. So happy to have run it the way I hoped I could!
And in two more weeks we start to train for San Francisco!!!!
P.S. I took my sock off after we met up with the boys and Eliz & Amy, and I asked if there was anything on the bottom of my foot -- the facial reaction from all was pretty telling - a huge blister, blood, all sorts of fun things! Can't believe I ran almost a full marathon like that!