IM's fly on Friday as we question our sanity about the race. We are both excited and nervous about the upcoming event. The previous weekend's run of 5.5 miles providing some comfort that we can finish the 6 plus miles during the race. (Neither of us sure, at this point, how far a marathon actually is)
Saturday dawns cool and gorgeous. Waking up at 6 am, I eat a banana and head over to Susan's house. We chat with her husband and two little ones briefly before taking the short 10 minute drive to the local park. Have I mentioned when I'm nervous I talk a lot? Susan and her family graciously experience that fun first hand.
Driving over to the park, Susan and I chat about the new personal trainer at work and his recommendations. On a good note, he informed me that once one can run 5 miles, you have the lung capacity/ heart rate and muscle to run a marathon. The two key ingredients are tendons (being used to running that far) and mentality (can one REALLY run that long?).
Upon arrival we walk our way to the tennis courts and check in, receiving our numbers (28 for Lisa and 104 for Susan). We watch and cheer on the one mile run/ walkers as nerves kick in when we line up for the 5K & 10K start.
There is no real marker to indicate the start of the race, but it doesn't really matter as we have high technology ankle gear that trips as we pass through the start gate, mid pack. We are quickly overtaken by many people as they run past us. Soon, I'm feeling like that little old grandma being passed on the freeway!
Our first mile brings us back to the tennis courts where water is offered and a local high school cheer team scream encouragement. Out the park we run and up to the main road, so many people ahead of us! I try for some water and nearly choke to death... that needs some obvious practice. Around the furthest point we turn back towards the start line to head into lap two. I'm still feeling pretty good so I cheer both those ahead of us and those behind us. Susan and I marvel at the speedy kids all around us!
First lap down in less than 32 minutes, and I'm OOOOHHH so tempted to just call it a 5K and quit. Thank goodness Susan is there to say NO WAY!!! It's at this point Susan realizes that Blake, the fastest man at work, is NOT going to lap us as we had predicted. It's small victory, but a victory we cherish none the less!
We're still in mile 3 when I realize, I'm feeling pretty darned hungry and I can hear a bagel calling my name. "Susan, I'm so hungry!" "Lisa, don't talk about food, I'm about to puke!" Usually I'm the one on the verge of puking, not Susan. Susan McQueen is her nickname.
We round the 1st corner of lap 2 and head back towards the tennis courts into mile 4 heading out on the main road. The smell of cow manure is fairly strong when we arrive on the main road. The odor helps urge us along to the finish. At some point, I realize my watch is not calibrated correctly. My watch says we've done over 5 miles by the time we hit the actual 5 mile marker. Imagine my disappointment when I saw the sign and realized we still had another mile to go. However, as our form starts to slack with fatigue, we encourage each other to keep on running!
It's at this point in mile 4 that Susan says "Lisa, I don't know if I can do a 1/2 marathon!" With a smile on my face and sympathy in my heart: "Susan, we aren't even going to discuss it! Now is NOT the right time!" Fast forward to just beyond the 5 mile marker "Susan, I'm not sure I can run a 1/2 marathon." "Lisa, let's talk about it later!"
Ahead of us is Jacob, an adorable tow-headed 9 year old that we have been gaining on steadily. As we head back into the park for the last .2 miles, we urge him on. "Come on buddy, we're catching you... we're so close to home, I KNOW you can make it in! That's it! Pick it up!" He hits the go button that Susan and I just can't find. We watch him round the final corner as he crosses the finish about 1 minute ahead of us. We slowly pick up speed to cheers from the few folks still milling around and cross the finish line in 1:06:52, placing 94 and 95 out of 104.
Never have I been so excited to cross a line in my life! I am so proud of us! We did it! We finished, we ran the entire way, we weren't lapped by Blake (who ran the 10K in just over 36 minutes) AND not only did we NOT close the course, we weren't even last!
After cheering for those fast folks who medal in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, we head home for showers and nap (if we could be so lucky!)
As for the 1/2 marathon... we'll discuss it later.