Sunday, 6 April 2008

Facing Fears

I faced a racing fear today.  

The fear of:
Finishing last.

I did it!

And I did it with a smile on my face!

I knew right from the get go that there were three of us competing for the honor of finishing last. Unfortunately, I got a tremendous burst of energy for the first 9 miles and ran those miles faster than I have ever run in recent history.  As I was running, I was thinking, Mary, slow down, you are going to pay for this later in the race - but I felt FABULOUS!  I knew that I would slow down after 9 miles, but I thought I would slow down, not virtually stop!

By the time I finished, I was moaning I was in so much pain.  My calves felt like two hard as rock knots of pain.  My hips were screaming.  I could feel the hooks from my bra digging into my back (and I have a GREAT sports bra), I could feel chafing under my arms.  I could feel stress on my toenails.  And, I felt like I was going to vomit.  And maybe pass out.  And I couldn't help but wonder how on earth I can do a marathon if I am dying during a half.  I will have to reappraise this after I recover from this race.  

The race finished at a restaurant where they had burgers and brats - a few of my favorite things - and I couldn't even eat.  I got to my car miraculously, and stopped on my way home at the kwickee mart and got some Powerade and saltines.  yummmy.   

Here is what was wonderful about the race.
1.  the first 9 miles were great!  The course is great, and the day is perfect for running.
2.  the people were fabulous.  
3.  the volunteers stayed to man the aid stations even though I was running alone... last.
4.  the volunteers kept the finish chute open past the 3 hour limit (I finished in 3:08)
5.  Rosemarie - she stuck with me for the last couple of miles and that really, really helped.
6. My friend Donna who encouraged me to do this race and treated me like I just won a world record!

The kindness of strangers is always a revelation to me.  Thank you to all the nice volunteers and all of the nice runners - who are at every race... not just this one.   I know some of you are reading this right now.  Thank you

Now I am going to go soak and then take a nap!


Marcy said...

Mary that is AWESOME!! Not that you were in so much pain but you turned something that is normally not a pleasant experience (to some people) into a positive thing ;D GREAT GREAT job!! ;D ;D

Running Knitter said...

You finished! BE PROUD OF YOURSELF! Awesome job!

Joe said...

Mary Gee, just awesome...way to go, working through the physical and mental pain of the last 4 miles.

Think how it might have gone with a slower pace earlier!!

Give yourself some space for will give you input for the rest of the marathon prep!!

Wes said...

There you go Mary!! Way to leave it ALL out on the course!! That is what its all about. That effort would make an Olympic runner proud!! Fantastic!!

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

"And I couldn't help but wonder how on earth I can do a marathon if I am dying during a half."

With some reflection, I wonder if it will all seem more realistic if you start off slower.

But today...recover and bask in the glory of your accomplishment of getting to that finish line!!


Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

That how all runners learn and get better. Great job finishing...and you were not beat all the people who were still in bed while you were crossing the finish line.

ws said...

hope you had a relaxing soak and a good nap. thanks for posting a great race report...

Michelle said...

What a great race report, Mary! I am proud of you for finishing despite having pain near the end. That is the true measure of a great runner!

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

I thought of something else. You didn't even train for this race. You made a decision to fit it in at the last moment. Not many people would have the guts to do that. And you finished! Woot!!

J~Mom said...

Congrats!!!!! That is just awesome!!!

Jess said...

Must've been a very small race if a finish of 3:08 was last. Congrats on the finish!