I did it. I FREAKING DID IT! (Race report: Richmond Marathon)

jumbled thoughts…. I am a Marathoner.

expo: oh wow have bib this is happening. bought some shot bloks (can’t get them in cville anywhere) and a headband that says “will run for beer”. went home, ate, met mom, watched chariots of fire – saint says “this is now a tradition for every night before you run a marathon” – in which i think you think i’m doing this again? and then i laugh to myself and realize, yeah. he’s totally right. get to sleep late, too excited.

crucial thing: no blisters! YEAH!

whoever was playing “where the streets have no name” at mile 21… bless you. I NEEDED THAT SO MUCH. nearly started to cry.

putting my name on my bib was a genius move. having tens of tens of people you don’t know yell your name is so, so, so awesomely helpful.

speaking of awesome, thank you thank you THANK YOU x a million for reading and supporting. still cannot overstate how much it helps.

splits: 10k 1:08:50 half 2:26:26 20mile 3:46:33 guntime 5:08:34 chip time 5:02:36 (pit stop totally makes this a sub-5:00 since i know i spent at least 4 minutes in the portajohn)

miles 1-3: yeah this is FUN! fun fun fun. chilly but fun. so many people but not crowded-  wheee! keep it slow. keep it easy. you get to see people at mile 3.

mile 3: there’s my support group! with signs! hand off the jacket, bid adieu for 10 miles. yeah. still fun. a bit chilly but warming up- it’s sunny and clear. am in shorts, t-shirt, and gloves.

mile 4ish: a lovely person named tatiana sides up next to me and introduces herself. she’s part of the MTT here in richmond, and it’s her first marathon too. bam! instant running buddy. we meet 2 other marathon virgins from virginia beach and for a while, it’s the 4 of us chatting and running together, keeping it nice and slow (mile 3 was too fast because i was excited at seeing my people). downhill we go, down to the river. we lose the VB girls but T and i are still chatting along. i learn she’s had brain surgery and surgery to remove a tumored pituitary gland and i think, damn, girl. but she says ‘this is still harder than any of that’ and i agree. we high-five about 15 kids on our way down, which is awesome.

tatiana helps miles 4-9 go by ridiculously quickly not in terms of pace-  we were moving at a perfectly reasonable and slow clip – but in terms of time passing and us not noticing. we run along the river, one of my favorite parts of the run, and i thank her for randomly finding me and talking to me because on long runs this has been my least favorite part that drags out forever: the single-digit miles when i still feel like i’m warming up.

miles 9-12: we get out of the riverside part and start moving uphill. T has a funny way of moving uphill: cussing at the elevation, ha! whereas i just say
“hill? what hill?” and drag her up with me. the hills really aren’t hills where i’m from, but they are still a pain in the ass. somewhere around mile 11.5 we part ways as i go on ahead, per our mile-6 agreement that either one of us can drop back or go on as needed. how totally awesome was this random stranger? so cool.

mile 13.1: halfway point! my people are waiting at the next party stop, which is soon. i’m keeping a great (for me) pace: 2:25 for the half, and while my left foot is killing me (shoe was too tight), otherwise i feel great. find my people – saint has a sign that reads “halfway to the beer!” – and re-tie my shoe. foot still hurts, but mind over matter, right? see them off, will find them at mile 20.

mile 14: someone i know who ran this last year runs out of the shadows at me to cheer me on! random! how great! oh wow what a pick-me-up. i feel my pace pick up and tell myself “not yet”, the hard part is coming up – the next few miles are slightly uphill and over a long, long bridge.

miles 15-17: this is where it got hard. uphill, less support, though i did high-five an entire company of firemen which made my hand hurt. but it’s a steady uphill and the bridge is long and once you cross it it’s more steady uphill. everything is starting to hurt and i’m lonely and i’m a bit scared of what’s after mile 20. gummy bear carnage! i should have used the porta-potty at mile 13. or 15.

mile 18: where i’ve been taking one gel at 3-mile intervals, here i take 2. it HURTS. this sucks. i want to die, but i have people soon. just get to mile 19.

mile 19: AUGH I WANT TO BE SHOT. just get to mile 20. why is my throat closing up? start to panic – why can’t i breathe? am i going to pass out? get some water, it goes away. but WTF, that’s NEVER happened to me before. huh.

mile 20: MY PEOPLE. more signs! saint is the best. my people split and i was supposed to see half of them a ways back but i was too fast (?!) and i missed them. my 20-mile split is fast for me: 3:45. i’m doing great timewise, but i feel awful. but my people are here! see you at the finish line.

mile 20.00001: uncharted territory: this is now farther than i’ve ever run. can i even DO this? i hurt so much. feel like i’m barely moving, but walking (at water stops) only exacerbates it, so i shuffle along.

mile 21: must use toilet. snagged own paper before leaving house, which was crucial- there was none left in the portajohn! it is HOT outside (65 degrees) and clear. get moving again- it hurts.

whoever was playing U2 here, i love you.

mile 22: yes, we are now playing the “just get to the next mile” game. i have an odd cramp in my left side; i realize i’m running hunched over and this is bad form so i force myself to stand tall and straighten up. get some water, cramp goes away. throat tightens up again! wtf? breathe through it, don’t panic. remind myself: this area is flat, so you’re in no hill trouble. keep moving.

mile 23: some clever souls have staged this part as the beginning of a 5k fun run. HA! i love it! awesome pick-me-up with high-fives and music and a fake start line and everything. and then i think: huh, yeah, 3 miles to go. we can do this. more gummy bear carnage! ack, my shoes are sticky. wet washcloth station = christmas, that feels so good. genius move, race organizers.

mile 24: last gel. EVERYTHING HURTS JESUS CHRIST I WANT TO BE DONE. water. gotta keep moving. bit of a hill, but nothing major. turn onto a street i know well and know how to run. everything hurts but you know what? i’m so close. i’m going to do this. i’m getting there. just a matter of mind over body. how am i moving faster? i don’t know, but i can feel a strong finish coming on. come on, people walking, pick it up and run with me.

mile 25: holy shit, the end is near. one more mile. just one more mile! we’re in the shade of buildings and it’s dark and even chilly and i want to get back out into the sun. omg one last turn and we’re on the street we finish on. down down downhill. and there’s my friend from mile 14 on his bike he followed me to  meet me aaaahhhh! so cool! two bridges to go over- go over the first one and i see in the distance the sign that says 26. start laughing like a fool and thinking I AM ABOUT TO DO THIS. start thinking i might cry- this is insane! there’s the mile 26 sign! i am moving so fast and i feel – jesus i’ve got the most idiotic grin on my face. wait wait there are my people! on the left by the fence and i am so happy! i hear them cheering after me and off down the last hill i go and oh god why is my throat closing up again and really i can’t breathe omg i’m going to pass out and FALL across the finish line wait no no keep your head up and i am all alone at the finish and my head is up and i am running hard and strong and i feel SO GOOD and i am smiling like an ass and laughing because THERE I HAVE CROSSED and i am a marathoner.

whaaaaat.

if i had tears i’d cry them but i don’t think my body could make them. get some water along the chute and really, why, why am i so close to hyperventilating? get my breathing under control – that was all odd. get my medal. start giggling furiously. gotta keep moving. get a banana and bagel, gone in five bites. find my people! saint has chocolate. scarfed. gotta keep moving. my mile-14 friend stops by and we hug. hugs all around. my people and i disperse and saint and my mom and i walk around and i get my picture taken on the big podium and i get my free beer (blue moon never tasted so good) and we walk back to the car and stretch and keep moving.  go get muffaleta i said i knew i wanted. get home, scarfed. museum. walk around, see another finisher wearing her medal, congratulate her (i wore mine all day too, except in the shower :)). dinner, boisterous company, beer, wine, TV, icy-hot, CRASH.

sleep.

today i feel great. hips a bit sore, calves a bit sore, but could i run another one of these next year? HELLS YEAH. just gotta figure out which one. i mean, i have a PR now to beat, right?

i did it. i freaking did it. 😀

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4 Responses to I did it. I FREAKING DID IT! (Race report: Richmond Marathon)

  1. Aisha says:

    Wow. You’re amazing!
    I still don’t know how it’s physically to run more than 2 miles and then I see people like you and it shows that it’s definitely possible. I’m a regular runner but I run as a necessity; to burn off the calories I gain from eating cakes. I’m not jumping straight into a marathon…yet but you’ve honestly inspired me to do a race, a 10k race to be precise. I just signed up and I’ll keep you updated. Thank you thank you thank you!

    • kmt4n says:

      Hi Aisha! You’re welcome – and thank YOU for making my day. I’m so happy that you’ve felt inspired to sign up for the 10k – a marathon, I take no responsibility for! 🙂 One step at a time, and you’re right, anything IS possible. I look forward to sharing your journey!

      • Aisha says:

        Hey Kat! I’ve been away for a while but thank gosh I didn’t forget to update you. I did the 10k run in London on the 2nd of November and I’m still in awe that my body and most importantly my mind were responsible for me crossing the finish line. I managed to complete it in 52 minutes and 7 seconds which was my personal best. After I crossed the finished line and stuffed myself with 2 bananas and a bottle of water, I thought ‘I could totally do that again!’. Definitely one of the most memorable moments in my life and hopefully more to come as I might be doing a 20k run sometime in February.

        Thank you again for inspiring me and I wish you good luck in your forthcoming runs 🙂

      • kmt4n says:

        Hi Aisha! It’s ok, I’ve been away for a while too, haha- but I’m so glad you stopped by for an update! WOW! That is an *awesome* time – congratulations on killing that 10k! I have no doubt you can do a 20k, and you know the next logical step after that is a half-marathon… 🙂

        Thanks to *you* for your inspiration, too, and run safe and happy and healthy in 2013! (can’t wait to hear about that 20k!)

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