When my friend and I registered, the forecast was 68 and sunny. It got progressively worse every time I looked and it was a rough race. It was the hardest marathon I've finished, even more difficult than the 2010 Free Press when I was woefully unprepared and got through on grit and foolishness.
It was close to a 5-hour drive and I found out my friend doesn't like disco music. What??? What good is xm radio if we can't jam to channel 7? The expo was nice enough, shirts are nice enough, but those were far from priorities. My priorities were clear: a 4:33 finish OR break 5 hours OR at the very least, a new PR, which would be 5:07.
I slept TERRIBLY on Friday. Actually I'm not sure I ever fell asleep. I might have just rested my eyes all night. Saturday morning I was out of bed at 5am and ate my normal pre-race breakfast of a MetRX meal replacement bar and a "Mexican Coke." Just before leaving the hotel I had the worst premonition "I think I need to throw up." Less than a minute later, I lost my breakfast, my Friday dinner, and any energy I had. I was completely lethargic driving to the starting line and didn't even want to leave the car. My friend was running the half and set up text alerts on me, so he knew when I reached the half, and the 30k marks. I warned him if he didn't get updates, to look for me in the medical tent.
It was cold in the morning - not even 40 degrees, but I was HOT. That was disconcerting. Much worse was that my iPod refused to work!!! ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH! Every single training run for 3+ years has been to "the ultimate 4-hour cardio playmix" and I have to run 26 miles without it? Help!!! Friend offered me his, but without MY playlist, it was a nice offer, but not what I needed.
I had no food in my stomach, no energy at all, but I had paid for the race and driven 5 hours to do it, so I set off. I met up with the 5-hour pace group, led by Jenny. She was great!!!! But the group was a little big for me. A few runners ahead was a woman with a bib on her back "Pace team 5:00 Chris." I jogged up alongside her in mile 3. "Hi Chris. I'm Michelle," I said, then never stopped chatting.
She was running her first full marathon after losing 100+ pounds. She was AMAZING! We were running easily for about 12 miles and they were passing really quickly, then I slammed into the wall and I felt like I couldn't go another step. She never left my side for 23+ miles, giving up her 5:00 pace to stay with me and make sure I finished. Without Chris by my side, there's no way I would have gotten through it. I wasn't even breathing hard, I just had NO ENERGY, but she wouldn't even let me entertain thoughts of quitting.
When I was too tired to talk, she told me about her kids, about races she's done in the past, why she wanted to do a full marathon. My body never recovered from barfing in the morning, but my mind revived a little and we had some serious giggles. We were doing a run - walk strategy, so we kept passing and being passed by the same people for the second half. One man had candy in the water bottles on his holster - Nerds on one side, Skittles on the other. At one point, Chris said we have to catch up to him. "I want to shake his Nerds," she announced. I thought it was HILARIOUS. Every time we passed "Candyman" after that, we told each other we needed to shake his Nerds lol lol
Around mile 14 it started HAILING!!! Then it turned into a very steady rain. I was wearing a wet sweatshirt, but I knew my tech shirt underneath was also wet, and very thin, so I was going to be cold either way. I had two mismatched gloves - one solid black and one olive green with spiders on it - but Chris didn't have any. What's the easy solution? Pick up a pair someone had discarded on the course!!! We've all done it, right?
|I'm laughing bc friend called me Kaufman - the name on my hoodie.|
A very hot shower and mini 10-minute nap later, my friend and I went out for dinner, both walking uncomfortably and wearing our medals. Yup, Chris and I were so awesome they gave us medals!!! :D Friend said my iPod died so as to meet her, that I missed a PR in Detroit so as to meet her, that it all happened for a reason. I could be pretty upset about the outcome of the race, but I just didn't have it in me on Saturday. The conditions were AWFUL and running 26 miles is near impossible when feeling well. Add in zero energy and a delicate stomach, and I owe the finish to my running angel.
She's from northern Indiana and she said we need to do it again, that she had so much fun running together. Her daughter wants to run the Free Press so she can run in Canada. I said how great Toledo was last year, so maybe we'll get to run together again. We can be "Team I want to shake his nerds."
ps: The course was nice - FLAT, the people were GREAT. Gold star to Indianapolis for a great race! The suckitude of weather and my stomach were beyond their control, obviously! At one point someone had put up signs with Indiana trivia - read a question, 40 paces later was the answer, so that was a good distraction. Numerous families were on the street with punch bowls of leftover Halloween candy to pass out. A woman was blasting the Rocky theme song in her front yard, another was playing "Chariots of Fire." Everyone was wonderful, especially Chris. THANK YOU for staying with me to the end.