Monday, April 29, 2013

Toledo - Embracing the suckitude

Saturday's weather was perfect - 60s and sunny. Monday is ok as well - 60s and partly sunny. Sunday, however, it rained and rained and rained and I think a few of the participants in the Toledo marathon floated off the course...

I could pick up my stuff on Sunday before the race, but when it's that close to home, and the race starts at 7am, I like to take care of it the day before so I have one less thing to worry about and stress about on race day. The shirt - meh. I like that it's a vneck, I like that it's women's fit, I really like the lack of sponsor logos all over the back, but the design is nothing special. Besides, it's the same yucky chartreuse as last year. The half folks get turquoise shirts. Maybe we can switch next year? 

I bought a headband at the expo, and picked up a pace chart for my wrist. Runners got blue bracelets with "Runners united" in yellow letters. I didn't wear it because I always want to minimize the stuff and weight I carry on race day.

I was in denial about the forecast, but I also realized I should have a light jacket that wouldn't soak up the water (like a sweatshirt would), so I went to the Salvation Army and picked up a windbreaker. Taped my raceday message on the back.

The arena was open beforehand and the expo was completely cleared out. I'm really really appreciating all the marathons that have buildings open beforehand so we can wait in the warmth and have access to real bathrooms.

The full and half runners start at the same time and it's a big confusing exciting mess at the start. Most people line up by approximate pace time and it all settles out in the first half mile. 

I started with the 4:40 pace team because I seem to go out too quickly. I knew they'd control the pace and keep it in the 10:40-11:00 range. I thought perhaps if I started slower, I would crash and burn less in the second half.

Around mile 0.2 it started rained and it rained FOR NINETEEN MILES!!!!! Ugh it was miserable!!!! At mile 1.7, my left leg started hurting, exactly where it hurt during Lansing. I planned ahead of time and had 4 ibuprofen in my waist bag. I stopped at the 2 mile water station to take two. I accidentally dropped one, so I took all three and it really seemed to help. My legs both hurt equally, but it was fatigue and running hurt, not injury hurt.

It rained some more. Every few minutes I had to drop by arms by my sides so the pooled water could fall off the sleeves. I knew I needed to wash the jacket, but I didn't think I would be wearing it... It was so miserable, yet quitting was never an option, so I embraced the suckitude and accepted I was going to be wet all day and it was going to be suck, but I would get through it. At least I had a visor to keep the rain out of my eyes!

Mile 8 a man had a sign "Marathoners make me wet." I laughed and told him it was terrible! The amount of spectators was way down this year because of the rain and it was a bummer, but I don't blame them one bit.

Mile 13.8 I saw Ironman!!! I knew he was registered but I didn't see him at the start. He likes to wear his Ironman hat, and had on the same coat as at the Martian. Instant motivation!!! Yup, I passed him. A few miles later he caught up during a walk break and we walked a good half mile and chatted. He was complaining about everything! The water and Gatorade arrangement, the bathrooms at the start, no Gu until mile 17. Blah blah blah. Did someone need a waaaaaambulance???

I really like doing races that I've done before because I know where the course goes. Mile 20 is in the Wildwood park area. The woman in the turquoise passed me and held out a Gu and a packet of caffeinated jelly beans and asked if I needed anything. So sweet!!!

Miles 22-24 go through a path that is probably really nice for biking or running, but at the end of a race, the boredom is brutal. There was a man I had seen at mile 13 who had a sign "You've already run 74,382 steps. What's a few more?" He had a different sign this time "It may be rough, but at least the rain stopped!" He gave me a ziploc baggie with exactly five peanut M&Ms in it. It FINALLY stopped raining and my jacket got too hot. My gloves were in the pocket and it made sense to keep both for next week, so I tied it around my waist, but it wouldn't stay tied, so I tossed it at the mile 23 marker.

Somehow mile 24 is the hardest part of every race. I see the marker and realize it's still a good half hour or so until the finish. Thankfully in Toledo there is a water station just past mile 24, then the course goes back on campus.

When I got to 1.8 miles left, I started counting down aloud from 180. I got under 100 and my legs took over and I was flying! The last mile was a 9:30!!!! I knew the end was RIGHT THERE and I wanted it to be over!!!!!! I've avoided hitting THE WALL every race so far this year!!!

As soon as I crossed the finish line, a man asked if I needed medical help. I assume it was a standard question of all finishers. He said they could warm me up in the medical tent, but I was ok. I asked a spectator to take my photo and I really like it! I look like a pixie!!! Number nine, baby!

The race ends in the Glass Bowl stadium and I slowly shuffled my way out of the stadium to get my glass beer mug. Hobbled over to see the food situation and I ran into INDY!!!!! "What are you doing here?????" I cried, in the middle of the longest bear hug.

"Watching you finish," he said. I was so incredibly surprised and so happy to see him there. I know he really wanted to run it himself but a lingering foot injury has prevented any training this year. He had set up text alerts on me, and when my time registered at mile 7, he hopped in the car and came to meet me. So wonderful!!!! It's one of the nicest things anyone has done for me! He asked if I wanted to go for lunch, but I was wet and smelly, so I asked for a raincheck.

Came home. My shoes were water logged and every piece of clothing was still wet. My blister came back, as I knew it would, but it's both water and blood blister this time. Gross! My hips hurt so I'm wearing my spanx girdle for compression and heading to the gym for a slow gentle bike ride. I took a half day off work. I have 9 hours of personal time that I will lose if I don't use by the end of May, so today seemed a really good time to use 4 hours.

The mug is the same as last year, but yellow (it was green last year). They actually had enough beer this time! Last time they ran out, but I knew I had to drive home, so I didn't have any. A pizza place was serving hot pasta and cold breadsticks. Nice change for post race food. They also had bagels, bananas, cookies and Twizzlers. Indy ate the cookies and banana :)

The medal is alright. I don't love it. Medals hang one of two ways - either on a flat bar, or the ribbon is a V and the medal is on a hoop ring. I prefer the hoop ring style because they lay better on my hanger. I'm not sure the significance of the bell tower. Perhaps if I lived in Toledo it would mean something to me. The blue is glass, which is cute for the Glass city :)

I thought for sure I would PR for 2013, but I was 57 seconds slower in Toledo than I had been at the Martian. Just like Detroit 2012, I know exactly where I lost the time. In Detroit I missed my PR by 13 seconds because I stopped to talk to Tammy. This time, I lost my 57 seconds when I walked with Ironman for a half mile. Ah well. The company was great and helped to break up the monotony and suckiness of the weather. God made some runners to be really fast, and made others determined to finish no matter what. It's obvious which category he assigned me.

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