My Aunt Terry picked us up from the airport Friday night and had beers ready for consumption when we got back to the house
. Due to the big weekend head of us we weren't able to stay up until all hours of the night talking, even though we all wanted too. After a nice sleep in and a quick 3-mile run, we all headed over to the TCM Expo and packet pickup. Jason and I sat in on a "Tips For Beginners" lecture that had a lot of helpful tips, however, made me even more nervous for the day to come. After picking up our packets (which I was surprise to see that you have to finish the race in order to get a shirt. Unlike normal races that give it to you in the packet) we walked around the Expo looking for free stuff and a new pair of shorts for me. Because while packing for the weekend I discovered that my running shorts were no where to be found. I had wore them running in Kansas City on my run with my sister, but couldn't remember seeing them since. I was freaking out for a while until my friend Michelle reminded me that you can buy shorts in Minnesota. Oops, oh yeah and I love my new shorts. Terry, being the wonderful Aunt that she is, decided that she wanted to buy Jason and I TCM sweatshirts that were really cool. Thanks again so much for the sweatshirts, they came in really handy on the cold flight back to Colorado. Later on my friend Jasai (old college basketball teammate) and Annika (Jasai's teammate) showed up at the Expo to see us.
We all walked around for a few more minutes before heading out to lunch and my sisters Art Festival in Stillwater, MN
. After having a drink and walking around the town a bit, we were on our way back to Terry's house to rest a bit before dinner. Terry and Layl took us out to a fancy Italian restaurant to carb-o-load. Thank goodness they had breadbaskets because for some reason our food took forever. They were however nice enough to give us a free appetizer, desserts and validated our parking for our trouble.
That night I didn't sleep very well due to the anticipation of the coming days events. All I did was imagine the pain I would be feeling at different distances in the race. "I wonder how my legs will feel at mile 22?" Eventually it was time to get up and get ready to go.
Once Terry dropped us off and we used the bathroom, made our way toward the starting line. This was the point where I had a horrible realization that I was running a MARATHON!!! The excitement in the air was overwhelming. You could see it in the eyes of the people around you that they were both ready to run and wondering what they were doing there. We were packed in the area like cows about to be branded. People were pushing their way up, trying to get closer to the starting line. Finally there was a moment of silence as the national anthem was played and then BANG! As we looked over the heads of the crowd we could see heads begin to bob up and down
. Slowly the bobbing heads started getting closer, which meant it was time to run. Jason stayed with me for about a half mile before wanting to pick up the pace. I tried to stress the importance of going out slow. He said he would be fine and he would see me at the finish.
The whole race is a bit of a blur but there are some specifics that I can remember. such as running through the streets of downtown Minneapolis looking at all the big buildings. I remember turning the corner at the basilica where a lot of men were relieving themselves across the street in a wooded area. I remember at the 5K-mark think I would be done if this were only a 5K. I remember looking around at the large houses as we ran around the first lake. I remember at the 10K mark thinking I would be done if this were only a 10K. Then the most wonderful thing happened... I saw Jasai and Annika armed with signs and encouragement. They ran along side of me for a few yards so that I could read the signs they created. The signs were so funny they made me laugh out loud and kept a smile on my face for at least another mile. I was so excited to see them more through out the race. Around mile 9 I had to stop and use the restroom, which I figure took about 16 minutes due to the line. Layl, Terry and the girls were around mile 10 and were jumping up and down when they saw me. They had forgotten the signs so wrote on new paper words of encouragement..
. "Jason, run for Beer". At mile 13 I was starting to dread the fact that I had forgotten to take ibuprofen before the race. My knees, hips and ankles were really starting to ache. I asked the medics at mile 14 if they had any, but no, all they had to offer was blister stuff. At that moment, when I had thought all hope was lost, there again was Jasai and Annika asking what I needed. After running a few yards with me and making me smile through the pain, they were off to get the needed pain relief. As I continued on my way I talked to a few people here and there. A group of people was handing out bananas, which I enjoyed as few. Then, at mile 18, like an angel coming out of the spectators there again was Jasai with four Advil and a Powerade to wash them down. She ran under the bridge with me and listened as I told her what hurt. I was then on my own as I crossed over the Mississippi River into St. Paul, where at mile 20 my sister was there ready to run with me. After some quick photos with the girls we were off like a bolt of lightning. Okay maybe it didn't happen exactly like that, but give me a break I was really tired. Jasai and Annika were at mile 21, which was a big hill, ready with a bag of sliced oranges. That was just the boost I needed to keep me going. It was great to have Layl running with me, even though sometimes she would go a bit fast and I would have to reminder her that I had already run 20-some miles. She really kept my sprits up by telling me I looked strong. The biggest inspiration was around mile 23
. One of the many spectators yelled, "It's not going to hurt forever", and he was right. I said that to myself the rest of the race. Layl was asked to leave the course around mile 24 so I was on my own chanting "it's not going to hurt forever". As I topped the last hill and saw the capital and the finish line I almost started crying. However I wouldn't let myself because of fear that I would hyperventilate and not be able to finish. I waited until the last .1 mile and let it all out. I was so proud of myself. I just over flowed with a mixture of pride, pain and exhaustion. After I crossed the finish line again I saw Jasai and Annika, where they greeted me with huge hugs as I let it all out. Jason quickly showed up and he too was on the verge of tears (his were more for pain). I finished in 5 hours and 16 minutes, and if you subtract the 16 minutes spent using the restroom, I totally met my goal. He and I proceeded to eat and get our FINISHER (!!!) t-shirts, before heading to the massage tent. We then met up with the group again, greeted by big hugs from Layl.
After saying our goodbye to Jasai and Annika we headed to Layl's for some much needed rest. After calling my family and runner friends I quickly fell asleep while Jason watched football. Then we saw it. A Wendy's commercial for the best looking cheeseburger in the world. We quickly called Layl to see if she would pick us up some
. Who ever said advertising doesn't work. However, when she arrived with the burgers I was so tired I couldn't even sit up to eat it. I just laid the wrapper over my shirt and ate lying down. I had a quick shower; as Josh, Terry and the girls showed up just in time for dinner. Layl made the best chili rellano pie I had ever had, after which I just wanted to sleep. However, all our stuff was at Terry's so we made one last trip over before instantly falling asleep when my head hit the pillow.
After waking up at 5 am to get to the airport for our early morning flight, we found out that it was delayed two hours. This gave Jason and I time for some McDonalds breakfast. We proceed to what we thought was our gate, only to find out we were on a different concourse all together. So we slowly (everything hurt) made our way to our gate, where I took a much needed nap while waiting. Before boarding the plane to get more sleep, a 77-year-old man with a 2002 TCM finisher shirt on came to borrow our sports section. We then found out that he had run yesterday and beat us by a half-hour, he has run 95 marathons and wants to complete 100 before calling it quits. He was a true inspiration. Here we are two kids in our late 20's who were dying and he looked like a million bucks.
It is now 3 days post-marathon. I thought the pain was gone, however found out last night, after a little 3 mile run, that everything still hurts. Jason already is talking about running another one, I told him I would think about it.
So way back in January I was at my running group with my good friend Theresa, going on a nice little 4 mile run. A few months earlier she and her boyfriend Kent had just finished the New York City Marathon and she was telling me all about what a great experience it was and how she was still on cloud nine. Somewhere in the conversation while she was talking about the desire to finish another one, I jumped on the bandwagon and wanted to do one too. We were going to do the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C. However a few months later, due to a previous injury, Theresa doctor ban her from running. Sure I could have just let the idea fall by the way side. But no, for some reason I thought that running 26.2 miles would be fun. After looking at a few different marathons around the country, Jason and I decided to go with the Twin Cities Marathon (TCM) in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota because it is a relatively flat course and I have family there.