As I laid in bed the Morning of December 2nd, I started making a very long list of all the reasons why I should NOT get up and head out to run a Marathon.
1) My 4 year old had suddenly become extremely ill. Which translated to me being up with her every hour and her coughing spells that sounded like nightmares. I had gotten NO sleep. Literally. None.
2) Since I had driven in to Sac from HMB that night before, I had to prepack everything and somehow I forgotten my running shorts. Seriously, how does that happen?
3) My 4 month old, despite taking a bottle here or there was still 99% breastfed. How was everyone else going to hold up with her going 6 or so hours without me?
4) Having had a baby just 4 months ago, this had only given me about 2 months to train when really you should have 4 months to properly train. Even though I’d pushed myself to do crazy things in the past, let’s be honest here: I’m no longer 22 as I try to make others believe.
5) I had taken a crazy spill earlier during a run (thank you rugged Coastside terrain) and had spent the final two weeks quietly nursing a sprained ankle. It felt healed but any good runner knows how quickly that can get reinjured.
6) Did I mention that rainstorm that was whipping trees into a frenzy and knocking down powerlines?
All of this sounds like a recipe for success doesn’t it?
I had no one cheering me on for this but myself and a handful of FB friends still in bed but on mobile devices.
But, against my wishes and Blake’s wishes, I was dropped off at the starting line up in Folsom before the sun had even come up. I might as well make the best of it, I reasoned. If nothing else, my in-law’s house is alongside the Course so I’d just end it there if need be.
Marathons, for me, are like soup for the soul. Nothing like trapping you in to several hours of mental grit and contemplating all life’s problems. This was my first race ever that included a storm and I have to say, it absolutely put those Obstacle Course Runs to shame. You think you’re a Tough Mudder? If I even dared looked up to see where I was going, my cheeks were sliced with highpowered rain drops and my hat and glasses were blown away. I spent much of the first half dodging puddles and falling tree branches. My clothes, despited most of them being rain resistant, got soaked and parts of me were rubbed raw. There were times where I could just squeeze my fist and water in my gloves would pour out. This was one Tough Mother Fucking 26 mile Run.
And oddly, it was one of my better races. I psyched myself out from the beginning, reassuring myself it was okay to walk if I needed to. I’ve never timed myself in a race, but I sure wish I had with this one- my Half Marathon split time was my fastest ever- 1:47! After I saw that I opted to walk for a bit, and if I had to guesstimate, I’d say I walked a total of two miles towards the end. Basically, whenever I felt my feet cramping up, instead of muscling thru it I stopped and nursed it out. In the past, that’s been what does me in.
I finished with an overall off 4:44. I was thrilled! It was a great race, despite how horrible it was, it makes for good stories and it was the first marathon I’d ever run where when I finished, I wasn’t swearing off running forever. The clouds had parted just at the right time to let the sun shine down on the finish.
I do wish I was able to take more pictures along the course. I saw some hilarious signs and awesome moments, but despite having my cell phone in a ziplock bag, it was impossible to get my fingers dry enough to unlock my screen. At one point I stopped all together and had a bystander (who was dry) dial for me so I could update my family of my whereabouts.