Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Next Marathon or Half

I found a site that tells me races upcoming in my area. There is the Providence, RI race the first Sunday in May. I have to decide if I want the marathon or the half... I kinda want Disney to be my first complete marathon, but I also want to make sure I stay trained. I know it is dumb - but I kinda think of a half marathon as not much - it isn't a challenge. Of course, it is a challenge. I just don't realize it. The time limit for the marathon is 6 hours (not 7 like Disney). The half marathon is 3.5 hours - like Disney. I have to remember that I did the first half of Disney with in the time limit because I was trained for a full marathon. By May, I have to still be trained for at least a half.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some Last Notes

I am definately doing it again next year.
I will be running other races this year.
I am not a half marathoner - because I can do that without much challenge. I will keep trying the marathon. I am tempted to sign up for the Goofy. But now that I am home, I am remembering that there is a lot of time and energy that goes into racing. I do have to do my job, be a mom, and a wife. But, I want the challenge...!
I checked on the marathon sight, and they do list all my chip times. So, there is proof on line that I made it to mile 20. I know I made it to almost 24. It isn't just DNF.
My cousin, who is a runner, said if she was sick, she wouldn't have run. I did run, and I did 24 miles sick. I didn't slow down so they would take me off.
I like to think that if I knew they would pull me at 24, I would have gone faster. If the medic hadn't been talking, I would have beaten the clock to pass mile 24. If I was paying attention and saw the van, I would have sprinted at 24, like I did at 22. Then I realize, the medic being there probably kept me from fainting. I remember asking her to move to the left of me so I could have the shade - what little there was from the lamp posts on the right. I think it was very smart for them to pull me when they did. I may have made it to after 24, but I could have woken up in the hospital. Or worse.
I am very grateful that I made it all the way through the four parks.
The folks inside MGM that were chearing me have no idea that I didn't finish.
Hopefully my "Cancer Schmancer" inspired someone else.
There were many others that got pulled long before me.
I heard of the Goofy Challenge runner that ran the half marathon and then got pulled at mile five of the marathon.
I met folks that got pulled at mile 16 and mile 18. At 18, the woman said, there were three state trooper cars and barricades across the route. (I just had three orange cones to vault if I had wanted to keep going.) She said there must have been at least 60 people pulled with her - they filled the bus and were going to need another.
I saw the dead last finisher - I was at the finish line walking to the rented van when they crossed. I was able to yell go runner - you made it! Then, a team in training coach sprinted up from the end and was the last to cross. Stupid real runner! Those coaches are amazing. They sprint forward and back. They yell and cheer. They drag their runners along where they have to. I couldn't do that. But, I am still 225 pounds. I am still a mom that works 50 hour workweeks, runs Cub Scouts, has an hour commute, and loves to eat. I did do 24 miles.
I remember at one point, as we were running down an overpass banked turn - I thought, Hey, I outweigh all these folks around me. I should run, becuase this is where on the course my weight helps - Gravity is my friend here. I am glad I didn't have the opposite thought on the run up the overpass hills.
I am so proud of the rest of my family that did finish!
One sister wrote "Why?" on her leg when she ran. She is an athlete, and it was her first (and she says last) marathon. I love that thought.
I think I am made for endurance. Not to rub it in - but I only had some cramps in my calves. I don't have any blisters and no chafing. I could go up and down stairs that day. I had to go back to the hotel and entertain my 6 year old. I was still able to be a mom.

All the Wrong Moves

Note - this gets yucky. Here is my marathon and prep day. Details. Details...
I made all the classic first time marathoner wrong moves for this run. Here is my Saturday (the day before the race):
Woke up with diarrhea and nausea. Ate a half of a blueberry muffin. Took son to kids races. Two hours in the sun and open area of a race track. Direct sun for most of it. Playing and lugging him as well at times. One sip of vitamin water before son decided it was only his. (That was ok, becuase it made me more nauseous.)
Home to hotel for lunch. Half of a turkey sandwich on chibata bread with lettuce. Sips of water.
Nap. Diarrhea. Second half of sandwich. Nausea. Nap. You get the pattern.
Chicken soup - some noodles. Water. Sleep. Water. Sleep. Water. Sleep.

Race Day!
Before race - two slices of turkey. Peice of banana. Nausea.
Start running. Run for the first one and a half miles. It is GREAT! 60 degrees, dark, full moon, Epcot is pretty with the lights. I could go all day.

Mile Five - Diarrhea. Sun is up.

Mile Eight - time to try eating something. (I did take water at EVERY water stop, and PowerAde at roughly every other. Both items made my stomach feel sick for the next ~0.1 miles after taking, but I had to have some.) Peice of banana from my pack.

Mile Ten - Medical Tent has something called BioFreeze. Maybe if I rub it on, it will make the little breeze available feel much cooler. That works!

Mile Twelve - heard Team in Training say to take Caffeine. Took Caffeine Gel. Was GREAT! Make sure next race I have more than one to Try.

Mile Fourteen - Sausage fingers. Do I have to stop at a medical tent to get wedding ring cut off? Run with left hand held higher than heart for a number of miles. See other women doing it as well. Explains the one weirdo I saw doing it at mile Two.

Mile Fifteen - Diarrhea.

Mile Sixteen - Grabbed a Clif Shot, held for another mile, opened and took a lick.

Mile Seventeen - Diarrhea.

Mile Eighteen - Grab another Clif Shot. Hold for a long time.

Mile Nineteen - Family passed a whole water bottle. Drank much more than I thought I would - up to half. Sun HOT.

Mile Twenty - Throw up in mouth. Can't go to the side of the road to throw up - they will kick
me off the course. But, with throw up in mouth - my mouth isn't so dry anymore. Mmm, hydration. Use water stop water to splash face as throw up to rinse it off. People must not notice - I get to keep "running". Someone passes out Free Starburst. Take it and put in mouth. Best candy ever!!! Mile Twenty One - this is the end of the turn around point. Can look back and see that there are few people behind me. There's a bus at the mile marker says, "Parade Bus". Someone says, hey, let's get far away from that bus. So, kick it up a bit to move faster and get away from the bus.

Mile Twenthy One and Something - Sun HOT, nothing in stomach to throw up, no more sausage fingers - wedding ring safe... Left Foot, Right Foot, Left Foot, Right Foot... keep feet on the yellow line. Yellow Line. Yellow Line... Where'd the yellow line go? Over there. I may have blacked out or lost concentration for a second there... Very dizzy, Just slow down and they will pick you up... Someone says, get to MGM (Hollywood) Studios and they won't pull you off the course. MGM just past mile marker 22...

Mile Marker 22 (just before) - BIG Bus at Mile 22. Man with red flag yells, "Five Seconds. You have five seconds to get past this marker." I start to sprint! I can sprint! (Probably didn't look like a sprint.) Woman says, "You have fourty five seconds to get past this point." I am already past it. Bus doesn't get me. Down the hill and turn into MGM.
MGM Entrance - I made it. They won't pull me. I can slow down. SHADE - go through a tunnel and slow more. I should run through the shade, but I need it. If I run, I have less time in the shade.

Somewhere in MGM - (I missed Mile 23) Bicycle pulls up next to me. "How you doing?" She
asks. I start to cry. "I don't care about a medal, I just want to finish." She explains that she is the medic, and won't pull me unless I need medical help. She asks my name and tells me about her. She will go with me all the way to the end if I need it. Another bike comes up and someone says, "Is this it?" She says, "Yes, she's the last." I am happy! I will be Dead Last Finish. My name will have a significant place on the list of finishers. She asks if I am staying at a resort. I tell her, "Pop Century and I take synthroid. It is on my bib." She says she doesn't need to know that unless I am going to faint on her. I say, "No way. But, my dad rented a van." There is a squawk on the radio. Runner down somewhere on the road. I tell her she can go if she has to. I won't be the runner down. She says she is with me to the end. Until I finish. We go past people waiting to cross the running route. People I don't know are yelling, "Go Lois, Go Peanut (my nickname)." You can do it. I am crying and whispering "thank you" to each person. I start to run. Characters are running with me in costume (I wan't running fast.) I make it to the end of MGM. A bike pulls up on the other side of me. He says, "You are 3 and a half minutes off the pace." I say I don't care about a medal, I just want to finish. If you have to pull me, I will go. I probably won't get faster than this." I check the Garmin and I am at 19:30 minutes per mile. It is 6:26, I'm at just under 24 miles on the Garmin, I can't do the math to figure how long after 7:00 hours I will be... I spent the entire race doing the running math. Why can't I figure it out...?
I tell the guy, "please, let me finish. I don't care about a medal." She says something about she won't leave me until they pull me off kicking and screaming. They guys says, "well..."

Just before Mile 24 - marker in sight... Some woman is screaming and crying. Guy puts an orange cone on the path. Biker says, Sorry. That's it. Garmin reads 23.99 miles. There is a small van. The woman ahead of me has been pulled and is screaming that they can't do this. She has time. I hear the click of someone cutting off my chip. The run is really over. I don't know where the medic went - to help the next person in line I hope. I hope they made it. I ask to stand in the shade of the van - since there is a man passed out on the open door to the van, so I can't climb in. I ask for water, and someone gives me one (there is water in the van, but no one is helping me). I text that I am pulled at mile 23.99 but Garmin now says 24.06. A few minutes later, I think to stop the timer. (Could be minutes or seconds. I have no idea.) The woman is still yelling about being pulled. It's not fair to train hard and miss out. The man in the door has moved, so I can climb into the van. I climb over the wheel well to the back of the van. My phone rings. Someone is asking me what it means that I was pulled at 23.99? I say I am in the van. Finally, someone tells the screaming woman that if she doesn't get on the van, they will call security. That explains the state police that were at mile 22... No air conditioning in the van, but no sun either. High for the day: 81 degrees.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Proof

Of course, the problem with DNF is there isn't proof how far you went. During the race, my husband, C, was able to print out the chip times. It shows I made it to mile 20. That isn't available anymore.

I took photos at mile marker 17, but got into trouble after mile 22, so didn't have the ability to pull out my camera.

I know there were LOTS of photos taken of me in Hollywood Studios (previously MGM so no point given, H), but I don't know if they will email me the link since I didn't finish... Also, they won't show mileage.

I have my Garmin map. My brother downloaded it to his computer and we could compare maps. His is a complete Mickey head (the two ears and head), where mine looks just like it, but with a small (2.2 mile) portion missing. That is my proof to my family who got to see it. But, I can't print it out.

I have my own knowledge. But, I am still 225 pounds heavy woman who looks like she would never be able to run a marathon (and I was not able to run it). I know I shouldn't have to prove it to anyone, but I'd like to. Most folks will just see DNF and I'll just be another overweight idiot who wasted money doing something she should have known better. I see the DNF and say I went further than I thought I could when I started. I see DNF and know that there were bus loads of people at mile 16 and 18 and even 5 that got pulled out. At mile 24, there was a small van of five that didn't make it. (I was the slowest of the five to get pulled at mile 24.)

I guess that is pretty cool.

It's Not the Medal, It's the Journey

So, I didn't cross the finish line. But, I made it through all four parks. I have experiences that will help shape who I am in the future. And I am ready to go again.

A lot of times we start a journey and forget to enjoy the way there. I enjoyed (or hated) every step of this one. I still can't be too upset that I didn't cross the finish line. I went 24 miles before they had to tell me to leave. I didn't stop. I didn't give up. I may have been able to keep going for 2.5 more miles given an extra 15-20 minutes. (Although, at the time, I was sure it was a good medical desicion for them to take me off the course. I was very sick and may have blacked out...) I did something others haven't.

I started a journey once to get my wisdom teeth removed. The dentist mentioned one little aside thing, and it lead to my cancer being found and treated early. That was not what I thought would happen.

Last year, I took a trip to see my sister run a stupid race. I was true to myself when I told her I thought it was pretty dumb and you would never see me try to run 26.2 miles. Well, here I am having run only 24, but so proud of it, and ready to give it another try soon.

I want to capture all the little thoughts along the journey. I captured a bunch already in the blogs, but there are so many little ones. Often times (like will happen today) - I can chose to run or I can chose to write about running. I hope I get to do a little of both.

Post-Disney Run Summary (Short?)

THE RUN is done and I want to write all about it to remember it for next time. I slept deep the night of the run, then the second night was awake with all the cramps and thoughts to put into the blog. With all the runners there, we talked and talked about the race. Now, I have been home 15 hours, and attended a PTO meeting, walked the dog, helped my husband with chores... and the race seems years away. The real world comes back and the runners high and experiences fade - just with many of life's best things.

In summary: I made it to mile 24. I was on pace at mile 22, by 45 seconds (they count the time down at the mile marker for those of you not used to being at the back of the pack). I slowed down drastically after that - and I estimate that I would have finished at 7:12 to 7:15. The race very clearly states you have to maintain 16 minute/mile pace. So, you have to reach mile 24 by 6:24. It was 6:27:~35 when I got there. I was keeping a 17:30-19:30 pace after I left mile 22+. I wear a Garmin and was watching it very much during the race. (I went past mile 22 @ 5:51:~15.) **Note - those are personal times from Garmin. The official race time would be a few minutes later because I crossed the start time a few minutes after the gun.

I was the last person swept off the race course. I was exhausted, and dizzy from sun exposure. I was very dehydrated, and sick. I have already checked plane fare to OKC for the April 26th marathon there. It is a 6:30 race, but has an early start 1.5 hours earlier for slow pokes like me.

Of course, that was with the runners high. I also know there is a marathon in Lowell, Mass in October that would be fun. It is one of the fastest in New England though... And, there are a ton of half marathons.

I want to give the gory details of the race in a separate blog. Just to get the word out though: I ran 24 miles, and I had the great and unique experience of being at the end of the pack. For a short time, maybe half a mile, I was sure I would be the distinction of Dead Last Finish. And I loved the idea. I took photos during my run, got pics with Minnie and Mickie. I got through all four theme parks. I talked to many people. I wore a sign saying Cancer Schmancer 3 years Cancer-Free and I inspired others. I met a woman who was only two months cancer-free who's hair was just growing back and she left me in her dust! She inspired me.

I still think running is horrible. I hate it. The best part is when you finish a run and you are the longest away from having to run again.

I told the story to my friend - a nurse. She said running on only a turkey sandwich and half a muffin from Saturday, with neusea and diahrea for two days and vomiting a little during the run (but being affraid they would kick you out if they saw you throw up so hiding it by pouring a water over your face so you can keep going another mile) was the dumbest thing I ever did in the world. She doesn't get it. It is dumb and horrible. But, I can't wait to do it again - just 15 minutes faster next year.