After feeling so terrible during yesterday's half marathon, I decided today, I would just relax, stay comfortable and enjoy the day. recap
There is such an energy at this marathon. Its not about the course. Its about the people. I love that webmaster Bill (and husband) is there taking pictures. I love that I know so many people involved with the event, as well as runners, and recognize many others. I love that people are enjoying the Running in the USA cookies that I made.
Before the race, training partner Dennis Hanna and I bummed around a bit, commiserated on how yucky we felt, and chatted with friends. We decided to start the marathon together. We stayed together for about the first hour and 20 minutes. I was feeling much better than I did the day before, and I could tell Dennis was struggling to maintain the pace, so we decided to part. I sped up a bit, and he slowed down.
Because we are running in circles, we'll still get to see each other, and check on each other, which is one of the best things about this marathon.
Another cool thing... you get to run with people that are ahead of you, or behind you. Yes, that's weird. In a normal marathon, when you get to mile 10, you are only surrounded by people who are also at mile 10. Rather obvious. But on an indoor track, I could be at mile 10, but run a lap with someone who is only on mile 8, or already on mile 12. Its a strange dynamic.
As many of you may know, I have won the Gold Medal Challenge, which is the half marathon on Saturday, and full marathon Sunday, all 3 years. The winner has the lowest combined times. After yesterday's icky half marathon, I accepted that I was not in the running to win this year. I was, and am, completely fine with that. Winning 3 times is an accomplishment that I am proud of. Not saying 4 times would not be great, but I do not feel pressure to keep the streak going.
About 2+ hours into the marathon I started passing JoAnne Bernhardt, the leader of the Gold Medal Challenge for the women's field, based on yesterday's half marathon. She was slowing down a bit, and seemed to be struggling. I encouraged her "Stay strong, you can do it!"
I passed her another couple times, and then I slowed a bit, and she sped up, and we ran together and chatted for a few laps. We talked a bit about our standings. I was convinced she would be the winner, and she was convinced she wouldn't be able to hold on. At this point, I am a couple laps ahead of her today, but she has a significant lead from yesterday. Someone had told me that she had a 9 minute lead, and she thought she had only a 6 minute lead. It took a lap or so, but then I finally realized and said "if we just tell each other our times, we'll figure this out." So we compared our times, and figured she did in fact have 9 minutes on me from yesterday, and I am probably about 5 minutes ahead of her today.
JoAnne is a new marathoner. This is her fourth marathon. We talked about running, and kids, and family. Her parents and kids are cheering for her in the stands. Her brother is running his first marathon here today. They ran together for a bit, and she had a back tag that said "He's my brother, and yes, he's single". How cute is that!
After a few laps, we parted, I was running just a little faster than JoAnne. Just as people could see yesterday that I felt like crap, they could see today that I was feeling better. Dave Jesse tried to goad me into taking the lead with a bit of encouragement, and a bit of light-hearted taunting. Each lap, he'd tell me how much time I still needed to be able to take the lead. But the truth is, even though I feel much better than yesterday, I just don't have it in me to run any faster.
I finished the marathon, and waited, and cheered for JoAnne. She PR'd (personal record) with a 3:45, which is awesome after a 1:32 half marathon the previous day.
Seeing her finish, and win the Gold Medal Challenge, and seeing her family support her, and cheer, and be so thrilled for her... Wow! I get choked up just writing this. She is one classy young lady, with a wonderful family. I really can't be bummed about not winning, when I see someone else truly enjoying a great moment and sharing it with her family.
After chatting with JoAnne a bit, and congratulating her, I quickly changed into dry clothes (after being scolded by Dennis and Dave), and then came out to cheer for Dennis.
Knowing the announcer has some perks. During the marathon, an announcer calls out runner's names periodically, and lets them know how many laps they have left. I told Brian, the announcer about a little milestone for Dennis.
As Dennis started his final lap, the announcement was made - 'Dennis Hanna, you are on your final lap... Dennis will be completing his 50th marathon or longer today'. How cool is that!
After Dennis finished, a bunch of us gathered to enjoy some post-race snacks. It was great to sit and relax with friends.
Can't wait to do it all again next year!