I took a personal day on Friday to go to the Expo. I know from experience that I should not be around anyone the day before a big race. I told my students right up front: I'll be crying and rocking in the fetal position for most of the day. You do NOT want to see this, so you will be happy to have a substitute teacher on that day. My students are wonderful kids, really, so they were very understanding about the whole thing. My own kids know the deal; they just made sure to steer clear of me that day.
I worked the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon booth at the Expo from 11-1ish. It was great to see all my friends and represent a race series that I love. I'm still mad that Ralph Staph, Race Director for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, didn't bring me a Frappuccino when I asked for it. Am I worth NOTHING????
|Working it! #CleveMarathonAmbassador|
I also got my traditional 26.2 picture, courtesy of my friend Nick. You remember him; he was a pirate at the Burning River aid station.
And of course it isn't real until you see your name on the car outside the expo:
The next morning was great! I got to say Good Luck to all my friends before getting in the corral. We took lots of pictures.
|Kelly, Me, Marta. We are excited because it is Kelly's first marathon.|
|I'm pretending that I'm not edgy or irritated or nervous. Or bloated.|
You all know that this was a mistake, right?
I saw my friend Rob at the 16 mile marker, and I saw my friends Bees for Mary Relay Team at the various relay exchanges. I was still feeling great when I approached the designated meeting point to see The Kabyle Chef, Butterbean, and Punkin. I voice-texted Punkin, telling her that I had about two miles until the rendezvous, and then I realized that I miscalculated, and the rendezvous was straight ahead. Whoops.
This really bugged me, but I knew it was my own fault, and I tried to let go of the fact that I wouldn't see my family where I needed them. . . when I saw them! They had scrambled ahead, following the Blue Line until they could figure out how to intercept me! What a great family. I sobbed, of course.
Now, this is where I should have picked up the pace because I saw one friend after another, but I just couldn't do it. I was in so much pain, and for the first time ever, I could feel my quads seizing up. I slowed down, and then I started walking. That is where I saw Pam and Steve. You know them; Pam is a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador, and Steve is a Pacer. They were riding their bikes, and they yelled to me to stop walking and go catch the 4:40 pacer (who had just left me in the dust). I shuffled along until I was suddenly attacked by a giant fox!!
|OMG. WTF is that????|
I passed Rob again going towards Heartbreak Hill. Just as I was contemplating walking the hill, I saw Kathy by the side of the road. I haven't seen her in at least 3 years! She told me that she came to that specific point to see me take the hill. I was so happy to see her that I remembered that I was supposed to make the hill my bitch. . .and so I did.
I was still going super-slowly, and I was in a lot of pain. When I made the turn onto Market Street, which is the start of the last 2 miles, I didn't even care. If the SAG wagon had approached me at that point, I would have ditched the whole race. I sped up as much as I could on the downhill to make up for lost time, but then I started walking the uphill again when a young girl passed me, turned around and said, "Come on! You passed me on Heartbreak Hill, and you think you are gonna walk THIS?" She was right, so I started shuffling along again, and I managed to cut thirty seconds off that mile.
Coming into the stadium felt great, and I was able to give it a little kick, but I knew that it wasn't a PR, and I was pretty disappointed. I had time to stretch, rehydrate, refuel, collapse, and then find Marta. After taking post race pics with my friends, we moved the party to Lockview, where I ate all the grilled cheese and tater tots I could hold.
|Me, Nick (the Pirate), and Marta. You be the judge: Am I laughing or crying here?|
I'm so grateful to all the volunteers at this race. They were always loud, cheerful, and fun. I'm also grateful to all of my friends who helped me through this long training cycle and my friends who cheered for me on the course. You all are wonderful; I love you.
As for you, Akron Marathon, next year I will conquer your hills and come back with a shiny, new PR!
Peeps, I hope that while I am hobbling along and soaking in Epsom Salts to recover, you will be running happy!
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