Holy cannoli. It’s been well over 1 month since the Wineglass Marathon, and I have yet to post the most important part - the finish line/aftermath. I’ve been so preoccupied with work, coach preparation, and mentally wrapping my head around the fact that I’d be tackling a 50 kilometer trail race (That’s an entirely different story!). I sincerely apologize to those who have been waiting ever so patiently. I know that I take a couple of weeks for recaps, but never this long! Jeez!
Let’s see…where did I leave off? Oh, right…my 2nd potty break. After using the bathroom at mile 13.3, my nausea temporarily went away. There was a water station at mile 14, so I drank some water, and started tackling the 2nd steepest incline of the marathon. Of course, it’s nothing compared to Pittsburgh, so I shouldn’t complain. I noticed that walking through the water stations started becoming a huge problem. While it helped me consume water without dribbling all over myself, it started hindering my performance. I was dealing with mild-severe cramping in my calf muscles, and getting my legs going again took much more time than I would’ve liked. I would compare it to how the first mile or two usually feels when starting a run.
I winced as I ran, but nothing was going to stop me from crossing the finish line unless I dropped to the ground. I found it dang near impossible to get into my groove again, but I had to be bigger than the pain. I had to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I still had 12 miles to run. 12 freaking miles. On stiff and crampy legs. Miles 14-18 are a bit of a blur for me, so I’m drawing a blank. I think this was the point of the marathon where I was lost within myself. Perhaps I subconsciously zoned out as a way to forget about how much pain I was in. I do recall a few long and boring stretches of road, so there’s not much to remember anyway. I did take my 4th gel somewhere within those miles, and my body also scheduled a THIRD potty break. My nausea was on and off, completely striking me at random. It made me absolutely miserable. I could barely enjoy the experience; it was heart wrenching. And each time I had to stop, I could feel my hope for a personal best crumbling beneath me.
Miles 19-22 were horrific. My pace got slower, and I hit the dreaded wall. I stopped to walk a couple of times to regain my composure. I was having a huge battle inside of my mind. PAINTED POST. It sounds like a happy town, but this is where I struggled the most. My quads were trashed. My calves were trashed. My digestive system was seething with rage. There was a teeny tiny steep downgrade that led into a park near a school. Although the hill was miniscule, I thought that I was going to biff it big time. I remember seeing the word “BELIEVE" written on the pavement with sidewalk chalk. Believe. All I had to do was believe. Mile 22.5 was where the next comfort station was located. I used the bathroom for the FOURTH time, took my final gel, and drank some water. *I think that I could’ve shaved off 10 minutes at the very least without all of the potty breaks, with using the bathroom itself and trying to get moving adequately again. I was depleted and delirious.
I trucked along as best as I could, completely appreciating the upcoming small portion of trail that was along the course. It was a nice change of scenery, and plenty of spectators gave me their well wishes. Things like that keep me going. I can’t thank them enough. I mean to stand outside in the cold cheering on runners, most of whom they don’t even personally know, is truly awesome. Always thank your volunteers and supporters. And if you can’t speak, smile.
As I was gimping along through miles 23-24, I overheard someone shout “FEAR CHASER!" I deliriously looked behind me, completely awestruck, and saw a girl sporting blonde hair and a pink shirt. She smiled at me and asked how I was feeling. I pressed pause on my mp3 player, huffed in exhaustion, and told her that I was experiencing some leg cramping, but otherwise felt okay. It was Connie from Calorie Counting Girl. She previously asked me if we could talk with one another following the marathon. I never would’ve thought that we’d cross paths during the marathon itself. We talked back and forth for a bit. She asked me for my first name because she had forgotten it, but I can’t really remember what else we talked about. I was pretty out of it - heck, I was a mess. Although, I do recall her saying something along the lines of, “maybe we can get one another through these last couple of miles.” I nodded in agreement, but within a quarter of a mile, her figure became smaller and smaller. She took off like a speeding bullet, or at least that’s how it felt to me. It was clear that she was still feeling good. Either that, or she’s a good actress. I was crumbling both inside and out. I just couldn’t let my heart give out before my legs. Not this time. Not ever.
Stride by stride. Step by step. Breath by breath. I cursed like a sailor on the inside with a cringe-worthy expression painted all over my face. I just wanted to be done. Spectators were few and far in between, and traffic was being monitored by a few supportive volunteers. One mile felt like ten, and when I finally made it to Corning, I knew that I was in the final stretch. The number of spectators grew, and I passed quite a few runners on the sidelines walking towards me sporting their medals. A handful of them shouted, “Keep going, the finish line is about 5 minutes away!” I saw the bridge in the very near distance. I knew that I was close because I could see my hotel room, and the bridge was basically the final haul just before the magic that is the finish line. At the end of the bridge, there were a couple of photographers. Being the cheese ball that I am, I threw my arms in the air and smiled. One of the photographers said, “I love that one!” The picture below must have been what she was referring to. My other pictures are tragic, so I will spare you the embarrassment. This picture will always remind me that even in my moments of weakness, I can still find my strong.
Okay, I lied. Here’s one of my more model-esque shots…
Why am I so attractive?
Corning, New York is beautiful.
When I finally saw this number, emotions flooded over me once again. I couldn’t believe that I was moments away from completing my 2nd marathon within the time frame of several months. Suddenly, the pain was worth it. I remembered once again why I was doing this. The magic of the marathon.
You can tell below by my attractive running pictures just how out of it I was. But, reminiscing upon that final stretch leaves me feeling emotional. As I was approaching the finish line, I saw Michael and Jen on the other side ready to bring me in, a moment that I will never ever forget. In the picture on the far right, I was looking straight at them. I finished in 4:14:02, over 10 minutes faster than Pittsburgh (4:24:42). Some things weren’t in my favor, my gas tank was empty, but I still reached Goal B. I have no doubt in my mind in regards to conquering Goal A in the future - a sub-4 hour marathon.
The moment that I crossed the finish line, they grabbed me and asked me what I needed. I could barely utter any words. Jen asked me if I wanted chocolate milk, and I nodded “yes.” I got my medal and obligatory finisher photo taken. Michael wrapped a space blanket around me to keep my body temperature from dropping too low. I proceeded to hobble towards the food with a confused, overwhelmed look on my face. I was obviously in a depleted state, my body worn down and beat up. I ate an apple, a cookie, and a half of a bagel. Then, I grabbed a plate of pizza and more cookies. I remember being saddened that my pizza grease had dripped all over the cookies. That was a crisis at the time. Lo and behold, the cookies went into the trash. :( I chugged water, and I remember squeezing the living crap out of the bottle to get my mind off of the pain. We walked around for a little while, and every single time we stopped for more than a few seconds, my legs started screaming in pain. I even found myself hunched over, leaning against a brick wall, nearly in tears. The cramping was awful. I felt MUCH worse, physically speaking, than I did after Pittsburgh.
We eventually walked into the parking garage, which would normally be a pointless thing to talk about, but something funny happened. Two people from the Steel City Road Runners Club backed right into one another as they were trying to leave. What are the odds?! No harm was done. I couldn’t help but giggle.
We walked back to the finisher’s area and took random finisher photos with our phones.
The medal in all it’s glory! I was super paranoid that the glass medal was going to fall off of the strap and shatter into a million pieces.
After leaving the garage, we walked around some more until Lora, my roomie, was finished with the marathon. Before Lora and I hobbled back into our hotel rooms, we took a trip to the gas station to purchase bags of ice. Each of us, no lie, bought 3 small bags of ice. From a bystander’s perspective, we probably looked ridiculous trying to find the strength to be able to carry ice to her car. It felt like I was trying to climb Mount Everest, but I would’ve bent over backwards and performed magic tricks if it meant I could dip my sore leggies into a tub of ice.
Michael and Jen came over just before it was Lora’s turn to take the plunge. We could hear her making crazy noises and when we asked if she was okay, she said and I quote, “That’s the sound of my soul dying!” HAHA! I love that girl. The 4 of us walked (of all things) to a local bar to eat. I had my usual post marathon meal, a burger with fries. It tasted like I had never eaten food before. Mmm! After our feast and a celebratory drink, Lora and I decided it was a brilliant idea to purchase snacks at Wegmans - a grocery store. Note to self: DO NOT go into a grocery store after running a marathon. You will spend far too much time drooling over the pumpkin loaves, bagels, cookies, and pretty much anything else in the store except for Brussels sprouts.
After being hypnotized by food, we went to bed pretty early, knowing that we had a long drive home. We, of course, took 6,923 pee breaks. And, I will end the recap on that note.
All of my medals! :)25 notes
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- joanned said:Seriously, can we do lunch? You’re incredible, makes me look forward to my first marathon (finally picked Ottawa in May!) & reassures me if you can push through so can I. I just want to pick your brain and have a ‘chase your fears’ chat! <3 :)
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- britsfit said:You are such an inspiration, thank you! Amazing job pushing through <3
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- runslikeapenguin said:WOOHOOO THANK YOU :) I will read this now :) :) :)
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