This is what we in the race world call a "Race Recap."
For those who have a life and have no desire to hear my step by step experience of Sunday's big race, go do something else like take a nap, type a paper, or go to the bathroom. Anything really. But for those who pretend to care, this is a long, boring post (unless you love race recaps like I do).
Saturday night Mr. G and I loaded Caroline the Corolla with running gear, apples (yum), my race information, etc. We hit the road and drove south to the land of the Massholes. We found our lovely (sarcasm) hotel without a hitch. Checked in, had a brewski, and off we went to dinner. Got some pasta, some wine, some gelato. Nothing out of this world, but it still hit the spot.
I was in bed by 9:45 with a goal to be asleep by 10:15. HA. All night I dreamt about racing. I constantly woke up up because I was nervous and anxious. It was not a swell night of sleep.
At 6:20 my alarm went off. I popped out of bed to order my room service breakfast (wheat toast with peanut butter and a hard boiled egg, please!) only to find out that my hotel did not have room service. WHAT THE MOTHA FUCK!? I threw on my clothes and went down to the shatty ass "marketplace" in the lobby and got a wheat bagel with peanut butter, a banana, and a fake scrambled egg, (which I immediately tossed in the garbage when I left).
By 7 am we were walking to the shuttle over to the race. I was nervous but calm. At the shuttle stop we were surrounded by people who were also running, the energy was fantastic. We loaded the busses and headed over to the start.
We arrived about 35 minutes before race time. We walked down to the race start line and were blown away by the thousands and thousand of people. There was music playing, 6,000+ runners and spectators milling about, stretching, having fun. It was amazing.
Until I looked at the lines for the 45 or so port-o-potties.
Of which 3,000 people were waiting for.
And of course I had to go pee again, even though I had gone moments before loading the bus.
We jumped in line and stood and waited. And waited. And waited. 30 minutes went by and I still had a good 12 people in front of me. And a good 30 behind me. And that was just in my row for my port-o-potty. There were lines like that in front of all other 44 port-o-potties. The announcers asked for the runners to line up. People in the bathroom lines started looking nervous. The national anthem was sung. People in line started shifting about. They started announcements about the route, people started dashing to the trees to pee so they could start on time. I was a nervous wreck.
5 minutes later it was finally my turn. I jumped in, peed, and sprinted over to my starting corral. Mr. G was sweet and ran with me, stood to the edge of the coral, and started snapping pictures. Bless his heart.
There were so many people, we could not all fit into the corral. We stood outside of it, hundreds of us, and just waited for the gun to go off.
When it finally went off, the crowd cheered and I teared right up. (Emotional wreck, right here.) People started moving, and about 3 minutes later I was finally able to get into the corral. I waved good bye to Mr. G and started walking towards the start line.
I had a huge smile on my face for the first 2 miles. The crowd support was fantastic. The energy of the runners was even better. It was downhill. Everything was great. I was able to listen to my music and not focus on others, but was also able to thrive off the energy of those around me. I saw momma and poppa PB at mile 1 and was just on cloud nine. The entire race was an out and back course, so we also saw the men from the wheelchair division already coming back when we were between miles 2 and 3, and the crowds went wild. The runners were just so thrilled for these bad ass mother fuckers and we were cheering and shouting for them. It was the highlight of the race for me.
(Another highlight was the fun signs: "You are all Kenyans today!" and "Your stamina turns me on. Call me." And finally, "That is not sweat, that is your fat cells crying.")
The runners high lasted until mile 5. At mile five we turned around and started back for the first out and back leg of the course. I was feeling a bit tired and started thinking about running, which is never what I want to do when I run. I took some shot blocks and carried on.
At mile 8 I was pretty pooped, but my friend Kali and her husband where there waiting for me. Kali jumped in and ran with me for nearly 4 miles. She is a seasoned half marathoner and was so positive and supportive. She talked me through those 4 miles and was right by my side. When I needed to slow down and walk (which happened a lot during those 4 miles) she was telling me it was ok, I needed to listen to my body. I still do not know why I was so tired, I have certainly done 8,9,10,11, and even 12 miles numerous times this summer. But regardless, I was just completely exhausted. And Kali was right there telling me I was doing great, that I could do this, that if I needed to walk that I should walk.
Miles 9-12 felt entirely up hill. Not major hills, mind you, just slow, gradual uphills. And for God's sake, they were such long miles. Miles 9-12 felt longer than miles 1-9. I wanted to face punch everything. WHY WAS THIS TAKING SO LONG. HOW COULD THIS MILE BE LASTING FOREVER?! Shortly after mile 11 we were back at the start of the race. "Oh good," I thought. Almost done, I can see the stadium, hear them announcing names, see the smoke from the grills." But OH WAIT. Mother fuckers have you run another mile out and back before you finish. FUCK. We ran through the zoo, I was barely surviving. People said they saw giraffes but I only saw the brown ground in front of me. I thought I was going to die.
Finally we hit mile 12. Kali's perfect doll of a husband was waiting there, cheered for me, and Kali left. *Dear god, Kali, thank you for your support!* At that point I knew I could make it. No more walking. Just run. JUST DO IT. I ran, slow, steady. I saw a sign that said "800 meters to go!" And before I knew it I saw another that said "Only 500 meters left!" I rounded the corner and could see the stadium. I heard Mr. G shouting "Shauni! Go Shauni! You are awesome!" (or something to that affect, but I like to think he said that I rocked or some such thing.)
I entered the stadium. I turned the bend. I saw the finish line and the clock and I ran as fast as I could manage. Which was not fast, as I was being passed left and right by those around me. But I crossed the finish line, threw my hands up over my head and smiled. And immediately stopped running. I just wanted to walk.
I went and got my medal, and Mr. G called. We met in the food tent, where I was stretching. All I wanted to do was stretch and rest and drink water. Fuck everything else. I was exhausted.
My official time was 2:21. I am disappointed in my time, but I am also extremely proud of myself. This is the most challenging thing I have ever done, and had you asked me a year ago if I could run 13.1 miles I would have laughed in your face. I have never felt more proud of myself.
I did not have any pain while running, however after the run and all day yesterday I was stiff and sore. My toes still hurt and I am waiting for some of the nails to fall off (my worst running nightmare). It is terribly painful and inconvenient.
Regardless of how exhausted I felt and how sore my body was after the fact, I already cannot wait to run Boston again next year. And the Covered Bridge half in VT next June.
After all, I have to shave time off my pace!
Thanks for listening,
One Bad Ass Granny