Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Newport Marathon, The Final Stretch...

Thank you all for following along with my marathon story...and if you are just jumping in at the end of it, you catch part 1 HERE, and part 2 HERE
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Taken from the Amica Marathon FB Page - This beach marked the start, half, and finish point - how beautiful!
Where was I? Oh, yes...mile 20...the infamous "wall" that marathoners are supposed to hit.  I am happy to announce, that I hit that wall at mile 17...I kid, I kid...but really, I can't pinpoint any moment in the race that there was a significant exhaustion all at once.  I was exhausted, I was moody and emotional, but I didn't feel completely drained, and especially not at mile 20.
I am smiling, I swear, somewhere inside...
Tripp even joked with me that I must have a bunch more gas left in the tank around this point, because I was talking to everyone that passed, be it a runner or the volunteers - I honestly, couldn't shut up.  I believe that I was trying to be motivating and high spirited, not just to be nice to my fellow runners, but to motivate myself as well! It works, positive thinking and telling others a simple "great job, keep it up" can do wonders for your self esteem around mile 23 or 24...

I read an article last week that I found on Dorothy's blog, about avoiding the wall in a marathon, and I highly believe that consistent fueling and hydrating were the main reason I didn't bonk on Sunday.  Starting at 45 minutes, I began taking nutrition, and I continued every 45 minutes after that, and in the second half, I stopped briefly to walk through or slow jog through each and every water station, taking both a Gatorade and one or two waters at each stop (I am now officially on strike from Gatorade due to overdose, kind of like after the relay back in spring).

Mile 21 was about the time I hit the last turn around and I realized from then on out, I was heading home...this was an awesome feeling, and I definitely got a little extra pep in my step, but not for long...my whole second half went in waves of solid, quicker pace, and slower shuffling pace...Tripp, who was meeting me every other mile on his bike up until this point came cycling up towards me with his usual..."you're killing it babe, way to go, you look great! Need some water?" and all I could think about was sitting down.  I wanted to stop, I wanted it to be over...I asked him if he could stay next to me for a little while on the bike and just keep me company, I was fading mentally and needed the support.

Whether or not you are opposed to a biker pacing runners during a marathon, I have to say, I am completely for this.  Before Sunday, I kind of thought bikers were almost like getting a leg up on those who didn't have support and poo pooed the thought of it...but I have seen the light, and I know for a fact I would have finished a lot slower or not at all, if he was not riding by my side those final 6 or 7 miles.  I kept asking him to tell me stories, to watch my posture, to promise me I could have a coveted space blanket at the end, if I looked as strong as the bionic woman that came bounding past me just before the hill at mile 23...
Did I take a wrong turn?! I thought Broadway was just down the road...
From Miles 22 - 25, I just kept telling myself, it's one lap around Southie...it's like running down Broadway (in Southie) and back...you've run farther home drunk from the bar...in heels!! (that one made me chuckle a little)

Mile 25 was the hardest mile of the entire race...it had a short, but pretty steep, uphill...it had very few spectators...it took away the motivation from me for the first time in the race...

I wanted to stop, I kept pleading with Tripp to just stop, I didn't want to take another step...I wanted to sit, I wanted to cry, I wanted to be done...Tripp pedaled next to me, assuring me I was almost done...just a little bit more...I had come so far...

Then I saw a man walking, a man I had just overheard telling another runner he was "so close to his sub-4 goal he could taste it"...I knew we were both close...my hopes perked up...my legs perked up...I ran up next to the guy walking and I told him to get moving....and then I was off....

Tripp told me the mile 26 marker was just around the bend, and I didn't believe him, I welled up with uncontrollable emotions...I was happy, I was sad it was over, I was hurting, was I crazy?!

He was right, the marker was just ahead, and then there was the crowds and what looked like Chris' family as I came sprinting down that final 0.2 stretch (well I felt like I was sprinting...it may not have looked like that)...
I don't know why, but I gave that awkward thumbs up pose every time I saw the camera
I turned the corner into the parking lot and saw the finishers line, I was there, I had made it, just a few more feet!  Then I saw the clock...it had just clicked into 3:49:00, I could do this in under 3:50...so I pushed a little harder and I was smiling bigger than I have smiled in months, and I was crying, at least my body was trying to, happy tears, tears of joy...accomplishment...disbelief...

I crossed the finisher's line, as the announcer proclaimed "and here comes Danielle Marquis of Boston, smiling all the way!".  The clock still read out 3:49, my garmin read 3:49:14....my chip time read 3:49:15...

I think Tripp captured how I felt both physically:
I would describe this as the dry heave of cry...I couldn't get tears out, but my body was just full of emotions trying to get out...
And mentally:
Couldn't be happier with my medal and space blanket...
We walked...ok, I hobbled...over to where our friends were watching the finish, and waited for our friends to come into view...first we saw Jeff (who sails with Tripp)
And then we saw Chris, running into the finish with his brother Nate (the one who decided not to race prior to race day)
The feelings of finishing, and watching Chris finish were beyond describable...I was proud, sad, happy, honored, excited, emotional...I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to come and support me (except maybe my own family, none of whom could make it due to location or work)

We hung out for a little bit afterwards and took our post-race glory shots :)
Laura, me, Chris
Chris and I...so freaking proud of us - couldn't have made it to the start line or finish without you buddy :)
 We also enjoyed our post-race celebratory (and complimentary) beer and pizza...Gansett baby....I only got to finish a third of the beer because I had a killer stomach ache...but I did get down a LUNA protein bar (chocolate cherry...heaven) and a slice of pizza

 After our re-fueling, it was time for the ice bath...Newport style...

Until we discovered it was all red tide (red seaweed everywhere....and I mean everywhere), so Chris and Katie headed home and I headed to a real ice bath...
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The saying, "a marathon is just a 20 mile warm up with a 10k race" is beyond true...but the 10k race isn't what you would typically think of a sprint to the finish race...it is a mental race, to beat your inner demons telling you stop, to beat your inner negativity telling you you can't do it...it is a race to finish, to conquer and persevere to the end...

My first marathon was one of the most surreal feelings I have ever experienced.  I have a hard time describing it, I have a hard time believing that I really went through it, but I also have an overwhelming sense of gratitude that despite my set-backs and the struggles it took to get to the start line...I was able to accomplish something big, something many people can't even fathom, something some people will never be able to even dream of, let alone attempt to do...

Thank you for sticking with my unconventional recap, and perhaps I will provide the hard facts in a later post (good, bad, lessons)...but this story, from start to finish, is my way of remembering this experience, this incredible event in my life.

Thank you, for the support, the love, the motivation and inspirations...each of you, whether it was something good, bad or indifferent, were an immense influence on my being able to go through with this...thank you...

Newport Amica Marathon, October 16, 2011
3:49:15
26/333 female, 14/95 age group

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Do you have a special "pose" you do for the camera during races?


I usually look miserable, but I remember looking at each camera, smiling and giving the thumbs up


Do you get really horrible tummy cramps after races?

First time I felt so sick to my stomach, I think it was the amount of GUs and gatorade I inhaled)

6 comments:

  1. I like to wave at the camera like an idiot, it's kinda my signature thing. :)

    In my last marathon, all I could think of after mile 24 was how much I wanted to lay down in the grass. There wasn't even grass around, but that's all I could think about. Marathons do crazy stuff to your head!

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  2. You did AMAZING!!!! Way to go!!!! You should be so proud of yourself!!! I do get stomach cramps...but I think that's because I don't take in enough fuel. Yay!!! You did it!!!

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  3. you are AWESOME! way to fight through it!

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  4. Wow. Just wow. You captured just how hard those last miles are so well. How mental it is because physically there's not much left to give.
    Fantastic job pressing through girl. You owned it!
    Congrats!
    My 'special' camera pose seems to be eyes closed/tongue out. Not that I try for that but I have more than my share of those.

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  5. Congrats! I loved reading this recap. For some reason I never look at the camera, either I don't see it or I don't want them to capture my anguish, ha!

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  6. Oh my gosh you're a rockstar! I loved this recap too... mile 25 sounds horrible. A hill and hardly any cheering? BOO.

    I think it's great that you were able to see your time and let it motivate you across the finish line (to achieve that 3:49). Congrats!!

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