I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. to leave the house by 4:20. My mind was so overrun with thoughts of the race that I slept terribly.
**Wait- rewind to 2 a.m. when my amazing husband finished filling my iTouch with Armstrong&Getty episodes and motivating songs. What a man!**I was greeted with the scent of dog pee when I got to the kitchen. Great. Leia had peed sometime earlier and had paced around in it for who knows how long and it was now tracked evenly across the entire kitchen floor. Good Morning!! Again, my hubby was amazing and cleaned it up so that I could leave for Sacramento.
The great thing about driving at 4 a.m. on a Sunday is that there are zero other people out. No red lights for me! I cruised into Sacramento in record time, only to be stopped up by the thousands of other runners doing the same out in front of the convention center. It was really well organized however and I got on a bus (a school bus! I haven't been on one of those in ten years- wow, ten years) and it took us to the start line in Folsom.
With an hour to kill, I wandered up the impressive street of port-a-potties. There were 350 of them, and no I didn't count. One of the organizers proudly informed us of their huge collection of brown and blue stink-bombs and how that meant we wouldn't ever have to wait to use one. And he was right. There was never a time when there were more than 3 people to a line, it was amazing!
At 7 a.m. the race started. The sun had come up to reveal a nearly cloudless sky (what luck!) and the air had warmed up, finally! It is an amazing feeling to stand at a start line with 7,500 other people. When I say "stand at a start line" I mean: see it way down the road, with thousands of bobbing heads spanning the distance. Everyone is so ready, so amped, all stretched out and warmed up, ear buds in with tunes pumping into their ears. No one smells weird yet. And we're off!!
It is interesting how things work out. The way the universe shows up for me when I am willing to put my needs out there. Three different times this happened to me. If it hadn't happened three times I would have missed them, written them off a coincidence. The first was when I was paying particular attention to my aching feet. My energy and attention to this area wasn't providing relief as all my thoughts were destructive ones: "I'll never make it with this pain", "Well, it was a good try, time to throw in the towel", etc. Just as these thoughts were choosing for me (i.e. I started to walk) I came upon some spectators blaring "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey, to which I replied, "OK!" and on I jogged.
The second was on a hill, my quads were screaming and all my thoughts were about how I had SO much further to go and there was no way I could run that far. Then this lady passed me and the back of her shirt said (you're not going to believe me) "GO MEL GO!". No lie. Surely a sign.
Thirdly was when I was at mile 9 and on my iTouch the guys (A&G) were talking about Thanksgiving and all the wonderful things they were making with leftovers. Sandwiches piled with stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce on toasted bread....soooo hungry......Low and behold! The mile 10 station was ahead and offering orange slices and bananas!! Wa-hoo! Relief!
Mile ten would be my last mile. I had sustained a 13 minute mile for the entire race so far, a pretty good showing- but I was feeling my body breaking down. My feet were aching, my knees were throbbing, my back and shoulders had shooting pains. I could have gone a few miles further and I wasn't interested in being totally thrashed or injured. Two years ago I felt those same kinds of body pains at the end of the marathon, today wasn't my day.
And I am happy with it. I struggled for awhile to be o.k. with my defeat. I had visions of telling people how didn't finish, how I didn't even get half way. Then I re-framed it and decided to be happy with my accomplishment. What helped me the most was a card from Ethan. I opened it as the race started and it told me how proud he was of me, how I can use this as a training run and he would be ready to come and pick me up where ever the end of my run would be. I love that man. His words brought me peace about where I was in my accomplishment and let it be o.k. to not finish.
Next year CIM, next year.
p.s. The winning time was 2:12. Can you even fathom such endurance? That man ran a 5 minute mile for 26.2 miles. He basically sprinted for 2 hours. Insanity!