Janesville had a cold snap yesterday. Thursday - shorts and flipflops, Friday night - winter parka, gloves, sweatshirt, and jeans and still freezing my buns off wrapped in a blanket in the stands at Monterey Stadium watching my kid kick ass and take names.
This morning there was frost on the ground - yikes. It was 44.6 degrees out - Had to wear tights and a jacket and hat. It was a small group taking off from Lions Beach, likely in part due to the weather. We talked a few minutes with the SWATs that were there. Anne Thatcher (who is training for a marathon to qualify for Boston) asked me what my goal was other than to finish. I answered "not to cry." I think she thought I would give her a time goal. I thought answering that I was shooting for sub-3 would probably make her laugh.
From the start I was last. After a while I was quite a ways behind. I became aware that there was a van behind me driving really, really slow. I thought at first it was just trying to drive down the road. I kept motioning for it to pass me for several minutes, but it didn't. A little further down the road, I realized this was the car that was following the last runner and that was me. I spent a while being kind of pissy about it. I couldn't remember what it was called, so I made up names to call it. I finally decided on "The Hearse" since it kind of felt like it was waiting for me to keel over and die since I was so slow. I could see a single guy ahead of me a ways up the road and ahead of them, and 3 guys ahead of him. Beyond that - no one, nowhere, nada.
The Hearse followed me until mile 7, where I managed to pass the geriatric jogger that had been kicking my ass until that point. Then it followed him. I smiled and told him good job as I passed, doing a little cartwheel on the inside. I was no longer last.
The plan I followed was this.... walk the water stations, drink my sugar free Walmart Replenish (like Gatorade without carb), and munch sparingly on Black Cherry Shot Blocks, 1 every 15 minutes so I didn't get sugar gut and threaten to puke. The second half was easier. There were a couple guys ahead of me that were fartleking..... well they were walking but would let me get almost to them and then jog til they were further ahead. I finally got ahead of them about a 1/4 mile form the finish just before we rounded the last corner and I stayed ahead. I couldn't tell if they let me get ahead of them or if I actually kicked it in the last little bit but whatever - I'll take what I can get. Final time according to the Garmin: 2:33:01.... an 11:53 pace. I thought around 2:30, so was pretty well on the money.
It was such a relief to be done and to have kept going without having to take walk breaks that I teared up a little, especially when my nephew Jake met me at the finish and gave me a high five and a hug. That was cool. Got hugs and congrats from the SWAT folks there and my sister and Jeff. Felt kind of stupid accepting them - they all had time to go home, shower, and catch the news before they had to be back to watch me, but I did appreciate it.
I also need to shout out to the Milton High School cross country team. They manned the last 2 water stations and THEY.WERE.AWESOME. They cheered and whooped for you all the way through the station, then as they drove by on there way back they hung out the windows of the cars and hollered and cheered all the way past. As the person who was next to last, those cheers came at a great time when I was tired and kind of down, they really picked me up and kept me going. It was great.
I am feeling it a little tonight. My left butt cheek hurts. And my back hurts a little, like in the T3/T4 area. The legs are good so far, not real sore. So I broke my back and my butt, but not my legs or my spirit.
Tommorow's exercise in stupidity: The Dousman Duathlon. Stay tuned.