Monday, October 2, 2006

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia....

Twin Cities Marathon is over and the results are on the books.

I finished -- not in stellar form, certainly not with a PR (personal record), but finished none the less.

It was much hotter than normal last Sunday. The afternoon temps hit the low 80s -- and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. These were very different conditions than we had been training in over the last few (and muy important) long runs.

Hubby dropped me off at the Metrodome at about 7:15. I had just enough time to get in line for the portapotties and then line up in the corral for the start of the race at 8:00 am.

I lined up with the group running with the Cliff Shot Pacer aiming for a 5:30 finish. Met the pacer -- met a couple of folks running in her group and then turned to see Marcia and Cheryl, my training partners. They were getting some last minute encouragement from our Coach, Sarah.

We all wanted to run with the pacer, but her plan was to run and take walk breaks during the waterstops. We had trained using a rhythm of six minutes walking and one minute of walking. The first water stop at TCM wasn't until mile 2.5. Given our pace, we were not scheduled to reach that point until about 24 minutes in to the race. We didn't feel comfortable changing our routine, so we decided to stick with our plan but to try to keep the pacer in site.

Marcia and I ended up running together slightly ahead of the pacer. (Actually, we were about 3 minutes ahead of her for more than half the marathon.) We felt great -- were enjoying the large crowds, the really beautiful fall leaves on the trees and scenery along the parkway, meeting new friends along the way.

Many of our friends were out watching the event and cheering us on. We saw our running friends Katie and AmyK near Lake Harriet. Not too far from them was another running friend, Bev, although the look on her face was not so encouraging. A few steps later we found out why.

There was a man in his late 40s that was laying on the pavement. Medics were around him -- one man was performing CPR; another was using the breathing bag trying to revive him. Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain. The man was rushed to the hospital, but passed away of an apparent heart attack.

He had been an avid runner with no history of problems. According to the paper, he and his son were running the marathon. His son went ahead of him and then his dad had his attack. The son didn't find out what happened until after he passed the finish line. Very tragic...

Seeing the man on the sidewalk certainly changed the mood of those of us running. We all got very quiet and I'm sure a few of us sent up a prayer or two. And yet, we all kept moving forward.

My good friend Mary found us a couple times on the course: near Calhoun and then along Minnehaha Parkway. Marcia's son was out there for us; she saw some women from her book club, and we found a couple other friends, including Angel and Carla (our Ironwomen friends).

Our good friend Dori found us right after that first water stop. She had her trusty camera with her and snapped a couple of pics. She also met us right before the course crossed over from Minneapolis to St. Paul. She was like god-send out there. She had ice, gels, and great words of encouragement.

Hubby found us several times along the route: near Calhoun, before Minnehaha Falls -- all times I was feeling pretty dang good.

About mile 15, I started to lose it mentally. The weather caught up with me; the sun was draining and I could not keep my mo-jo. That AND I had to find a restroom. I told Marcia to go on ahead of me and that I'd try to catch her.

That was pretty much the last time I saw her until the finish line.

Not long after leaving Marcia, Cheryl passed me by looking very strong. Not long after Cheryl passed me, that 5:30 pacer passed me. Drat.

I keep going, although I really could not get a good rhythm back.

Usually I have a bad patch or two during marathons, but I'm able to get it back. Not this time. I just kept cursing and considering dropping out. But, pretty much every time I was going to pull out, I'd look up ahead, and there would be Hubby -- ringing the cowbell, giving me a "high five", and encouraging me to move on.

I did.

Slowly but surely, I made my way through St. Paul to the Capital. I DID cross that finish line, at 5:57:49. Very sucky time.

My coach was waiting for me at the finish. I crossed the line, got my metal, saw her and just burst in to tears. I was SOOOO disappointed in my inability to make my goal time of 5:30. She was very kind to me -- and that helped, although truth be told, I am disappointed that I continually have "Race Day" issues that cause me to not perform well. I can train like the dickens, but I tend to choke during the big events.

Anyway, I did finish -- about 10 minutes or so after Marcia did; about 15 minutes after Cheryl and about 30 minutes after our other training partner, Mary.

I would have never made it without the help and encouragement of Hubby and my friends out there yesterday -- and certainly would never have been able to do it without my great training partners.

So it all starts with Marcia. If she hadn't had a milestone birthday and got that hair-brained idea that it would be "great" to run a marathon for her birthday, I wouldn't have signed up, trained, run the race or had CAKE at the end to help celebrate her b-day.

Dori sent me a picture of all of us at the finish -- The folks in the photo include Marcia, Cheryl and me, along with Marcia's husband and our other friend Nat, who both ran the 10 Miler earlier that day. I'm in the grey.

(Hubby took a bunch more photos that I will post eventually. He is in the middle of the "last minute panic" of trying to get ready to leave on our big adventure tomorrow. I best not bug him now to have him teach me how to upload those....)

In any event, here's to you, Marcia. Congrats on your 1st victory taiming the 26.2 mile beast!


Dori said...

Amy, I am so proud of you! You're an amazing athlete. I know all about disappointing finishing times, but in the end what matters is that you had the mental fortitude to finish the race. [Well, that and the medal. :-)] It was hot, you had bathroom issues, but you showed up to support your friend for her milestone birthday. There is a lot of pride to be had in that!

Have a wonderful vacation with your wonderful hubby. I'm looking forward to reading all about it.

Nat said...

Congrats Amy! I am so proud of you both. Finishing is quite the accomplishment!!! You did great and looked so strong crossing that line. Enjoy your trip!

Michelle said...

FANTASTIC! Congratulations, you are just a stellar athelete! I'm so proud of you!

Marcia L. said...

Here's a huge "high-five" to you, Amy!!! I can't thank you enough for joining me on this marathon journey. It was such a joy to have you run with me! You are an amazing mentor and a fabulous athlete. Have a great time in Europe. Never forget that you finished MILES AND MILES ahead of the 99% of the population that don't cross that finish line - EIGHT TIMES!!! And thanks for the cupcakes at the finish. You are THE GREATEST!!!

Julie said...

Amy, you did an awesome job by finishing the race you started! Even though it wasn't your personal best. It had to be a horrible experience to see the runner lying on the side being helped by medics, but you prayed and kept going, good for you! I'm sorry I wasn't there at the sidelines cheering you on this time, got mixed up with all that was goin on and didn't get the memo (from my brother)there was too much going through, I'm sure both of your heads with the trip coming up the next day too! Kudos that you finished! Have an awesome vacation!

Wanna-be 5k-er said...

Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations! You finished another marathon, wow! I am in awe, I really am! I know you don't like the time, and it was a hard race. But that makes you all the more amazing in my mind for pushing through and finishing. A marathon, wow!!!

Bon voyage, enjoy your trip, get some well-deserved rest! Congrats again!

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is Randi the Clif Bar pacer. First and most importantly, congratulations. Just remember, we all have our tough days out there. Sometimes we learn lessons about what we did wrong or what we can do better next time. Sometimes we realize things were out of our control and it was just a bad day. Be proud, stay strong and healthy and I hope to see you again and run with you from start to finish in your next 5:30 endeavor.