Ok, so I ran without my mp3 player. I know, crazy right. Actually, it didn’t bother me at all to not have music. I was able to focus more on what I was doing, and my form and all that. Plus, there were sooooo many weird/interesting conversations going on around me it was much more interesting to just eavesdrop. Plus, as I AM the personal pace setter for all who are slow, I got to hear quite a bit of peoples discussions. Not to mention the outfits and accessories. I mean, everyone is just so….. creative? You could mostly spot the marathoners vs. half-marathoners just by their extra stuff, but not always. The ultra folks (50k) had signs on their backs that said I am crazy and awesomeULTRA, basically so we knew that they were not running with us slow people because they were in fact slow…. they were saving their energy for the next 30 miles! Ugh. Anyway, I affectionately and stereotypically nicknamed a few people out there on the course. There was Old School Guy. This guy was classic. In his 50’s, Converse style shoes, bike shorts covered by, and I kid you not, old cotton cheer-leading style shorts…you know what I mean. Head band and everything. It was perfect, like ‘you people in your fancy new wicking fabrics, you don’t know how it used to be!’ Then there was Lady-who-strapped-her-ipod-to-her-head. That was just creative right there. There were the advertisers – the people wearing clothing promoting some sort of local business – lawyers, cpa’s, etc. There were also the I-take-myself-way-too-seriously folks who were rude to some of the few people out there with a sense of humor, but luckily they were fast and soon gone. These were all people I saw near the first few miles that either passed me (more likely) or fell behind me (less likely). There were several other people who I saw pretty much once a mile or more for the whole 13.1. Some of these people were the Hares to my Tortoise. Seriously, I ran at pretty much the same pace consistently for the first 8 miles, and then sped up a little, but stayed at that pace until the last mile when I sped up more. Over the first 8 miles, there were at least 10 runners/groups of runners who would be walking and then start running after I had passed them again – some of them would do it RIGHT when I passed them, which is kind of annoying when you are trying to weave around people and then ALL FOUR OF THEM go “alright” and start running again. I honestly don’t think most of them knew they were doing it, or did it totally on purpose, but some of them had to be. ‘Oh, there’s that girl again, better get moving’ I mean, I’m glad to help I guess, but it doesn’t do much for your self esteem sometimes. I’m going to make a t-shirt with a tortoise on it for the next race. Anyway, spending so much time in the vicinity of these ‘hares’, I heard a few conversations, which of course led to a few more nicknames based on more than just appearances. See, I’m not completely shallow. There was the older guy (at least in his late 60’s/early 70’s) who was telling his younger (by about 30 years) running partner about his pace and how he ‘can’t go as fast as he used to, and it’s hard to let go of that speed because he was just so competitive’. There was the group of three, two parents and young man who were discussing the process of how medical school and applying for a residency worked. They only jumped me about 4 times. There were the girls in pink and black. I’m going to stick with that name. The conversation I heard when they passed me….and then ultimately I passed them for good =) wasn’t the kindest of topics, or the most noble, so needless to say I was secretly happy about beating them despite my attempts to not be in competition with anyone out there. Then there were just funny and strange things that happened and that I saw along the way. The deceased dog on the side of the road somewhere around mile 7? that honestly looked like it died standing up and just fell over next to the curb. Traffic went pretty well, the policeman and other traffic guards did a great job of managing traffic and keeping us safe. There was one instance where a guy who was waiting in the traffic lines (which I will admit if you weren’t expecting it could be annoying) honked his horn loud and long. At first we all thought he was cheering for people. There were lots of people doing that. Well, two long honks later, we could hear the officer yell “Honk that horn one more time!” We chuckled and kept running. So many little memories. I’m sure I’ll keep remembering and put more on here soon. But those are the most vivid at this point.
Me, I did ok. I ran all 13.1 miles and never stopped. Once I had to slow down just a bit for traffic and when I started to speed up again my knee almost buckled. That wasn’t so cool. I think my legs were starting to figure out that I had tricked them into running 5 more miles that they were used to. I’ve paid the price for that trickery since the race. I’m mostly recovered, but they’re still sore. One more day off, then back to it. Oh, and just so the title of this post makes some sense, there are energy packets with gel in them called Gu. They are used for helping you on long races in addition to water stops. A fellow runner of mine had tried them and said that it was perfect around mile 9 to help pick up your energy a bit, so I tried one on the day of the race. I went with the berry flavored and made it last from mile 8 through 10. I think it helped a bit, but so did the turnaround at mile 9ish when we finally started heading back toward downtown. Whew, I was glad when that came. The biggest surprise for me was when around mile 10 I was expecting to be able to pick up my speed some more at the end of the race, like I had done on previous shorter races and runs…and my legs basically went ‘um, I don’t think so. you want us to run this race all the way to the end, you are running at our speed. deal with it’. Yup. Only during the last mile when I KNEW that I had less than a mile to go was I able to force them to run faster and finish well. I finished, gimped over to where the nice man took the timing chip off, pryed my feet from the pavement and moved to where the lady was handing out finishing medals and then tried to keep moving and met up with John. He was so nice and was waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for me at the finish and took those pictures – and I remembered to smile – heck I was done of course I was happy. I ate several handfuls of the sugar cookies I made the night before because I knew I would want something NOW. Seriously, whoever was making barbecue at 830 am over by north University St., shame on you! Had some water and then we split for some real food. The food line was WAY too long, and I would’ve liked to hang around and meet up with some people I knew, but honestly I was quickly losing the ability to walk and needed carbohydrates! So I hobbled to the car and we got some yummy food and headed home to recuperate. Good times. I survived.