Race morning came way too early. Late Friday night we heard they may start the race early so instead of meeting at 4:30 we had to meet at 4 am. Which means I needed to get up around 2:45. Of course I woke up at 2 and let myself get out of bed about 2:15. I didn’t want to disturb Deanna so I went into the bathroom to start my prerace routine.
Mini coffee pot was awesome for boiling the water for my oatmeal. I forgot to bring a spoon so my toothbrush stirred it and I tried to pour it in my mouth. Needless to say I was a mess. I taped the crap out of my leg and ankle with hopes of a pain free race.
As you can tell I was having some race day nerves. It was time to get dresses and head out the door but not before a few more pictures…
Yes I know I look silly. I got lots of stares and looks, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do to hold the legs together. I was determined not to let my ankle tendonitis or calf strain slow me down!
When we got to the starting line it was already pretty warm out and cloudy but not raining. We dilly dallied for a while but then it was time to head to the starting line. I got right behind the 4:30 pacer who looked all of 18 maybe. But she sure could run. About 25 minutes after the first group headed out at 6:45, I crossed the starting line. Holy hills and humidity. Remember when I said the course is fairly flat? Ha, dead wrong. No the hills weren’t big but they were long and steady inclines one after another. The humidity was killer. Apparently 95-98% humidity negates any sort of altitude advantage.
Regardless I was sticking with the pacer who was actually moving quite a bit faster than the goal pace.
By mile 6.5 I had to start pouring water on my head. Every water stop, one down the throat, one down my shirt. I could not get my temperature down and it was starting to hurt my pace. I held on and decided well small change of plans, I’ll run/walk…no biggie. So that’s exactly what I started to do. I passed the 11.2 half marathon turn off and it finally started to get a bit cooler. The wind picked up and the clouds really moved in. A few miles down I heard from some other runners that they had closed the course and were making all of the people behind us do the half regardless of it they were registered for the full. I was so happy that I had made the cut!
Three port-o-potty stops later I was almost to mile 16 which means yeah only 10 miles left! It also was when my calf, ankle and IT started really screaming. I had been stretching my calf every few miles but it just wasn’t enough. I think I must have changed my gait which inflammed my stupid IT band. A very nice TNT coach from Tennessee was nice enough to hang with me for a few miles and even refill my water bottles.
We were hurried off the greenbelt by the river as the lightning started. A few minutes later it began to rain. Rain really hard. It was hurting my body when it hit. It was coming down so hard that it was washing my sweat into my eye which caused burning. So I’m sure I looked ridiculous trying to waddle in the rain with my eyes closed. Actually it makes me laugh to think about it now. The police were shouting “Take cover…or you can keep running.” I was thinking well which one is it?
My shoes became cotton and rubber pools. It got more and more difficult to hold a steady pace at all. Many runners ran into gas stations and entry ways to take cover from the rain. Not going to lie it was getting scary out. Between the rain, thunder and lightning it was nasty. I was definitely looking around for the nearest ditch just in case the tornado sirens went off.
Around mile 18 I was told that we were all going to be taken off the course just before 21 miles. At this point I just started walking. My time wasn’t going to count so why should I be pushed myself and giving myself blisters for nothing? I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so many emotions at the same time. I was mad that they let me get this far just to cut me short, sad that I even though it wasn’t my best race ever that I was going to be given a medal that I didn’t really earn, relieved that I wasn’t going to have to run 5-6 more miles in the nasty weather especially since I was about 15 minutes behind my goal time…so much was running through my head.
I was really excited when I saw Deanna at mile 19. We walked and chatted about the adventures on the way to the half marathon finish line. She had helped people that had gone down on the course and saw the AT&T building get struck by lightning twice. Apparently between the heat and humidity of the morning and the severe weather of the afternoon there were a lot of people who needed medical attention. I crossed the finish line and did my best to force a smile on my face. Medal in hand I went to check in at the TNT tent.
I didn’t bring my camera or phone with me so we’re going to have to wait until the official photos come out for you to see what a wet dog I looked like. This is a picture from out the window in our room. I had to immediately hop into a hot shower when we got back because I could not warm up. Every inch of me was drenched. Taking off my clothes was like peeling off a wet swimsuit. Awful. This race goes down as the WORST MARATHON EVER!
I don’t even know how I feel about this medal I have. Techinically I didn’t earn it. Was that my fault or something I could control? Nope. Do I feel like I can say that I’ve done two marathons? Nope. Did I suffer through extremely shitty conditions to get it? Yes sir. So I suppose I’ll say I’ve done 1.79 marathons?