Today's entry comes to you from a guest blogger, James. James is a runner friend of mine who completed the Chicago Marathon last weekend. He sent me his report from the race and I asked him if I could share it with you. I added the pictures because he hasn't given me any. Being a photo journalist, I think he should have done his race report as a photo story instead. Doesn't everyone know that it is incredibly easy to carry an expensive camera with a telephoto lens with you as you run 26.2 miles?!...wimp. So, it's his own dang fault if he objects.
Now, James REALLY likes to give me a hard time, so feel free to slam him for making fun of people who DNSed at the Lewis and Clark Marathon....punk. I also razzed him for his apparent aversion to encouragement along the race course. I have to remember never to give him a pat on the back for fear he miiiight stick his foot somewhere I would really rather not like one of his appendages. So, play nice everyone and welcome our fellow runner to the blogosphere...happy reading!
Ok...it started out rather nice with a fine pasta dinner at the pasta party and lots of sleep, more than I had had in several weeks at one time. We all got up and met in the lobby and noticed it was warmer than we thought it might be. Nevertheless, it was nice out. We even got some pixs with a running group from Japan.....
I led Team Alton in a group prayer and we headed for our starting positions. I had to cut away from everyone because I was up in Corral B. I should have stayed with the group! I found a nice stand of trees just outside my starting area to pee and it seemed I had started something because before long, every tree had someone, male or female, doing their business.
The race started out fine. I crossed the start line...BEEEEEEEEEP, when I noticed I was right next to one of the 3:20 pace groups. "Hey, cool," I said, I’ll just run with them.” Wow, it was warming up by mile 3, and I still hadn't got my wind, so I turned on some music to ease into it. Yes, yes that helped to run with the rhythm. Step, step, breath deep, in, out, in, out........... much better now. Now I’m running in stride with the pacer and he looks over at me to see what our pace is on my Garmin. I gave him hand signals when we need to step up or down, but for the most part we were dead on or under. After some short conversations with "Dave the Pacer,” I find out that he was from St. Louis, and skipped the LC marathon because of the rain. I laughed and said it was a enjoyable run, something to talk about years later....In my mind, I thought ..."Sissy." LOL
By mile 8, I was having trouble keeping a steady pace. I was up and down, falling behind and pushing to catch back up. I got out in front of the pacer a few steps, to make him push me, and it worked. I was back in the groove when I noticed I was going through a lot more of my sports drink that I carry with me. I used half more than I normally do......crap! It’s getting hot!!!
This pic is not of James...He's not a Kenyan. I was doing fine, no cramps, no pain, and then it hit me at the 20K mark-WHAM! The wall… ouch, that hurt!!!! I slowed down to fill up my water bottle, and the only thing I could see was my pace group pulling away from me. Double crap! By mile 13.1, all I wanted to do was sit down on the curb and weep. Ouch, the pain was everywhere! Not the shin splints that had given me trouble for weeks before, not any leg cramps, no one place, I just hurt and hurt bad. I had felt this type of pain before in earlier marathons, but not until mile 20-21 and never this bad......the beast had hit me, but hadn't knocked me down.
My breath was gone and the pain that cursed through my veins made me feel like I had been beat with a baseball bat and, to top it off, my ipod quit.....triple crap! “S*!” I said, “Why am I not sweating anymore?....That can't be good.” Light headed and blisters forming on the bottom of my toes, (that had never happened before…triple- dog crap!) I limped to the side and slowed to a hobbling walk and yelled out the only adjective that fit the way I felt… "F@#%!(sometimes it just has to be used!)......Am I stopping?" I asked myself, “Has the beast got the best of me?” I only had half a marathon to go, so I slammed a Gu, took on some H2O, and picked up the pace.
In the next several miles, I saw slower pace groups pass me. I tried to speed up to keep up with them and try and salvage something from my first 20K. The pain would creep back in and hit me. Hey, it is hard to run with blisters....S@#%, this wasn't what I had planned for. Around mile 18.5, I tried my ipod one more time. Boom, it kicked on...got to love that Elvis! Time and time again, I had to tell myself, "Suck it up, sissy. You’re a black belt, for God’s sake, don't let the beast beat you."
I started to see earlier people that had left me behind, now suffering at the hands of the beast. I passed one runner who hit the ground, calling out in pain from cramps. As I passed, I started to slow up to help him, but instead went on. It just hurt too much to slow down or bend over.
This starts the ADD portion of James's story....
Awwwww crap, it was getting hot.....I was throwing cups of water over my head, something I normally don't do, all in an attempt to shake the beast. I saw others stopped in the shade with onlookers dowsing them with water, trying to cool them down.....Oh look someone throwing up.......mmmmmm bananas. I had to come in under 4 hours. That was the time I had set for myself in my first marathon, and I was not going to go over 4......breath, breath, breath....what breath?
Hey, what are all these red flags out here? Ouch, pain…Oooo water… need water....(the red flags were the high heat warning system they had put into place that I forgot about...different colors for different conditions).
Hey look! Mile 25, I'm almost done! "Almost there! Just a mile to go,” someone cheered from the side with a perky little smile on his face. "Keep on going! You can do it!" No s@#$ I can do it, you fat bastard. I just ran 25 miles, half of it in pain. I sure the hell am not going to stop now! I would have stopped and kicked him in [his man parts], but I’m not sure I could get my foot up there!
Up a hill and around the corner I went with .2 to go! "Pick it up sissy," I told myself. "Got to get that sub 4.”
“Get out of my way, you little twit," my mind yelled out to some stupid b@#$% that decides to stop within sight of the finish.....some people.
I crossed the line, in too much pain to even stop my Garmin...3:54, now that is cutting it close. CRAP!
As I made my way through the finishers lanes it was like a death walk. It was quiet, but for the music playing and the guy on the P.A........I got some water and found a wheel chair in the shade and watched as runners were helped to the aid stations and others up-chuck because they drank tooooo much water way toooooo fast after stopping. There were some tough runners here today! To see how people pushed themselves to the line only to need to be carried after that....odd people us runners...
Logic...it's a tricky thing. What makes TOTAL sense to one person may seem completely unhinged to others. Most of my friends have heard this story before. It happened the year we started the program. One of our few female students at the time, Satin, had been sent to the front office for some kind of problem. I happened to be sitting in the isolation room with several other students during my duty time. She came storming into the office, and this is the conversation that ensued.
Satin (yelling at our security guy, Silas): I HATE THESE MOTHER @#$%IN STUPID-!@@ WHITE B*#$&ES!
Me (leaning out the door and speaking her to her down the hallway): Ah, excuse me Miss Satin, I HOPE, you are not talking about me! Do you want to rephrase that?
Satin: Oh, I wasn't talkin' about you Miss G. You're not white, you're biracial*.
Me: Oh, really?!
Silas: Ah, did you know that you were part black?
Me: Honey, last I checked, both my parents were still white, but I better make a phone call to see if anything has changed.
*I have been called white, pink, and yellow, depending on how they feel about me at the moment. If they like me, I'm biracial. If they hate me, I'm white. Sadly, they have had so many negative experiences with people who are white, they can't bear to recognize that not ALL white people are evil and are racist....so they classify me as anything but white to fit their logic.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I am sexually harassed on an almost daily (sometimes hourly) basis. It kind of comes with the territory when working with mostly teenage boys with behavior issues. I will spare you the gory details of most of my encounters, but this one is worth repeating publicly. Most of my friends have heard this story already since it happened last year...
The "guilty" party is a 6'5" goofball named Jeremy. Jeremy is rarely ever serious and he rarely ever sits still. His harassing comments usually make my stomach turn, but this conversation was pretty funny.
Jeremy: Miss G, why did you break up with your boyfriend?
Me: Jeremy, it just didn't work out.
Jeremy: Did he cheat on you?
Me: Jeremy, no. Just let it go.
Jeremy: Did he beat you?
Me: Jeremy no. Again, let it go.
Jeremy: I bet he looks like a pirate.
Me: Ah, no. Last I checked, he doesn't own a parrot and still has all his appendages.
Jeremy: I'll marry you Miss G. I'll treat you real nice.
Ever since June, I've been setting my alarm at 4:15 a.m. What could possibly get me out of bed at that hideous hour everyday (well, except for my one "rest" day per week) for the last 5ish months?
Running, running, some swimming, and more running is the answer.
I am an reasonably intelligent woman. I know that running makes me happy. I know that running keeps me sane. I know that watching the sun rise every morning brings a little extra joy to my life. I know that starting the day with running is when God and I sort out all the junk so I can be....me. Knowing all this, does NOT stop The Battle from occurring EVERY morning*.
The alarm goes off and The Battle commences. The Battle is one between my body and my heart. I equate it to the Great Gazoo. Ya know, that annoying little green alien guy that kept pestering Fred Flintstone all the time and called him a big Dumb-Dumb?!?!
Well, here's how it usually goes:
Me: Aw, heck no! Your bed is so warm and comfortable. DON'T move. Hit snooze and go back to sleep, ya nut job!
The Great Gazoo: Getup. Get up. Get up. You know you want to.
Me: Shut up. I want to sleep.
The Great Gazoo: You love to run...remember? Get out of bed. Once you are out there yoooouu'llll like it!
Me: You are going to just keep talking until I get up aren't you? I'm never going to get any sleep am I?
The Great Gazoo: Nope! You might as well give up. Remember what our good buddy Peter Maher always said, "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' Don't be a wimp.
Me: (stretch...lots of loud cracking, snapping, and groaning...step gingerly out of bed) Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.
The Great Gazoo: Wimp.
Me: Shut up.
*I used to be an evening runner, but I switched to mornings for some insane reason...probably the intense heat of the summer in STL. Now I'm just in the habit and I feel compelled to torture myself every morning. Besides, Gazoo and I have a great routine going.