Okay, so I let a month and a few weeks go by before I wrote my race report. No one was harassing me to write it, so I figured you people weren't all that anxious to read it anyway. It's been a harrowing hiatus, but I'm glad to be back. Oh, and since I let so much time go by between posts and I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of the details in the haze of recovery, I'm giving you the short version of the race report....in bullets.
Friday... -Amy and I left STL and flew to Dallas to switch planes. We saw some interesting souvenirs in the airport. Who knew they made giant Pez and pooping candy dispensers in the form of random farm animals? -When we arrived at the airport in Phoenix, we had to pick up our rental car. The guy at the rental counter was commenting on how busy they were because of the playoff game, some conferences, and "those crazy marathoners" that were in town that weekend. I made some crack about being one of those "crazy marathoners" and maybe added an "OH REALLY???" in there somewhere, to which the guy felt bad...and proceeded to upgrade us from a compact to a convertible. I've got skills. -A few wrong turns and some "recalculating" (from our very annoyed GPS friend) later, we arrived at our destination in Surprise, AZ.
Saturday... -I awoke to find Skip and Kate in my suitcase! Well, at least the plastic Princess Barbie and Surfer Ken versions of them, along with a note of encouragement from the Mighty Kate. Apparently my friend Katie teamed up with Amy to figure out a way to bring Team Betsy to me in AZ. They had everyone they could think of send Amy an email to give to me that weekend. It was so great. Amy hid the emails all over where I would find them at random moments throughout the weekend. Team Betsy did a great job. Here are a few samples of some of my favorites (I spared you the touchy-feely emotional ones.): -"And while I wish you would take a freaking break once in a while, I love that you are so dedicated." (The Mighty Kate) -"YOU JUST RAN A MARATHON!" (Katie) -"Now take a break and get some ice cream." (Diana) -"Run like you are being chased in the hood!" (Age, Bren, Shelby, and Jackson) -"Just try to stay focused this time...no poopsicles or other crazy ideas." (Dan) -"I'm trying to find some kickass encouraging words. Insert them here "___________." Man that sounded great." (Patrick) -Katie to Amy in her directions on how to support me on the race course: "The wall is a horrible, horrible thing." "Laugh with her. She's going to walk like a cowboy after a day-long ride...trust me...IT'S HILARIOUS!"
-Next, Amy and I got the brilliant idea of photographing Skip and Kate everywhere we went that day (which I have scattered throughout this report).* Oh, and a Barbie version of Katie magically appeared at the race expo. -We met up with a friend for a pasta dinner in Scottsdale that night.
Sunday... -I woke up with a raging sore throat. I tried to ignore it. I was NOT going to DNS. -After a lot of planning and map reading, we scouted out our race start parking spot and chilled in the car for a while before the race start. -We headed out for Corral #6 and nervously awaited the race start. -I had never run in a marathon that large before, so it was pretty dang exciting and slightly intimidating. -The race started...I gave a head nod to The Penguin and Yasso as I crossed over the timing pad...and I was OFF!!! -In the first couple miles I saw my first blind runner and his running guide. It was very inspirational. -I saw Amy at mile 9(?), holdin' up her Team Betsy sign like a trooper! I never saw her again after that because it was REALLY hard to maneuver around the race course and find me without thinking that I had already passed her by. Navigating a race course by yourself in a city that is unfamiliar is no easy task. The poor thing tried SO hard to find me! -The water stops were staffed by some really great, encouraging people. Kudos to the Phoenix volunteers and fans for all your time spent, smiles, and cheers of encouragement. My favorite water stop was the one where everyone was dressed up like a superhero. -I kept pace with the 4:30 pace group for most of the race. I lost them when I had to stop to use the bathroom. It was then I knew I wasn't going to make my goal time. I was a little bummed, but was having a good time, so I just let it roll off my back. -Mile 22....Hit the wall for the first time in my running life. I stopped. I stood. I cried. I couldn't move another inch. I tried to muster up every encouraging note that my friends had written, every verse from the Bible about persevering that I had memorized, every inspirational saying I had ever read...but my brain was mush. My throat was on fire. Every inch of my body hurt. I just stood there and told myself, "Betsy, you are NOT quitting. You are going to walk to that mile marker at the top of the ramp. You are going to start running at that marker and no matter how much pain you are in...you ARE going to FINISH this!" I averted my eyes from the medical tent peeps because I was afraid they would look me in the eyes and know...and would make me stop. So, I put my head down, wiped away my tears, and started running. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.
-Mile 25....I walked through the next few water stops after hitting the wall, but when I got to mile 25, I told myself I was not going to walk another step. -The finish...I ran the rest of the 26.2 and was even able to sprint (well, as much as one can sprint the end of a marathon) the last stretch around Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. I saw Amy as I approached the finish line, and I don't think I've ever been so happy to see a familiar face in my life. I finished the race in 4:54.49 (official chip time), faster than my last marathon, but slower than my first by four minutes. -I navigated my way through the finish maze, received my medal, picked up some ice and some recovery snacks, and headed for the family reunion area. -Amy and I walked what felt like miles to where the car was parked. We had to take a rest break for food at a bagel shop...poor Amy was in such a rush trying to find me that she didn't get to eat anything! -We headed back to Surprise, but had to stop on our way home for a bathroom pit stop. I got into an interesting conversation with a gas station attendant who didn't believe that I had just ran 26.2. miles (He was wondering why I was walking so strangely.). He kept saying "You? No....you?" I kept saying, "Yes, me!....Me!" I felt like we were in the middle of a rendition of "Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?" Only it went like, "Who just ran 26.2 miles? Who you? Yes, me! Couldn't be! Then who?" -Amy was a trooper...she had asked Katie how to take care of me after the race. She did great...provided me with big bags of ice, helped me out of bed, yelled at me when I didn't stretch...the basics. -We headed out that night to get some cold medicine for my sore throat, got some grub at Chipotle, and went to a movie.
Monday... -We decided to go to the Desert Botanical Gardens to see the Dale Chihuly glass exhibit. I hobbled around like a cowboy. -We returned the rental car, and flew home via Dallas. I didn't do so well getting in and out of the plane seats, so much so that the flight attendants offered me a wheelchair in STL. They must have thought that I had ordered one, but it was really for an elderly lady that was still on the plane behind me.
Post-Marathon... -I progressively felt sicker and sicker and ended up leaving work the next morning to go to the doctor. I had strep. The doctor told me that I likely caught it before I left or from someone on the plane going to Phoenix. -Amy made an amazing video of the weekend! She's so creative! Check it out:
-It took a few weeks to feel normal again, but I'm back and training for the Go! STL Half Marathon and the Kentucky Derby MiniMarathon in April. I promise to catch up with all my blog buddies this week...
*We did not actually go in to Topless Teasers. We were just making a visual commentary about the overabundance of strip clubs on the stretch of road between Surprise and Phoenix. Kate was protecting Skip's eyes.