Kay and Michael both ran the marathon as well. This was Kay’s first, as well as my first, and Michael’s second. We were all set for a day of fun and we weren’t disappointed. The weather was perfect! Just chilly enough to make you shiver but not freeze. By the end of the race it was in the mid 60’s with a pleasant breeze.
Waiting for the race to start I met many wonderful people. There were two girls dressed as Girl Scouts. As they walked past me they gave me the title of Fraggle because of my hair. Everyone had trail names on their bibs. I made mine up since I’d never been given one by anybody but have now proudly adopted Fraggle as my official trail name! After that a women came up to me and we started to chat, her name was Twila. How cool! I have a friend from HS named Twyla so it was neat to meet another one. In fact there were two Twilas in the marathon.
Twila and I started the race together and turned out to be a nice match in pace. Around mile 3 we caught up with a guy named Tobias and grabbed on to him making our group a threesome. The three of us ran the first lap and a half together. It was nice to have conversation while settling in to the course for the morning.
Around the halfway mark my worst fears started to come true. My IT band was feeling tight. WTH? I haven’t had issues with it since February. My only guess of what went wrong was since there was a lot of flat and I was busy chatting and feeling good I got to over striding and heel striking and it took its toll after 13 miles. At this point our group started to spread out and leave one another. Twila's hip was hurting and I needed to speed up to relieve my IT band pain. I did get to see each of them on the third lap and at the finish. I was happy to have had their company.
After finishing my second lap I decided to keep pressing on, I was at 18 miles and had too much invested to stop. I devised my plan of walking even the smallest incline and running the flats, stopping to stretch when needed. I managed to make my way around the final lap. Around mile 23 things got really rough. I stopped to stretch and began to cry. I was so upset at what was happening. As I was crying I started to run. The crying quickly turned to anger and I started growling at myself to get my legs going. I knew the best way to relieve the pain was to run faster and to get done! At this point there wasn’t a soul around me so I just growled and yelled at myself that I could get it done. Around mile 24.5 I started singing an altered version of Dori the fish’s motto “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!” For the last mile and a half I sang, out loud, “Just keep running, just keep running.” At the 25 mile marker I did my best to run everything up hill, flat, and down hill. Screw the pain I’m getting this done now!
Upon reaching the grassy area near the start finish I just started to sob. I was elated, angry, and in pain. I used that anger to propel myself to the finish as fast as I could. I was so happy to see the smiling faces of my hubby, my son, and my friend Kay! I crossed the finish and gladly accepted my medal. The Race Director was handing them out and asked if I was okay. I told him yes, just emotional and my IT band really hurt. He offered me help. I thanked him but I told him I just needed to get to my family and friend waiting for me. My official time was 4:51:40, very close to the time of 4:50:00 I was hoping to beat. I am thrilled with that time considering the troubles I had.
I really enjoyed the three loop course. I had a chance to see the hubby and my son twice mid run. Each time I got hugs and kisses from my son which really helped. The trail near the end of the loop passes near the finish and you can’t really see the finish well but you can hear it. On my last pass by there I hear my son crying, another good motivation to get it done! Turns out he had taken a header off a picnic table, awesome!
Kay had an awesome finish. She was 4th female in the marathon, so impressed and proud of her! Sadly Michael had some stomach problems and walked most of the last lap. I almost caught up to him around mile 20 but didn’t get to ask him what was up since he ducked into the port-a-potty. He said he finished just so he could get his finisher’s surprise. It was worth it, a nice lightweight running vest with the race logo on it.
The ride home was long and I’m very sore today. My IT band feels better than it did after my first half marathon so I’m hoping a week off will do the trick. I’m still very emotional this morning. An overwhelming sense of pride mixed with disappointment at my body’s rebellion. I’ll get this worked out because I’m planning on heading back to Medoc next year to set a PR!
So, I had to come back to edit this post because I realized I hadn't talked about the awesomeness of the race. This was the best race ever! From the RD, volunteers, and fellow racers I've never met a better group of people. Not one bad apple in the bunch. Great atmosphere, great aid stations, great medals, shirts, finisher's surprise, etc. Each volunteer on course made an effort to talk to you, and not just a "looking good," a specific comment related to each individual runner. The RD's were going around taking pictures before and meeting everyone, they even were on course encouraging as well. At aid stations the volunteers were eager to help refill my bottle and do all they could to help especially at the end when they knew you were suffering. I recommend this race to anyone interested in running a trail marathon or race. You won't be disappointed, I promise!