What a race! What a course! What a great time!
Well, a great time within great misery, but I'll get to that later.
The Mayor's is an incredible course, with rolling hills and miles and miles of dirt road and trail. I can't say enough about how much fun it was (have I mentioned that I loved the course?).
However, the night before the race I woke to pains in my lower abdomen. I chalked it up to nerves, grabbed the heating pad and went back to sleep.
Next morning, the pain was still there but I gulped my protein shake and told myself that it was gas, or maybe I was getting the flu.
Whatever the case I. Was. Running. The. Race.
It vaguely hurt to walk to the starting line but other than that, I felt good. I felt great. I had trained. I was ready.
|That's me in the yellow headband, foolishly optimistic at the start.|
The first few miles of the course are probably the most boring: A paved bike path that runs along the Glenn Highway. I kept pace and smugly watched all those runners who went out too fast fly past me.
The sun was shining, and it was warm. It was a lovely day. I was so happy I could barely stand it.
By mile 6, I could feel pain in my abdomen with each step. I vaguely wondered if I needed to, um, visit the bushes, but soon I reached the Tank Trail, a 7 mile stretch of dirt road and trails, and let loose with a couple of fast miles, not because I particularly wanted to run fast but because I was so damned happy to be off the pavement. I love dirt surfaces.
|Mile 16, and crossing a small bridge near the end of the Tank Trail.|
By mile 17, I visited a porta potty and realized that I didn't have gas, I had a bladder infection; my pee was bright red and it hurt so much to, um, go that I almost screamed.
My solution: Grab an aspirin and keep running, hee, hee.
I was okay until we hit the pavement. The pain was sharp and intense, like knives in my abdomen with each step.
Yet here is the incredible part: I was still happy. I hurt like crazy but kept running, and while the pain never left and intensified as the race wore on, I never bonked. My head remained in a clear and good place.
How'd that happen? I dunno.
|Mile 18, and back on the pavement again. Note how my tank is pulled up the whole race? That's because I was rubbing my poor belly.|
I cried on and off, the pain was so unrelenting. Yet I was high-fiving all the kids I passed, and I was singing out loud to my tunes, and I was strangely happy in my very misery.
I pushed liquids and stopped at every porta potty (there weren't many) and kept running.
By mile 22, the pain was so intense that I had to stop and walk, twice (I'm embarrassed to admit this, but there you are). I lost all hope of meeting my goal. Yet, amazingly, I was still oddly happy.
|Almost finished! Mile 25ish and look, both of my feet are off the ground! I'm still running! Very, very slowly, but still running!|
My mile 24, all I could think of was: If I survived the pain of childbirth, I can survive this pain. And in my bleary mind it made perfect sense that if I endured 15 hours of childbirth and was rewarded with a baby, then if I survived the last two miles I'd be rewarded with a medal. And I swear, the medal is almost as big as a baby (Forgot to take a pic but will post later).
And as I neared the end, I did it again; I couldn't help myself. There stood a cop and the sun glinted off his head and his shoulders were so very big and so very strong. I veered off the course, threw my sweaty and stinky arms around his neck and planted a big kiss on his cheek.
That gave me the boost I needed to charge toward the finish line and get the whole damned race over with.
|Almost finished. And look! Another picture of both my feet off the ground!|
Except it wasn't a damned race. I was in pain the whole time and peeing blood from the midway point, yet it was one of the most positive races I've ever run.
My embarrassing slow time: 4:34.
Yet I'm strangely proud of this embarrassing slow time. Go figure.
After the race I drank a bottle of cranberry juice and dosed myself on Nature's Way Urinary Tract Herbal Formula and watched "Little Miss Sunshine" with MM. It was a good day. (Congrats to MM, who finished his first marathon: woot-woot!!)
I'm still perplexed at why this was such a good race for me when almost everything went wrong. Yet it was. Thinking of it still makes me happy.
So there you have it.