Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Green Yellow and Red

The second marathon is in the books. More like a pamphlet really. 

I have very mixed emotions on Sunday's run, and I'll get to those in a bit. 

If weather were to be believed, it could have been a nice day. I mean, it was a gorgeous day.......if you were going to the beach. 

You might not think starting a run at 60°F would be a bad thing. But for a race - let alone a long long one - I'd prefer 10 degrees cooler.  15 would have been even better. You dress for 10 degrees warmer, and even by that, it would end being 10 degrees off the mark from what it would be. 

Race conditions are rated in Low (Green), Moderate (Yellow), High (Red),  Extreme (Black). 

We started off with Green. 

Like my first, I was a bundle of nerves once I got to the site. I'd done my pre-race fueling and the bathroom stops. Yes, multiple. But I was anxious. I suppose most people are. Last year, I ran with a new friend, and while he was running this year, he was pacing slower than I. I knew a lot of folks between the two running groups, yet I ran alone. 

The first quarter went swimmingly. Time-wise and joint-wise. I made the first hill with little problem. The second elevation was a little tougher - and the weather was heating up. Also my gut was not feeling good. Part of me thought I would puke....part thought I needed a port-a-pot. I ended up at the latter at mile 10. Oddly, in my two years of running, I've never had to stop - at races or in training. This was going to slow down my time. Oddly enough, it turns out I didn't even need to go - but as they say: "never trust a fart". 

As I neared the split, I won't lie, I was wondering if I could run in with the half-marathoners and just collect that medal instead. But I went left, over the bridge into the west side. 

At mile 15-ish, 710 and Shep were there. I stopped for a minute because, I was cracking. Shep was EXTREMELY excited to see me. I told 710 I wasn't sure how I was going to make it. He handed me a bottle of water and off I went. 

The last six miles were just brutal. There wasn't a lick of shade in that last six, not there was much in the first 20. But five of the last six were on the shoreway. They closed down six lanes of highway. And the last three were all hills. Motherfuckers. 

At mile 21, I noticed the race conditions were upped to Red. If they ever did Yellow, I never saw it, or maybe it just jumped a level. Mile 21 was also the point my hip really started hurting. My knees?  Hell, they held up nicely. But running was painful due to the hip. 

Mile 22 had me encounter an ambulance. They were strapping some guy on the gurney and moving him to the vehicle. I won't lie: I was slightly envious of him. 

Mile 24 had a cheer group from training crowd. Better yet, a guy named Bruce ran out to me, offering a bottle water or Gatorade. I took the latter and kept moving. But I can't tell you how important their presence was at that juncture. 

The last 200 yards should have been uplifting, but they were hard. I passed a guy who clearly had heat stroke (or a stroke stroke).  I stopped and asked if he needed assistance. Someone else asked if he wanted water. He declined both. I kept going, but I shouldn't have - though it would turn out the medical folks were only a dozen yards away if needed. 

Allegedly, the race conditions were upped to Black, and rumour had it that they were pulling some people off the course. When I was running east on the shoreway, I saw people still heading west, which meant I was 5 miles ahead of them. In theory, I could have said, "I'm not doing poorly", but what I really felt was sorry for them. 

At a few water stops people had hoses. I could not tell how they were hooked-up, or to what. Usually they'd make an arc for people got a mist.  Me?  I walked right into them and on the last three (or four), I said:  just hose me down, top to bottom, then back to front.  They loved it, but not more than I. 

I made it in. 710 was waiting. While he was behind a barrier, I reached over and hugged him and almost cried. Not tears of joy though. Maybe relief?  Mental breakdow?

Usually in those situations, I get my medal and kind of do a grab for all the snacks and doo-dads that might be there. Not so much this time. I was in very much a daze. A woman shoved a bottle of water in my hand, but then I saw the chocolate milk guy. I took TWO bottles and stood there and told him that I loved him. 

Anyone, and everyone, else probably took pics of themselves with their medals. Not I.  710 snapped one and sent it to Morty, who shared it with the group. That is the one picture I have from the day that came from our cameras. I was going to take a pic in front of the 'finished' sign / bell, but there was a line, which in theory would go quickly - but poses.  Everyone woman - yes, sorry, only the women - were doing multiple poses, with husbands, then children, then everyone, then mothers-in-law.  Take your fucking picture and move. It's hotter than fuck and there is a line. I left without getting the pic. 

By the time I was finished with the race, it was 82°F.  Again, add 10 for the runners.  So yeah - I finished, as I just mentioned, but it was anything but pretty. 

So, the mixed emotions thing - and I'm glad I waited a day to draft this, so I could hopefully gain perspective:

I'm sure due to the heat, I did not enjoy this race. At all. I hope it was due to the heat because on the back half of the course I was saying I was happy I didn't get into Chicago or New York and that I had no business running marathons and this would be my last one. 

Maybe it will be. Maybe not. Today (yesterday), my thoughts have softened. 

My training had me having the probability of a five and one-half hour time.  In my head I really wanted something under five hours - even if it was only by a second. My actual time was somewhere between the two. So, in an overwhelming certain way, I felt I failed as I didn't get my want-to goal. 

 My chip time was 00:02:59 longer than my first marathon. This course was undeniably harder; the conditions much harsher. .....and I had the bathroom break. 

In reality - I should be very happy with that time. Still, I thought I progressed in my abilities since last October. At least more so than the clock shows.  710 and Morty say I should be proud of my accomplishment, and I'm hoping that kicks in, because I still feel like I failed to a degree. 

Morty so aptly stated on our Sunday call: I didn't train for this marathon. I trained in snow, ice, cold and rain. No one was training for an 80+ degree marathon. 

Fall marathons (or halves) might be the way to go. The chances of them being cooler are greater. And climate change isn't helping matters. 

I'm glad I did it. Sunday afternoon I would not have said that.  I literally have the medal and a banana. And sunburn. Two of those will disappear eventually. 

My recovery has been quick. My toes were a little ouchy, but not so bad now. My hip is tender. My sunburn is too. But the legs and knees are good. I get around with no issues, so for that I'm thankful. 

Where do I go from here? I'm not sure. I have smaller races during the summer, but for a few moments on Sunday I was wondering if I'd run again.  This morning, I will be doing three miles.  I took one day off. I'll be back at it. 

Song by: Rosanne Cash


James Dwight Williamson said...

You should be very proud, fall marathons would seem smarter to me.

Morty said...

You put the BADASS in bleach blonde bad built butch body!

Blobby said...

.....but I didn't fuck my trainer. Not for lack of trying, of course.

Travel said...

Congratulations, I don't know how you do it. Most people never try.

Ur-spo said...

I too think you marvelous for doing so.
You inspire me to sign up to another walk this autumn.