I’ve signed up for the Cap City 3 times and came up with an excuse to not follow through twice. Actually, I made excuses the third time as well. As mentioned in a previous blog post, I came very close to switching to the 1/4 marathon- only sheer cheapness kept me from doing it.
I didn’t sleep well Friday night, but who ever does before a big event?
I got up early, ate some breakfast, drank some water, got dressed and hit the road. I immediately got stuck in traffic and decided the first available parking lot I saw was perfectly fine. It turned out to be a ten minute walk, so not bad at all.
I was really pleased with the number of porta potties and ease of gear check, and was quickly into the corral I’d been assigned to. The local news was covering it so they were trying to pump up the crowd and also hit specific timing cues, that was a bit awkward. Speaking of awkward- I realized I was about ten feet away from the coach who had called me out on needing a new sports bra in front of about two dozen people prompting me to drop out of the local running club three weeks into it even though I’d paid for a year.
The race kicked off on time, and my corral was released about 25 minutes later. (I’m always paranoid about whether course close time is based on first person or last person over the start line- it can make a huge difference in whether I’m swept and stuck on the sidewalk behind a street sweeper after roads are reopened on me.)
The first few miles were easy, I got a huge kick out of a guy in lederhosen singing you turn me right round. Miles 3-6 were fine. I saw a couple in matching unicorn onsies dancing and having the time of their life. Miles 6-9, I felt pretty warm and a bit light headed butI laughed about a guy with a sign saying “Run faster! There’s bears behind you!”
Mile 10, I started to feel waves in my inner calf muscles as they were twitching, and my Achilles tendons were aching. I’m trying to slow down, stretch, change my intervals, drink water, fuck, anything but they shift from rolling waves to full on Charlie horses.
My niece texts me to wish me luck and cheer me on which brightened my day.
I’m still trying to get my body to cooperate and try a sip of Gatorade from a water station. I immediately realize why they say nothing new on race day. My stomach is rolling along with my muscles. I’m so close to hurling I almost hope I do just to feel better.
I’m texting Nate telling him I’m struggling. He tells me I’ve got this and asking what I need. Every time I try to pick up the pace my calves full on cramp. I’m slogging up ANOTHER FUCKING HILL and am flat out walking. I am near tears because I really wanted to break 3 hours and it’s slipping away from me. At mile 11.2 I know I can turn right and walk 0.5 miles home and get an uber or I can gimp another 2 miles to the finish line. 10 minutes versus another 40.
I see Nate hustling across the intersection. He gives me a kiss, calls me a bad ass, and tells me I’ve got this. He jokes and says I’m still beating all the fools behind me.
So I keep lumping. At one point, I hunch over because I don’t think my leg is going to hold me. A couple stop and ask me if I’m okay. I promise them I am and keep slowly hustling. Every time I try to speed walk, my muscles cramp. I see the finish line in the distance and try to run. I can’t. So I try to not grimace as I cross the finish line at 3 hours 27 minutes.
The volunteer puts my medal over my head and congratulates me. I keep walking through the chute and another athlete gives me a high five.
This was my most challenging race ever. I had moments I would have went to a medic if I’d seen one, but I completed it. I have any number of things I’d like to improve on, but I have to say I am very fortunate. I have a very supportive family, and the running community is awesome. Random strangers checking to make sure I’m okay or giving me a high five made a really hard day a little bit better.
So thank you random strangers. 🙂