Edited to add – I’m tired. Wes woke up 5 times last night. This report is full of spelling/grammar errors I noticed after I published. Blame my kid.
I highly recommend running local races because the support you see/feel on the course is unmatchable by ANYTHING ELSE. I didn’t have anyone there specifically cheering for me like I did in 2012…but I had friends there cheering for THEIR family and seeing their faces was FANTASTIC. I also had tons of friend working aid stations and cheer teams and even my sister-in-law who was calling split times. Local races are just ALWAYS the best – especially if you’re active in your running community. It’s just hard not to see at least ONE person you know and you can never believe the boost that gives you.
I’ve read about the importance of giving your daughter the talk about not taking open drinks from strangers. Yet…what did I do at mile 23 Saturday? I TOOK A BEER FROM A STRANGER. And it was fantastic. There was a “Cold Beer” sign at miles 7 but I felt that might have been too early…but at mile 23? I was ALL OVER IT. I was torn between thinking it was the BEST thing I had ever tasted (BEER! On a marathon!) and thinking it was the worst (Cheap beer! I’m a beer snob! And it’s a little flat!) but I ended up siding on BEST! EVER! and will most definitely do that again if it’s offered on the home stretch like it was.
ENJOY THE SIGHTS
The new course had tons of great sights. I’ve been hearing mixed reviews on which half people liked the best. The coolest stuff (the Space and Rocket Center) was on the back half…but the gorgeous neighborhoods/houses and most of the crowds were on the front half. I’m not sure where I fall. I love the historic/Twickenham district in our town and I really love the crowds so I think I liked the first half best of all. The day was overcast so I almost wish they had the lights on at the Botanical Gardens, that would have been nice. Overall there was DEFINITELY more “to see” on this course…I’m sure there was anything super-noteworthy on the old course.
ALL RACES SHOULD REVOLVE AROUND ARENAS
The start line by the arena gave us a warm waiting area with bathrooms that weren’t even that crowded. Usually you see lines at port-o-potties but here there were indoor/nice bathrooms and there weren’t even any lines 20 minutes before race start! And then the finish line was inside too, so family and friends had a place to wait sheltered from the elements.
TAKE SOME PICTURES
My marathon selfie challenge was a great success…until my phone died. BUT! For 14’ish miles there were tons of people and sights to take pictures of/with and it kept me quite entertained. I actually had to stop myself from taking more. There were tons of good signs and beautiful houses that first half, but I did have a race to run so I tried to keep it to 2 pictures/mile. I thought about sharing some of my favorite pictures here but my blog gets WAY more “stranger” traffic than my Instagram does because people end up here googling about Bullet Journals. So! To protect those people who don’t want their faces plastered on my blog…just go here to see the pictures I took before my phone died.
At mile 16 my phone died and I missed taking pictures of the Space and Rocket Center and some great costumes (The Grim Reaper was a split timer!) and some fun signs. I also missed selfies with tons of friends. I spent that back half being really sad about not being able to document the rest of the race.
I don’t know if that loss of my entertainment started my downfall, or if my body just hates road runs, but I started getting the SAME cramps around the SAME point as at 7 Bridges. Around mile 19 or so I started getting those quad twinges which is an alarm for…MAYDAY! MAYDAY! FULL CRAMP AROUND THE CORNER!
It’s basically this weird “zone” where you’re feeling pain, but not a full-fledged cramp, but you know if you make the wrong move (like bending your knee) you could trigger a full-fledged cramp and then you’re going to be on the side of the road crying in pain. And this NEVER happens to me on the trails. NEVER.
SO! For the last 6+ miles I ended up doing this routine of run a bit…feel the pain…walk straight-legged until it loosened up. Then run a bit…feel the pain…walk straight-legged until it loosened up. Now, luckily my “walk” was still relatively fast (although NOT AT ALL SEXY) and my run was decent so I kept a moderate overall pace…but still IT WAS UGLY. And my selfie distraction was gone.
I did the same thing I did at 7 Bridges…I pushed it the last mile+ because I just wanted to be DONE but I was hurting SO BAD that when I crossed the finish line it took everything out of me not to start sobbing. I sobbed at 7 Bridges but no one knew me there…here? Here I was surrounded by some of my favorite people and I did NOT want them to see me cry. I found a hiding place to stretch and fight back tears, and then I found Donnie and Nikki and I said, “I want to go home,” because I had NO desire for my friends to see my cry like a baby. I didn’t eat any food. I didn’t drink any water or beer. I didn’t take any pictures. I didn’t do anything but cross the finish line, do a quick stretch, and get the HELL OUT OF THERE.
I hate that, though, because the finish line was cool. And I didn’t get to take time to enjoy.
The Final Verdict
If my body becomes more receptive to roads? I’ll do this race again. But I think I’d like to play more of a supportive role in the future so I can be there for other people, but not be pounding the pavement myself. That may be my last road marathon for awhile. The trails just make my body so much happier. But overall? Great race. Great sights on the course. Great logistics at the start/finish. And just a great city with a great running community. We’re the best. I promise.