I was going to title this entry “I didn’t train to ruin the marathon…” and then have the first line be like “but I accidentally did.” I started with the 4:00 pacers, and since I was almost the only one, the pacer I was running with kept slowing down to accommodate me – so that when they got to the halfway point and the second set of pacers took over, they said they wouldn’t be able to hit a 4:00 finish. I felt really really bad when they said that, because I thought it was totally my fault.
I discovered that everyone else was having trouble with the course too. The second pacer (there were two at each pace for each half of the course) was actually behind us of her own volition. The sun was beating down on us, as the course was largely unshaded. At mile 25 there was a bank with a thermometer, and it said 91… and that’s not even the “feels like” temperature. Plus, remember how I was worried about the hills? That guy who gave the course preview was not exaggerating at all. In fact, he could have said they were much, much worse, and it still wouldn’t have prepared us for how bad they would be. Just about everyone I saw was walking up the hills, and most were walking for a good chunk of the flat/downhill sections too, because it was that bad. The best was at mile 24, when we thought we were almost done and OH WAIT you have to turn the corner and go up a steep hill. This was because some church on the main road didn’t want their services to be disrupted, so they wouldn’t allow the race to go on their road. At that point in the race I wanted to go spit on that church. I probably would have if a) I had enough saliva to do so and b) I had enough energy to get myself to the church.
I crossed the finish line at 4:40 (gun time), which I was shocked and thrilled by. There were no clocks on the course, but I spent miles 13-20 walking/trying to run and sobbing but not allowing any actual tears (needed to conserve my water, especially since they ran out around mile 16), and I walked so much that I thought I was due for a six hour finish. (Here comes some TMI, so you may want to skip ahead). In that middle section I felt really really sick, and realized I was about to have a serious case of runners’ trots – but the porta potties were 2 miles away. I was terrified I was going to end up like the poor guy Vanilla humiliated, only it would be way worse because I’m not some anonymous guy – you all (kind of) know me. I was walking in kind of a crouch and just really not doing well as I frantically looked for a bathroom. I ended up begging a spectator to let me in his house to use his bathroom (PS – of course his house had a long winding uphill driveway), and I spent about 10 minutes in there. So – really only about 5 minutes slower than Burlington, which is not bad at all considering all the experienced marathoners around me (50 Staters, Marathon Maniacs, etc) were walking and saying it was a day to finish, not a day to care whatsoever about time. So – hurray!
Now – ice bath, wine tasting, and all the ice cream I can eat 🙂
I will try to post a full race report, especially once I know my official time, but you all know how I suck at that, so… we’ll see.