Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rocket City Marathon

I am a three-time marathoner now! I am so incredibly proud since less than ten months ago I had a baby. Oh what a journey it has been! I have so, so many people that I am grateful to, namely my spouse (Chasen) and my marathon advisor (John). But let's get right to the report.

We arrived in Huntsville early yesterday afternoon. After dinner I laid out all of my gear. Here is my shirt.

I am now, and will always be, running for Elijah.

Everything was ready to go in the closet. It takes a lot of stuff to run 26.2 miles!

I slept really well last night, thank goodness. I woke about once an hour from 3 AM on, but that's fine by me. I got up. had my breakfast, "did my business" and got ready to head out. Since it was sooooo cold (less than 40 degrees, we decided that Chasen and Isaac would stay in the room. The race literally started and ended in front of our hotel. What luck! And we got to stay here for FREE thanks to Chasen's travel points. Score!

Yesterday at the expo I got to meet THE Disney Runner, Gordon from Alabama! We hit it off like old pals (since we technically are). So I found him at the start line, where I was literally THE LAST RUNNER. Gordon and I took off together. That was fantastic! However, that didn't even last five miles because I had to make an emergency visit to the port-o-potty which cost me nearly 3 minutes, I think. Not good! I'll let you use your imagination as to what I was doing in there.

After that I was never to see Gordon again. In fact, I ran about the next 17 miles ALONE, in the wind and cold, with no ipod (as this is a no-headphones race and apparently everyone stuck to it). I was, of course, very lonely out there. Granted, I do every single training run alone. But, marathons are different. I always find a buddy to make it much, much easier! No such luck today, at least not yet.

My port-o-potty stop put me dead last on the course. Literally. The police car was following me. This made water stops and cheering stations very exciting as I got rock star treatment! The people were probably thinking "Hallelujah, this is the last person. Now we can get out of this cold!"

I wasn't last for long. I really got my act together and started passing people. Mind you, I was under STRICT orders from John to not exceed 12:52 per mile for the first 10 miles. So I tried to do just that!

Here I am when Chasen and Isaac first got to me, around mile 9. Lookin' good!

And here I am again, flying solo.

I really focused on the fact that I was running "just ten miles - for John." They clicked off like nothing.

Miles 1-10: Under 12:52 Or John Will Kill Me
1 - 13:09 (with Gordon)
2 - 12:43 (with Gordon)
3 - 12:26 (with Gordon - sorry John!)
4 - 12:33 (ditto)
5 - 15:01 (port-o-potty debacle, eeeeew!)
6 - 14:13 (I think this must have been where I had to stop AGAIN. Eeeew!)
7 - 12:15
8 - 13:03
9 - 12:37
10 - 13:09

After this I planned to speed up a bit. I was still alone, but I was seeing Chasen and Isaac more frequently. It was freezing cold, and oh so windy, so Chasen only got Isaac out every few stops. But when he did, I got a kiss! Now that put some spring into my stride! And might I point out that I ran the first 17 or so miles SOLID, i.e. no walking!?! That is a huge accomplishment for me.

Miles 11-20: Diligent But Conservative
11 - 12:15
12 - 12:43
13 - 12:26
14 - 12:14
15 - 12:08
16 - 12:38
17 - 13:40
18 - 14:43
19 - 14:15
20 - 15:05

After this, when the wheels were starting to fall off, I called John. I figured it would do me some good. He did not disappoint! He commended me and told me to go to the 3:1 method. That worked! Shortly after this I finally met a running buddy who agreed to 3:1 it with me. He is Eric the first time marathoner and first time dad (albeit triathlete) who only trained up to ten miles for this race. Crazy!

Here are first-time-dad Eric and I getting down to business.

The next time Chasen passed by I yelled "I finally found a friend!" Ha. We stayed together until mile 24 or so, but I'll get to that...

Here we are again. He was an amazing help to me.

At about mile 24 we started to see the rest of the pack (less than ten other people) and the "course sweepers," the two people designated to run a perfect 6:00:00 race. We knew we had to hustle, so Eric suggested that we started running solid. This is when I started "haulin' a$#!!!!!"

This is about the last time we'd be together. Eric had a much longer stride, so he got ahead.

As I said, this is when I turned on the heat! It was necessary to meet the official course deadline of 6:00:00. I could not walk, not in the last bit. I started running hard (for an exhausted 26.2 mama). I wasn't saying anything to any of the volunteers any more. Honestly, all of my under-my-breath words for ones with four letters! I had to finish this dang thing.

The finish line just wouldn't show its face. Run, run, run. It was finally in sight - hallelujah. The cheering was immense and intense! And I had left Eric in the dust.

Here I come, at long last! I was giving it all I had.

Elated to be steps away from the finish line!

Miles 21-26.2: Finish This Insanity ASAP
21 - 16:25
22 - 15:20
23 - 15:44
24 - 15:35
25 - 14:34
26 - 12:28
.2 - an 8:43 pace!

Total: 5:59:58 Thank God!

So, it wasn't my best race, but I could not be more proud. It was tough out there! But as Chasen put it, "I was tougher." Now that's a good man!

I parked it in the lobby and Chasen went to get me some food. Isaac sports my medal!

I am the proudest Marathoner Mommy there is! Isaac sports my Rocket City finisher's hat.

That's all, folks. It was a long, hard journey (both today and the past almost ten months). But now I'VE DONE IT!


Road Warrior said...

A huge congratulations, Susan. What you accomplished is nothing short of amazing. You should be so proud.

You're truly an inspiration.

Now go enjoy my favorite part of the marathon: the after-race meal!

Dan Cummings - Running Realtor said...

Wow... You really turned it up that last mile to make the finish! CONGRATULATIONS...

Susan K. said...

Wow & whoa!! Soooo impressive! Congratulations on your 26.2 mile race!! I think you did wonderful! You are one tough mommy (and ps--Isaac looks so very cute in your lap with your hat on!)! You did haul a$$ and girl, you did it! WAY TO GO!!!

DuffRunner said...

Phenomenal success Susan. You did it! Super proud to know you. Enjoy your victory. Not too many people can say they've done what you've done. Remember that.

Suzanad said...

Aw, Isaac looks SO cute + happy in the last pic with your medal!

Well done!! You may have been last but you're such a winner.

What's next on your list? Are you going to train for marathon #4?

Mom on the Run said...


I love the last picture of you and Isaac!!

Jamie said...

I'm STILL tearing up! I'm so proud of you!!! BIG HUGS from Canada!

Irish Blue said...

Congrats momma!!! Not only did you run a great race 10 months post-baby, you look downright amazing!

MarathonChris said...

Congratulations on an incredible race!!! Your mental as well as physical endurance really pulled you through! And what a great reward at the end. Issac looks so proud of you!

You are a rock star. What a journey it has been, and you are only getting started!

PLANET3RRY said...

Very Proud of you! You had a LOT of things on your plate for this marathon and you did awesome!

You've hit the "3 is a magical number" for the marathon. Now you can look at all three as a one piece of work.

Congratulations! So what is next on the list?

CewTwo said...

Very cool, my friend! Very cool!

Heather said...

CONGRATS Susan! You are amazing!!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Susan! That is such a HUGE accomplishment. You are truly inspirational! Isaac looks pretty proud of you too! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

Jacky said...

Congrats! What a wonderful way to put it! You must be sooooooooo proud. I would be! You did great. Glad you found a friend and things worked out!
You're pure inspiration to me. I have so much to learn still but I'll eventually get there!
Congrats on your success!
You're a running mom! WTG!

lizzie lee said...

Congratulations Dear Susan. Indeed you were tougher. It takes a lot to train while a new baby. I am so happy to know you, and receive inspirations from you. Well done....!!!!!!!! Have a very Happy New Year!

Cheryl said...

Nice report Susan, yes I'm a little behind in reading blogs! Congratulations, I am just so proud of you!!

Drusy said...

Congratulations Susan!!! Wow, what an ispiration for all new moms. It took me so much longer to get back into pre-preganancy shape, much less run a MARATHON!!! So soak in the praise and enjoy the holidays!

jeanne said...

well done! congratulations! You are a rockstar!

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