Immediately after finishing the New Hampshire Marathon, AJ and I got in the car and headed for Maine with Kate following closely behind. The race had started at 9 and we weren’t done until after 2, meaning there would be no way to go to the hotel and shower…meaning AJ got to spend 2.5 hours in the car with me stinking like I just ran a marathon or something. To make matters worse, I was FREEZING cold even with my jacket on, so I made a heat tunnel out of my foil blanket and funneled the heat from the vents in the car onto myself, resulting in a smell not unlike hot garbage. “It smells like the locker room of a YMCA in here.” – AJ. How lucky is he? For real.
Portland was about 2.5 hours away from where the race in New Hampshire had been held, so we were really pushing it time-wise to get to the hotel, check-in, shower, and pick up our packets before the Maniacs dinner. I attempted to plan the Maniacs dinner for 5:30 since a lot of people like to eat a bit earlier so they can go to sleep, but I failed to take into account the later finishing times and how long it takes to drive to Maine. I’m not the world’s best planner when it comes to these things because I repeatedly lie to myself about how long it takes to drive anywhere and do anything. If I admit how long something actually will take, I probably won’t do it, so I just play make believe in my own mind.
While Kate finished getting ready, AJ and I headed over to the expo to grab me and Kate’s bibs and swag bags since we were contemplating doing the early start in the morning. Everywhere we looked, there were people wearing the NH Marathon shirt, so that was pretty cool. We made it to the brewery for dinner a little late, but no big deal. We had a great group show up to Sebago Brewing Company, and the food was quite tasty. I subsisted on soft pretzels, grilled chicken and rice since those are relatively innocuous where my stomach is concerned.
begging from Kate whining from me discussion, Kate and I decided we would do the early start on Sunday. The entire race started at 7:45, but early starters were allowed to start at 6. This is designed to accommodate slower runners/walkers who expect to finish in over 6 hours, and although Kate and I didn’t think it would take us quite that long, we were a bit concerned about having time to shower and make it back to the airport on time for our 5 pm flights. I hate waking up early (and my stomach hates it even more) but I eventually agreed that this was the best situation. I think we went to bed at about 9:30 pm.
The morning dawned bright and early, and it was basically all Maniacs and 50 Staters at the early start, with almost no exceptions. It really is fun to be able to just walk up to a group of people at the start of a race and pretty much know everyone. Maricar was there and I was able to tell her about how we walked all those bitches/hills in New Hampshire in her honor.
We started the race when it was still dark, and the cloudy skies meant it would be dark for considerably longer. Despite starting with the smaller group, there were plenty of people to talk to, and Kate and I ended up running with a Maniac named Anntrenice (I said her name in my head about 4000 times during the race so I wouldn’t forget) who is about to finish up her 50 states. We had decided to do the 3:1 run/walk method for this race since we didn’t really know how our legs would feel and we knew it wouldn’t be a PR day (ha! I can’t even imagine) regardless. It was hard to tell what the scenery was like for the first few miles since it was dark, but I think it was pretty. Who knows.
About an hour into the race, it started to rain. Not too hard at first, but noticeable nonetheless. I don’t generally mind rain, with the exception of the Dallas hypothermia incident of 2011, but it never let up. And then it started raining harder, and it was pretty much pouring, and I started to get very, very cold. You see, I had brought two singlets, shorts, and a skirt for these marathons. I normally get hot when I run, and the forecast for rain was only 30% on Sunday. Also, it was supposed to be “light rain.” Let me be the first to tell you that the Maine definition of “light rain” is slightly askew.
Nonetheless, we stuck firmly to our run/walk intervals and were having a pretty good time. We passed mile 8.5 right as the rest of the race was about to start, and we knew it wouldn’t be long before we were epically lapped by the marathon winners. The whole course was an out and back, which provided us with priceless entertainment that I could not have foreseen. In this marathon, I learned the best thing about the early start – and that is the confusion on people’s faces on the out and back when they see that you are barely plodding along or walking, you are miles ahead of them, and they are running. I tell you, it was great. I could not stop laughing. Some people realized we had done the early start and yelled out words of encouragement, while others just stared incredulously as they ran by.
We got lapped by the winners at mile 14, in case you were wondering. They are just really, really fast. Either way, we were laughing and joking with all the other Maniacs and having way more fun than anyone running fast. Every time I’m on an out and back, I just confirm what I know deep down – running really fast is not fun. Those people always look real mad. I prefer unbridled joy and having the energy to burst into song at any time.
It should be noted that my nutrition plan for this race was…somewhat lacking. After the violent hate-spiral of my stomach the day before, I pretty much gave up on the idea of eating anything during the race. I mean really, why bother if I was just going to throw it up? The only problem with this plan, of course, is that um, it’s a fucking marathon and you kind of have to eat during them. So my little strategy caught up with me pretty hard around mile 18 or so, where I just got real dizzy and weak and even more nauseous than usual. Unfortunately, I knew that anything I ate would come right back up, so basically I had no choice but to suck it up and just finish the race. Oh, and by the way, I was absolutely freezing at this point. My arm warmers were soaked through, me and Kate’s hands had turned white, and it was miserable. I went to a porta-potty at Mile 18 and I literally contemplated staying in there for as long as possible because it was so much warmer. You know you’re in dire straits when you’d rather be confined to a porta-potty than running outside. COME ON.
Things got a little desperate towards the end, and sometimes I got so dizzy I just had to sit down. In the rain. In a puddle (always). People would yell words of encouragement, but I almost reverted back to angry T-Rex and wanted to yell at them – I was just so frustrated. But when the time came, I still managed to pull a “T-Rex” out of the bag – somehow running the last 1.2 miles. We got passed by the amazing Emily somewhere in the last few miles, on her way to her second sub-4 marathon of the weekend. Rude.
Crossing that finish line was amazing. Kate and I attempted to jump, but the race photos aren’t up yet, so only time will tell if we succeeded. I really just wanted a blanket and to lie down. Kate wanted pizza. We tried to find AJ, who we hadn’t seen the whole race. I figured he didn’t want to stand in the rain and had gone to the finish line, but actually he was somewhere along the course looking for us and not realizing we were much farther ahead than he expected. That’s probably the first and last time that will ever happen!
One extra perk of the early start is I got to finish a marathon as the time on the clock read “3:55,” which will never happen again. A woman crossed the finish line shortly after us and as her kids ran to hug her, she cried ” I can’t believe I did it in under 4 hours!” I looked at Kate, shrugged, and said “Shit, I can’t believe we did it under 6 hours!” All in all, we finished around 5:40, sticking mostly to our run/walk intervals. That’s about what I ran in in some races from the spring where I felt much better, so I really can’t complain, and hey – I survived my second marathon in 2 days. Not too shabby for a weekend.
Oh yeah – did I mention there were cows running the marathon too?
With Chicago on the horizon for this weekend, I’m determined to figure out my fueling issues. I called my stomach doctor and demanded new medicine. I’ve got a plan for Sprite stops along the way and a hefty supply of Tums. And hey, if that doesn’t work, I think by this point I’ve pretty much perfected the Puke-and-Rally. Sorry I’m not sorry.