Erie Marathon – Sept. 14, 2014

We talked about this race being the “perfect storm” for me.  Flat course.  Perfect weather.  Great training cycle.  And you know what, there was something special about this race.  Of course the pressure was on – this race would qualify for 2015 AND 2016 Boston marathons.  That’s like a BOGO free deal!  And, the hotel room is already booked in Boston.  AND, we already have our flights booked.  *AND*, the Boston marathon falls on my birthday next year!  Just two weeks earlier I found out Alan would indeed be my pacer again at this race.  That was a huge relief for me because I just wasn’t confident I would keep up my pace, and not walk.  I ran a half marathon just a couple of weeks ago and really stunk it up.  Walking, walking, and more walking.  Not a confidence boost.  So, here is what went down….

 We drove to Erie and the kids stayed at Grandma & Grandpa’s house.  We arrived just in time to unpack at the hotel, I mean, Red Roof Inn motel, and head over to the packet pick up.  Presque Isle is a beautiful peninsula and a state park.

This is Perry’s monument.  The same Oliver Hazard Perry in our own Perrysburg.  What a coincidence!  I was looking forward to seeing the monument tomorrow because it would be around mile 11 and mile 22.  That means I’ll be almost done the 2nd time around!!

It was a very small race pickup area, with a handful of vendors with items for sale ranging from running gear to handmade jewelry and baskets.  I did see a really good shirt – “If you can read this, you didn’t train either”.  That would be a good one to see on race day!

We had purchased tickets for the pasta dinner put on by the race directors.  It was right at the expo area.  It was all-you-care-to-eat pasta with salads, bread, and dessert.  I started with a huge plate of spaghetti.  We grabbed a seat at a table with other runners and got to know them.  One lady was 70 years old (she looked awesome) and was also attempting a BQ.  She said she started running at 50!  She had to cut 6 mins off her time, and get a 4:40.  After she left, we realized she had left her purse at the table and I rushed out to find her.  She was so happy I tracked her down.  She said “Now you’re for sure going to get that BQ” in response to my good deed.  :)

Here I am, shoveling in a big plate of spaghetti.  I don’t think I have ever eaten so much spaghetti before!  That chick behind me wasn’t too happy about my pasta eating I guess…

After the dinner we headed back to the hotel for some relaxation (that’s code for spending lots of time on Facebook and watching TV).  Sure enough, I think that huge plate of spaghetti put me in a food coma and I was ready for bed by 9pm.

I think I did turn give in and fell asleep around 10pm.  I had no problem sleeping, although I did have a dream before I woke up that I got a BQ, and I was so super excited, then I realized I hadn’t done it yet and still had to run the race.  Ugggh, that was a let down.

We got up at 4:30 am and had to be at the park at 5:45.  There was a lot of traffic going into the park, but it was super well organized and we parked shortly after 6:00am.  It was cold at the hotel (49 degrees) so I had put on capris for the race, but at the park it was 59!  So off came the capris and I put on my skirt.  We walked over to the race start in the dark, following the glow sticks they had laid along the trail.  The parking lot was .25 miles away, and it looked quite magical!  Soon enough it was 7am and the race started.

The goal was to run the first few miles slower than goal pace (8:50) and then to run around 12 miles at 8:40.  We made our first loop around the course and that plan was working out well.  Alan told me when to change my pace, and I banked a few minutes for use later when I would fade.  Somewhere around mile 16 I mentioned to Alan that my glute pain was a “6” on a scale to 10.  I had worried about that pain because it was haunting me the whole week of rest before the race.  Around mile 17 I put my music on to get some motivation.  I was shocked that I didn’t once feel like stopping and walking.  Yeah me!!!  After that time, Alan kept counting the “kills” (people we were passing).  He said he lost count after 50!  So, things were going well indeed.

I had dedicated miles to my friends and as I reached those miles I kept thinking about them being part of my race and what they would say if they jumped into the race with me.  That was a fun distraction.  By mile 23 my glute level was around a 7, but still, nothing that was going to stop me!

When I reached mile 25, Alan mentioned that we could possibly get under the goal time of 3:51 if I gave it my all and really pushed it.  I agreed to try and off we went.  Well, my mind was going off, but my body was rejecting me!  I was in such pain and exhausted that I could barely move my legs.  And instead of getting faster, I was rapidly getting slower and was watching my time cushion just disappear!  That was the worst feeling ever, like I would be wasting all that hard work in the last 1/2 mile of the race.  At that point I think I was cussing, and crying, and pleading to Alan that I just couldn’t go any farther.  Luckily, I did, and we crossed the finish in 3:53:27.

We crossed the finish line holding hands, which was really cool.  After the finish line I went to hug Alan and my legs just collapsed.  I couldn’t stand up any more and I had started to hyperventilate due to all of the excitement!  Then came the familiar shaking and blue lips.  The race volunteers helped me over to chair and gave me a drink and food.  It took me a really long time to get settled down.

Happy happy, joy joy!!

When I finally did calm down, another runner came and spoke to us.  She had recognized Alan’s Boston Runners World t-shirt from dinner last night.  That was surprising – but also super annoying because I just wanted to go lay down and she kept carrying on a conversation with Alan!  I tried to be nice, but I felt like punching her in the face :)  I blame that on post-race hormones.  haha  I finally did make a break for it and got to the grass area to lay down.  I didn’t think I was ever going to make it back up.  Then we had to make the trip to the car.  It was only .25 miles, but I walked like a zombie and every single step pained me more and more.  That was the longest walk ever!!

Other than the last mile, I don’t think the race could have gone any better.  I will always remember this day!  I’m so excited to go to Boston next year!

Cheers!!!!!