Friday, June 08, 2007

The Race, Part Two - The Worst of Times

I had been sick the week before the marathon. Then two days before the race I ate something that didn't agree with my system. Since I wasn't feeling strong, I'd dialed back my expectations with regard to marathon pace. My goal was simply to make it to the finish. At the half marathon point, we were a lot faster than I expected.

As we were walking the marathon course, the TNT coaches for teams from across the country were shouting encouragement to everyone. Our favorite coach was the one with the microphone and amplifier, "Relax your shoulders, unclench your toes, take small steps." He must have moved around the course quite a bit, because we ran into him several times. As we reached D'Anza Cove in Mission Bay Park (mile 15-ish?), a coach from some organization shouted out that we should eat before we got hungry.

Eating sounded like a good idea to me, and I pulled one of my beloved BE Protein bars. These are the most delicious protein bars in the world. The white stuff is moldUnfortunately, the folks at BE have had a little problem in their manufacturing facility and the bars sometimes have mold on them. (BTW, BE has acknowledged and corrected the problem.) Anyway, I had swallowed one big bite of the BE bar and was chewing the second bite. It tasted a bit funny and I really looked at the bar. The bottom bar had spots of white, fuzzy mold.

Let's tally the marathon nausea equation. Sick the week before the marathon + Some spoiled food on Friday + A mouthful of mold at mile 15 = Complete Stomach Revolt. If you're thinking that my tummy wouldn't easily accept food or water for the rest of the marathon, then you're right. I tried to eat and drink, but my tummy wasn't cooperative. Because I didn't drink or eat enough, I started to get dehydrated. After awhile I got cramps in my legs and generally felt like dooty. Linda was incredibly sweet and managed to get me to down a packet of salt and rest for a few minutes. I'm not sure I remember anything from miles 18-22 - except is was hot, blisters tortured my left foot, and I wanted to vomit.

Around mile 22, we ran into Carol who had walked alone from the half marathon point where some of our teammates stopped. I have no idea how Carol made it nearly 10 miles alone. It was so good to see her. From that point onward she and I walked and whined toward the finish line.

The marathon ends at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot. Once you're on the Marine Corps property you still have another mile or so to go. It's a winding trail so every 10 seconds we'd look a something and say, "Is that it? Is that the finish line? " Also, there's an announcer who calls out finishers. He'd announce the name, hometown, and age (if it was interesting - like a 72 year old). I turned to Carol and told her that if that announcer called out my name, age or weight, then I would pull together the energy to beat him to smithereens.

With the finish line in sight we saw Gretchen on the sideline. She had finished the marathon an hour earlier. Before we crossed the finish we stopped to chat with her. After a few minutes Gretchen said, "Oh, I'm sorry. This is screwing up your finish time." Trust me Gretchen - our time was screwed long before that little conversation stop.

Finally, Carol and I ambled across the finish. We were halfway out of the finishers area before someone told us we'd completely missed getting our finishers medals. Whoops.

Correctly adorned with out medals, Carol went to find her husband and I headed over to the TNT check-in tent. Once I cooled off in the tent, I was hungry, really hungry - I grabbed a PB&J sandwich, a banana and some cookies. TNT had kiddie pools filled with ice water to soak our tired feet - putting my feet in that pool was the greatest thing ever. Ah, the joy of having your feet frozen and numb.

All that makes it sound as thought it was a bad experience. It wasn't. It wasn't as easy as I'd hoped, but I wouldn't trade it.


  1. Congratulations on meeting that fabulous goal!
    You're an inspiration!

  2. It actually doesn't sound like a bad experience at all. Way to go!