My husband and I arrived in Sarasota the night before the race, we stayed in a motel across the street from the Ringling Museum (starting line). We went to dinner in St Armands, just the two of us. Unfortunately it was not a pasta kinda restaurant so I HAD to have a Philly cheese steak instead...lol. I guess I can admit to having 2 beers too. Bobby kind of shook his head at first but I was just so nervous. I never would have gone to sleep! We got back to the motel about 8:30, I had some gatorade and was sound asleep by 9:30pm. I was wide awake by 2am. WIDE awake. I stayed in bed anyway, got up at 3am and showered.
I got dressed and we went to breakfast at Perkin's up the street. I had pancakes and orange juice. I wanted a coffee so bad but figured the 2 beers the night before was enough badness. Back to the motel at 4:45am. I opened the curtain and watched groups of people heading over to the starting area. I was getting so excited! I had a Slim Fast at about 5:15 and we walked over. It felt like Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, people coming from all directions going to the same spot. It was very dark so we just followed the people toward the lights. I got cold and Bobby gave me his jacket. I spotted Mike Moses leaning against the fence and ran over. Bobby took some pictures. We saw Bob and Carol Gueyer, Cynthia and her husband Rob, and a few more people I recognized from the 5k races. We all lined up at our pace time areas. I went to the 11 mm with Mike.
They sang the National Anthem but I didn't hear it, then the gun went off, which I never heard either. I guess I was back too far....lol. Mike took off, I was behind him for awhile but it was so dark I never saw him again once the crowd got going. I swear I tried to walk the first 10 minutes, but I couldn't. I did go very slow though. My trainer, Jim, thought I should walk at first to tame the wild beast in me that insists on taking off at the starting line of any and all races I've been blessed to cross. Sighhhh.....I bet Jim knew I'd be incapable of walking....LOL
I ran nice and easy watching for the first water table. I planned on walking each table and drinking water as I walked the 30 seconds, but there wasn't a water spot until 2 miles, then it was every mile after that. I had to pop into a Port-O-Potty at the 3 mile table. I dreaded that! UGH! It wasn't too bad though, maybe because it was early?? At the next table I expected GU pouches, but there wasn't any. I walked the water/gatorade breaks and got back into the pace each time. By mile 7, I was getting worried because there wasn't any GU being handed out. I knew I hadn't carb loaded like I should have so I was a bit concerned with this. I really made myself go slow, banking my energy for the end. Even though it was many hours away....LOL.
I was feeling fine and full of energy. Everyone around me was friendly and talkative. I ran with a man and his daughter from Boston for a little ways, then I chatted with others along the way. It seemed like they had all run marathons before and were so sweet to give me tips as we ran. I listened to everything anyone had to say. I was having such a great time!
I was starting to run again after a water/walk break and ran straight across a street, only to have the police and runners yelling that I was supposed to take a right! I just couldn't help but laugh and so did they....I knew I'd get off track somehow! That was about where I heard my name being yelled. I kind of waved because I'd stitched my name on my shorts and many people called out as I passed....but this time it was Yuli!! I was so happy to see her! We ran together until the halfers turning point. She reminded me to take it slow. She offered me her energy gel bites, but I didn't take them. I thanked her and explained I couldn't swallow them....LOL. It was wonderful to have the chance to run with Yuli. I remember the first race I ever ran. I tried following Yuli and lost her in the first half mile. It was a personal thrill to run beside her in the marathon.
At the 7 mile water stop there was GU, I was so happy! The people gave me a handful to keep just in case there wasn't anymore. I was still feeling awesome. I barely paid attention to the timers as I passed each mile marker because I didn't want to feel any pressure. I found myself in a little pack of people, one woman had a flagpole with 530 on it. I thought it meant a 5:30 mile pace....HAHA...it was for the 5:30 finishing time. I was happy enough to hang with them. As we talked I got to know them a little bit. The flag lady was Marcella Todd from Plantation. She's a very upbeat, friendly woman. She welcomed me into the pack and introduced me to the others. Abe Lim from Avon Park, Fl was running his 153rd marathon! I was in awe. He was a funny man, he said the only reason he runs marathons is because his wife won't let him play golf....LOL. He told me that when I felt like I couldn't run anymore or I was tired and sore, to think about loving my husband. He said it would release endorphins and give me the energy I'd need to finish. Heehee....he didn't know it, but that's all I ever think about anyway! Abe belongs to a running group that's running in all 50 states! His next one is in New Mexico. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Abe.
John was another man in the group. He was in his sixties. He came from Bermuda! He had the english/british accent and I loved hearing him talk. He has run many. many marathons, but I can't remember how many! He was a power walker. I tried running to keep up with him but he always pulled ahead at my walk breaks. Those were the only walk breaks I wanted to skip. John walks faster than I run. He made it to the finish line 3 minutes before me. I was happy to see him when I got there! During our run/walk time together, every time I'd catch up to him I'd run a little faster just to pass him, then peek over my shoulder and say "bye John" and we'd start laughing! Then I'd slow down and run beside him while he walked. I lost sight of John about when I found Le Anne. You'll meet her in this story soon....
Another man named Giles was with us, he had run about 8 marathons. He was a little quiet, but friendly. He was concerned with miles 23-25. He said he seemed to stall during those miles. I knew he was in the right group for support. Rick from New Hampshire, Gold and Flo from south-east Florida were part of the group also. I think this group was the highlight of the race for me. Laughing, talking, joking and the overall easy going nature of these people kept my mind off what I was actually doing. Which was running for a REALLY long time....LOL.
At about mile 15-16 my calves were feeling a bit tight and the groin pull I had from 6 weeks ago decided to remind me it was still lurking. I mentioned this to Abe and he gave me some medicine. When word got out that I had a little pain the group just took a walk break. I was very touched. You can see why I stayed with these wonderful, supportive people. We talked, walked, ran and exchanged info. Sometimes I'd fall behind, sometimes ahead. We always found each other along the way.
We were running over a smaller bridge at one point, I went veering off toward the left since there wasn't anyone in front of me to follow. The police and runners behind me yelled for me to come back and go toward the right! Yikes, 3rd time I almost got off track. Once again we all were laughing as I got back in. I forgot to mention, I was running back toward the first place I ventured off track, when I went to follow the path in reverse, I had the same police yelling for me to go straight this time!! It was so funny!! He remembered me from the first time and we just started laughing again....LOL
By the time I was making the second bridge run I was ahead of the group. I had turned to ask Abe a question and realized they were pretty far back. That told me I was going too fast. But I felt great so I walked up the bridge by myself. At the top, I took the time to really look at the beautiful view. It was breathtaking. Anyone reading this needs to walk that bridge someday. The seascape was like a painting. So very beautiful, peaceful.
I saw a woman in a blue top up ahead walking. She started running down the bridge and I had Ed Morgan's voice in my ear telling me to walk it. But it didn't seem like such a big decline. So....don't tell Ed, but I ran it. Heehee! I guess I should admit that I ran down the bridge on the first pass too. It was awesome. Wind was blowing, and I felt like I had wings. As I passed the mile marker for 20 miles I heard Jim's voice telling me my warm up was over, time to get into race mode. At this point I wanted to take off. I felt energetic, full of life and not too much pain. I am proud to say I reigned my energy in, promising myself I'd let it loose for the strong finish. I heard someone yell "2 5Ks to go!"!!!!......hmmmm, that sounds easy. But I held myself back, keeping an easy pace and walking. I walked a little more frequently by now, but it hurt to walk. It was easier to run, I don't know why. I caught up to the woman in the blue top because she'd taken out her cell to make a call. I wanted to borrow it to call Bobby but I couldn't remember his cell number...LOL...(it's on speed dial) Anyway, we started chatting as we did our walk break. She asked me if I was doing the Jeff Galloway "way". I said no, I'm doing the Jim Chaps "way"!! I did admit it was the same method but I liked calling it "Jim Chaps Method".....LOL. She laughed with me. We stayed together, both needing some support by mile 22.
By mile 22, we were in our walk break. As we started to run again, my legs felt funny. Not really painful, just weird. Like lead, very heavy. Le Anne (from Ohio, by the way) was getting a stomach ache. I think we were bumping into the wall. I knew I had to do something, but I was so tired by now. We walked a little extra, then ran slow until mile 23.
At mile 23, Le Anne stopped to call her family. I had some water with my frosting...err...GU...and was going to wait for Le Anne. She told me she'd be right in behind me, to go on without her. I reluctantly left her. There wasn't anyone in sight. I was afraid to be alone, I don't know why. I started to cry a little, but pulled myself together. I didn't get this far to give up here!
My hands were sticky from spilling the GU. It was like crazy glue! A teenager was washing his car in a driveway and he squirted my hands off for me. Then he squirted my arm and legs. It felt awesome! That's when I heard Le Anne coming! YAY!! We ran to mile 25 together. If you could call it running....LOL
Le Anne said we only have 1.2 miles to go. So close....and yet so far. I asked the man at mile 25 water table where my limo was. He said it just got towed away....LOL
So Le Anne and I walked for about 2 minutes, ran some more. We were exhausted! My leg muscles came back to life when someone yelled that there were naked men and beer up ahead. I was so out of it, I believed the beer part. The naked men part sounded a little inspiring, but I can get that at home....LOL!!!!! Just kiddin', I knew there were no naked men up ahead. But as I said before, the beer part of the story was believable enough to give me a boost. And I was ready for a frosty brew-dog!
As we turned into the Ringling driveway, just a quarter mile from the finish line, I felt a sudden burst of energy. I looked at Le Anne and said LET"S GO SISTER!!! We started running, I never looked back, I just WENT. I could see the finish line, it made me go faster, I swear. As I got closer I heard my kids yelling "MOM"...Emily was videotaping, Bobby was standing behind them. The look on his face was so beautiful. I could see the pride in his eyes. I felt it as I ran past him. I was so happy to see them, and be running, YES!! I was RUNNING across that finish line. I was finishing strong, just like Jim said I would if I followed the method. I don't know where I found the strength, how I managed to reach deep inside of myself to find what it took to run across that line, but I did. I ran. I ran like there were naked men and beer waiting for me....LOL. I heard my name over the PA, I came in at 5:33:38. Only 33 minutes over what I'd hoped for. I am so totally thrilled with my time. Le Anne was right behind me, at 5:35:33. My friends in the group with the pacer came in 3 minutes before me. I was thrilled! We all took some pictures together.
The best part was....I had a naked man and beer at home waiting for me! Hahahahaha!!!
I am very, very sore today. The groin pull hurts the most and it's difficult to lift my leg from the floor. It goes right across my lower abdomen. My right leg is sore too, but I think I'd be fine if not for the groin pull.
So.....anybody know where the next marathon is??? I'm kinda hooked.