Oh. My. God.
At the time that I’m sitting to write this long overdue post (thank you Jess [and everyone else at RunVT for that matter] for being so patient with me…you’re more awesome than you know! Side note: your last message where you asked if showing up to my work and singing karaoke would get me to do a blog? Yes. Yes it would. I’m curious now about what song you would sing…) the marathon is 16 days away.
I know we’ve all been training and preparing for this moment…but now the date is visible on the calendar along with my note: VERMONT CITY MARATHON – POTENTIALLY THE MOST INSANELY AWESOME DAY EVER!! …and somehow that makes this whole thing so much more REAL. You’d think the fact that I’ve been running more miles in the past 4 months than I have in my entire life would be the thing that made it real…but no.
I’m already imagining what it’s going to be like when I go to the expo to pick up my bib (I’ll also be there volunteering at the Peoples United booth on Friday night if anyone wants to stop by and say hello!)…and then what it will be like when I get my foil blanket at the finish line. That’s oddly the thing that I’m MOST excited for at the end of all of this, you guys. I want my little space blankie SO BADLY…and I don’t even know why really. It’s not like it’s made out of anything super special, and it doesn’t have a marathon logo on it or anything like that…but being handed that odd little blankie will mean that I have accomplished something HUGE.
It’s going to take a lot for me to not instantly flop onto the grass and curl up with that blankie and never move again – though depending on what the weather decides to do that day it might be easier to talk me out of doing that, haha.
I’ve been thinking a lot in recent days about what my goals for race day are…and really it boils down to some pretty simple things:
- Don’t die – listen to my body when it comes to taking in fluids & snacks and the need for walking.
- Have fun! – don’t get caught up in where I think I should be by a certain time…instead take the time to enjoy where I am in the moment.
- FINISH – would it be nice to finish under 6 hours? Yes. But…refer back to item 1.
In fact, there is one group of adults that I saw last year on the course that I’m hoping to see again because they were just so insanely hyper…I gave high-fives to all of them and I’m pretty sure I declared them my favorite people ever. That will still be true if I see you guys this year…and you’ll be my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES if you let me stop in your house to pee, haha! …that actually goes for any household along the racecourse. Open your home to me so I can pee there and you’ll be considered the bestest humans alive on Earth! …that’s not enough? Hmm…I’ll bake you cookies? Oh you don’t like cookies? …wait, that’s just stupid. Everyone likes cookies. I’d eat cookies right now if I had them...if it wasn’t so late I would just make myself some.
It’s still kind of tempting. I actually have to talk myself out of making cookies at almost 10 PM right now.
But seriously – people along the course are just fantastic…and it’s still a wonder to me that they all sit/stand around just so they can watch the rest of us run by them. I almost feel obligated to try and do some sort of other amazing feat for them to witness as I run by…like juggling flaming swords or something. Because, let’s think about this for a moment, it has to be rather dull to watch a thousand or so people just simply RUN (or walk depending on how you’re feeling at the time) by them…totally in their own zone and possibly not even taking notice of all those awesomely supportive people around them.
Now that I’m thinking about spectators – another thing that’s making the race more real to me are the people who say that they’re going to be there on race day. (Additional event that makes this EXTRA real – getting the email at work about VIP passes being available for a few of these people who say they will be there!) My mother for instance – I wasn’t sure if she would come to the race or not…and kind of thought that if she did that she would probably just be there to see me at the finish line. Instead, she’s told me that she wants to come up and stay at my place the night before the race and ride downtown with me for the start of it. I think the conversation went a little something like this:
Mom: …So I’ll come up Saturday night and I’ll ride down with you in the morning for your race!
Me: Umm…you know that if you come and see me at the start of the race that I’m not going to cross the finish line until almost 6 HOURS LATER, right?
Mom: *stares at me in that way that all moms do when you question what they say*
Me: …Okay. Just don’t break yourself while I’m gone, alright?
My request is a reasonable one. It’s a long story…but let’s just leave it at she broke herself while we were on vacation in Hawaii so I can’t trust her to wander off on her own, haha.
(Love you mom!)
Maybe I should ask for an additional race bib so I can fill out her emergency info on the back of it…or maybe hire a babysitter…
(Really mom, I love you! I joke because I love!)
So – our last uber-long running assignment was this past weekend…and my friend Ellane heard about a race in Adamant, conveniently a 20 miler, which was taking place on Saturday. The race description warned of hilly terrain but also offered catered goodness every 2.5 miles or so along the way. I was hesitant about it, but she kept insisting that it would be good for us and would give us some idea as to how we would do at VCM when the day comes.
…okay fine. That was a fair point. I agreed to go.
I had never been to Adamant before and Ellane had only been there once a year or so ago…so needless to say neither of us knew where exactly we were going when we started to make the drive out. We ended up having to stop at this random general store to try and ask for directions – since we were in a total cell phone dead zone neither of us had service…so asking Siri for directions wasn’t an option. I waited in the truck while Ellane went inside to ask for directions and could see several people gesturing, and pointing, and could only assume that some loud bickering was going on as to which way we should go that would get us there fastest.
The directions we were given seemed simple enough – drive 2 miles down the road we were on, take a left onto some road whose name I forget now, and then to just keep driving and BAM we would be there.
…not the case.
There were no left turns. None of the right turns had the correct road name. And then we were in Hardwick. …yeah. Not right. Luckily, cell service was miraculously restored within Hardwick so we were able to get a map and better directions…taking us back the way we had come for about half an hour.
When we finally got to where we needed to be – as we joined the other runners in getting our race bibs Ellane assessed the crowd and said “I’m going to be the last person to finish…just so you know,” and I reminded her that I wouldn’t be that far ahead of her…if I even WAS ahead of her. She then asked me to remind her that the time on this race didn’t really matter – that we were just there for the catered miles…so I did. I said it didn’t matter how long it took us just as long as we finished sometime that day – preferably before it got dark, haha.
The two of us were the back of the pack the entire way. There was an older gentleman ahead of us, who for a while I could still see in the distance, that I was determined to catch up with at least once. Even if it meant getting to the point where I could barely reach out and touch him and then he took off…I wanted to catch him. (…I didn’t.)
Oh, and the warning about the hills in the course description? That’s no joke my friends. This course was BRUTAL. Not only is it nearly all hills – those hills are all dirt in varying consistencies. Worst of all…swarm after swarm of black flies. Apparently bug spray means NOTHING to these little suckers because they were all up in my business the ENTIRE TIME. Stealth bombing their way around my glasses and into my eyes; super propelling themselves at my ears to try and get around my headphone and into my ear canal; and, in totally masochistic fashion, just casually landing on my bug-spray-coated skin and taking bites.
It was somewhere around mile 9 that one of my hip flexors started going all wonky. I did some stretches and tried to walk it out a bit. Every few steps brought on some very unpleasant throbbing that was getting worse faster than it was getting better as I continued to walk along. Closer to mile 10, where I was officially in last place since Ellane had gone on ahead of me, I was hobbling up an incline that felt like I was climbing Everest (not that I’ve done that…but you get the idea) when I was suddenly surrounded by a MASSIVE swarm of black flies. Foolishly I started swatting at them, which of course only makes it worse, and then actually yelled the words “Okay, this needs to stop now!!” and wailed a little bit. Between the hip pain, the heat, a blister on one of my right toes that I had suddenly become COMPt’s a choice that I am very, very glad that I made. It was their 100th show on their tour and their first show back in the US since Paris happened…and they totally rocked my f@#*ing face off. I’m a fan now.
Since I clearly blew off running on Tuesday, but danced around enough that I think I still got the same number of steps in, and Wednesday was a rest day…that brings us to today. Today I was just so tired when I got home from work…when I got up to my room with the intention of changing and heading out for my run I made the mistake of sitting down on my bed. Or I may have been lying down. I will not confirm or deny whether or not there was a blanket involved as I took my nap.
My body decided that we needed (more) rest…and so I gave it rest. And will do the same tomorrow as scheduled even though I feel like I should go run a bazillion miles to make up for all the ones that I’ve missed this week. Saturday will get to be the trial run on my well-rested, well-stretched, and super pampered hip flexors. I’m mildly paranoid that I won’t even hit a mile before it says HAHAHA NO and thus forces me to concede to going to see a doctor about it. Hopefully that’s not a thing that happens…keep your fingers crossed for me.
Until next time,
(Whose project for the weekend is to finalize her costume for Brew Run on the 21st!)