I finished my second marathon on Sunday. It was rough.
I ran my first marathon in Eugene last year, and it went surprisingly well. And since I’m faster, stronger, and lighter this year, I figured this one would be even better. I even set a secret goal of cutting 10 minutes off my last marathon time.
Instead, I added 40 minutes. That’s how rough it was.
I’m going to mostly blame it on the weather. It was an 80 degree day, with lots of sunshine. And while that’s lovely for hanging out in the park, it’s not my favorite running weather. I would much prefer 50 degrees, clouds, and drizzle. Or snow. Or anything somewhat unpleasant. I’ve been this way for years. If it’s a nice day, I have a bad run. If the weather sucks, my run is awesome. Weird, I know.
But along with the weather, I was battling the urge to puke, suffering from some severe aches and pains (I know running a marathon should hurt, but this was so much worse than last time), and was just generally exhausted. I must have looked pretty rough at one point, because one of the passing first-aid guys specifically asked me if I was okay. Luckily, lots of other people seemed to be sharing in my misery, so at least I know I wasn’t alone.
Also, in case you are wondering, 9,000 is a crowd. A very stinky crowd. Obviously, that’s a lot of runners, but I didn’t expect the course to feel so crowded. It wasn’t until the course split for the half-marathoners that I felt like I could breathe and wouldn’t crash into anyone.
And on top of all that, apparently running marathons makes me super emotional. I remember feeling the same way last time, but it was more extreme this time around. We’re talking a level of emotion usually reserved for Folger’s Christmas commercials. So, as strangers, including adorable small children, cheered for me by name (the wonderful benefit of having your name on your race bib), I was biting my lip and holding back tears. I mean, it’s just beautiful. All of these people coming together and cheering for strangers? It’s awesome.
And then I crossed the finish line. Where they had youth volunteers handing out the medals, roses, snacks, and finishers shirts. Since I generally have a Schmidt-level fear of youths (don’t we all?), having them hand me a rose and congratulate me just tipped me over the edge. I was full-out weeping by the time I left the finishers’ area and met up with Eric. I was a ridiculous mess.
But it wasn’t all bad. I was having the best long run of my life for the first 13.1 miles, until the puke feeling crept in. Plus, I had my incredibly supportive and wonderful husband biking all around the city to meet me at various points and cheer me on. I cannot even begin to explain how seeing Eric improved my mood. He’s the best, folks. And at one point, he was on top of a hill probably 1,000 feet above the course (taking the photo above), yelling my name, which was so bizarre and surprising that it made me laugh out loud. And laughing 22 miles into a race is probably a good thing.
A few other highlights?
-Running across the St. John’s Bridge, which is the most beautiful bridge in this city of bridges.
-The drumline playing somewhere in the first few miles of the race (possible addition to a running playlist?).
-Seeing Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Rainier along the course.
So, here’s to better luck the next time around, and to enjoying many days of post-marathon rest!