The night before the marathon, Steve and I decided to go out to dinner at a local italian restaurant. Since I am not a huge pasta person, especially before running (weird, I know), I went with the nightly special which was sea bass. It was served with mango salsa, sweet cream risotto with dried cherries (the main reason I ordered it) and a small salad on the plate. After the waitress told us the specials, I commented to Steve about how I hate when they tell you the specials and not the price. I ordered it anyways, ate every last bite (it was good!) and then about had a heart attack when the bill came and I learned that my meal was $26.95. Mind you, this was way more expensive than anything on the actual menu, which really ticked me off.
Anyways, I figured carbs (risotto) + protein (fish) = excellent pre-race meal.
I was in bed and asleep by shortly after 10pm, and was awoken from crazy dreams by a 4am alarm. I immediately had 2 cups of coffee before waking up Steve. I also had a small piece of toast with peanut butter & honey before we left. I realized as I was half-way done with the toast that I was eating high-fiber bread. Um, oops? Luckily it did not come back to haunt me. We were out the door by 5am to make the hour-long drive to the race site in Kenosha.
We were able to park in a lot just a few blocks away from the start. We snapped a pre-race photo before heading over to get in line for the port-a-potties.
Imagine my surprise when we arrived in the starting area and there were literally NO LINES for the bathrooms. Score! I took care of business, and 5 minutes later there were huge lines everywhere. Good timing I guess.
We stood around until the sun came up and started to warm the chilly air. I ate two huge medjool dates about 20 mins before the start. Before we knew it, it was time to line up for the start of the race.
There was only one objective for this race, and that was to run with Steve every step of the way and support him in any way I could to get him to the finish line of his first marathon. In a perfect world, his ultimate goal was to get close to a four-hour finish. I reminded him that no matter the time, he was going to finish a marathon today with a PR.
The race started right on time at 7am, and we were off. The first couple miles were a little fast, somewhere around 8:40 & 8:30, and I knew we had to dial it back a little. We settled in for the next few miles at a comfortable 8:50ish pace. Everything was going great, the sun was up, the lake was beautiful, and we felt good. We both decided to take our first energy gel around 6 miles because there was a water stop coming up. I remember thinking that the stretch of road we were running on was terrible, full of bumps, cracks and potholes. I went to squeeze some gel into my mouth, and the next thing I knew, my toes rammed into a raised crack in the road and I was flying through the air. I hit the pavement with a painful thud.
I heard a collective gasp from everyone around me, and as I popped up off the ground there were a lot of “are you ok’s??” Though I assured everyone I was just fine, I actually wasn’t sure. I landed hard on my left knee, right hip, right elbow, and both hands. I couldn’t bend my right arm, so it was just kind of hanging down at my side. Steve kept on asking if I was sure I was ok. I didn’t want to do anything to ruin his first marathon experience, so I said yes. As I tried to assess the damage, I looked down and saw that my hip was bleeding through 2 shirts. I lifted the shirts and saw that all of my skin was scraped off and it was dirty from the pavement. A few minutes later I noticed my elbow was also bloody, along with my right hand. To my ultimate dismay, my favorite ever long-sleeved running shirt was ruined. I tried not to cry.
There was nothing I could do but keep running. My arm started to regain feeling, so I figured I must have just landed really hard on the nerves around my elbow and it would be fine. Steve had to make a pit stop around mile 7, and as I waited for him I took off the long-sleeved shirt and tied it around my waist. We continued on, keeping a nice even pace through the half-way point, which we hit in 2:01. From this point on, things thinned out a lot because the half-marathoners turned towards the finish. Steve said he didn’t know if he would be able to hold our current pace, and I told him not to worry about it. I reminded him again that he was going to finish a marathon today and that he was doing great.
There are some stretches of gravel roads during the second half, which was really not good for Steve because he runs in Vibrams. There were lots of sharp little stones for him to step on, and at one point he struck one really hard on the ball of his foot and had to walk for a minute. We would make it to the next paved road, only to encounter more gravel soon after. Steve was getting really frustrated, and I basically had to tell him to suck it up because we had to get through it. He tried running on the edge of the road in the grass, which helped a little.
By the time we hit the turnaround at mile 19 or so, I could tell Steve was really starting to hurt. His foot was in pain, and he had to stop and stretch his hamstrings, which were starting to tighten up. I tried to be as encouraging as possible. I knew exactly what he was feeling, and I wished I could just help him run. The last 7 miles were slow, we kept stopping so Steve could stretch out his hamstrings. I kept trying to say the right thing to motivate him to the finish, and at one point he told me “Please don’t right now. Just don’t.” So I shut up for a while.
With one mile to go, there was no more stopping. Steve told me that he thought he was going to die and would need his foot amputated after the race. As we made the final turn towards the finish, he actually picked up the pace a bit and I got a little choked up about the fact that we were about to cross the finish line together. We crossed in 4:26:01, arms up in the air.
We got our space blankets and grabbed some water and bananas. We sat around for a minute, but the weather had turned pretty chilly so we walked the few blocks back to the car. There I was able to survey the damage a little better. My favorite running shirt, shredded at the elbow:
My capris were actually stuck to the wound. As soon as I exposed it to the air it started to sting like a mother.
I’m pretty sure I left some skin from my hip out on the course. Do you want to know what makes everything better?
Starbucks coconut mocha frapaccino. Especially when you order a grande and they accidentally make you a venti. Have you tried this yet? Heaven in a cup I tell you.
There was no time to rest when we got home, as we had a birthday/Mother’s Day celebration to attend. I am going to skip over the part where Steve cleaned out my wounds with peroxide and I almost passed out when he had to cut a piece of hanging skin off of my hip with a scalpel. I am a baby.
My family always has amazing food at parties, so I got to refuel with pure deliciousness.
That is my favorite salad of all time, with mixed greens, craisins, smoked swiss, pine nuts, and a vinaigrette that is so good I could bathe in it. Along with mashed potatoes, green beans and fruit. Un-pictured is the half-carton of guacamole I inhaled before dinner. And of course no celebration is complete without dessert.
Funfetti cake, ice cream, strawberries, peanuts, chocolate sauce, and chocolate chips. Gotta replace those carbs!
Overall it was such a great day. I am so proud of Steve for finishing his first marathon, and I am so glad that I was able to run with him and support him every step of the way. We are going to take a week of active recovery (mostly swimming and light biking), and then it is straight into Ironman training. Bring it!