Starting point for full marathoners. Minutes prior to lining up I spotted a runner wearing a shirt with I run to stop the voices in my head written on the back from Queen City Marathon. This gave me a good laugh and thought what a great way to start. This was Bob's first marathon as well, and although we had put ourselves in as good a mental state as possible, nervous energy was just below our calm exterior. This was Nicole's 3rd marathon and she always seems calm on race day and manages to pull off a positive attitude no matter how many miles lay ahead of her.
we passed this volunteer at the first water station. His ghost mask doesn't show clearly but it was very funny and gave us a lift. This was taken near the beginning of the race and my calves were a bit stiff. It took about another mile to loosen them up. I wore my old shoes and put the water shoes in the backpack with the intention of switching over at the last part of the race. That way I can stretch out my toes. The rubber on my running shoes has completely worn off where my foot makes contact and I am now left with running on the sponge part. The more I wear through them, the closer I am to the ground. I am not ready to ditch my shoes completely.
First hill. This photo doesn't capture how steep it actually is. It brought back a memory of when I first ran the Treherne 1/2 some years ago and thought at the time how great it was to get the hill over with at the beginning of the race. HAHAHAHA! This time I was prepared for the MANY hills and decided to walk the incline of most of them to conserve energy. My main goal was to finish as strong as possible and I looked at this as a long run Sunday in preparation for Vulture Bait ( 50K).
Nicole says she is always running behind Bob and I so I took her pic running downhill in front of me. She loves a downhill more than any runner I have ever seen. Usually she speeds by us and then we catch her at the top. Today she ran to the the top of the hills and did a silly happy dance for me, as I did for her in our last race together. By now we have run many miles into a full on prairie wind and it seems there is no end. Even when we finally turn a corner we got hit with a wicked cross wind. I manage to pass Bob at around mile 16 as he was putting on his vibrams while trying to keep his kilt down. He mentioned that at one point it blew up over his head but thankfully there was nobody around to witness the event. Actually , it would have given runners something to talk about for the next couple of miles which is always good to pass the time. A little while later I ducked into a porta pottie and was so scared it was going to blow over with me in it that I high tailed it out of there asap. Bob was not far behind and said he could see it getting knocked around in the wind.
At some point before this sign I saw 2 runners in the distance. I was very happy to see people after many miles of running solo. As I got closer I could see they were younger guys who looked quite fit. One guy was running ahead then coming back to his buddy and seemed to be trying to motivate him. As I got closer I could see his buddy was walking in a pained way and looked to have bonked...or close to it. I ran faster to catch up with them. I have in the past tried to offer food or drink to younger guys who have gone out too fast and now find themselves struggling. They often look indignant that an older women is about to offer help and pass them. This time I was determined not to take no for an answer. As I passed him I said there wasn't much further to go and shoved my bag of M&Ms into his hand so he couldn't refuse. I worried about him until I got to the next water station and told the aides to keep an eye on him. if he wasn't with his buddy I would have stayed with him.
The last 3 miles went by quickly and I was very pleased to have finished strong at 5 hours and 17 minutes ( don't laugh) with nothing more than a few blisters and sore quads.
Bob coming in a few minutes behind me looking strong. he hasn't even been running for a year! Nicole came in shortly after him looking as fresh as she always does.
...and these are my beer fairies (more like party boys). As I was coming in the last few yards to cross the finish line these funny guys turned around, gave me a big smile, and let me pass them. I thought how sweet, but then thought, boys being boys they probably did that because I was wearing a short running skirt???
Lucky for us I parked near them and they treated Bob, Nicole and I to a nice cold one. Now that is perfect way to finish a marathon!
Note: The young man who almost bonked ended up finishing the race after all! We were so happy for him and he thanked me for the M&Ms.