Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Marathon Part II

Time for the marathon post!  Friday afternoon, Adam and I picked up our running bibs and information from the convention center.  I was pretty excited to see the "Welcome Athletes" sign, although Adam joked that they probably had a separate entrance for me....  : P
 Here I am inside the convention center with all my goods:
Adam, his Dad, his brother Andrew, and me all ran the marathon as Team Baker.  We woke up bright and early at 3:30a.m. Saturday morning in order to catch the buses that were to transport us to the starting line.  The marathon was very organized and well put together.  However, I was a little unnerved to hear before the race began that "Only 80% of the runners today will complete the marathon," which consisted of 26.2 miles.  The race started at 6:45a.m. I don't have any pictures of me actually running, but the professionals took some pics that you can view HERE.  Now, before I begin my long spiel on the race itself, I must state that this is only an account of my OWN PERSONAL experience, which was not pretty.  I know that Adam, his Dad, and his brother would all give different (and probably more positive) accounts.  With that said, here was my race:

I started off feeling pretty good and excited, although I was hoping to feel a little more adrenaline to get me going.  My goal had been changed from "finishing" to "finishing in less than 5 hrs and 30 min."  I found myself running between the pacers for 5:00 and 5:30, so I was feeling pretty confident at that point.  About 4 miles later, I found myself needing to use a restroom, only to come across a line at all the port-a-johns, which I was NOT going to waste time waiting for.  It was then that I realized why men are faster runners than women (on average) - the men were all running off the road behind a bush and coming back to run in no time!  It was a pretty humorous sight.  I guess I can't really use that as an excuse though, considering I could have pulled a Paula Radcliffe: CLICK HERE.  Miles later, I was able to come across a readily available potty and wasted 3 minutes in there (TMI?  Oh well...).  At that point, I lost the 5:30 pacer, never to see her again. 

As the time went by, the sun grew higher and warmer as it beat down on me and the hard pavement, reaching into the 80s by the end of the run.  They later said it was the hottest St. George Marathon on record, or something like that.  All I know is, I hated life as I ran sunglasses-less into the bright, torturous sun.  In addition, I had the impression that since the course drops in elevation by 2600 feet at the finish, that I would be running downhill.  Who knew you could lose elevation by running UPHILL for miles and miles?  Amazing.  Okay, so obviously there were some downhill slopes, but I'm telling you, everytime I saw ANOTHER hill in the distance, I became more and more pissed. 

I hated everything.  I hated the stupid signs by the road that made absolutely no sense.  I hated the bajillion signs that cheered for some guy named "Taud."  Who spells Todd like that??!  Utahns.  No offense guys, but you spell normal names really weird, and you make up names to be "creative."  Kash.  < another weird name on a sign.  Don't ask me why these signs annoyed me so much.  It was probably a result of the warm water and warm gatorade that were supposed to quench my thirst at the Aid stations that were too far apart.  Or maybe it was the desert scenery that supposedly made this marathon one of the top 10 most scenic in the country.   

At mile 12, my legs started hurting.  Usually I don't start feeling any pain until mile 14, so I knew I was in trouble.  By mile 18, my legs hurt so bad that I could barely run (with 8 miles left to go).  I had run 20 miles a few weeks prior with very minimal pain, so I was pretty disappointed to be hurting so bad so early.  I teared up a few times, deciding early on that I was NEVER doing this EVER again.  It's hard to describe exactly how my legs felt:  maybe like rusted car parts that weighed 50 pounds each and electrocuted me everytime I bent a knee.  Thankfully, the Aid stations included people with tubes of Bengay, ready to rub your painful joints in hopes of providing some sense of relief.  I think the Bengay did more for my mental state than my physical state though, because my knees still felt like they were full of nails.

I finally made it into St. George, where Adam, who had finished 2 hours earlier, ran onto the road and kissed me.  I teared up, both from misery and relief that the finish line was in sight.  As I crossed the finish line at 5 hrs and 46 mins, I walked under some water mist showers, where my salty sweat ran into my eyes.  Of course - I had to be kicked while I was down.  I blindly hobbled around until I felt my way to a potty and ripped off some TP in order to wipe my burning eyes.  But I finished, which is more than I can say for 20% of the starters, and more than I can say for the man I saw lying on the side of the road around mile 16. 

I share my misery with you not to discourage you from running your own marathon (LOL!), but to provide some comic relief for myself, as I try to recover from this painful experience.  Adam and his family did extremely well, all meeting and exceeding their goals!  Here are their times:

Andrew - 2:48 (approx. 6-1/2 min./mile -  - 45th overall of 5,702 finishers - amazing!!!)
Adam - 3:46 (approx 8-1/2 min/mile)
Gary (Dad) - 4:57 (approx. 11 min/mile)
Mary - 5:46 (approx. 13 min/mile)

Here is Team Baker with our medals:
Husband and Wife: ATHLETES.
 I'll still run.  I think I'm definitely going to cap it off at 13 miles though.  Even though I was miserable during the run, I worked really hard to get to that marathon, which is something I never thought I could do.  I'm so proud of myself for finishing it.  GO TEAM BAKER!


Team Laws said...

Yes TeamBaker that was a fine job. Nice to know you had the "right stuff" to finish even though your body said "stop". Every mother has what it takes (if you know what I mean). What's next?

KYoho said...

Mary, you friggin rock! It seems like a month ago you got into running, and a marathon already???

Juli said...

Great Job Mary! I am very impressed you finished. I don't think I could ever run a marathon.

Gary & Annette Baker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary and Annette Baker said...

We are so proud of you Mary. you did not give up even though it was a VERY tough race in extreme heat. Thank you for telling us your story and sharing your pictures.

We love you,

Mom and Dad Baker

P.S. give Luke a big hug from Grandma and Grandpa we miss him.

Lani said...

Congratulations! You are amazing to finish despite the pain! Glad to hear you aren't swearing off running completely :)

Julie said...

This is awesome! I love the poster comments. I totally felt the same way! Who the heck was TAUD? I totally second the sunglasses thing!

barb said...

Hi Mary,
I would like to visit with you today (Tuesday) about your entry into the Today Show contest for a trip to London. I would love to do a story on that for the Rapid City Journal, where I'm a reporter.
If you get this please contact me at 394-8417 or barbara.soderlin@rapidcityjournal.com.
Barbara Soderlin

Haylee said...

Hello. You are awesome. But, I think it is time for a new post! We need to see more updates of our LOVELY MARY!! Love you!!