In 2 weeks, I’m going to run my second marathon. It’s been almost 11 years since I ran the first one (2000 San Diego Rock ‘N Roll Marathon).
That should give you a little bit of a clue as to how it went.
Let me start out by saying that I absolutely love reading marathon blog entries that talk about that magical “first time.” The defining moment of crossing the finish line after months of tough training… The tremendous feeling of accomplishment… The feelings of pride…The race to sign up for the next one! The beginning of a new life… A new journey…
Now let me tell you my story.
I remember 3 things about my first marathon experience in June 2000:
1) The elusive 9:00 min/mile pace guy
2) My porta potty nightmare
3) Hitting the wall
In my typical Type-A, overachieving fashion, I decided that I wanted to run my first marathon in under 4 hours. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have changed that goal to simply “finishing and having fun.” My training cycle had been less than stellar. I was a Navy helicopter pilot during that time, and at some point in my training, I had been sent out to a ship for a pre-deployment exercise that lasted 3 weeks. The ship had a Stairmaster and that was it. Crap. 3 weeks with NO running during a marathon training cycle does not bode well for a successful race.
Fast forward to the big day. I was running with my awesome friend, Bridget, so at least I had a partner to keep me on track. There were 20,000 people in the race; therefore, it took a while for the crowd to thin out so we could get to our goal pace. Finally, we see the 9:00 min/mile pace guy, and we hang with him for a bit. Sort of. We find that no matter what, he’s always a few steps ahead of us. Always. Not so much a big deal except for the fact that he is running BACKWARDS. Yes. BACKWARDS. And holding a sign. And looking like he’s not working at all. At least he appeared to be Kenyan, so that made me feel like not as much of a loser.
I get to mile 10 and of course, I have to poop. Figures. You can imagine how clean and fragrant a porta potty is at mile 10 in a race with 20,000 people, right? I duck into the john and try to take care of business without touching ANY part of my bare flesh to ANY surface in the stall.
Unfortunately, in my breathlessness and haste, I misjudged and aimed poorly.
Oh my God! I just crapped all over the back of the toilet seat! SHIT!
(Don’t ask me how. I'm trying to forget.)
I am a DISGUSTING VARMINT!!!
**Side note: I'm pretty sure I never told anyone this story. Not even my husband, who will likely be grossed out yet not surprised.**
I cleaned everything up as best as I could and got the hell out of there. I know what you’re thinking. “No way….” Yes, way. I felt really bad for the person who stopped in there next. I’m thinking they took one look at the crime scene and moved over to an adjacent john.
Ok, back to the race. The pace guy is no longer in sight, so I’m not reminded of what slacker I am, and I’ve taken care of my intestinal issues. Life is good.
…was good until I got to mile 15.
I remember asking Bridget how she was feeling. Always peppy and energetic, she tells me, “I’m feeling GREAT!” I, on the other hand, am not feeling great. AT ALL. I tell her that I need to slow down and that she can go ahead. I see her bounce off into the distance, and I meet up with her and Kyle (her husband-who was also running but WAY ahead of us chicks) after the race.
If you’re not a runner, you’re probably unfamiliar with “The Wall.” The simple explanation is that your body has run out of gas; your glycogen stores are GONE. It’s caused by going out too fast and/or not fueling your body properly during your run (I did both). For me, it felt like someone strapped cinder blocks to the bottom of my shoes. I was done.
I ran into Mike right before mile 20, right as I was heading up a hill (yay). I remember him asking, “How are you doing?” (he knew the answer) followed by my flat response, “Not good.”
I shuffled along for another couple of miles and then picked it up again around mile 23. I remember crossing the finish line both relieved that I made it and glad that it was over. Cross one off the bucket list. Not that I even knew what a bucket list was when I was 24. But still.
And hey... Even though I ran it in 4:17:26, I still beat Oprah's time (4:29:15), so it was all good. I could still be proud!
There you go. That’s my first marathon story. There’s nothing glamorous, glorious, inspiring, or even remotely motivating about it. I’m saving that kind of story for the next time. The Comeback Crapper will be back in two weeks after her successful running of the Kentucky Derby Marathon!! (April 30th)
I’m really hoping and praying that it’s sans crap though…
(Bridget, Kyle and myself after the San Diego RNR marathon. Bridget just made her comeback as well. She finished the Shamrock Marathon last month in 3:37:59 and qualified for Boston. So proud of her!!)