Wednesday, May 10, 2006

CMM Marathon report.....finally

April 29th, 2006

You know, this is really hard to report. My mind is STILL jumping all over the place.
I just don't know where to start and I know I'm going to leave out some very good stuff.
I debated whether I wanted to just start with my race day report or with Thursday morning
at 9:15 a.m. when Marty picked me up. Looks like I'm gonna opt for the latter.

First of all, I can't even express to all of you my feelings about Marty's help during the race.
Marty is the KING of pacers and deserves a medal just for being so AWESOME! A big one! A special thanks
to you my friend. The whole time he was paying attention to my breathing and when he could
tell I was giving it too much too soon, he told me to back off. It was constant, constant feedback.
We talked the night before the race about my game plan and it was to set out at an 8:30/mile pace
at first and then maybe increase as time wore on. Dan was also right there throughout and was wonderful
but his main goal was to stay ahead of me about 5-10 yds. He said something about that being his plan
all along for a mental thing for me, but I still think he had ants in his pants from day one and you just
couldn't hold him back. ;-) But I digress! Let me get back to my "story".

Thursday morning dawned clear and sunny as I waited for Marty to find my house....or get lost. I figured if
it was the latter, I would have received a cell call. His plan was to pick me up somewhere between 9-9:30 and
he was right smack in the middle at 9:15. I loaded up(with WAYYYY too much stuff) and we were off.
Marty, Dan and I had talked about bringing music for our road trip. Funny thing, I think between the drive down
and the drive back home, we might have listened to a handful of songs. We would listen for a while, but
just couldn't get into....too many things to talk about. Marty had packed a big cooler of "good, healthy" food
and warned me about his penchant for eating on the hour. Well....maybe not ON the hour....but pretty darn
close! I think that man has not one but two tapeworms. He and Dan both were bringing food and told me
not to worry about a thing. They would handle it all. Well, they both did just that. Not only with the food on
the way down but back home. Even going so far as to covering Jen and my tab which was a real blessing
for me as they well know. Yeah, and I told Marty "the check's in the mail". lol Just kidding.

So we made it to Dan's and found a note on his door about putting the garbage out. Marty was getting
ready to look for the garbage when Dan opened the door. We loaded up and headed on down to Nashville.
We arrived around 7ish, checked in and then scoured the main drag. We found a GREAT brewery
with AWESOME food! I'm still craving their spring rolls. We had a sampler platter of some of their brew
which probably wasn't a smart thing to do on an empty stomach, but the food came fast, thankfully.

We headed back to the hotel to hang out and talk before heading to bed. For some reason, Thursday
night started some weird exchange between Marty and Dan. I couldn't figure out what they were doing
for the longest time. Something about lines from a movie called "The Jerk"??? Or something like that.

We talked for quite a while and then hit the sack. In our own rooms, I might add ,lest some people get
the wrong idea. ;-)

In the morning I hear a rap at the door and Marty and Dan saunter in all chipper and
dressed in their running best, ready to face the world and conquer Nashville
with a nice, easy fun run. Didn't anyone ever tell you it's illegal to have that much energy
so early in the morning. But it was a sign of things to come. Too dang early for this girl.
I groan, throw my covers over my head and say, "Have Fun". I hadn't really planned
on running at all before the 1/2 considering I had just raced a 10K the week before
and knew I needed all the rest I could get. Finally got up, took a shower and was ready to
go to pick up Jen at the airport when they got back.

Uh, Jen, did Dan not ever see a pic of you before CMM because as we were waiting for you to come down the
escalator, there was a gal that I guess sorta looked like you, but I know it wasn't. Dan didn't believe me so I quietly
said, "Hey Jen", but she didn't turn around. Besides, she just wasn't as cute as the "real" Jen anyway.
So we went back to our hiding places to wait for Jen. I guess we did a pretty poor job of hiding. Hugs were
exchanged. I had never "met" Jen before, but I felt as if I had known her for years. She is one sweet lady.

Took Jen back to the hotel, got her checked in and set off for the expo. Now I had heard from Jen that she
didn't like crowds but I felt she was a real trooper with the expo. As we made our way down the escalator,
we were told from some loud barking where to go. These people were so rude and curt that Marty says to us,
"They sound like Soup Nazi's,'No soup for you!'" Whereupon, one of the ladies turned around and said, "that's
right, no soup for you!" I don't think Marty said it that loud but we got a good laugh out of it. Then as we entered
the expo area, lest we get lost....lo and behold, they had little shoe prints to walk on just so we wouldn't get lost
in such a BIG expo(insert tongue in cheek here). I couldn't resist!! I started to follow the "yellow brick road" and
stopped to see if my counterparts were obeying the rules and following suit. Then I heard, let's go ladies, there
are people behind you! Geez! Give me a break. And that was about the last time things were strict much to
our surprise.

At some point we met up with Leslie and her hubby and Letty and her gang. We opted to eat eary, which was a
very good decision. We had a 10 min wait at 4:30. When we left the restaurant, I think the line went around the
corner. I was afraid to ask their waiting time! We found a great ice cream place. Yes, Jen, I agree, birthday cake
ice cream ROCKS!

We headed back to the hotel to once again sit around and talk and talk and talk........

With Jen, Dan and marty it just felt like being around family.

Jen and I proceeded to lay out our race clothes and go through our goody bag. A little later I look over
and Jen is lying on her stomach on her bed looking at her pile of race things with this look of
adoration on her face. I just couldn't resist that and had to take a picture. You'd think she was looking
at a feather pillow after lying on a bed of nails for a week!
Race day begins!!!! I way up to the sound of wait....that's Jen in the shower. But then I hear a crash
and a scream. I run to the bathroom door and ask, "Are you okay?" She's laughing hysterically, as I'm looking
at the palms of my hands with globs of hair clenched between my fists. I told her in so many words to, "KNOCK
IT OFF!" I think she pretty much covered it.

Not one for having ANY pre-race rituals of ANY sort, I proceed to eat a couple of ch.chip muffins made by none
other than our eat-every-hour food guru, Marty. Not bad! What? No oj? That's okay....Gatorade will do.

I think we're all pretty calm, especially our marathon virgin. But the goofiness begins from either being nervous,
excited or just plain up too early. We wait a bit for Letty and her gang, but they didn't show. We head out the front doors to pretty balmy weather considering Jen and I have just spent the last couple of months training in sub 40's weather. To wear short sleeved shirts at 5:00 a.m. is not a good sign of things too come. I still had to wear my garbage bag....of which came in handy at the starting line(right Dan?)

For some reason our little group was wound up. Everybody else on the shuttle to the start was half asleep. We
started getting some pretty strange looks. Got to the start at around 6 a.m. where there was lots of pre race food.
Everything even down to Starbucks coffee. We sat on the grass chatting while Marty continued to stretch. I wanted
to start calling him Gumby. I don't know what he did more....eating or stretching.

We looked over at these blue boxes all in a row and figured something in them must be worth seeing because the lines
to get in them were very long. So we decided to get in those lines too. We walked Leslie and Jen to there start and then Marty, Dan and I lined up in my corral #6. There were so many people out of the corral they were supposed to be in. Marty wondered where the soup Nazis were now. They played the National Anthem(dang, can't ever get through that without tears coming to my eyes) and we were off.

Marty was very good at holding me back the first couple of miles. He knew that I was worried about that and decided that was his main job. The course started pretty flat at first and I thought, "Hmmm, not bad!" Boy, did I regret that thought. From mile 2 on it was one rolling hill after the other. I was either going downhill or uphill. Amazingly, our splits stayed between 8:20/mile and 8:40/mile the entire race even with the hills. Like I said earlier in my first post, Marty did a great job listening to my breathing. He knew when to tell me to slow down and I think he literally saved my

After looking at the course map in the morning, Jen and I figured we'd probably pass each other while I was going up the long incline around mile 6-7 and she was coming down around mile 4 for her. Dan, being the one continually a little in the front saw Jen first. I guess I never realized how many women runners run in aqua running shirts. There were hundreds. The look on Jen's face was great as we high-fived each other. She looked happy and full of energy.

I took my first and only gu at mile 8. In hindsight, I wish I would have taken one earlier and then another one later. Around mile 8 Marty told me whenever I felt like it I could increase my tempo a hair. I told him it was too early. I was thinking realistically, "I wanna know how many more freakin' hills we have first!" But I knew with the hills I was better off waiting until around mile 9-10 to increase.

Mile 10 arrived and I knew I had to start kicking it into gear. I THOUGHT I was, but it seems my pace stayed the same. But that was okay too. We ran into Dan's wife's friend, Liz and she stayed with us until the finish. At one point, I believe it was around mile 11-12, Marty and Dan were continually trying to talk me up and encourage me. I had to tell them that this is the part where I dig down deep and their distracting voices were driving me crazy. Well, maybe
not in those words, but at least I didn't tell them to "shut the f**k up" like Dan said I should have.

Mile 12 my legs and lungs were telling me to quit and I told them they could both go to hell. I was feeling really weird, like I may pass out or that my legs were going to cramp up. I figured the pain would only be temporary and the finish line was near. I could see the stadium and hear the music. As I approached the last turn to the finish, Liz sprinted past me. And as most of you know, that's all it took for me. It looked as if someone lit a fire under my butt as I sprinted past her towards the finish. She threw out a challenge that I was more than ready to take. I didn't see Marty until later. It seems he was doing tricks to get the crowd roaring behind my back. What a ham. Dan and Marty both could get that crowd yelling and screaming so easily the whole race.

As I crossed the finish line, my chip time was 1:52:19. I couldn't believe it! My goal from the start was to get under 2 hrs, but during my training I figured that was a given. So my next goal was 1:55. Little did I know I would run such a good race. Even splits and a PR by 10 minutes. But I don't think my race would have been as good had Marty and Dan had not been there for me. Marty at my side and Dan just ahead enough to make me want to stay within visual contact. A psychological twist, or so Dan said.

Thanks so much you two! You're the best! I can't thank you enough!

After getting our goodies, of which there were tons. Nashville actually puts Chicago to shame on the spread of food at the finish. But the sandals they gave out to us. What was that? I think they were made for elephant feet. They were grotesquely wide. As I found out later when I tried to wear them while trying to walk to a place where we could see Jen.

Dan went to mile 20 to run Jen in and Marty and I went back to the hotel to shower and change. The walk back was just right to keep the legs loosened up. As Marty and I were crossing the foot bridge, we both noticed how much the
wind had come up. It seems it becames very gusty and we worried about that for Jen. High winds and heat do not a good combination make, especially for a marathon.

Marty and I made it back to mile 21 later but no Jen. Dan didn't have a phone so we didn't have any idea whether we missed her or she was behind her goal time. So I proceeded to go to the finish to wait for her as Marty jogged to mile 20. Marty caught up with Dan and Jen later and reported back to me as Jen made her turn to head out of town. I wasn't real happy hearing that Jen was hurting already. Not a good sign. But I knew she was tough and wasn't going to let that stop her. I can just hear her cursing at her legs.

It was so exciting seeing her come in. I had goosebumps and had to fight back tears(yeah, Jen, I didn't tell you that). It was even more special knowing what she had to go through to achieve her goal.

Jen, you rock! You are and will be an inspiration to many for what you overcame out there on the CMM course. You are up there in my book.

You are not only a great runner but I consider you a great friend too. Until we meet again I have just two words for you! ROCK ON!!! lol Yeah I just had to say it one last time.