My friend Katelin posted her thoughts from her first marathon in a similar way. I thought it gave great insight to what happens to a runner during the race. So hear is my thought process the day of the race. Runners will appreciate this and others will think I’m crazy. I am okay with both.
4 am alarm goes off. Here goes. Clothes are ready but its cold. Should I wear a long sleeve shirt and through it away after mile 1 or 2? I love my gear and I didn’t bring a throw away shirt! David, where is your rain jacket? It wasn’t cold enough for a rain jacket. You chose to run in your yellow nike shirt to honor Boston plus it’s comfy. 4:45 am let’s go! Platinum parking opens at 5 and I’m not sure what traffic will be like. Would rather be there early and hang out than be stuck in traffic on race day. Watch battery is full, fuel belt is loaded, and gear is go. Text Kara to find out what time to meet up with them to help tape. 5:15 am parked and relaxing at the back of my car eating a banana. Temperature is warmer and that’s good but its humid. Stay hydrated no matter what. Remember you have adjusted your race goal after working the KT Tape booth at the expo Thursday and Friday. How cool was it to meet all those people and help them at the expo? Last check before locking the car. Key goes in my back pocket for safe keeping and it’s time to find the shuttle. 5:25 am gonna need the bathroom when I get to the VIP area. Shuttle takes a while to travel 3 miles. Are we still in Nashville? Rain it hitting the windows of the shuttle and people are beginning to wine. I tune out knowing I’ve already decided that I’ll be soaked and the motto for this race “it is what it is!” On site and looking for the restroom. There is a line at the guys bathroom! What the deuce? I’ve seen long line at the women’s restroom for races but rarely at men’s. Apparently every guy in VIP tried to wait until the last minute to poop, me included. Bathroom check! Found food provided by Publix, downed a bagel, and grabbed a protein bar. Text from Kara to meet them by the elevators. Head up and tape Kara and Kim. They are good to go. Laura is going to run the same place I have planned. Want to run it together? Sounds great, I will meet you at the corral. 6:50 am and I head out the hotel door for the start line. I’m not starting until 7:20. Raining steady. It is what it is. Found my corral but can’t find Laura. Crap! Keep looking, there is time. Keep your mind clear. This rain is cold. Dummy for not packing the jacket. Don’t wait to start music and watch when you get to the line that will be too late. Corrals are moving forward to be released. Hopefully I will track down Laura out there. Definitely want to help pace her. Our corral is next. You’re gonna be here a while, relax, don’t go out to fast, be gentle to yourself on the hills. 4 3 2 1 and we are off. Find your groove after this first downhill. Mile one, you’re going out faster than planned. Relax. Mile 2 and the hill is approaching. How are you feeling? Back not tight, knees feel good, and achilles okay Sweet. It hasn’t stopped raining but it is light so I’m good. Mile 3 and pacing is now where I want it. I feel good. So thankful for KT Tape and all the people I met at the Expo. How cool is that that I was able to share other runner’s journey with them while I taped them? 5k mark, still ahead of schedule RELAX. Mile 4 my shoes are SOAKED and the rain has picked up. Just laugh it off. Look at all the volunteers who showed up and are still out here weathering this to cheer for us!!! Mile 5, check out the guy in the wheelchair with Achilles International who is running the race, he has supporters around him but he is climbing this hill with no help. My runner spirit screams “YEAH!” to him. American flag and soldier passes me on the right. My mind drifts to my dad and becomes sentimental. Love my family. OUCH!!! What just happened to my left hamstring? What is this pulling? Come on! I reach back my left hand and its just my shorts stuck to me like they are trying to give my legs a hickey! I just made myself laugh. I wonder how Kelly is doing? Dinner was fun last night. Approaching mile 6 and my mind starts to drift. There’s Kim! Let’s run together! She asked what mile we are on. My Nike GPS is ahead by .2 of a mile. We are coming up on six. Got to low five the kids with the sign that says free high fives! Bam Bam Bam Bam four kids with high fives. 10k mark and staying hydrated. How’s my pace. I’m slowing down but still on pace. It is what it is. Mile 7 this is where I always find my second wind. Feeling relaxed but lost Kim. Where is Laura? I hope here race is going well. See some people shaking. Didn’t consider lower body temps. Can you get hypothermia with it in the low 50’s. Some streets have flooding at the edges. Mile 8 and that water is gushing. Did I just see Baby Moses float down the river? Made myself laugh again. I need to pee. Just pee on yourself. You are already soaked. Laughing again but seriously I have to pee. Find a place. Did that girl just pop a squat by some shrubbery? It is what it is! Mile 8 and my new favorite song comes on, Mirrors by Justin Timberlake. I start singing out loud to the people around me. Got a head nod from a girl who knew the beat. Others just waved and smile. Having fun now. Am I cold? Heck yeah I am cold! Keep singing, this song last 6 minutes and then countdown begins. I start counting down from mile 9. I can run four miles on even the worst day. I got this. Pacing is two minutes off. Sub 2:30 and we are good. Mile 9 mind is quiet. I love when this happens! Music is playing and people cheering but somehow I am lost in the quiet. Mile 10 and I snap out of it. I have to pee. Find a place to pee. Seriously find a place. There is an ambulance, I will go behind it. Nope, there is a potty in the distance with no line. No wammies, no wammies, make it, make it….. No line! Pee Break and happy dance. Still have half a bottle of nuun with my fuel belt. Why? Was easier at water stations. That’s not normal as they are usually packed. Well done Nashville having tables separated out for less congestion. This race is much improved from when I ran it in 2009. I may run this next year! Small climb and turn for mile 11. Check out the girls dressed as babies in the costumes with the sign that says Want to go back to my crib. That’s funny. Mile 11 check! still on pace to sub 2:30. What’s that girl doing? Police officer is helping her stand. She looks like she is trying to stretch her calf. Keep going to sub 2:30. Almost done. Don’t pass her by!! You wouldn’t want someone to do that to one of your friends. Hang a sharp left avoiding other runners. Are you okay? She is having severe cramps in her legs and feet. Slowly begin to massage her calf and it’s not helping. Try the other calf. She is shaking and cannot stand. Lay down and let’s stretch your foot and calf that way. Is this your first half? She laughs and says “It’s my sixth! I’ve been cramping since mile FOUR.” We need salt. Police officer tells her that if the ambulance comes she will not be able to finish the race. This sucks. Take my two packets of GU. We have to get electrolytes and salt in your system. Take off your shoe and I will try to flex out that cramp. Here is my bottle of nuun. Drink this as fast as you can. Another runner shows up and says “I’m a nurse.” I give here the rundown and she takes over. “Thank you,” the girl says. I hope you finish. I hope she finishes. Not gonna make 2:30. What’s the motto? It is what it is. WOW! Stopping for 10 minutes and then trying to run ain’t as easy. I am looking like a mall walker with big arm swings going .5 mile an hour. Made myself laugh again. So thankful for my family and those who support me. I am a blessed guy. Thank you Lord for that. Somebody just crop dusted me. That is not cool. Mile 12 almost there. Another dude cramped up on the side of the road but medical staff is already there. Sorry bro but if I stop again, I would have to roll to the finish line. There’s the stadium. Hate that I have made Kim, Laura, and Kara wait for me to finish. They probably already left. Final turn for the finish line. Are you going to break out the old school bowling pose for this? It would be funny. Just finish. No pose. Get the medal and let’s go. 2:38. Not what I had hoped for but focusing on the word, finisher. You can’t finish if you don’t start.
Come back tomorrow for some stories about some amazing people I met, a story that may make you cry, and a cute ballerina.
Thank you all for your love and support.