It was nearly 90, but the heat wasn't what did it. Every ambulance in Brown County was busy hauling fallen runners to area hospitals. That's like 100 ambulances, people. The city just couldn't support that kind of burden. The funny thing was every runner I saw go down was a "real runner" type. Slim, tan, looking like perfect gazelles as they received oxygen and IV fluids. Clearly the fatties in the crowd (myself included) were more in tune with their personal limits today.
Here's the sad part, for me: I got turned back at the division point. I was more than 12 miles in, and I was hot, but I felt good. I never feel good in that kind of heat, but I hit my stride around mile 10, I found a run/walk ratio that worked for me, and I felt good. I was so excited to be at the division point, I just knew that once I made the turn onto the full marathon course that I was home free. I knew that my finish time would likely be closer to 6 hours than 5, but I didn't care-I was running a marathon. Me! The uncoordinated fat girl! A marathon.
When the race official shouted "All runners turn here! There is no full marathon!" I shouted "Are you fucking serious?!?" I was so pissed off that I walked almost half a mile, grousing with my fellow non-marathoners. As a result, I didn't get an official finish time because I crossed at 2:42 and they closed the finish at 2:35. So I got a full marathon shirt I can't wear, a full marathon medal I can't display, and a crappy, unofficial finish time. Sadness abounds.
I am not upset with the race officials for closing the course. I completely understand. I still feel cheated. I trained for so long...since January. I knew it was going to be hot, and I prepared. Hearing that I wasn't going to be given a choice was like getting punched. Still, I know that I didn't give up, and the outcome wasn't up to me this time.
I feel bad for those runners that made it as far as mile 16 or 18 or 20, even the finish who were denied the satisfaction of an official time. It's heartbreaking.
First thing I did when I got home?
After today, I can handle anything.
I am not looking forward to rewinding the last 4 weeks of training, but dammit I WANT MY MARATHON.
A huge thanks to all the spectators who got out their hoses and sprinklers to wet down the weary, and to all the volunteers who manned the (many, many) water stops, and most importantly to all the EMS workers who were there to pick up the pieces. I'm glad none of the pieces were mine.