Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Came. I Saw. I Marathoned.

The inaugural HFM Maritime Marathon is run and done!  I finished!  I'm officially a marathoner!

A super slow marathoner, but a marathoner none the less.  I finished in 5:3?:??  I think?  I wasn't looking at the finish clock, just the finish line, and my Garmin is a dirty whore, so I don't really know.

What I do know is that I was not DFL.  Praise Cheeses.

This event was a marathon only.  There are plans for a half next year, but this year was just the full and a relay.  There were something like 400 runners among all the events (2-person relay, 4-person, and solo), so the start line was pretty sparse compared to the Cellcom.

The fire truck was pretty damn cool.

Before we set off, the mayor of Two Rivers, the mayor of Manitowoc, the CEO of Holy Family Memorial, and one of the race organizers gave us a pep talk (and a priest or something).  They all seemed pretty excited at the turnout.  I guess they originally expected around 100 people total to do this thing, so having 4 times that much was pretty great.  A race participant sang the anthem!

Packet pick-up was at the Maritime museum, which was nifty.

At this point I was still all confident and excited and stuff.

The guys at the pick-up were crazy nice.  One even offered to take this picture with me in it.  We all know how much I adore being photographed.  I politely declined his offer.

I noticed as I was driving to packet pick-up and again to the start line, that Manitowoc really is a lovely community.  It's a crying shame so much of their industry has folded.  It is really happily situated on the lake, and there are some beautiful homes and schools and parks all over the city.

This morning I got up, had some sweet potato hashbrowns and eggs, made a cup of coffee and headed down to the lake.  It was about 63 degrees and lightly raining.  Winning.  I got to the start, made use of the super convenient parking lot, ate a banana and got in line for the porta-john.  I accidentaly opened the door on a dude (Lock that sucker! Green means GO!), and struck up conversation with the lady in front of me (Is that weird?  I always talk to people in line for the pisser).  Her name was Amada and she was also running her first marathon.

15 minutes before the start, I saw this:
Warming up.  WARMING. UP.

Please forgive me if you're the type that does this, but I think that warming up before a marathon?  Is stupid.  Seriously.  You have 26.2 motherfucking miles to run today.  Why for the love of all that is holey (that's not a typo), would you run a mile before you start? Crazypants.

So how did it go?  Well, I went out too fast.  Way. too. fast.  10 minute mile fast.  By the time I hit mile 5 I was feeling nauseous.  It was stupid, I know that, but I felt so good the first mile...and I got caught up in the 10 minute pack and wanted to stay there and....and I fucked up.  I should have reigned it in.  I learned my lesson later.

I ran most of the way to mile 10, then ran and walked to the turnaround.  My half split was 2:36 or somesuch, and I knew I was way in the back of the pack after the turnaound.  I actually saw the winner.  I was at about mile 9, running about 1:40, and he was coming at me fast.  This is something I hate about out and backs-I don't want to see the winner.  It makes me feel slow and stupid.  The last 3 miles to the turnaround were very busy.  People everywhere.  By the time I made it back to Neshoto beach, I was alone again.

My Garmin decided to crap out at almost exactly mile 15.  That thing is an evil whore.  It has worked perfectly well on every long run, but fucking dies at every fucking race.  I was counting on that damn thing to help me pace the last 10 miles, since the course is long and straight down the shore, so the finish is pretty much visible the whole time. 

Mile 16-21 were hard for me.  Mentally, I was feeling downtrodden.  I knew I was off pace, but had no idea how far off.  I knew I was way way way in the back of the pack, but I didn't really know how many were behind me.  Physically, my right foot cramped up pretty badly. I didn't expect that at all.  It came and went for the rest of the race. By the end  couldn't really feel my right arch, but I think that was a good thing.

At 21 I caugh up to Amanda (from the porta-john line).  She was walking with her daughter.  When I asked how she was doing, she told me she was thinking of quitting.  I sort of gasped and said "You can't! We're only 5 miles from the finish!!"  She said she didn't think she would make it by the cut off.  I told her that it was only 11:30, and if she just kept up a good walking pace she would totally make it.

It was at that moment that I got my second wind.  I started running and turned back to her.  I pointed at her and said "You can do this.  I know you can."  In reality, I was talking to myself as much as to her.

I passed several people during those last miles, but never really caught the pack.  I walked and ran and walked some more.  My friend Joanne waved a sign at me just after mile 25, and again at the finish.  We finished out back of UW Manitowoc, with a beautiful view of the water:

There was an arch thingy.  This was taken pre-race.

I got an orange slice, then made straight for the food tent.  ShotBlocks are all fine and good, but I was seriously choking them down by the end.  I couldn't stand the sweetness.  I got my free Cher-Make brat and my free Point Brewery beer and Joanne and I parked ourselves on the hillside to cheer on the last few finishers. 

"White shirt" finished next-I never got her name.  We paced from 22.5-23.5 together.  Then came Liz, who I chased the whole way and finally overtook when her hip locked up at 21.  Then came "iPhone guy" who leapfrogged me from 15-21 and told me the time when I asked him.  Then came Amanda.   I have never been so proud of a total stranger.  She did it!  "Barefoot guy" was the last male finisher.  He did the whole damn thing in Vibram 5 fingers.  Ouch.  Then the older lady who was bringing up the rear at the turn around.

I leapfrogged  a lady named Carol near the turnaround. I don't think she finished.  I hope she is okay.

This course was so beautiful.  We ran through city streets, paved trail, gravel trail, and on a newly completed walkway on the beach.  It was so very lovely.  I would do it again as a relay in a heartbeat.

The shirt and hardware.

What I really liked about this race was the friendly feeling.  The volunteers were so great.  Every one with a smile and a word of encouragement...even for those of us way back in the pack.  I have never experienced such warm hospitality.  I would never have guessed his was a first year event, it was that well run.  To think, it was pretty much a group of running buddies that made this happen.  Cool.

How did I feel at the finish?  Hungry.  That's about it.  Relieved to be done.  No tears, no personal epiphany...just hunger :)  I'm really deep and shit.

I did get a little choked up when this song came on my iPod in the car. 

Yes.  It's the Glee version.  Judge all you want, I love 4 part harmony, and this totally brought tears to my eyes as I sang along in the car.  I sing the Santana part, if you were wondering.

Long story short, this was a great race.  I would highly recommend it!

Who's in for the relay next year?


  1. oh I knew you would do awesome! So proud of you Amy! You (obviously) punched that marathon in the b-hole. Must be the power of the meat cookies.

    That race sounds kick ass. I love that it was brand new yet they knew how to do it up right.

  2. Congrats on your first marathon! It sounds like this course (except the out and back and seeing the finish part, lol) and the volunteers and spectators were just amazing! I love that you saw Amanda finish.

    Warming up for 26.2? Come on. I have done it for 13.1, but 26.2? No way.

    Hope your legs are feeling good by now!

  3. Yeah, you killed this race. I'm so happy for you Amy - and happy you didn't have to do it in that god-awful heat at GB. I love hearing about races that don't suck... this might have to be on my calendar for 2013!