Saturday night: Scrambling around making dinner and packing everything I'll need on race day. It took me forever to try to find my St. Sebastian medal, the patron Saint of athletes, that was given to me by a great friend before I ran my first marathon. After a few hours of doing stuff and randomly looking for it, I finally found it in the pouch of my water belt :) Good. Now I knew I had nothing to worry about.
Leading up to this race, I had put in a lot of training, however 2 small injuries worried me. Every other weekend I backed down to 10 miles. I got in a 12, 13, 14, 2 16's, 2 18's, 3 20's (well, a 19.6, 21, and 19). On my last 19 mile run, my IT band started to hurt. I've had that injury before, so I kinda knew what I had to do. Lay off running. I cross trained, did everything I could, strengthened the gluteus medius muscle and surrounding muscles (I had been strength training since October, but I guess I didn't focus much on glute med!), foam rolling, icing, and stretching. I even tried to do ART on myself (LOL!). This was 3 weeks ago, so I had 3 weeks to heal. I swam, biked, and did elliptical. I went running a few times, to test. Still hurt. But the Monday before the race on Sunday, I was able to run without much pain, so I layed off running til the race and decided I was just going to give it my best shot, and if the pain got too bad, I'd quit.
The second injury...or should I say injuries....were huge blisters on the inside of my feet on both feet, right under the ankle bone. Basically...probably the most sensitive part of the foot...and how did I get these? Using new rollerblades the weekend before the race...ouch! They hurt real bad...I couldn't even put pressure on my right foot Monday night. I was really concerned, so I put antibacterial ointment on it, and even went out and bought Activ Flex bandaids that are "clinically proven to heal faster"....and well...I believe they worked! No blister pain on race day, and that bandaid stayed on the whole race, it's very durable! :)
Ok, so Sunday, race day:
Of course it rained before we started! But it actually stopped to a light drizzle at the start. I also bought a black band to where around my quad for my IT band...yeah...those don't work, and it started falling off around mile 2. But Dave's Running said I can return it if it doesn't work :) So...after about 2.5 miles I noticed the ITband pain. Great. So..I had this idea of turning my left foot slightly outwards some, and that helped the knee pain until mile 16. However when I looked down, it still looked like I was running straight. I must run slightly inwards, like I walk. It was around mile 16 that the pain started to grow, but I still felt I could finish. However, I had to start walking most of the downhills, and some straights at that point. It also started to rain harder about mile 17...mile 17, 18, 19, and 20 stretched on and on I wanted to quit!!
Mile 20-26.2 were all pretty tough, I think I was just in a daze, trying to ignore all the pain and put one foot in front of the other. When I passed the finish line (again, this was a 2-loop course), I wanted to stop at 26.2! But no...I had another 5 miles to go, and I figured it would take me about another hour and 10 minutes to finish the 5 miles at the rate I was going. At that point, I started to get a second wind, and all pain in my left knee had gone, I think because other pain masked it. I was able to run some small uphills and all downhills on the last 5 miles. Then, when I was almost finished, I hear Mike calling my name, and see him standing in the pouring rain, ready to run me in :) That lifted my spirits, and all I could do was speed up. Guess I had something left in me! And my sister was there at the finish line :)
It was a great experience....and I must say....I'm probably addicted :) I'm probably not going to run another one for awhile, though, it's triathlon season, and I'd like to swim and bike more with less running :)