Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Longer Version







I'm back from my retreat - it was wonderful. It was right at the base of Mt. Si, within a few miles of the start/finish of the 50K. This retreat was a two-day meeting for our state organization of Parent Education Coordinators and only the second of meeting of this group that I have attended. I was surprised to be approached last night by an executive board member and asked to serve on the board next year - they said they liked my enthusiasm and willingness to share and embrace new ideas. I feel very honored to be asked in my first year of coordinating. Add that to my good experience in Eugene, and it has been a great few days for me.
I'm a little behind in life right now - work, home and blogging. I'll be getting to everyone's posts in the next few days. Don't worry though - I have my priorities in order: first, race report, second, groceries, third, laundry...

So the long story about Eugene. I'm going to let you read Jenny's post to hear about the drive down and the evening before the race. After Jenny dropped me back at the hotel, I spent sometime working on my feet. First, I soaked in Epsom salts - which I had been doing twice a day all week. After my feet dried out, I made two doughnuts from moleskin - one for the ball of my right foot where I caused injury to the new skin on my Friday night test run, and one for the injured second toe of my right foot. I was feeling very nervous about both. Then I kind of puttered around, getting my food ready (when you run as long as I do, you pretty much pack lunch), pinning my bib to my fuel belt and getting the chip on my shoe. I really missed having Eric there to chat with during the race prep. He called about 9:00 and said they were in town - he was going to drop Rob off, then be over. He got a little lost though, so it was closer to 10:00 by the time he rolled in. I was tired and grouchy by then, yet Eric, the 50 mile runner, was cheery. Poor guy. I went to bed while he worked on his pre-race prep. Not my best wifely moment - sorry honey!

We were up and getting ready at 4:30 the next morning. (And I was restored to my usual morning self (please note I did not say "cheerful morning self" - that takes a while)). I put on my Injinji's and shoes - they felt tight and uncomfortable. I took them off and added a band-aid over the moleskin. Tried again - it was worse. Took the band-aid off and figured I'd live with it as it was. The good news is, within 10 minutes or so everything settled down and my foot felt okay. We got to the parking lot in time to catch the first bus to the start. We waited at the corner for the rest of the gang - they started trickling in and the fun began. We fought our way back through the crowds to the potty lines - we had 20 minutes to the start and were worried if we'd make it through the lines. We did with about five minutes to spare. Melissa, Michelle and I found the 5:30 pace group and fell in behind them. I ran over to Mike and Frank to hand off my coat. Then we waited for the start. Judging by the clock time compared to chip time, it took us almost five minutes to cross the start mat.

We started off well, and enjoyed the first few miles. Michelle and Melissa ducked into a park to hit the restrooms - it was almost a walk break, so I said I'd keep going and they would catch up. Imagine my surprise when I went through a walk-run-walk cycle and was two minutes into the next run before they caught me! About mile five, Michelle decided to go off on her own. I've been encouraging Melissa to leave me and go out alone, because I know she has speed in her, but she said she was going to wait till the last five miles or so. We saw Mike and Frank on the side and got to shed a little clothing and leave it with them. I forgot that my gloves were tucked into my waist band - which would come back to bite me later. Eugene had great support from the town - everywhere we went residents were on the street cheering us on, holding up signs, playing music and some even had food and water stations for us. I think the whole town truly got behind the race.

I took my one-and-only restroom break about mile 12. This is where forgetting the gloves tucked into my shorts comes in. It was a dry and sunny day in Eugene, but for some reason, the floor of the porta-potty was...wet. Right under that little thing hanging on the wall. The forgotten gloves fell out of my waistband and landed right in the puddle. I was thoroughly grossed out and disgusted. But they were my best gloves, and I sure wasn't going to leave them... I picked them up by the very edge and jammed them into the net side pocket of my fuel belt, feeling yukked out by the whole thing. And the worst thing is...there they stayed till today, when I finally remembered...

About mile 12 Melissa said she was thinking of leaving me at 13. Once we passed the half mark, I tried to get her to go, but she said she needed a "good-bye" picture. A short while later, I asked a guy on the side of the trail to take our picture, and then encouraged Melissa to leave. She wasn't going, so I slowed down - and she slowed down with me. I laughed and told her I was trying to give her the chance to pull away. I went into my Mom-mode and gave her a little pep-talk (I bet she is laughing at this whole description) and finally, at mile 14 when I took my walk break, she continued without me. It wasn't long before she was out of sight. This was new territory for both of us. I have had someone with me on every long run and every marathon and both ultras I have done in the last year. I was a little worried myself - worried I'd slack off, walk too much, give up or hate it. Luckily, none of that happened. I discovered that little voice in my head - it said things like: "10 more miles? That's a Saturday morning run with the gang, oh, 8 more miles? You've done that with Rick and Rob - with the hill run tacked on, oh, four more miles - that's an easy run"...It also said things like "two more minutes to the walk break - you can do anything for two minutes". I've discovered that every time I take an s-cap or eat something, I feel a little queasy - but it will pass in about five minutes. The voice reminded me of that too. I kind of enjoyed the quiet, and enjoyed the other runners around me.

Two high points: one was the chalk message on the sidewalk "Go Maniacs Rob Michelle Eric" - I don't know who wrote it, but I think I grinned for the next two miles over that one. The second was Bob Dolphin. Bob is the 77-or-so-year-old race director of the Yakima River Canyon Marathon, and has run over 400 marathons. Needless to say, he is a Maniac and was wearing the yellow jersey. When I passed him he was walking - I said something like "you're doing good Bob" as I went by. A couple miles later I hear a bellow "Watch out - Maniac coming through" and Bob runs by me - arms out to the side, a slap on my shoulder as he goes by and a big grin. He's a tall guy and looked like a great blue heron loping down the trail with his wings out. I laughed out loud and got a real boost from that one.

(See the wheelchair behind me? That's Mike - talk about dedicated race support!)

Anyway, you know the rest of the story. I finished in 5:29:30 - compared to 5:31:58 in Yakima. Not a huge PR, but not bad considering the 50K the previous Sunday. This was supposed to be my big week and big accomplishment - two weekend's back to back. But if you look at the sidebar...or if you read Eric's blog...you'll notice that we (Eric and I) slipped another marathon into the schedule. So now my big challenge is four back-to-back weekends, which, by the way, will put me at four Maniac stars. And there I will probably stay - looking at the criteria for everything above that...those people are nuts!

22 comments:

Michelle Sarabia said...

No bloody toe blister pics??? Maybe Melissa and I were holding you back. Congrats on the PR and, as always, thank you for all of your support and encouragement.

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Cracking me up with the glove/pee story. I saw the maniac message too and was wondering how come they left me off! JK. It made me smile too. That was right where I started to go downhill. I'm copying some of your pictures for mine blog too! Great post. Glad your retreat went well. How are you feeling by the way?
Jenny

Dori said...

You amaze me. Congratulations on your PR! And your two stars. I'm glad your toes aren't too bad. Great race report. How are you going to sterilize those gloves? Ewww.

wendy said...

Love the gloves story - you just had to come up with something to replace the gross toe photos, didn't you! =)

Look at you, 4 stars! That's pretty impressive, especially since your first marathon was 6 months ago! Talk about crazy people...

Congrats again on the PR, and what sounds like a lovely race!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

yay!!!!

(and ewww, gross! about the gloves)

Wes said...

Don't even get me started on crazy :-) And the gloves, Ewwwww! LOL. But you know what, it IS mind over matter, and your little voice started when you dropped the gloves, right? LOL. Nice job Michelle! Nice race report. I hope to do so good on my first marathon!!!!

Juls said...

I have to admit that I cheated. I just looked at the photos. It looks like you had fun, but again I didn't read today. I'm having a blah moment. Thanks for the pictures. I'll come back to read another time, but I wanted to let you know that I stopped by.

Journey to a Centum said...

Michelle,

Damn... I'm glad the gloves didn't fall into the porta-potty!

Nice job on the marathon! I'm sure I speak for everyone (except Lisa B) that we are very pleased not to have a picture of new toe trauma from this run.

Cheers!

craig said...

Sounds like a great time all the way around. I think I would have left the glove.

Sarah said...

Great job! I'm going to be so jealous of your 4 stars. I'm sorry too that I didn't stick around a bit longer, but its hard to keep an 8 yr old (and a 53 yr old!) occupied when he's ready to leave. : )

How did the hydropel work?

robtherunner said...

I didn't see the message on the sidewalk. Nice pictures!

Robb said...

Such a great report. You guys have so much fun and enjoy terrific support.

Hopefully your toes held up okay.

Thomas said...

Those gloves - yuck, and just after eating my breakfast!

Sure, those maniacs are totally nuts - so very much unlike you.

Congratulations on yet another marathon, you're getting good at it.

Jack said...

A PR is a PR, congratulations. Great report!

JustRun said...

Wow, go you! That was a great report- I need to have your voice in my head in my next race. Heck, my next run, period.

olga said...

The fact that you picked it up by yourself says something, doesn't it? More focus? More self-assurance? Try it again:) Very nice run. thanks for not putting the blister pictures, and eww for gloves...

Donald said...

Great report, Michelle! Don't dismiss your PR as "only" a certain number of minutes. With the volume of running you've done, being able to maintain (and even improve) your speed is fairly impressive.

Darrell said...

Great report Michelle. It was a good race, huh? The weather was perfect and getting to meet all of you was just icing on the cake.

I'm taking a few minutes at lunch to read a little. Hopefully I'll get my report up tonight. I've been wiped out since Sunday.

Good luck and have fun chasing the stars.

mtnrunR said...

great job michelle. sorry i missed you. but i did write the with chalk at mile 15. it was a great day out there. looked like a great day to run.
tom

Joe said...

Awesome report, Michelle, with what we have come to expect with you. Fascinating insight on people (being a Mom for Melissa), observations on the course (chalk on the sidewalk) and something really gross!!!!!! Ha!!

Congrats on the new PR...glad the toe held up!! Thanks for the good pix as well!

runliarun said...

Oh, I loved this thing, with the chalk message on the pavement. Someone who thinks like me.

Anne said...

Another steller report -- stinker too if you count the glove-puddle piece. (Eeewieeee!) Love the photo of all the running bloggers too. Glad you're back, Michelle. I missed your posts.