isupportredfridays_edited-1 Join me by wearing red on red shirt Friday! Pray for my brother-in-law's safe return as well as the rest of our troops!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

About a Girl Who Went 26.2 Miles on a Particularly Bad Day.

Not everyone can be great all the time. If they could, then great moments wouldn't be great moments.


They'd just be, well, moments.

What makes them great is that they happen so rarely, so rarely that they are amazing and unbelievable and that's what makes them great.

My great moment came after the marathon. Way, way after. When my husband said to me the Monday night after the marathon, when I still had my softball stuff on from playing a game earlier, "When I get home, do you wanna have a beer and toast our marathon?"

I replied, "Oh yeah. We didn't really celebrate that, did we?" Of course not. I cry almost every time I think about it.

"Nope. But we did share a great bag of chips afterward," he said. And I smiled.

So Monday night we toasted our finish.

The big, long, drawn-out finish. And it was great.

I know I'm supposed to be excited that I completed my first marathon. I know I should feel exhuberant and accomplished and I should be flitting out to my car as we speak to apply my 26.2 sticker to the back of my vehicle like I have dreamed of for so long.

But I'm not. And the sticker's not on, yet either.

I'm in limbo.

I can barely think about the race without crying and I can't stop thinking that I trained for so long (with a brief interlude in December) and it all boiled down to that? A just short of 6 hour finish? When I had planned on passing the finish line in just under 5?

I've begun and stopped and begun and stopped this race report too many times now to count. But here it goes.

The morning of the race started out the same as all races, we all wake up at o-dark-hundred (which in this case was 2:22 a.m. to get to the shuttle by 3:15)  I shower, have coffee, get ready, feel frazzled, at the last minute I can't find my I-Pod and can't find my hairband and my husband makes a mad dash back to the room for a last-minute scour for my I-Pod and comes up with nothing and we turn my bags upside down and inside out and the whole time my I-Pod is sitting in my front sweatshirt pocket. Which I am wearing.

You know, I'm that kind of frazzled.

But my friend Nicole and I have our tutus on and cute stripey socks, so things are all good. We are nervous but not too nervous and we are with Kirsten, her husband and Brooke and all is right with the world. We are having a blast together because there is nothing better than running a race with friends that you love and admire.

We make great use of the porta potties beforehand, drop off our stuff at bag check, take pictures, Facebook and Tweet and head to the corrals to get our start. Every time a corral leaves, fireworks shoot off overhead and I get goosebumps.

It is still dark. It is about 5:45.

I get teary-eyed as the race starts and the music pumps through me and I am listening to a song that yells, "Say goodbye to your weakness, so long to the RE-GRET!" and I promise myself I will start out much slower than I want because I want to save it all for the end when I'll need it most.

My only disappointment in the first 6 miles was the lack of porta potties and so I had to make my first road-side pitstop in a race ever in a fantastic clearing of trees that I'm convinced was put there just for me. The most amazing thing about running in a tutu (which I got for a dollar, mind you, at Claire's Boutique because the lady gave it to us as part of a promo even though it wasn't really included in the promo) is that it provides an amazing barrier between your tuckus and the outside viewing world.

I got my return on that investment for sure. (More to come on that in a little bit.)

Plus the roadside stop really cut back on the amount of time waiting for a porta-potty, which, by the way was just around the corner from our pitstop had I been a bit more patient (but how was I to know? Really!) but the line was super long so our option was better. And by "our," I mean my husband was with me and stood guard in the clearing.


Miles 6-12 went great. I was still conserving. I was hydrating and GU-ing.

By mile 13 we were operating on a decent split, we were set to come in under 5 hours if we went the same pace or even sped up which I was hoping. That's also about the time where I found my hairband I was so frantically searching for this morning. It was around my neck the whole time. Oops.

However, by mile 13, I got cramps and not the kind from any sort of muscle or side stitch, it's the girlie kind that you get when you have a visit from Mother Nature and I thought, "Uh oh."

But I was prepared and I didn't really think at that moment it was a big deal. I was sort of expecting it anyway.

Then by mile 16, things took a turn for the worse. Things wouldn't stay in place because other things were happening, and if you've had a baby you might know what I mean and if you didn't then you don't need to know what I mean anyway (but if you ever do have a baby, feel free to ask about what I mean, I can help you.) So then, I had to make another quick pitstop to assess the situation and well bad things were happening.

I couldn't keep things in place to keep running. There was just no way. Things kept shifting, then things kept leaking, I needed more supplies, and the shifting and leaking and whatnots and soforth forced me to have to walk. I did a run/walk thing until mile 18 but had to keep stopping at each medical tent for more "supplies."

I am trying to make it sound nonchalant and almost silly but to be perfectly honest, I was pretty devastated and frustrated about what was happening. Had I been a man that day, the race would have been a whole different story. At mile 16 I grew to hate my body and the comedy of errors that repeated itself along this 26.2 mile journey and by mile 18 I cried in defeat in a wet, chafey, godawfulcrampsbeyondbelief heap of a wife.

And that's when my husband took my hand and said, "I'm staying with you till the end, we'll do this." And I loved him with my whole heart and more.

The rest of the race went like this: the next mile marker, the next medical tent for "supplies," the next porta potty, the next mile marker, the next medical tent for "supplies," the next porta potty. That is how it went. We basically walked until mile 23 and now back to the tutu: that thin little tiny screen hid every sort of issue I was having from the waist down and I was thankful for its presence beyond belief. I have never been so thankful for wearing a tutu in my life. That thing pulled double duty. If I was going to feel like crap, at least I don't have to look like it! Right?

At mile 24 I ran out of "supplies."


Because it accidentally fell right into the toilet, THAT'S WHY!

I was devastated!! Staring over the toilet yelling, "NOOOOOOOO!" (Which might have sounded crazy to anyone in the Hollywood Studios restroom with me). There were no more "supplies" left and we were approaching 6 hours on the clock so there was no time anyway!

I switched to emergency mode and I wadded up the most giant wad of toilet paper, stuffed it in my pants and ran my ass off, chafing my whole being straight to the finish line in no quick manner but in such a manner to just make it under 6 hours and put myself out of misery.

And we did. By 3 minutes. Or 2. I don't remember.

It was the ugliest race I have ever run. Hell, it's the ugliest RUN I've ever run. And probably the ugliest race report you'll ever read, too, if you even made it this far. And I apologize if you are a man reading this but that was my reality that day and there really is no prettier way to put it except to say, well man, I had some problems.

It's so unfortunate that this is what turned out to be my first marathon experience because I had a picture in my mind of how I wanted to finish and wet britches with a wad of toilet paper the side of my head affixed to the inside of them was not in it. Not at all.

I was numb crossing the finish line and to be honest, I didn't even care to know the time. I found out the time on Twitter when someone tweeted it for me.

I got my medal that I didn't feel I deserved and I walked numbly to our meetup spot where I was sure everyone would have already left, but they didn't and I spotted them waiting for me and my heart burst open and I was thankful for friends.

And Kirsten got up and met me and I just hugged her hard and I cried. I'm pretty sure she knew that it had been ugly for me, which she did, and she just stood there hugging me. I love her with sparkles.

So. Much.

We all ran separately but we were all in it together. We all had our demons and somehow we all overcame them and finished. 26.2 has a way of stripping you down to your bare soul and sometimes the end turns out pretty and sometimes it doesn't.
After the race, I didn't even recant the tale to them too much except to just give the basic outline because everyone did so great and FINISHED A FREAKIN MARATHON! And it was time to celebrate. Right?

But I didn't feel like celebrating.

I want a do-over. More than anything, I want to do this over. The thing is, I don't really want to do this training all over again.

Then again, I can't have this be my first and only marathon experience.

See? I am so torn right now.

Is it a race-day curse? In Miami-Man, it was the flat tire. Here, it was my body.

GOD, I just want to finish strong! That is all I want! And with the sense of accomplishment, not the sense of defeat or the sense of "at least I finished."

Yes, I am too hard on myself. I know that. I can't help it. But it's because I KNOW I can do better than this.

A wise man once told me that come race day during a marathon, anything can happen at any mile. There is no way to know what will happen or when and it will almost always certainly surprise you. This same wise man also said that you have to run a marathon in order to know how to run a marathon.

I now know what that means.

(Among other things, it means planning the marathon day toward the end of the month!)

My mom came over yesterday and brought dinner. She knew how upset I was and after we ate, she made me take out all my medals from last year and hang them on my dresser mirror. I didn't win first place or any "place" for any of them, but they were all beautiful shiny accomplishments that when you look closer you see that they are actually memories attached to a ribbon that hangs around my neck. And wrapped up in each medal is a story of training, hours and hours of training, and family and struggle and failures and victories and finish lines and most certainly there is a story of the race itself and and the story of friends.

The shiny Mickey medal I got on Sunday tells a really, really long story about a girl who went 26.2 miles on a particularly bad day for her.

She crossed the finish line with her husband and at the finish line waiting for her were her friends.

I'll forever see that when I look at the Mickey medal and recant that tale that will most certainly begin with, "Oh, and THIS one...."

I am now planning a redemption race. And maybe even within the next three months so I don't completely lose the distance training. I just can't bring myself to end on that note. So if any of you have any suggestions on the when and the where, (there is the Georgia marathon in Atlanta in March perhaps...?) I might be up for it. It just needs to be cheap because I can't really afford to add more races to this year.

I'll keep you posted.

But today, I feel better.

In fact, tomorrow I might even put my sticker on. Who knows.


Mommy Mo said...

Zooma Austin Half/Full. Christy and I are doing the half. April 16th. It's a women's race. YOu have a place to stay : ).

I cried reading your report, esp when I got to the part about your husband staying by your side. Sometimes our bodies betray us at the worst time (is there ever a good time for that?) and it hurts so much. Regardless, you are a stronger person for this experience and I still think you are one bad ass runner.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing. Seriously. I know the day didn't go the way that you had envisioned, but you HAVE to realize how much courage it took for you to keep going.

And Good Lord, you are married to a special man.

I love you. And that's all I have to say about that.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

You finished!! You are my hero! I know it wasn't pretty (believe me, I know) but you did it. You'll get 'em next time.

My hubs has ran 3. And one was spent running, then in the BK bathroom for 45 min., then running, then in McD's bathroom for 45 min. It happens, girl. To guys too. (he'd kill me if he knew I put this on the internet... ;D)

jen said...

you are amazing and I love ya....for about a zillion reasons.

You had a bad day but you have a great husband and great friends.

Rock on sister!

Heather D said...

Crying right now. Sad tears for your disappointment and happy ones cause you have an awesome husband and finished a marathon. YOU FINISHED A MARATHON.
So tell your lady problems to eff off. You won.
Love you, you're so amazing!

Brooke said...

you know what i thought when i first saw yall? i didn't know who that was ahead of me, all i saw was a couple holding hands. and i thought, damn, i wish i had that. i was jealous of your race experience.

then when i saw it was you guys i just had to snap a picture because i wanted to capture that moment. that stick-with-you-till-the-end-ness yall were oozing.

um...maybe oozing is a bad word to use ;)

you have something pretty special and i know given time you'll be able to appreciate that about the race. yes, you have a special husband. mine obviously didn't give me that kind of support.

but more than that. you're so awesome you deserve that kind of support. this was his way to show how he knows he's so lucky to have a super freakin awesome wife like you?

love you. so sorry your first marathon sucked, but sometimes out of the suckage comes more knowledge and strength than we could ever otherwise have gained.

Bari said...

Love. I know this was hard but I'm so glad you wrote it. Your report is as beautiful as you and shows what a strong kick ass woman you are and what a freaking amazing husband you have. I'm also so glad Kirsten & Brooke (and Mr. ChristieO) were there for you on Sunday. I hope when the hurt and disappointment lesson you are able to look at that Mickey medal and say "I am an effing Marathoner!" Now go put that sticker on your car. You earned it.
((hugs)) XOXO

Christy M. said...

Christie, you are still my hero, and you always will be. Thank you for sharing your race report, even if it wasn't what you wanted it to be. I love you and you're husband, too! HE ROCKS!

Roo said...

Do you know how many people would've said screw it and NOT finished? A LOT. I'm glad you had your husband there to keep you focused. I'm so sorry it wasn't everything you wanted but I know that your redo will be amazing. Because you are amazing!

Barb said...

I don't ever want to hear you say that you feel that you don't deserve that medal, do you hear me? If anything, you deserve it *more* than many of the people out there. You did 26.2. On a very bad day. But you DID it. I am proud and amazed. ((hugs))

AnnG said...

And that's when my husband took my hand and said, "I'm staying with you till the end, we'll do this." And I loved him with my whole heart and more.
THIS made me cry!! What a wonderful hubby you have!! There will be other races and this one will eventually become the one where you laugh about! Sometimes being a girl SUCKS!! but you did it!! Sooooo proud of you!!

Pubsgal said...

(((hug))) (wipe teary eyes) Christie, you of ALL people deserve a strong race. I don't know why it didn't happen for you this time, but I'm glad your husband was there with you through it. I can sure understand feeling daunted by the training it would take to do this again...I'm not sure I'd EVER want to do that kind of training. The Marathon Fairy needs to get its skanky ass in gear and wave that magic wand and give you a totally triumphant redo. Because, seriously.

But as for "deserving" the medal? Of course you do. I'd say even more so, for going above and beyond to finish it. You've done what so many of us either only dream of, or don't even want to do because it's too damn hard. The race is just one day, but there are months of pain and training and not feeling like it and doing it anyway that go into something like this. So I think it's sort of like what you say about moms: there is no such thing as an "average" marathoner. The only "undeserving" marathoner I can think of is someone cheats or is unsportsmanlike, which is NOT you.

Thanks for sharing this with us. I know we can't make your pain about this go away, but it gives us the chance to try and ease it a little bit. You know?

mommaof3ontherun said...

Hugs. You deserve it. No doubts.

Allie said...

Oh man, I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience but so many people would have quit and you kept going, that says a lot about you. You earned that medal, it might not be the fastest marathon you ever do but it was tough and you deserve it.
I completely understand about wanting a rematch, I'm sure you can find a smaller, inexpensive marathon somewhere close. Check out

Melissa Curran said...

Congratulations on completing the marathon, despite the challenges you faced during the race. That is an amazing achievement!

Bug's Mom said...

I did a half two years ago and was having a fantastic race until I hit the 7 mile marker. I had to pee so bad I thought I would die so I did the portapotty thing. Except Im pretty ale, so by the time I get anywhere, everything is pretty icky. It was so bad in there I couldn't get myself going. And as I stood there squating, unable to pee, I also started to cramp badly. Though I was going to set any records, I had been on pace to break my goal of 12 minute miles. After that, I could hardly walk. Mortifying. Dissapointing. Haven't had the cajones to do another one.

Personally, I think you kick ass because you finished. There aren't many people who can say they have. I sure can't!

Nadine said...

Yikes!! I am sad that it went this way for you but so impressed that you stuck it out and finished when SO many people would have just plain given in. Good for you, and so AWESOME that you're already thinking/planning about how to beat it!

The Doll said...

Oh, Christie. (Hugs) I cried reading this entire post. You are such a strong, amazing and inspirational woman. You finished a freaking Marathon on a horrible day. You didn't give up and you fought thru it. You are one tough cookie. You deserve that medal and you have an amazing husband to stick by your side the entire way.

Jane said...

It is amazing that you finished a marathon! It could have been worse, right?? At least it wasn't diarrhea? (Positive spin, positive spin....) I am amazed by your run and I just "met" you!!! You are inspiring!

Heather said...

Oh wow! I just cried and laughed through that whole entire thing. I once dropped out of half two days before because I knew it would be on THAT day and didn't know how to deal with that... I was too scared find out. And I recently finished a half (the one I did instead of the one I dropped out of) where I'm pretty sure I felt a whole bunch of the same emotions. And it just really sucks to have your body turn against you and "ruin" a race experience. But you know, it just takes time, and before you know it you will back at it and stronger than before. ps-i'm glad to hear that you finally got that sticker on... you deserve to show that off!

Tiffany said...

So sorry things didn't go as planned but you are a rock star. And a marathoner. And one kick ass hooker.

april said...

Do you know what does make this a great moment? You didn't run a race here; you fought a battle. Battles are tough, they're brutal, and they are ugly, but you know what? YOU WON THE BATTLE. You didn't quit. Many people would have.

This story? Is WHY you're my hero. I love you.

Kristie said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story from your life. Your candor and humor painted a beautiful picture of what you came to describe as a memory you will never forget. And by your sharing it with your friends and family and strangers like me your story will, undoubtedly, be one countless others will also never forget. Every step of the way you were winning that race with an amazing spirit that touches and inspires others.
Thanks for sharing!

*Lissa* said...

You are 100% amazing. You are my hero.

Woman problems during races suck ass. I know because I was hemorrhaging throughout San Diego and it was awful and awkward.

Post a Comment

Talk to me goose!

(ps. I love responding and if you have your email set on your blogger profile I can!)

My Favorite Quotes

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it." - Bill Cosby

I tri because one day I didn't believe in myself. And then one day I did.

"I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist." - Jack London

Some people think it's holding on that makes one strong- sometimes it's letting go.

"Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History."- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Live life PASSIONATELY, laugh OUT LOUD, love UNCONDITIONALLY. - from my spoon rest.

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." - Ferdinand Foch