Philly will be my tenth marathon. I am not a marathon fanatic--I've done approximately one per year since 2000. But they have all been very special experiences, and before I add #10 to my collection, I thought I'd revisit the first nine. *Be warned--this is extensive*
1. Madison Marathon: May 28, 2000
I blogged about this one once before--when I was dealing with major injury in 2007 and posting about past races. Here is the link: first marathon. If that's too much to read (I get it), then here are a few pictures which had to be scanned b/c of the non-digital photog equipment of that era (thanks for sending, Mom!). In them you will see: my dad! (check out his video cam!), me at the finish (stupefied), two of the Sticks and me pre-race about to check out bags on the school bus!
Me crossing the finish line; the Sticks and I dressing/deciding what to check; me with my finishing medal; running the course.
Running the course on the UW campus, with L of Team Stick post race; heading toward the finish line; with the other L post race. What a day!
2. Green Bay Marathon: June 24, 2001
This one was about a year after my first. It was approached with a very sophomoric attitude. I had finished one marathon and had the mistaken thought that any subsequent marathons would be much easier. Therefore, I haphazardly trained. Since I had created detailed training plans for Madison, I tried to copy these for Green Bay, but not with the diligence or seriousness that perhaps I should have. I felt ready on race day, but I was not prepared for the high temperatures. It was above 80 at 8am! And humid. Things I remember about this race: I was a very recent college grad; C of TS ran the half; there was a part of the course on a trail with trees on either side--the sun was directly overhead at this point and no breeze could penetrate the trees--this was in the latter part of the thon; I'm pretty sure I hit the wall; I saw a runner chug a can of pepsi b/c she was so desperate for the caffeine; I was delirious and laughing quite hard when I arrived at mile 24 or so; C helped me make my way to the finish line, slightly amused at my deliriousness. I got sick and dizzy and pretty dehydrated. Not my best experience, but another marathon finish (see pic below for finish line crossing).
3. Country Music Marathon: April 25, 2002
Another "learning experience." The course was quite hilly. Since I was living in Illinois at the time, I lacked the hills necessary to train properly for this course. I went to Nashville with C of Team Stick. We had a great time at the Expo and tooling around the city the day before--though we realized the hills were outrageous! (The course has since changed, I am told.) The race began well. I ran steady and felt good. Then I arrived at mile 19 and hit the wall, or as I like to remember it: hit the hill. I was completely spent and used every last bit of energy to keep myself moving toward the finish line. I walked A LOT! And when I finally finished, I was spent and near tears. I felt I had failed, because I had actually trained quite hard for it. But I am not one to dwell on disappointments, and soon I found myself happily eating potato chips (presumably for the salt), which later caused me quite a bit of sickness. C no longer permits me to eat potato chips post-race. After this race, my energies centered around thoroughly training for Chicago that fall. This was not meant to be; instead I spent many months (August- March) nursing a bad case of plantar fascitis. Not good times, folks. Pics: me about to finish the CMM.
With C at the finish line holding back the tears. Wah.
4. Chicago: October 12, 2003
This race is a long story. I will not tell all of it. The short story is that it was a beautiful day in Chicago and I had an absolute blast! My time was horrid, but that was not the point. The point was that I proved to myself that I could run 26.2 miles and totally enjoy myself. Life is not always a bowl of peaches (or whatever the saying is). I had a lot going on and held onto running as my saving grace. This marathon was memorable in so many ways--my favorite memory from that day was when I saw my dad around the half-way point and he said, "See you on the South Side!" Makes me laugh to this day--he was not going to let me give up. Pic is me before the race. Like I said, gorgeous day! (And see--I ran with a bandanna on my head back then ;))
5. Cincinatti Flying Pig: May 2, 2004
Finally! A marathon to write home about! This was a huge PR for me--I hadn't come anywhere near my first marathon's 4:28 before this race. I was told Cinci was hilly. I didn't notice any hills. That's because it rained (poured, really) the entire time! I had the worst morning experience that day too--one bite of a bagel for breakfast, hotel coffee (in a styrofoam cup), and a surly hotel staff that refused to grant me a late check-out. I was beyond stressed out when I noticed the pitch-black, rainy conditions. I have to confess, I remember nothing about this race. Maybe a hint of mile ten. And a concern about a blister at one point. But nothing else. Until I finished. When I crossed the finish line, I was in for quite the surprise. My boyfriend showed up from New York to spectate! Of course, he had other reasons for coming-- later that night I officially became a fiancee. A marathon PR and an engagement ring--can't possibly top it! Here are pics: my face shortly after I realized my surprise fan ;)
still smiling after they put the Cubs hat on me.
trying to deal with wet clothes (of course, right after I finished the race, it stopped raining..)
BEST surprise EVER!!
6. Myrtle Beach: February 19, 2005
This one was nothing but fun! C joined me again. She even flew to New York one blistery January weekend to run a twenty mile training run with me--I believe we were two of 15 people running in Central Park that morning. New York got like 3 feet of snow. But I digress.. Myrtle Beach: I ran huge negative splits (2:14 and 2:00), I never hit the wall, I passed people like crazy at the end, and skipped the potato chips at the finish line (C was not allowing it). We did drink a few beers and schmoozed with the "stick people" (see pic). We also met Steve and Paula Boone on the shuttle back to the hotel. This was a great race!
7. Marine Corps Marathon: October 30, 2005
Time: 4:04.59 (PR)
Four of the Sticks participated in this one--that's what made it so special. I felt great -- and ran steady. My first half split was 2:06 and then I ran sub-nines until mile 23. I experienced the usual quads-on-fire/general crap feeling between miles 22-25. The worst was the .2 at the end: though theoretically short, they had a steep hill that I practically had to climb up on my hands and knees! But I crossed the finish line with a seven minute PR! A Lieutenant put my medal on and I remembered to say "Thank you, Lieutenant!" The Sticks and I had a great visit! Pics: C and I running and various brightroom snaps.
Wearing the purple shirts post-race, with the medals of course.
Luckily, I have this one on the blog. Details are here. To summarize, I was on the fence about competing in this one. Injuries and lack of training stifled my chances of running a decent race. But I decided to go for it! I had a blast with the Flyers at Fort Wadsworth and just took it all in during the race. It was a gorgeous day! Pics: Me on the phone with my parents around mile 19--I wanted to tell them I was alright--they worry.
The homestretch--somewhere in Central Park.
9. nyc '08
Another one already on the blog: go here. I still had injuries woes (when haven't I?). But this was another fun one! I had so many spectators (family, sticks, and lots of students!) and totally enjoyed myself. I just tried to run steady and finish in one piece. Pics: an unknown mile.
In the park--very serious (because I was hurting, most likely..)
One of my favorite pictures by BC! Around mile 25. I was psyched and so happy! In my element!
Phew! That's all I've got so far! If you're still with me, thanks! As is apparent, I have experience, but it's not helping me relax for my upcoming tenth marathon. I am as giddy and nervous as a first-timer. I have no idea what to wear, what to eat, how to strategize.. I'm sure I'll figure it out since I have a one track mind right now--all marathon all the time.
post script: Saturday was five easy miles (48 min) in the park. Sunday was a tenner (1:35)--all systems a go. Today was a sixer in 54 min. Eight miles stand between now and the starting line of number ten~