The post you have all been waiting for.
My First Marathon, Part 1: Pre Race
“Whitney, what is your plan for tomorrow; like what’s your strategy?”
“Uh…run? I plan on running. That’s all.”
And run I did! It’s kind of amazing really. After passing the 20 miler sign, every step was the farthest I had ever run. Every. Single. Step. 6.2 miles more than I have ever run actually.
And now, I’m officially a marathoner. And yes, I put the sticker on my car.
Let me just start by telling you everything from the beginning…
Saturday morning, I reloaded up my car after letting the bridal party use it to transfer stuff to and from the island (sounds pretty fancy eh? I know it’s been awhile, but remember, I was out in that ares for a friend wedding originally). I took my time getting ready, then set my phone to navigation and hit the road. I drove from Portland, Maine northwest through New Hampshire and into Vermont. It was a beautiful drive even though it was raining the whole time.
Part of the drive was through White Mountain National Park…someday I want to go back there and camp and hike around. Through the fog, it looked gorgeous and I saw signs for waterfall hikes. Maybe when I do my New Hampshire race, I’ll have to make a pit stop back there.
Anyway, I arrived in Burlington, Vermont around 3pm, drove straight to the race expo and pretty much had a panic attack. Ridiculous, I know. I was so overwhelmed by the experience, it was silly. I’ve been in big events like Race for the Cure and the Bolder Boulder, but those aren’t as goal-minded and racing oriented as this event was. This was the biggest, most serious, event I had been too. EVERYONE running around seemed to know what they were doing and where they needed to be. They all looked like they were in excellent shape. They looked like they knew where they were going. They all looked like they had company and knew everyone. Mostly, they looked like they belonged. I felt so out of place. So lonely.
I picked up my packet and my t-shirt. I bought a 26.2 sticker as a motivator to finish the race. I breiefly walked around the booths, gawked at Jeff Galloway as he greeted others and as quickly as I arrived; I quickly left, almost running, to a less crowded place. The expo was at a hotel, not the one I was staying at, and I found my way to a deserted lounge area and plopped myself in a chair. I desperately searched for my phone and texted one of my best friends: “I really wish you were in cell phone range because I’m officially freaking out.” Then I texted another close friend who called me and comforted me. He chilled me out.
It wasn’t just the crowd that was freaking me out. It was also the 26.2 miles that awaited me the next morning. My last month of trianing wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and not gonna lie, I spent the previous week drinking and eating myself silly – What!? It’s what you’re supposed to do at wedding events; hello…bridal luncheon, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, then the acutal wedding! Plus, every time during that week that I tried to run, it was raining – and I had no running in the rain clothes (minus the little bit I packed for the race – which barely qualified for running in rain). I got in one run that week; around the island that my friends got married on. It was a lovely run, but I was also worried about the minor knee and hip pain that was developing over the past month. I was seriously worried about finishing this race, but I wasn’t going to back out. A) Thats not like me and b) I was already out there and not going to waste my time, my money or my hard work.
I left the comfy chair of the foreign hotel and mapquested my way to my hotel. I checked in to the crappy Motel 6, where I was given nothing as to what I requested, but had no other option, and promptly fell asleep in the smoke smelling room. I took a good long nap, fully clothed, on top of the covers. Once I woke up, I found the closest grocery store, purchased my nutrition for race day morning and devoured lots of pasta at a local italian joint, Juniors; which was all the rage that night. Luckily there was a quick, takeout side in addition to the fancy dining area. I opted to eat in the take out side (same food, just not fancy settings). It was actually quite delicious. Maybe I was desperately hungry.
After stuffing my face, I went back to the hotel room, keeping to myself, and prepared my outfit and bags for the next day. Always worried about sleeping through my alarm or my phone shutting off, I requested a wake up call for the next morning. I glanced out the window as the trees and rain smacked against it and fell asleep to the noise of the storm.
Stay tuned for Part II: The Run!