race recap–Buffalo Marathon

26 May

You can read my previous posts to see my thoughts going into this race.  Then read on for my recap…Part 1.  There will be 4 parts–race recap, Sherpas for Shme recap, and 2 special posts for 2 special people. 🙂


My plan today was to run 9:30’s until mile 20, then either just soldier on OR pick it up.  I never thought I’d be running 10 minute miles.  I haven’t run 10 minute miles in a very long time (except on trails haha). 


We got downtown a little later than planned, and I knew I needed to get to a porta potty.  Eric and Leanne (my sister) were riding their bikes through the course, so I knew we were going to have to split up.  So I  took a couple pictures with them, then said our goodbyes.  I was getting all choked up, then Eric was like, “just watch at mile markers for people–you never know who you might see.”  I started crying and had to hurry away from them.  It was about 40 degrees, and we had to stay in the shade between buildings, and I realized shortly after they left that my throw away gloves were in my coat I’d just given to Leanne.  So I had my tank, capris, zip up cardigan/sweatshirt and arm warmers.  I jumped in what I thought was a short line, but waited for 15 minutes.  Unreal.  While waiting, I continued to cry.  The lady in front of me turned around, saw me crying and was like (all sympathetic), “oh hun is this your first marathon?” “no,” I choked out.  She just looked at me like I was crazy, and I didn’t really know why I was crying, so I couldn’t even explain my strange behavior.


I lined up with the 4:10 pace group.  I’d read stuff online that the pacers for the Buffalo Marahon aren’t so great, so I wasn’t sure.  We took off.  I wasn’t even a mile in when I ditched the zip-up.  I thought we were going to fast, and sure enough, my first mile was a 9:19 and the pace group was way ahead of me.  Not knowing what to do, I picked it up to catch them.  Mistake.  I was cruising, though, and Eric’s wise words, “Mile 20 doesn’t care how good you felt at Mile 6” kept coming into my mind, but I was going.


When I got to about mile 7ish, there was a gigantic hill.  Just long and I was like, you must be joking.  But I was like, well once you get over it, then it’s done and behind you.  No.  No it was not.  Because it was part of the out and back part of the course.  Lame.  Anyway, this is where I started to struggle a little bit–there wasn’t a good way for spectators to get down to this section, so it was pretty quiet AND it was really getting hot in the sun (I’d ditched my arm warmers around mile 4 or 5ish).   Also, I noticed my sock seemed to be twisting in my shoe, and the seam was in a bad spot, but I didn’t want to stop to fix it.


HOWEVER, right before this point, I noticed a funny sign–today is your 26.2 mile victory lap–and I was thinking about how this was aligned with my thing that the victory in marathoning is the training, because THAT is the time consuming part.  So I’m smiling like an idiot at this sign, then I notice the one next to it, that says “Shme runs for beer” and I’m like, wait…Shme…that’s me…and I look up and it’s Jamie and Mike!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was shocked.  I also knew my dad and baby sisters should be up ahead, so that kept me cruising on.  I saw my dad by sheer chance, screamed “dad!” but he didn’t turn til I screamed his first name.  I was glad I saw him, but sad i missed the girls.  I saw Jamie and Mike again (because it was an out and back section).  Around mile 10, I started to really think about quitting at the half way point.  I could run hard for the next 3 miles, then just be done for the day.  Quicker to the beer.  As I was coming up towards the split-off for the half marathon, people were sprinting by me to finish.  I was so jealous.  Then I heard “GO SHEILA!” and looked over and there were my aunt, uncle and cousin!!!!!! I yelled back “this shit sucks” and turned right, towards the rest of the marathon.


At mile 14, Eric and Leanne passed me on the bikes, Eric cheering about how good I looked and proudly telling the other runners nearby that he’s “hitting that.”  And then I tripped.  On what?  Nothing.  I didn’t fall, but I slammed my foot into the ground and was immediately in excruciating pain.  I was hobbling and Eric was like, “what are you doing?”  I have a blister and I think it popped.  No you didn’t.  Yes.  I did.  I have to stop.  No you don’t.  Please just leave me alone.  I sat on someone’s front steps, took off my shoe and sock, fixed myself (no popped blister!) and carried on. 


At this point, I’d already started pulling my quotes.  They did not help today.  Fail.  But then I started to see more people I knew.  Every time Eric and Leanne would stop, he’d tell me, “your next surprise is right around the next turn.”  It was amazing.  All of these people coming out to see me, cheer me on, support me.  They brought signs, a toilet for me to puke in (haha no joke–I saw it from afar, thought, what the hell, then saw who had it and I was like, “OH it’s my people!”) and ran with me.  They had misters, offered to try to find me a unicycle (but refused my requests for a bike or car or skates).  They told me they loved me, that I looked great (surely a lie) and that I should go get the “losers” and show them what’s up.  It brought me to tears more than once–all of this love and support and care.  I’d later find out that Eric had coordinated through an email called “Sherpas for Shme,” planning to have support for me at many of the final miles.  More on that later.


Around mile 21, I started cramping in my back.  It was excruciating and I could stretch it out.  It was spasm after spasm, and I wanted to cry or lay down on the side of the road.  But the sooner you finish, the sooner you can fix it.  Another half mile, and my calves and hamstrings started to cramp, too.  I went by a neighborhood aid station where kids had bananas, and almost took one, but I was nervous how my stomach would feel, so I skipped it and just kept drinking water. 


The run did not go how I’d planned at all.  I know if I’d have been more conservative at the beginning, I would’ve felt better toward the end, when I was running well above 10 minutes (to be fair, when I was RUNNING, I wasn’t, but I was also doing a lot of walking at this point).  I knew I would finish (Chris and I had this talk at mile 20, when he told me that I would finish and I said, well yeah.  I knew I would…just how long would it take…) 


But I finished.  Even though at the halfway point, I was done mentally.  I pushed through it. 


What I love are all of the people who were helping each other out.  The spectators, dancing, holding signs, rushing from one place to another to see their runners, the volunteers, up early to pour water and ring bells and direct traffic (at one intersection, a guy stopped a car just before it hit me, and I said “oh thanks so much for saving my life.  I would hate to die by car–I prefer death by running.”)  And the other runners.  At mile 25, some girl saw me walking and said, “OH come on, we’re almost there.  No walking!”  She ran by, but then I came upon her walking and I repeated what she’d said to me.  She laughed and started to run with me.  Then she took off and that was that.  Never saw her again haha.  Apparently Chris and Jackie saw 2 people fall down before the finish.  One lady kept trying to get up, butcouldn’t, and the cops came and picked her up.  Another one was picked up by other runners, who carried her across.  THAT is cool.  It is cool to me to see how many people are cheering each other on, encouraging each other, pushing each other.


So yeah.  This got really long.  I will post some other details later.


Official time: 4:22:56

Corning time: 4:35:something

I’ll take it.  Not what I wanted, but still a PR, I finished, and I am walking up and down stairs SIN problema.  We’ll see how that goes tomorrow.  hahaha.


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