Picking up from yesterday -
Before I talk about the rest stop, backtracking for a second – When we started on road, I was surprised at my ability to hold my own in the first mile. This was a very small marathon and I was pretty sure I was going to be dead last from start to finish. However, on the road, I was passing people and feeling great. Not surprisingly, they all passed me not that long after we’d been on the trail.
Around mile 4?, 3?, who knows without any mile markers? – a man came out of nowhere who still hadn’t passed me. I don’t know if he started late or got lost or what. But out of nowhere he came, and as soon as he was here, he was gone. I was officially in dead last.
I figure you kind of assumed that, but I wanted to tell you officially, I was last.
(If you’re wondering how I continued to talk to people throughout the race, it’s because people in the 100 and 50 mile races were lapping me.)
When I had almost reached the aid station, so… mile 9ish, I had some tears. My poor uncomfortable body! Trails are painful. Crying cannot be a good sign when you’re only 9 miles into 26.2. Put me on a treadmill or a street all day long, but put me in the woods and I’m gonna cry.
When I finally saw my family at the first main aid station (the Fire Tower), they had another great motivational poster for me. My mom did a really excellent job with the Michael Jackson themed posters.
I never shut up about how I want people to make posters for me during a marathon, but I just expected the normal ones with the funny running sayings you see at all marathons. She surpassed all expectations, taking it one step further by having quotes from Michael Jackson songs on all of them.
I wanted to sit and hang out with my parents for days, but seeing that I was way, way, way behind any kind of pace, my dad hurried me along to the next part. Not even a mile into the next part, I came across a little parking lot area where a bunch of other families had gathered. I spent at least a good 30 (45? 60?) minutes talking to strangers. So much for hurrying it along.
I was so very, very tired. In every way. Totally sleepy. Totally tired of the terrain. Eventually, I started back on the path. Once I’m in a race, I’m never down to quit. I might go slowly, or need to take a second (or apparently 1,800 (2,700? 3,600?) seconds as it may be), but I’m not ready to go home until I cross the finish line. I took up way more of that 36-hour time limit than I should have, but I could not quit.
I will admit, it sort of seemed like this one time it’d be nice to stop and go home. My dad started justifying why it would be okay to quit, and why it was more like a hike-a-thon than a marathon. We started talking about how there was another marathon the next day in Canton.
I looked up Canton’s marathon on my phone, and they were offering everyone the chance to postpone entries to the following year because of a forecast riddled with super heat. So, if I really wanted to, I could quit (never acceptable no matter what we were trying to convince ourselves) and go run a full marathon in the sweltering heat (with double digit miles under my belt for the weekend already). Yeah, nope. Doesn’t sound as though anything good at all could come out of that.
Also, a DNF? Unacceptable. There have been times when I was planning on doing a race and didn’t start, which is embarrassing enough. But once I start, how could I not finish?
There’s one more reason I had to keep going, which is what I’ll start with tomorrow.