Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WE DID IT!

The marathon has come and gone, and both Chris and I are still alive! We both finished before the roads opened up to traffic, and neither of us needed medical aid during the race! I call that a success!

Let me back up and tell you a little about our trip. We met up with the MA TNT group early Thursday morning at Logan airport for our group flight to Seattle (via NY). When we finally arrived in Seattle, we were all hungry, so a bunch of us got together to go to dinner. Chris and I were the only ones from the South Shore team, but everyone else was nice enough to let us tag along! We found this place called the Crab Pot. I wish I’d remembered my camera that night; this place was so much fun and entailed bowls of seafood dumped all over the table and wooden mallots to smash crab legs and shrimp. I’m not a huge seafood fan, but just watching everyone else eat it was hysterical!

On Friday, Chris and I headed to the Expo to pick up our race packets. We also needed to buy some GUs and I needed something in which to carry them, since I'd forgotten to bring the pouch I'd bought just before we left. I ended up finding this belt, which was so much better than the pouch! It didn't move at all and it didn't even feel like I was wearing anything. I'm so glad I did forget that pouch!

Then Chris and I did some sight-seeing. We took a tour of the city, and got off the bus to go to the Space Needle. Let me just say that Seattle is a beautiful city.

After that, we had a team meeting with the MA group. Monica, our staff coordinator and Adam, a coach for the Boston team, gave us some helpful hints and told us what to expect the next morning, and then we all wrote our names on our singlets. Some people creatively decorated theirs... I very un-creatively just drew some stars on mine.

That night was the inspirational Team In Training pasta dinner. This was quite an event, and I won’t give all the surprises away for any future TNT-ers out there, but it was fun, inspirational, and moving. We had a speaker there whose 5-year-old son is currently battling leukemia and undergoing a 3-year chemotherapy treatment plan. The memory of this brave mother talking about her beloved son Luke is making me well up with tears even now, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the entire ballroom at the time. Little Luke really did prove to be my inspiration for the marathon.

After the dinner, I was pretty tired, and didn’t think I’d have any problem falling to sleep, even though I’d been told many times that I shouldn't expect to get any sleep the night before my event, and that that was OK. I didn’t feel nervous or overly excited; plus I was still on east-coast time, so I thought falling asleep would be a breeze. However, just as I was about to drift off to sleep, my stomach started hurting, which kept me up for hours! Then, of course, we had to wake up around 3:00am to meet with our team at 4:00am down in the hotel lobby. I think I got about two hours of sleep altogether. The thing is, that really was OK. I don’t think the sleep-deprivation really affected me, and I forgot all about it. Believe me, I had plenty of other things to worry about.

Before we met up with the team, Chris and I ate some hard-boiled eggs that we’d asked a waiter at the hotel for the day before, I had a Pop-Tart, we put on sunscreen, and went! Monica had bananas and bagels downstairs for everyone, and we took a group picture. Then it was off to the starting line. Our bus driver told us all he wanted to thank us for what we were doing from the bottom of his heart, as a 14-year survivor. That got me pretty emotional right away!

We got there at about 5:30am, and it was COLD. I was wearing a sweatshirt, but still shivering. My stomach wasn’t feeling great, and I just wanted to get going! Finally, the sun came up and it was time to get into our corrals. At 7:00am, the first corral started the race. By the time our corral, number 25, got to the start, it was 7:44am. Then it was finally time to run!

The weather by then was beautiful. Sunny but cool, and no trace of humidity! The first couple of miles weren't all that scenic. We were running beside or on highways, but finally we got to a more suburban area with tons of spectators to cheer us on. The area was hilly, but nice. Somewhere around mile 4 I had to take my first bathroom break. TMI? Too bad! I'm mentioning it only because during my training runs I never had a problem with having to stop for... that! haha...

We got some beautiful views of Lake Washington, and even saw a bald eagle sitting in a tree, not 20 feet up! A woman standing near the tree was pointing to it and yelling "BALD EAGLE" to all the runners, so we wouldn't miss it. God bless her, and God bless the USA!

So, on we ran, and just after mile 9, we came to a very long bridge. I enjoyed this part of the run because there were great views of Mount Rainier. Have you ever seen this mountain? It's amazing! Definitely the hugest mountain I've ever seen, by far! I was pretty obsessed with looking at it, so I think that would have been my favorite part of the race. Would have been, except that this is when I suddenly had a horrible, shooting pain in my foot! It literally made me gasp for breath, but then I was OK. The pain didn't go away, but it was never as bad as in that one instant, so I was able to run through it. It was/is in the same spot as my foot was hurting before, so I wasn't really all that surprised that it made a comeback. Oh well!

At the end of the bridge, I had to take another port-a-potty break, but Chris didn't, so I told him to keep running and that I'd catch up. We were running at a nice, leisurely pace, so it actually wasn't too hard to catch up to him.

We ran together until mile 13, where Chris, as planned, started to walk/run. We'd agreed we'd meet at the hotel afterwards. So, I ran a little faster for about 3 miles, and the course got very narrow and I had to weave in and out of the crowd a lot. We were back on highways and on-ramps and tunnels... Not too pretty. Then we got to down-town Seattle and ran through a street or two there, and I thought maybe we'd be running there for a while, but no such luck, it was back onto a highway. (By the way, I didn't study the map of the course at ALL before the race... can you tell?)

At about mile 16, I noticed I was getting really hungry. I'd packed four GUs and only had one left, plus one Starburst. So, I had those, and they helped for a few minutes, but then I felt the fatigue starting to seep in. We came to this long stretch of highway and there were people coming back towards me on the other side of it, so I knew it was an out-and -back situation, but I couldn't see the end. That part just went on and on. I had it in my head that there was a GU station at mile 18 or 19, but that turned out not to be true. When I got to mile 19 and there were no GU's, I started to feel really sorry for myself. I was in pain and so tired , and not feeling half as good as I did for my 20-mile training run. Why? WHY? I could feel myself getting really upset, but then I reminded myself WHY I was out there, and I thought about little Luke again. That made me feel even more like crying, but it gave me the boost I needed to keep going. He has no choice but to keep going with his treatment. The least I could do was run this lousy marathon!

Soon after that, I saw a TNT coach running, who had GUs in her hand. I yelled out to her and asked if I could have one, and she gave me two! I am so, so grateful to her; I really don't think I would have made it without her and those GUs!

At mile 21 there was another GU station so I took one more. I also had to stop and use the port-a-potty AGAIN. That's three times! Granted, I did drink a lot more fluids than I usually do during a run. There were a lot of water/Cytomax stops, but I wanted them at every stop.

So then I started running again, and thinking "Just 5 miles left, I can do this!" But did you know that miles actually grow longer the further along you are in a marathon? It's true! Each mile seemed to take longer than the last, and each step was more painful! By then, my knees and feet ached. The concrete was harder than the pavement I'm used to running on, and eventually I could feel every little bump under my foot as if I were only wearing slippers.

I should mention I was also having extreme, CRAZY anxiety about not knowing where Chris was or how he was doing. I was gripped with this overwhelming fear that something bad would happen to him. This fear was CRAZY. I never worry like that, and I had no reason to. Chris had trained for this and here were tons of medics on bikes riding up and down the course all day, should anything go wrong with his knee or something. I think I was losing my mind for a while there. OK, for a long while.

Finally at mile 23 or so (I think?) I saw Adam, the city team coach. He ran with me for a while and asked how I was doing. It was nice to have someone to chat with after running 10 miles or so by myself, although I'm sure I wasn't the most pleasant person in the world at that point! I had to go down a big hill and then up again, so we parted ways and he said he'd see me on the way back. So I ran down the hill and kept running for what seemed like an eternity, until finally I reached the turn-around point.

Then I ran up and up and up... and up, and finally I was at the top! The top of the last hill! I was at mile 25! There was another coach there who gave me a high-five and told me "you did it, girl!" at which point I started to cry. I knew the worst was over and I was really almost done! But I couldn't cry for long; it made it too hard to breathe. So I got a hold of myself.

Adam found me again and at this point I was even less talkative. But he gave me a high-five and ran with me to the start of ramp I had to run down to get off that highway and to the finish line! There were a ton of TNT staff members, including Monica at the bottom of that ramp, which was also the 26-mile mark. Monica yelled "Jeannie Cappella!" I really appreciated that. ;-)

The last .2 miles, I was just thinking "It's over! Thank God!" As I crossed the finish line, I burst into tears. I was proud and relieved, and TIRED, and it all just came gushing out. Again though, crying made me feel like I was going to pass out, so I had to reign it in. It's probably a good thing, or I'd probably have sobbed openly in front of everyone for a good 20 minutes!

I checked in at the TNT tent, got on a shuttle, and went back the hotel room where I tried to take an ice bath, but the water in the tub wasn't very cold and melted all of my ice immediately. Then I checked online and found that they were posting the times as people came in! So I saw that Chris had finished too! This made me feel so much better! He made it to the hotel pretty quickly, and I was so glad to see him and his smiling face He was so psyched about what he'd just accomplished!

My chip time was 5:44:45, and Chris' was 6:44:23.

The rest of the day was spent napping. We then made a brief appearance at the TNT Victory Party, then got ourselves some dinner, and then went to the hot tub for a while. That felt good.

We were stiff when we got up on Sunday, but still managed to do some walking. We had more sight-seeing to do! We went to Pike Place and to the first-ever Starbucks, and of course to see those famous fish-throwers! (We got to see them throw one). We walked to this cafe that was supposedly the inspiration for Cafe Nervosa from Frasier... but I have my doubts about that. We snapped some pics anyway.

The flight home was painful, but it would have been with or without the marathon. 3 hours to San Diego, then 5 hours overnight ot Boston. My knees KILLED and it was awful trying to sleep. But we finally made it home, and got some rest.

It's four days later now, and we're both feeling pretty darn good about what we did and why we did it! And we're already starting to forget all of the pain and mental anguish it took, and we're each talking about our next marathon already! Chris is eager to have his knee surgery so that it'll recover and he can get back to running. I'm giving my foot some time to heal, but then I want to get back out there!

I'm so, so glad we both did this. Team In Training is such an amazing organization and I really do feel honored that I could be a part of it. I'm so glad that my personal accomplishment could help others, and I'm so glad I'm going to continue to be a part of it through mentoring!

THANK YOU, TEAM IN TRAINING!


Click on the picture to see more!

Stay tuned... I have a little more to write about the marathon, but this entry is way too long already!

3 comments:

Sarah said...

I cried like 8 times reading this. Thanks. Awesome job, you guys! So freakin proud and impressed.

Jeannie said...

Thank you Sarah! That's so sweet!!

Caity said...

Also guilty of crying more than once while reading this! Great job!