Saturday, September 29, 2012

Quad Cities Marathon~Oops she did it again!

So for a long long time now I have had the idea in the back of my mind to run two marathons within 8 days to qualify for Marathon Maniacs. The minimum to qualify is to run 2 marathons in 16 days or 3 in 90 days. I have many friends in MM's and being a Half Fanatic already it just made sense that I would do this. The problem was I had yet to run a marathon. I started the task at hand with finishing the Air Force Marathon September 15. The finishing time for that one was a crap shoot as to predicting what it would be and it was a starting point. The fact that it was not a true indicator of what I can actually finish a marathon motivated me to run QCM 8 days later even more.

I already registered for the QCM Half marathon knowing that I could upgrade at the expo the day before. After recovering better than I thought I would during the week there was no doubt in my mind. I was at the expo at 10am sharp and indeed paid the difference and made it official. I was excited and not nervous at all with the challenge. From the moment I finished AFM I knew full well I could indeed run #2 in short order.

But first, grandson Hayden would be running his races Saturday afternoon. He had a blast last year and he did again this year. he is such a cutie patootie and takes his running seriously LOL!

The toughest decision I had to make was which shirt to wear LOL. I opted for my beloved bright orange Cornbelt Marathon Training shirt and it felt so right. It was also going to be COLD marathon morning so I opted for a long sleeve Under Armour shirt. My capris as opposed to my skirt with back pocket was choice of bottoms for more warmth as the temps would be staying in the 60's with bright sunshine. It doesn't get any better than that for a runner.

I got up early Sunday morning and Jim who was going to run the 5k woke up with a temp and not feeling good. I felt badly but he was okay with it. I gathered my gear and headed to the iWireless Center and scored a prime parking spot. Matt and Emily who were running the Half met me there in short order. Emily and I met up with our Cornbelt group for a group photo and that in itself was so much fun. I love that group!!!! Next up, hitting up the porta potties twice like buddy Catherine in Texas taught me. I listen to my teacher and do what she told me.

 Me and son Matt standing in the poopalot line

The three of us line up and didn't even hear the National Anthem as we were that far back. We did hear the canon and it wasn't long before we off to the races. Literally.

We broke off immediately and was a solo runner which was very odd since I run with Emily all the time in races. What I haven't mentioned is that I made homemade pacing strips to carry in my grubby little fist. I had two times with one on each side. Goal number one was knocking a complete hour off AFM time with a 5:58 finish. Plan B was to finish at 6:15. I had no clue at all which one was going to be the one.

My homemade pacing thingy

 After starting out, it took a mile to get the rust out of my legs and then they felt like they wanted to run. Thank God LOL. As were were crossing the first bridge that takes us to Iowa and everything was clicking and I was loving life. I was in my Happy Place once again. I also used the tactic on counting down the miles. I was now 24 miles away from becoming a Marathon Maniac which was my dream come true. At each mile I check my pacing with my cheat sheet...right on target with time to spare.

We are now making our way up the worst of any hills of the day and that was quite easy as I took it nice and steady not looking up but just about 10 feet ahead. Done. Everything is still feeling so effortless considering that this would be my second marathon in such a short amount of time.

I am now making my way now the big hill and heading back to the Mississippi River bike path at about 5 miles. I love this stretch and there is so much to see. Looking across the river on to the Rock Island Arsenal Island you could see the race leader and that was incredible. Eventually, I meet up with my Cornbelt running buddy Erin who was pacing the 5:25 group but she had fallen back with a tummy issue. I stayed with her for several miles until she shooed me on as she was running slower.

 After checking my pacing and I am still picking up time and feeling awesome

We made it to that point in the QCM where the HM'ers and Full's break off. I have always gone right but today I was a big girl with my big girl marathon bib and kept running straight. Yay!! We reach the turnaround and eventually make our way across bridge number two, the Centennial Bridge, that would take us back to Illinois. I had the race broken up in 4 blobs and this would put me in the second of four blobs.

 The course runs through the downtown district of Rock Island, IL in areas I really had not seen before. yes, I don't get out much LOL. It isn't long and we are now at the halfway point and heading to the Rock Island Arsenal which is an army post. The island is gorgeous and even though there are some parts of the path that are gravel/dirt it doesn't last long. I actually take some photos. Pacing is holding well.

It is at this point where I meet up with an ultra marathoner named Rich from the Peoria, IL area. He is running about my pace as this was a training run for him. Our pacing matched perfectly. Running with Rich made the time truly pass quickly as well as the miles. I told him what I was attempting to do with this racing event and he knew exactly what I had in mind. He knows several MM's so he understood.

I kept telling Rich that this was truly a dream and that I was feeling stronger the further I ran. Unbelievable! I am now at mile 17 and now actually passing runners. I don't even really do that during HM's. My heartrate is in check and all cylinders are clicking. I was now just 9 miles away from becoming a Marathon Maniac!

After more visiting and sharing stories we are at the bridge coming off the island and into Moline. this is now mile 20. Fellow marathoners always talk about this point in the race where the HM'ers go to the right to promptly finish the race and where the marathoners go left to run another 6 miles. Me? I was actually very very excited and almost in tears. I was feeling even stronger!

We head towards the area where hubby Jim and I love to run...the Ben Butterworth bike path. We didn't actually run on the path but it still felt like home and that was so comforting. Not that I needed comforting but it helped me feel even more confident. I am now at mile 22 with just a mere 4 miles to go. I kept checking my pacing with my Garmin time and my pacing cheat sheet that was firmly ensconced in my hand. We were starting to pick up the pace. I decided to try a glucose tablet thingy that Rich had and looking back it worked very very well. I am going to do that again.

I kept telling Rich that our pacing was either holding or increasing. We reach the turnaround at mile 23 and it is now a straight shot to the finish line. There is also a breeze in our face that I had not felt up until that point. it was just enough to create resistance. It wasn't that bad though and felt good. Rich goes into his zone like he traditionally does at mile 24 so I did the same going through my thoughts of the morning.
Me and my QCM running buddy Rich

With my pacing cheat sheet that showed me the way every mile I am at mile 26 and with one final kick I cross the line and become an official Marathon maniac qualifier. I also knock 1:16:some odd change off my AFM finish time. I now truly have a marathon finish time to call my own. I am in tears...happy giddy tears. I have a runner's high that I had never had with this magnitude. It's moments like this that cannot be adequately described. I did what alot of folks would not even think about doing and I did it myself. Not in the sense of running by myself that day but running is a personal thing and you have to rely on your mind and body to realize your dreams.

  Becoming a Marathon Maniac qualifier!!

After composing myself and turning in my timing chip I say goodbye and thank Rich for sharing the experience with me. Hopefully, we can hook up again in a marathon. I also find Rick, the fellow Cornbelter whose pacing sign at QCM 2011 made me realize that I did indeed want to attempt a marathon. After a huge hug I head for the beer and it is flowing freely!!!! I still have my fuel belt on but I didn't care LOL...I wanted my bling and beer!

The swag!!!

I find a group of running buds and sit down to share stories of the day. I didn't want to go home! I stayed for another hour and gathered my stuff to make the 15 minute drive (love that). the next thing I did was put my 26.2 decal on my car and send my qualifying email to the Marathon Maniac peeps.

The Stats!! 

The next day I would find out that I would be forever known as Marathon Maniac birthyear is 1958. I love it!!! It just so happens that son Matthew qualified for Half Fantatics the same day I did for MM's. How cool is that?
I am officially a Double Agent!

As I look back on the day one thought came to the forefront. I would give anything for running partner and daughter in law Emily to experience what I did before, during and after Quad Cities Marathon 2012. I want her to know that feeling of ownership with a marathon finish time when you truly feel strong and you are able to give it your all. At Air Force, she ran out of gas as she had the flu earlier in the week and therefore walked quite a bit in the waning miles. We finished but there was a feeling of not having a true finish at least one that we had imagined. She will have a chance in the future and she is already taking the steps to get her body ready for optimal performance. Emily is going to be in for a treat on that day when all of her cylinders are clicking! I can't wait!!

Until next time...

Run giddy!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pinned on my big girl bib and ran my first Full Marathon!

This day has been a year in the making as it was September 25, 2011 as I was standing at the start line of the Quad Cities Marathon waiting to run the Half. It was when I saw fellow Cornbelt Running Club member holding the pacing sign for a 5:25 marathon finish. It was the words "Same day" on the other side that seemed to be all I needed to crossover to The Dark Side...running a FULL marathon. Ask any of my friends and relatives. Up until that moment I said I would NEVER run a full. All of that changed.

It was the Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patt AFB located in Dayton, OH that I chose for my first. That particular racing event holds great meaning as hubby Jim and I had a wonderful experience there in 2011. Also the fact that we are an Air Force vet's parents helped seal the deal. I registered for the Full on New Year's Eve at 11pm when AFM registration opened up. I did it and it felt right.

Our daughter-in-law and my running partner eventually voiced her wish and desire to now fulfill her dream of running a Full. Then son Matt decided he would like to run his 2nd HM at Air Force. It wasn't long after that hubby Jim decided to jump from running a 5k to a 10k. The plans were set and registrations done.

After a long HOT summer of training we packed up the family truckster and headed to Dayton, OH on Friday September 14, 2012. Earlier that week Matt, son Hayden and then Emily had varying degrees of the tummy bug. We were hoping that would not have any impact on their races and you always have that in the back of your mind.

After a typical Rose drive we arrive at the Wright State University Nutter Center for the AFM expo and packet pick up. First we find Team Fisher House's booth to pick up our goodies for reaching our fundraising goal and to meet the Team Fisher House staff. We felt like celebrities as we introduce ourselves as team Rose Runners. They loved us!!!! We received out TFH running jacket and duffle bag...two very useful items that we will indeed use!

Next stop, the floor of the arena to get our goods. I get my Big Girl Bib and my hands start shaking because it says right there. Laurie Rose #3722 Full Marathon. Oh mee gee!!! What have I gotten myself into??? It isn't long and I snap out of it. We meet up with Wendy and Becki from Georgia that Emily and I absolutely LOVE!! We met them at Space Coast Marathon at Cocoa, FL last Thanksgiving and we were anxious to see them again. After talking with their friend George and freaking me out with the hill descriptions we are on our merry way to our hotel.

We get settled in and I finally get to meet Cindy Bohse from St. Louis who had driven up to run with us during our first Full. Buddy Catherine from Austin, TX  and her husband flew up from Austin, TX to run also. I have known these two ladies since 2009 and they have been my Jeff Galloway mentors all this time.

Clocks are set, things laid out and attempt at sleep commences. I surprised myself and did get some sleep and better than I thought I would. It's time to get up and I am very very very nervous and fidgety. In fact, I am shaking. We head downstairs and I finally get to hug Catherine and meet her hubby David. So special!!!! We all head to our cars to make the short drive to our parking spot.

We make our way to the TFH tent as they truly cater to their fundraising peeps. We get our own gear check, food, beverages and post race massage. On top of that we get cheerleaders along the course!! I need more cowbell!!!! They also take their own photos of us before, during and after the race. So awesome!

After hitting the poopalots a few times and shedding extra clothes we head to the starting line and it is COLD. I am uncontrollably shaking and shivering due to the temps but mostly nerves. I have never felt like that before. The National Anthem is played and the B-2 bomber makes the flyover. Off we go! Emily and I are running our first marathon wearing our big girl bibs!!! Giddy!!!

We make it up The Hill that ended up to be not bad at all. It looks alot worse on the elevation map than what it really was. With all of the company the miles click off comfortably and we are truly loving the experience. At mile 10 we are now in the downtown area of Fairborn and these folks love the AFM runners!!! We had a blast running through that area and wish it had lasted longer.

The course is now back on base and heading towards the operational runway area. That is really interesting to Emily and I as we have been around it in the past and it felt like old home week for Emily after living on base in Anchorage for a few years. We are all loving life.

We are now getting in to the sun and the temps are warming up. This is about mile15 and Emily is starting to feel a little tired. As the miles tick off she is starting to seriously feel the fatigue and we stay tight with her so we can keep an eye on her. With the flu earlier in the week she was starting to run out of steam. That was my biggest fear. Leaving her was NOT AN OPTION as she is my loved one and running partner. I will NOT leave my wing man. We take turns keeping her going just one foot in front of the other. Reaching mile 17 and counting down in single digits helped for a while. I will have to remember that tactic for future use!

For me, I am feeling great and everything is checking out with no discomfort except for the top of my foot starting to ache somewhat. I am thinking that is from my feet swelling. I find out from Dr. Lake this week it is from the outside of my lower leg getting tight. Too bad I can't take my Tiger's Tail with me to roll that area out during the race LOL.

Miles 23 and 24 are tough as they are actually hillier than the beginning. Add the fact that it is starting to really warm up and we are now pretty much walking 95% of the time. We wog on the downhills and do our best to keep Ems going towards the finish. I am feeling so badly for her because I knew how strong she was during the long hot summer training runs. I also knew just how badly she wanted this so she was doing some serious digging in to her soul to just keep going.

We reach mile 25 and we are re-entering the gate with the finish line in sight. You just have to go around a loop to get to it. Hubby Jim and Matt are there waiting for us at mile 25 and Matt runs Emily in to the finish. That was such a special moment and you just had to be there to witness them running to the end.

The finish line is crossed, Garmins turned off, smile for photographers and tears start flowing. We did it! Emily and I are true blue marathoners and although our time is not what we wanted, we still did it. Finishing time was 6:58-and change and that just leaves plenty of future opportunities for PR's!!!

After gaining our composure we head over to the TFH tent for our hard earned massages that was heavenly. After that we ultimately get back to the hotel and I head for the pool. That in itself was incredible as I am by myself trying to wrap my brain around what we just accomplished. It's almost too much. What was surprising to me is how I didn't react the way I thought I would. It was actually quite strange as it felt normal and I did what I set out to do. Call it being confident. I KNEW I could do it. Sure, its felt scary and at times it still feels scary but I can do it. I did it!!!!

The Stats

I would like to take this chance to thank all of my friends for coming out and cheer us on. I would especially like to thank Cindy and Catherine for making the journey to run with me. The memories of AFM weekend are wonderful and believe me, there will be more marathons with you two in the future. Cindy is already twisting my arm! Little Rock anyone?

Will there be more? Heck ya!!! In fact, I will be running marathon #2 next weekend that starts just 20 minutes from home. It's my favorite...the Quad Cities Marathon starting in downtown Moline, IL. This race course runs through two states, crosses two bridges, run through four cities and an army post. How awesome is that? I just had to do it, right? Oh and after full #2 I qualify for marathon Maniacs which I want more than I can convey. it will happen and my qualifying email to the Marathon Maniacs staff is ready to send Sunday afternoon post race.

One more item that is pretty cool is that son Matt will qualify for Half Fanatics after running the HM of the QCM with wife Emily. Emily and I are HF members and now Matt. Cool!!

That is all for now but this is not the end of my story as this is just another chapter in my book. It's a huge chapter but still just one. I have many many more chapters to right in the future. For now, I want to thank God, my family and my friends for being patient with me while I am on this journey. Because of them, I am truly blessed.

Until next time...

Be giddy!