adventures in pain

I’m alive and I finished!

THAT WAS AWFUL. Don’t get me wrong– I’m proud of myself, but let’s just say I never in a million years thought it would be that hard.

I’m walking today — but only because I’ve taken four Aleves…

So…where do I begin?

I had a piece of naan with some almond butter and jelly for breakfast, and drank some coffee on the way downtown. A nice dude offered to take a picture of us; we snapped one of him and his wife…

It started out good. I didn’t have any of those first-mile pains. I hung with the five hour pace group for most of the race. Until mile 16, I was actually on target to meet my A goal. (Of course it all went downhill from there.) What finally did me in were these weird pains at the base of my shins– a place that has never, ever hurt before in my life.


Fun parts: My awesome friend Kate was at mile 13 with MORE COW BELL and ran with me for about a mile. My awesome aunt and uncle were there yelling for me somewhere around 14 and again somewhere around 15. My awesome buddy Rob was at mile 16 and ran with me for a mile or so. He filled up my hand-held bottle and then let me chug the rest of his water before he headed back home.

This dude wearing the same compression socks that I have commented that he needed to train his friends and family to do that. It’s true — I was so grateful to have them all there. In fact, every time someone -even a stranger- cheered for me it made me want to run faster, just for them.

Here we are at mile 17. I pass a couple of porto-johns that no one’s using and I consider stopping, even though I don’t have to go. (This was the first time I’ve run constantly without taking one of my signature pit-stops, so just stopping sounded really, really nice.) But I keep going.

Approaching 18, I realize this is the farthest I have ever run in my life and I start to feel a twinge of dread. My legs are really starting to hurt and I sit down for a moment to stretch. A lady passes me and asks if I’m okay. Yep! Sure! Fine! No sweat!

I get to 20 and my husband is there with my aunt and uncle and their adorable black lab Scavi. I manage a smile before I collapse gingerly ease myself down in the grass and let them massage my aching shins. They are nice and tell me I’m looking really good, but at this point I do not want to start running again. It occurs to me that laying there in the grass in 40°F temps for the rest of the afternoon wouldn’t be half bad.

I take off again, running just until I’m out of sight of my family and then I walk for the first time. I’m trying not to cry.

I’m able to run again – slowly; I don’t know if you can even call what I’m doing running – for the rest of 20. I jog past the photographers at the 21 mile marker, and then I start walking again. At this point I’m worried about even finishing. I’m trying not to cry.

22. I’m able to pick up a very stiff, hobbling gait that I maintain for another mile. I walk 23 and 24. Slowly. And I’m talking 19:00-mile slowly. My shins hurt so bad I can hardly move. I’m trying not to cry. Heading straight down Meridian toward the middle of downtown, the last stretch seems infinite.

I hit 25 and I start to pick up my walking pace. Now I’m pissed. (My Garmin says 25 was 0.2 miles ago.) I begin to curse and pick up an awkward limping jog, hardly faster than my walk. A medical attendant asks me if I’m okay and I say, “I think so.”

I see my aunt and she’s jumping up and down and hollering at my mom on her cell phone that she sees me. I start running again and laughing at the same time. I see my uncle across the street. I round the last corner, and I can see the finish line and hear my husband screaming. Astonishingly, I pick up the pace a little more.

I finish in 5:48, just three minutes shy of my B Goal. I immediately burst into tears.

The husband wisely shut off the camera as soon as he realized I was seriously wrecked, but it’s still pretty funny.

I’m not really sure what happened with my shins. Even after my 18 mile run, I didn’t feel anything close to that. I think the right one might actually be a bit swollen today. It seems to have a little more fat bunched up at the ankle than the left one.

I also have two giant blisters on the entire bottom of both my pinkie toes. Pretty impressive actually.

But hey you guys, listen up, because here’s the real wisdom: I don’t want to discourage anyone who’s thinking about running a marathon– I don’t think my results are typical. I missed a week of training here, another week there, tanked on my 20 miler, and got sick a week before the race.

If I ever do decide to try this again, I’ll give myself a few extra weeks to allow for screw-ups, botched training runs and beer vacations. And that’s a very strong if.

And now, I know you all are probably dying to know what my post-race beer was.

First of all, I didn’t even want to drink afterward. I had a sandwich and a cup of soup and a lot of water first. Then I had three slices of pizza. Then I had an apple with nutella. A piece of cheese. Two clementines. THEN a beer.

Dragon’s Milk Ale, one from New Holland’s High Gravity series. 10% ABV/23° plato.

I actually chose this one because it was the only 12 oz. in my stash. The rest are 22s and I didn’t think I could handle that much.

It was…okay. Aged in oak barrels, which is what grabbed my attention. The first sip was really thick and flavorful with strong vanilla/oak tones, but the second sip just kind of fell flat for me. Overly sweet, almost cloying, and there was something going on with the carbonation that seemed to eclipse the flavor. If you have one, I’d age it a year or so and then give it a whirl.

All right y’all, I’m going to go eat some more food and reunite with my good friend couchy.

Peace –


35 thoughts on “adventures in pain

  1. Congratulations!!!

    That video?
    Is a perfect distillation of the immediate post-marathon feeling. Ughhhh. I just wanted to crawl in a hole in die. Also I love the picture of “Scavi the dog” while you’re getting your shins massaged. Scavi looks so concerned and eager to help. Enjoy the heck out of eating, drinking, and laying on the couch today and the rest of the week (…month). You earned it.

  2. Congrats on finishing – I was so worried I missed you I kept checking my phone until it died.

    Enjoy drinking lots of beer from the couch this upcoming week – you are a marathoner! Also I remember how shitty those last six miles were – nothing prepares you for that feeling. Maybe you and I can rock the celebration next weekend or something?

    • Thanks yo! Sorry I missed you before the race. Hubs had my cell phone in his backpack. I’m going to South Bend this week but we HAVE to get together soon. Rock Bottom is tapping their Blitzen Black IPA on the 17th…

  3. Well boo to your husband for shutting down that video so quickly. A full minute would have been perfect.

    Wow, that sounded ugly and the post-race injury and blister recap made it double bad. I once felt like that after I ran a 10K. LOL. And I was 16 years old and in great shape then.

    As for the beer. Nice. And you reminded me to put my box by the front door to take to the office tomorrow.

    Congratulations! Nice job.

    • Glad that nasty business is over with and I can go back to drinking irresponsibly and sleeping in on Sundays. Looking forward to the beers – I’ll be beer shopping for you this week!

  4. Owwwwwwwwwww. I remember when my father first ran a marathon in the early 90’s and finished a good hour off his goal time. Very much like the video above he stumbled over and told me to never ever run one….

    There is something to be said for gutting it out. You were sick and undertrained – and you finished! Next time I’d probably build a longer build up period and work to get your mileage up a bit more overall; that gives you more of a base to work with. And really, in a marathon? It’s the base you’ve got that helps carry you over the 20 mile point and to the finish since you’re calling on all your reserves. If your reserves are depleted? It’s gonna hurt like HELL.

    Wear those compression socks, ice your shins and refuel with lots more beer! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Advice from my dad, too, that echoes this: he’s overly fond of reminding me that the marathon is a 6 mile race. Everyone trains for 20m, but it’s what happens in the 6m that’s unpredictable and untested. You finished. I know (unfortunately, I know this all too well, first-hand, as you can read ALL ABOUT on my blog tomorrow) how annoying it is when people are like, “YOU FINISHED AND YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF THAT” and you’re all like, “Um, yeah, but I should have been able to do better,” but unfortunately sometimes race day is just like our best training run and sometimes it’s just like our worst – and you never know what you’re going to get. Haile Gebrselassie dropped out of NYCM at 16m today. Just by virtue of finishing yesterday, you did something that a world record holder couldn’t do.

      • It’s better to hear โ€œYOU FINISHED AND YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF THATโ€ from someone who’s actually a runner and appreciates the torment rather than those smug non-running bastards. But having said that, I think I actually went into it with TOO much confidence. I was like, “hey, if I can run 18 miles I can sure as hell run 26.” But…not so much. Nothing could have prepared me for that last 6. BUT when I was considering DNFing and just letting the medical dudes give me a ride back to the finish line, I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life — and that’s why I’m glad I finished.

  5. Hey, I’d say that’s a well-earned beer, and I hope you followed it with many more! Congrats on a successful first finish, even if things were rougher than you would’ve liked during those last few miles. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I could hardly find the strength to drink, ME! If that’s any indication of how I felt afterward…but I plan to make up for it all week long… ULS! ULS!

  6. Dawg, if it were easy, everyone would do it. Like me! Except not. It sounds like you took your share of knocks through training and the race, so fuckyeahfinishingmarathons. I tip my coffee cup to you and wish you a quick recovery. Also…mad congrats to your family for sticking it out there. They sound dope.

  7. Ha! I have been following your blog since your were Freshly Pressed (well… I think that is where I found your blog. It might have just been a wild night of link clicking… *shrug*)

    I am so pleased to see you finished! My similar love for beer.. and similar inability to pay for therapy has *ALMOST* gotten me into marathons before.

    Thank goodness you had so much support! I know that, even though the race is over.. I will definitely keep reading!

    You go girl.

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  9. Congrats to ya! I totally know how you felt those last 6-8 miles…I feel that every time I do one of these things (and I’ve completed 6). But it’s such an awesome feeling once you cross that finish line…and even more awesome when you down a beer after that ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Congrats on finishing- you are the bomb even if you feel you blew!!

    I like what the person said- :… the marathon is a 6 mile race. Everyone trains for 20m, but itโ€™s what happens in the 6m thatโ€™s unpredictable and untested.” That is good to have in the back of the mind… except that it’s the last 6.2 miles (i don’t think we should forget that .2!)

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