ING Georgia Marathon 2010: Race Report
Prior to completing this marathon — my first — I naively (and snobbily) suspected that “the wall” was a big old myth perpetuated by not-in-prime-shape one-and-done marathoners who attempt the distance solely to check it off the life list, and that this would not in any way impact me. I honestly was sort of afraid that I would finish and think, “Darn, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, I should have tried harder.”
Not to worry. This cavalier attitude didn’t go unpunished.
It was fun, because owing to the fact that it was my first, I could do all sorts of stupid things like go out too fast, and “forget” to take water or Gatorade until mile 16, which I paid for dearly right at mile 23, where they tell you it happens. Idiot, much?
I was clicking along easily for a 7:42 average the first 23 miles, confident that sub-3:20 was in the bank (all I really wanted to do was qualify for Boston, which for me is 3:40, but in the interest of full disclosure I was wearing a hopeful 3:30 pace band). I was cruising, chatting, smiling like a little kid, high-fiving police officers, and wondering when it was going to start feeling hard.
From about 18 to 23, I started feeling that “almost there” itch. The let’s get down to business feeling, where you settle in and have to get into the rhythm of keeping up with the workload. The zone, if you will.
Out of nowhere, this mile 23 hill rears up like a tidal wave and I become vaguely aware that I’m not seeing straight anymore.
I commence on the longest, LONGEST three miles of my life, characterized largely by those threatening black clouds at the corners of my eyes. I was pretty confused and just focused on trying not to walk, because if I walked, it was over. My last mile was my slowest. By minutes. This has never, EVER been the way I’ve raced – I’m conservative to a fault – so it was a blast to have a race that progressed like this for once.
Somehow, after the passing of several millennia during which numerous riveting new animals must have evolved, (most notably the monstrous piranhas that were steadily gnawing away at my quadriceps), the finish line materialized. I kept “running”/shuffling past it until this really nice blond lady informed me I could stop.
I don’t remember going through the finish chute, but I somehow ended up with my medal, a banana peel, a mylar blanket, and other random swag. Apparently I blatantly threw the wrappers from granola bars on the ground, but this is hearsay. Apparently I had a rime of salt encrusted around my face, but this is also hearsay.
After my mom and brother located me, I proceeded to stagger around and conduct myself like a belligerent drunk, yelling for Gatorade (there was none to be found anywhere), throwing unsavory food on the ground promptly after my brother had handed it to me (saltless tortilla chips, nasty icky muffins), and sending incoherent texts to everyone I knew. I seriously felt wasted, ill, awful. It was hilarious. Then my inner quads tightened up really badly and I started whimpering and my brother gave me an everything bagel and it was scrumptious because I don’t remember the last time I had a bagel.
Then somehow two Powerades appeared, and I drank them down in 3 seconds each. We walked to the train station and I was trying to cross in front of cars, still making belligerent comments, and generally making an ass of myself. Shortly thereafter, the Powerades kicked in and I returned mostly to normal.
I spent most of the rest of the day lying on my mom’s hotel bed like a slug, guzzling vats of water, eating, and yelling at local television for showing a different college basketball game than the one I‘d been hoping to see.
I didn’t pee until about 8pm that evening.
It was grand. Can’t wait to do it again.
The stats and splits, if you’re into that:
ING Georgia Marathon 2010
- point two. 12:48 (10:40ish last mile)
Total time: 3:30:31 (8:02 pace)
21st overall female. 4th in age group.