Before I go on I must warn you that this just may be the longest race report ever!!
I got out of bed and slowly started getting ready for the race. I was having a hard time deciding what shirt to wear because the weather was quite iffy. After what seemed like forever I decided on a long sleeve shirt with a short sleeve layered over it. After the clothing decision was made I brewed a cup of coffee and grabbed my usual breakfast. As I was on the second half of my peanut butter bread, I realized I was having a hard time swallowing and I was overcome by a very unsettling feeling. It freaked me out so much that I walked out of the hotel room and paced up and down the hallway and then out of nowhere my heart started racing and I had my first of many anxiety attacks. Dave came out to check on me and he found me in tears trying to slow my breathing. He gave me a hug and talked me through it. I composed myself and went back into the room to finish getting everything I needed for the race. We were due to meet fellow bloggers in the lobby at 6:00AM which I was really looking forward to. I guess I was really excited because I almost walked out of the room without my Garmin. The excitement of meeting the rest of the bloggers and seeing everyone we had met from the night before kept my nerves at bay for just a little while. We had a mini photo shoot which helped calm the nerves as well.
|Our back bibs from races2remember|
|Blogger pre-race meet up|
After we were done with pictures I headed to use the restroom. Once I got back to the group I was hit by anxiety attack number two. I was completely freaking out and had thoughts of last year’s race running through my head. There I was standing with a group of people, some whom I had just met minutes earlier, sobbing. The group was amazing and talking me through it. We exchanged our final hugs and good lucks and headed towards the start line. Jenn stopped to pay for her parking and told us she would meet us at the 4:15 pace group. As we approached the stadium Dave needed to use the restroom so he split off and said he would meet me at the 4:15 pace group. I fought my way through the crowd and easily found my friend Bill, one of the 4:15 pacers, and his sister Julie and girlfriend Melissa. A few short moments later my phone rang and it was Nikki. She was trying to find our way to us. In the meantime I got a text from Jenn. She too was trying to locate us. Moments later Jenn walked up beside me and a few minutes later Nikki walked up behind me. Jenn and I had our picture taken with Bill.
At the end of mile ten I realized I was starting to get really cold. I was so glad that I still had my long sleeve shirt tied around my waist. So for the second time during the race I was shedding layers. The only difference was this time I was doing it in order to add more layers back on. I had to put my short sleeve on top so that my race bib would keep registering at all of the mats along the course. Fortunately putting back on a layer helped. As we were running towards mile 11 I told Dave that this didn’t count and we would in fact need a do-over, a mulligan of the marathon as you will. Yes, I hadn’t even crossed the finish line and I was already talking about the next time. I think it was also at this point that Dave told me since he was running a marathon with me, I had to learn how to swim to which my response was “oh hell no”. As we went up and over a bridge another runner asked what bridge it was and I angrily replied “hell.” Dave kind of laughed and mentioned that he thought it may be Ontario to which the runner replied “Ontario, that’s where I’m from, now that’s hell”. It made me laugh which was much needed. Another runner mentioned that we were almost done to which I angrily replied “yeah, you are”. He then looked at my bib and realized it was a marathon bib and kind of backed away from me. I was just in a bad place at that point I guess. As we came off the bridge and down a hill towards mile 12 Morgan and Jen B. were there cheering for us like crazy. I was so happy to see them. We stopped when we got to them and Dave told Morgan that I really needed a hug.
|Much needed hug at mile 12|
|Talking about my struggles|
|Approaching the finish line|
|Moments before crossing the finish line of the 2011 Clevleand Marathon|
|Embracing my son|
In the end I achieved my ultimate goal of finishing the 2011 Cleveland Marathon upright and smiling with A LOT of help from an amazing friend. I know you don’t think you did anything Dave but as I have said to you several times now, what you did for me on Sunday was the most selfless thing anyone has ever done for me in my life. THANK YOU just isn’t enough to explain the magnitude to which I am forever grateful to you for making the sacrifice you made Sunday to help me achieve my goal.
Dave and I had planned to go to Coleone’s after the race for some pizza to which Deb promptly told us we were to be at my house at 3:00. We told her we would likely be late since none of us had showered yet and we needed to check out of the hotel. When we got back to the hotel we met up with Joanna one last time to recap our races.
|My rock for all 26.2. Thank you Dave|
|The marathon cake|
|Dave and I at the end of the day|
Yes, I conquered my Cleveland demons. Yes, I finished my first marathon. No, I am not done. I am just getting started. Watch out Columbus Marathon I’m coming after you!
Keep running, you’re simply the best, and you inspire me!!