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The blog many have been waiting for...Marathon recap!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sunday – Race day

Alarm goes off and I’d rather just sleep in, but there’s a task at hand. I eat, get dressed and head out; it’s raining, chilly (42*) and windy. I park, bump into GOEGIRL who’s come to cheer me on; a nice surprise. The rain dies down to a mist and will continue as a mist to drizzle for the entire day. After a couple trips to the porta-potty it’s time to hit the ‘corrals.’ This event usually is the ‘lone’ spring event, but this year Toronto decided to have a spring race as well. This drops the overall entries into this race to 1904 people; much lower than usual. While there I have someone ask what I have pinned to my back; my Spark “star” from JASR. I explain Spark and they’re all ‘cool, awesome; YOU’RE doing a full?’ I say ‘yes’ and wish them well; guess they’ve never met a 300-pound marathoner before.

At 7:30 the ‘gun’ goes off and it’s time to start down this epic journey. At first I’m loving seeing the signs in Kilometers because they come up so fast; 42.2KM = 26.2 miles. I start feeling great; like it’s my day. Right after the start I hear “hey Spark” and here it’s a couple other “Sparks” running the race. They know about dinner later, but are doubtful to meet us since they live a bit north of Toronto. We bid each other well and run our respective races. The course was described as ‘This point to point course is a fast net downhill with small inclines that are found at 10km and 24km.’ I guess they failed to mention all of the rolling miles in between. The first ‘incline’ was a pretty tall order, so to conserve energy for later I walk it. I get moving again and feel pretty peppy. I hit every fluid station and take in water and Gatorade except for stations near where I’m fueling, luv my Stinger Honey and Stinger Waffles, then water only. Somewhere around 10K I grab a cup of Gatorade from a volunteer (mostly teens) only to find it EMPTY! As I take it he turns to his friend and laughs and says ‘that guy took the empty cup!’ I quickly wad the cup, throw it back at him and shout and chain of profanities at the youth. Hindsight, not good on my part, but that’s not the time to be messing with people. At this same time we’re running down a street lined with houses that cost $15-$20 MILLION dollars! Some of these people have even come out and are hosting parties and have their own aid stations for the runners; very cool. By the time we reach the split for the half marathon I’m starting to wonder if this isn’t my day and I should just call it a half, but that’s not in my DNA so I make the right turn and follow my fellow full runners. The route turns more rolling and I’m doing more walking thinking I’m saving energy for the finish, but at this point I’m just trying to hang on. The winds have kicked up making the wind chill near freezing; I’m in shorts and short-sleeve shirt, burrrrrrr. I make the ‘loop’ of the area around this industrial park (thanks for the great views!) and make it back into the residential areas which block the wind slightly. Some lady and her daughter yell out “it’s all downhill from here;” two minutes later I think “LIAR!” By now I’m cursing kilometers as there are so damn many of them; I start slapping each one leaving my mark on them as a dog would mark its territory. We move down along the shoreline once again and the wind howls; my bib tears in one corner and is not fixable. We move back inland and around the restaurant where I had dinner on Friday night; I wonder if they have any of the Lobster Mac & Cheese ready for a hungry runner. As I pass the 33K mark I know that I’ll be near my goal time, but by this point my right peroneus longus (front outside of the calf) muscle is starting to cramp if I try to run too much. I have a couple miles where my average pace is 14 minutes; a far cry from the 11’s I was turning early in the race. Some of the people I have dinner with found it strange that I didn’t hit a porta-potty up the entire time out there. I felt I was balancing my fluids properly, but is it possible that I was becoming dehydrated? There is a small band of runners who have been together for awhile due to different ailments. We make our way through a neighborhood and we run into a mob of people. It’s the 2K family fun race that was suppose to be the day prior, but is pushed back due to the crummy weather on Saturday. I get turned around and finally another runner points to take the road right. At the SAME TIME they release all of these kids, parents and strollers for this 2K; I’m instantly a bit perturbed. I’ve come 40K at this point and I’m looking forward to finishing and having some good pictures at the finish line, but alas, no. I have all of these kids smiling and parents cheering like they just finished a marathon and have the energy to skip across the finish line. About 42K, 0.2K, to finish there is a mud puddle that has washed across the path and all of these people come to a screeching halt as not to get their pretty new shoes dirty; I just clomp by them on the edge of the water as you’ve seen the Budweiser Clydesdales splash along the shore. I crest the slight rise and muster all I’ve got to finish strong. I guess that the announcer called me by name, but it all seems like a distant dream. I cross the line and stop my Garmin after the cameras are behind me; 5:17 and change. Later to find my chip time of 5:17:15; just over my 5:15 personal goal. I feel a bit down because of coming close and trying to analyze where I could have pushed to break the 5:15 goal; never satisfied. I step into a changing tent, but things just want to cramp, so I strip off just what’s needed and put on the dry clothes I’ve got. GOEGIRL brings me a bagel and a water and congratulates me again. I get back to my car and I’m wanting something more to eat, so I hit a Starbucks near my hotel for some coffee and a treat. Once in my room everything is starting to scream; cramps aren’t far behind. I sit in a cold-water tub, but it feels normal because I’m so cold. I get up and grab a warm shower and try to stretch again; still things want to cramp. I drink a huge bottle of water and a large Gatorade. Time to get dressed for the evening.

Sunday – Post race

I’m anxious to get moving because I’m going to meet up with some Sparks for dinner in Toronto. It’s been told to me to leave my car and ride the subway; much cheaper option than parking downtown. I’m from a town that doesn’t have a subway, so I don’t know all of the details of riding. I have to say it was pretty nice to just sit back and let someone ‘take’ me where I wanted to go. I arrive downtown and am greeted by some of the Sparks as we take our table. Soon PINKCOCONUT and her BF arrive and they sit near me so we can chat. We all have a fabulous meal and celebrate out accomplishments; 2 others ran the Toronto half. The only issue with dinner was that the bathrooms were DOWNSTAIRS. Not usually an issue, but after you’ve ran 26.2 miles it’s a bit tough to do stairs. After many hugs and goodbyes I head back to my subway station and catch the next train. Once back at my car I pass a Dairy Queen and decide to grab a Blizzard. I return to my room and settle in, as do the cramps. I try to sleep and my feet seize into balls of tension; I walk them out. Soon after my adductor muscle seizes; one of the hardest muscles to stretch. I try to sleep again; repeat above sequence. Now it’s 1 AM and I’m so exhausted that I can’t see straight. I finally decide to try sleeping in the chair so my feet can stay planted on the floor and can’t relax in the same fashion. I grab my pillow and a blanket and sleep for several hours; finally returning to bed in the wee hours of dawn.

Monday – Head home

I wake, shower, and head downstairs for a breakfast at the hotel. This is the time that I’m really tired of Canada and it’s taxes. All of your meals have about a 1/3 tax on it, crazy. I load up my car with all my things and head off for home. Along the way I notice things that I didn’t see on the drive up, but still a pretty boring drive. I decide not to mess with the border agent this time and just get back on American soil. I stop for some gas and it costs me almost $20 LESS here in the U.S. than it did in Canada just the day before. I arrive home tired, sore and minus a memory-foam pillow, but feeling confident that I’ve done something that few people ever will.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Amazing Bill,
    I love that I show off by telling people I know marathon runners and they are my friends! You are truly inspiring! That is quite an accomplishment! Way to Go!
    3532 days ago
    Bill, I am out here catching up on my friend's blogs that I have missed! What an adventure you had! What an inspiration you are to so many people! You truly do inspire me! I also love your sense of humor!
    emoticon emoticon
    3532 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8915849
    Bill, what an amazing job! That's quite an accomplishment!
    3593 days ago
    Didn't know you were going to be in town: sorry I missed you! Congrats on a great accomplishment. emoticon
    3606 days ago
    Awesome! So inspiring!
    3622 days ago
    Bill, congratulations. Fabulous time! I have great empathy for you dealing with leg and feet cramps. I get them all the time. Thanks for sharing; you ran a great race. emoticon
    3623 days ago
    My goodness...how did I miss this? Perhaps because Alex was graduating from college. But seriously, awesome..awesome job! You are one amazing, determined man! You did great and never get on yourself about a few minutes. Especially when it was for a marathon! So proud of you my friend. Hugs.
    3623 days ago
    You are awesome!!! You should be so proud of yourself - biggest thing is you finished - whether or not you hit your goal pace! I only wish to do as well!!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3623 days ago
  • DRB13_1
    emoticon on being a marathoner and especially for coming so close to your goal time - very impressive! emoticon
    3623 days ago
  • 69NURSE
    Hey Bill - you are still my favorite "new" hero. You truly are awesome and I am so proud of your accomplishments - ALL of them. You have done things other people don't even consider because of how "hard" it will be. Through your weight loss and your competitive spirit (even against yourself), you continue to be an inspiration to others. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Bev (and hubby John too)
    3624 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9929308
    You are super cool! It is amazing how far you have come and that you will go even farther. Good luck!
    3626 days ago
    Congrats, Bill! You continue to amaze with your accomplishments! You seriously ROCK!!! And can I just say how jealous I am that you got to hang out with some of my fave Canadian Sparkers!!! I hope to do the same someday, although I seriously doubt it will be after running a marathon! LOL

    Good job, Bill!!!!!
    3628 days ago
    What an AMAZING race Bill!! I followed you that day and am as blown away with your finish now as I was then!! That's truly incredible and MUCH to be proud of!!

    I'd have remembered the specific aid station & turned in the ignorant kid in an attempt to keep him off any volunteer aid team again!! And I understand the frustration of the family fun run interrupting the full, BUT at the end of the day, you were/ARE a Marathoner & that's an incredible accomplishment most people will never be able to claim!!!

    CONGRATS to an amazing athlete!!!

    3631 days ago
    Truly Impressive! Glad to hear you did it. I can't even imagine finishing a distance like that. I plan to one day though. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    3632 days ago
    Amazing efforts! Thx for sharing your victory! :-)

    3632 days ago
    Wow a finish is finish and a marathon is marathon,
    emoticon emoticon

    Way to go!!!
    3633 days ago
  • -PAULA
    Amazing race. You did great! Thanks for sharing.
    3633 days ago
    3633 days ago
    Woo Hoo! You are a Marathoner! Sounds like it was a difficult run for you but damn man, you did it!! WTG!!

    How many days did it take to stop the cramping .... that sounds so painful!!

    My next marathon is the Space Coast in November. It's a nice course and the last two times I ran the half, the weather was simply awesome.
    3634 days ago
    I know I'm a few days late, but don't get down on not getting your goal time- you were so close and you finished a MARATHON!!!!! And you'll get that goal time on your next time out :D
    3634 days ago
    Congratulations again on such a wonderful victory! I only wish one day I will be able to run this distance and have the deturmination to finish like you :)
    3635 days ago
    Congrats, Bill! You have indeed done something few people ever will. You are the man!
    3635 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6372002
    YOU DID IT!!!! Ah-mazing. I hear you on the taxes - they're SUPER annoying and even though politicians always promise to cut them, they never do. It was so great to meet you when you were down - and congrats again on your MARATHON FINISH!
    3635 days ago
    Wonderful recap. thanks lots
    3636 days ago
    You're amazing and an inspiration!
    3638 days ago
    Loved the race recap! Congrats on doing a MARATHON!!! emoticon

    I think you're amazing! I'm doing my first marathon in October and I'm so nervous - I think it's helpful to read other people's experiences and accomplishments to help me along while I'm training. Thanks so much for the post!!

    Great job runner!! emoticon
    3638 days ago
    Yeah, as we talked already, my muscles did a pretty good job at cramping during my half and I figure it was due to my messing with fueling and electrolytes (i.e., not getting enough).

    That being said, you STILL DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an amazing achievement, my friend! You continue to be my hero!

    And yes, I'm sick of our taxes too.... :( I don't even know what we're getting in return for them...
    3638 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1286196
    Congratulations on completing your first marathon! Sounds like it was difficult, but you made the best of it. You should proud of your accomplishment. So, when's your next one?
    3638 days ago
  • TIGGER622
    WOW!!! Congrats friend, you did an amazing job and that was an amazing time!!! I am so proud of you!!!
    3638 days ago
  • JSPIN74
    congratulation on your accomplishments :)

    great read!!
    3638 days ago
    LOVED reading about your marathon experience - sorry about the cold weather!! A hint for the future - arm warmers and thin microfiber gloves!! And a amall fanny pack so if you get too warm you can tuck the gloves inside and hang the arm warmers over the belt. Congratulations - its a great accomplishment!!
    3638 days ago
    Wonderful! I just love reading everyone's marathon stories. So inspiring!
    3638 days ago
    Congrats!!! I hope to accomplish a marathon some day. Great report!
    3638 days ago
    Great recap! So proud of you!!
    3638 days ago
  • BAM0827
    Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!

    I totally understand being a bit down about the time - I felt the same way after my half marathon a few weeks ago. Thanks for posting that because it's nice to see others with the same feelings.

    In the end - You're a marathoner and more importantly someone who follows his dreams/goals. You're quite the inspiration.

    Can't wait to see what is next for you
    3638 days ago
    I loved reading about your marathon. Great job! And, I can't believe the empty water cup!!! That's horrible! I wonder if the kid was being 'forced' to volunteer & I hope his deed was found out.
    3638 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2801676
    Bill, congratulations on completing your marathon. I am sorry to hear about all the frustrations along the route.

    I agree with Keith, your cramps may have something to do with electrolyte deficiency, but that is not to exclude other potential reasons as well.

    You are now a statistic ROFL ... 0.15% of the US population have run a marathon

    Now on to train for your tri :-)

    Bill - having followed your journey for a couple of years - I am very proud of your accomplishment - your marathon no exception. Well done my friend.
    3638 days ago
  • PRINCESS1959
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3638 days ago
    AWESOME job Bill!!! Very proud of you and love that smile on your face!!

    3639 days ago
    Awesome Bill, You are a marathoner! I am very proud of you. I hope to join the club this fall - I will be running in Canada too! Victoria BC - You are a rock star! You are such an inspiration and thank you for that! I just hope that I can get through the training injury free and reach my goal of running my first full.

    You have done a great thing and not many can say they have done this !!!!


    3639 days ago
  • BOBBYD31
    hey i found out you finished sitting in my son's graduation at the great university of penn state, unlike the osu cheaters ;)

    no really buddy i am very proud of you and your fantastic accomplishment, truly amazing feat that few will accomplish. be happy and proud with your time, the first is never about time it is just about getting from point a to b healthy. you are an awesome friend and damn good athlete!!!!!!!!
    3639 days ago
    I'm ridiculously sore just reading this blog. (Gonna have to go use my BFF foam roller. LOL)

    You are my running hero, Bill!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Hope you're body is feeling 100% better now!

    A SparkShot to you! emoticon
    3639 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5915724
    Great job, Bill! I know what you mean about the post race cramps. Definitely some extra fluids and electrolytes needed, but it is all worth it. You're a marathoner!
    3639 days ago
    Awesome job Bill!!!
    3639 days ago
    Way to go!!!
    3639 days ago
  • LAURIE5658
    WB, you are a rockstar! I will never forget finding out on runner tracking in the drywall aisle of Lowe's that you became a marathoner. Only you, WB, can bring out the oddities in me.

    CONGRATULATIONS, my dear friend, and see you at the starting line at Wright-Patt AFB in September!

    3639 days ago
  • HOPE2011
    Awesome! We're so proud of you!
    3639 days ago
    Congratulations Bill!!! What an Amazing time for your 1st marathon!! Sorry to hear about the cramps - UGH - they're the worst!! Very cool bling too!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3639 days ago
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