It was a rough day for me. It all started in the metrodome bathrooms. Long lines of guys waiting to go #2 and only having 1 stall to do it in. Eventually 15 min before the start me and a few other guys hijacked a ladies bathroom since there were no lines there. Anyway, got to the start...saw Heidles (pictured with me below, she finished also) and gave her a few pointers. I ran with her for a few miles as a warm up but when we got to the first real hill she dropped back and I went on.
The weather was GREAT! It was perfect, I ran in shorts, a compression shirt with a mesh technical shirt over that and arm warmers.
Back to the race...The miles ticked by. I was right on pace of where I could have a good, yet challenging day. I was eating and drinking just as any other long run. Everything was going great! I kept the 4:30 (last year I finished at 4:34) pace team balloons, in site (on the long stretches). It was really pretty around the MSP lakes, the sun was just coming up. Just a little bit of steam was rising off the lakes, it was a good morning to run. A few more miles ticked by and coming up to mile marker 11 I took a shot of gel (part of my nutrition and calorie plan) and accidentally took to much and gaged on it. The gag reflex led to a vomit reflex and that is where the story turns. All my calories I'd been eating to keep fueled, all my enduralyets (tabs that help prevents cramping, they have lots of salt in them) spilled to the pavement. I got to the water stop just past mile 11 and drank up, I knew I needed calories badly! I ate some shot blocks, drank Gatorade and tried to get going again. Eventually, i was running again and low and behold I started to feel my stomach churn around mile 14'ish. I slowed up hoping it would settle and BOOM! Threw up again. Well this isn't working well. My guess is that I took in too much Gatorade, too much liquid sloshing around on an already not so happy stomach. At that point I was toast! I still had a mile to the next water stop to even rinse out my mouth.
I eventually got there, ate and drank some more and just walked a bit. Miles 15-18 were better, I was running at least a mile or two without needed to walk. But after that I was feeling spent. My body didn't have any calories left and I had all but eaten everything I brought with. Half my enduralytes had been squandered on the pavement. I was starting to cramp in my quads. I just ran until they started twinging and then walked a bit.
Miles 19-22 were TOUGH. Almost all up hill. Granted you are on a very small and steady slope then have a medium hill, medium hill and then one steep mother (about 2-3 blocks long) up to Summit. From there it is just a few small rollers to the finish line. I walked most of those 3 hills but tried my hardest to run when I got to the top. These were probably the toughest miles mentally. I hadn't seen anyone I knew since mile 14 and I was cramping nearly a few blocks after I'd start running. I knew all i had to do was make it to summit and I'd make it to the finish line but at some parts I was starting to doubt that I would make it to the top of the hills.
I tried to stay positive and talk to a few people around me to take my mind off of things but it didn't always work. Eventually I got to summit and felt relief, I was going to finish this thing. I still had 4.5 miles to go but that didn't both me, I just had to put one foot in front of the other. I kept with my try to run the flats and downhill sections and walk the small rollers (or whenever I cramped). At this point we had moved past the stop and walk when things start to twinge, things had to CRAMP to stop now. The hardest part is starting back up so there was no unnecessary stopping.
Around mile 22 I saw my aunt who was over enthused that I was going to finish...but it was good, I needed the friendly face. Then a half mile later I saw my sister and petey (my sister's full-size dog). Petey jumped on my, that hurt!, but I told them how I was doing and that it had been rough and got back on my way. The next stretch I jogged off and on with another guy from 3M. He was a legal guy and kind of boring but I was ok listening because it kept my thoughts at bay. Around mile 25 I left him, he said he couldn't run/walk anymore and he was just going to walk the rest. I knew this area well...I had one very small rolling hill to conquer and then I'd see the cathedral, STEPH and the 20+ people waiting for me to come by. I ran continuously more in that last 1.2 miles than I did from mile 18'ish to mile 25. I only walked just enough to drink some water at the waters stop around 25 1/4 miles.
Around 25 1/2'ish...maybe a little after, there was my aunt again. Yelling and screaming my name, running along side me. Shortly there after maybe a block my eyes locked on steph. I handed her my ipod and race belt (which I used to carry some of my food) and high-fived everyone down the line. Somewhere around 20 people just waiting for me to come by. It was energizing! I actually ran fairly quickly by them only to get past them and feel my quads start to cramp again. No stopping now...less than .5 miles to the finish line. I saw Christine and Petey again...this time I didn't get close to petey, jumping on me would have probably knocked me down at that point. The next .25 was hard not to stop! Not mentally but all downhill and when your legs are cramping they want to cramp more because they take more impact cushioning your landing going down hill. I didn't stop, I kept going through the small incline to the finish and locked up just past the finish line.
Right away I waved the medic away, I'm sure I didn't look good but I didn't want to be taken to the medical tent either. Some volunteers threw on a wind blanket. Then I saw the next group of volunteers, locked my eyes on a rack of medals and told a guy "I'm going to need one of those." At this point you'd think I'd be hungry...nope! I had to force myself to eat a small roll, grabbed another for the road as well as a banana, Pearson's nut roll and some water. I almost missed the t-shirt table but I saw someone drop something out of the corner of my eye, when I looked it was a glorious table full of finishers t-shirts. I needed one of those to! Eventually I made my way out of the finishers area, which is huge...probably 1/4-1/2 a mile just to get out.
I walked around that finishers area again, only this time on the outside...found Steph and Matt (her brother) and we ran into Aunt carol and Christine and Petey walking back up Cathedral hill to the car. Let me tell you, the hardest part was getting in and out of Matt's car...OUCH! That is where this story ends.