It was just 2 years ago that I did my first marathon in Harrisburg, PA with my family driving around the course cheering me on with “run for the cupcakes” signs, my dad was swapping me water bottles with fresh cold electrolyte, my ex boyfriend ran with me for the rough 3 miles from 17-20…and when i finished I got a big hug from all of them, my ex bf, my best friend, a few other friends and my nephew gave me a giant cupcake that I couldn’t even look at and it ended up going bad before I could even eat the dang thing ūüė¶¬†

A year later I ran the Marine Corps marathon (fall 2010), I realized half way through that I hadn’t left enough mileage on my shoes and that’s when my knee started to feel like it was going to give out on me…I was so upset because I had been running really well up until that point. I held back in the beginning running with a slower paced friend until mile 1, I passed a wanna be Waldo by mile 5, I passed a few wonder women.¬† I passed a girl a went to high school with going up the hill towards Georgetown.¬†

Lululemon¬†had hilarious signs “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon”, and a few others i¬†can’t remember but I do remember laughing out loud…this year i’ll take pictures.¬† I do remember Georgetown having the best crowd support and wished they would’ve been at the bridge.

Ok, back to the pain in my leg…this happened with 10miles¬†left to go. I stopped at the medical tent to get tylenol¬†and basically had to yell at the lady because she wasn’t paying attention, usually i’m¬†well-mannered¬†but she was hitting my angry button & i¬†was hurting so bad but didn’t want to give up b/c i’d¬†just trained 5 months for this thing. After this I took mental note to be my own travelling apothecary¬†on the next marathon.¬† At this point I ran into some spectator friends and they talked me through my cursing.¬† A few miles later I ran into my friend Mayra, she had a new powerade for me and some pretzels, this pacified the beast for a bit & she ran with me for a good mile listening to me complain about my knee.¬†

The worst part was around the national mall because seriously going up to the capital building and back around is the longest 4 miles of my life and it’s sunny & hot at that point. I ran into a guy i¬†was seeing with a “run for cupcakes” sign…are you seeing a trend here? (i¬†love cupcakes!! they’re my inspiration for everything-sadly¬† they ceased to inspire me during this run, no amount of imagining dancing cupcakes could get me out of my painful funk).¬† I continued onto the bridge, saw a guy holding a sign that said “the bridge is your bitch”- and i¬†remember thinking, actually talking out loud ‘no, i’m the bridge’s bitch…but not next year’¬† it was at this point my one friend was supposed to meet up with me but she had injured herself the week before so I was on my own. I saw our club’s photographer smiled for him and as soon as I passed him I started to walk.

At this point running hurt, then walking would hurt so I varied my running and walking depending on which hurt less at the time.¬† I kept thinking “once I get to crystal city i’ll¬†have another pacer and some support, if i¬†can just get there i’ll¬†be ok”.¬† I got to crystal city, my pacer was nowhere to be found, I started cursing him under my breath…then I realized my cheer squad also didn’t show up…so much for THOSE people…i was livid..that’s when I tried to dig down deep, it was just me-I needed to inspire myself but how the heck was I going to do that….I changed my name every time I heard someone scream for Ann or Lisa or Ben…though occassionally i got a ” you’re looking good Gwynne” from a random stranger…thank you sharpie for allowing me to write my name on my arms so people knew who I was…even if they pronounced it wrong I didn’t correct them I just said thank you and continued on my own.¬†

At mile 25 I came upon a pace coach from my marathon training program, he ran with me for a few minutes to get up a small hill then went back to cheer on others b/c i was “looking strong still”¬† I continued up to the bridge, started walking…commisserated with a fellow walker who was crying. I looked at her and said “Honey, you’re on the last mile no matter what don’t give up there are still tons of people behind you!” she looked at me, smiled and was like ‘we can finish together!’¬† to that I responded “I actually need to start running again b/c walking is hurting my knee, but good luck, you only have less than a half mile left good luck!” then I took off…not fast just took off.

that last 200m was the worst of my life…my knee was killing me, and i¬†had to go up a craptastic¬†“baby” hill, but at that point if felt like scaling the Himalayas! I passed a few people on my ‘kick’ and then just started crying as I crossed the finish line.¬† I hugged the marine that gave me my medal and onward to food I went.

The finish line¬†was a total zoo, sweaty tired runners looked like zombies just milling around. I found some training buddies that had finished right before me, one didn’t look so hot.¬† I made sure he ate his bagel right away and I navigated him through the crowd and to the club’s hospitality suite where I made sure he got some more food, some ice and lots of water.¬† He recovered in about 30mins¬†and was fine.¬† I sat on the floor of the hospitality suite just crying…putting on my icy hot and then went to the bathroom to change out of my gross clothes take a quick wipe down with soap and put on some sweats…

My only thoughts were “my knee is killing me, how am I going to get in sufficient training for Disney in 2 months!!”

And THAT was my 2nd marathon experience…i’ll share another race story later.

So as for training for my 4th marathon, we’ve been training since May. Our first 20mile¬†run was this past sunday and I felt amazing! This year I feel so strong and I know that i’m¬†going to come back to MCM and crush my time from last year. From each marathon, or each race I do I learn something new about myself. I pick up something different to do or how to approach a situation in a different way, how to prep for anything, what to make sure I carry with me & what I can live without…what I can con a friend (spectator) into bringing for me.¬† It’s good to have friends, that way you have less to carry while running, you can do a hand off of sorts.

well back to work.

Happy Running!

Coach Gwynne


August 25, 2011. Random Musings.

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