A little jog in Columbus

I feel old now.

It seems that every time I have a birthday recently, people ask “do you feel older?” A couple of weeks ago I got, “so do you feel like you are 30?” Well, after Sunday, “yes, yes I do”.

On Sunday, October 16th, I completed my first marathon, and dang was I sore for a couple of days.

It was a beautiful morning for a run, 49° and cloudy but surprisingly warm even with the wind. While the spectators were bundled up, I was perfectly comfortable in shorts and my new florescent yellow short sleeve technical shirt.

Even though it was very crowded near the start, I saw my faithful supporters before mile 2. Jen cheered loudly, the yellow shirt worked! The crowds did help keep me from starting out to fast.

After training for a marathon, it is surprisingly easy to run 8, 10, 13 miles. I saw my fans twice in this time frame. Jen letting Pablo run along side of me, my father-in-law getting some great pictures and my mother and mother-in-law cheering wildly really helped push me along and stay positive. By the time the half-marathoners were turning off to their finish, I was at 1:46, dead on my target pace! However, I knew the second half wouldn’t be as easy as the first.

I figured at this point it was safe to push it. In fact my fastest mile, was number 17 with a 7:43. But, at mile 19, I knew I was starting to slip. By mile 21, I had never run this far before.

My legs were really starting to hurt now. Very strong pain in my calves and the top of my gluteus distracted me. As my pace significantly slowed for miles 23 and 24, I almost lost some tears. Luckily, I was still making progress and around that time I was able to start smelling the finish line. My legs were so tired, they were tired of hurting and I knew I would be able finish strong.

Peter Running from Steph's iPhoneAt about that time Steph comes riding up on her bike. She cheers me on and then starts riding along side me. Not only did I have the pressure of someone I knew watching me, but also video taping my stride (darn you iPhones). I couldn’t let up now.

As I got about a mile away I saw Jen and my mother-in-law. That was only half of my crowd, I knew the other two must be closer to the finish line. I wasn’t going to leave anything on the course. I passed people left and right on the way to the finish. I didn’t hear my mom cheer as I crossed the finish line, just a medical person ask if I was alright.

The next twenty minutes consisted of the worse leg pain I have ever felt, but I wasn’t surprised because it was similar to my 20 mile training run 3 weekends earlier. You should have seen me try to walk to the massage area. The soreness lasted in earnest through Tuesday. By Wednesday I felt a lot better.

It was a great race and well organized. While I didn’t hit my goal time, I am happy with my finishing time 3:42:11, a 8:29 pace. Pretty respectable for my first marathon. Will I do it again? I’m not sure, it was a great sense of accomplishment.

You can read an even more detailed explanation of the race on dailymile and view my full interactive results at mtec results.

One thing I can’t omit was the great surprise my wife helped pull off. We were leaving Keeneland on Friday afternoon and Jen said that we needed to stop by the airport because a friend who had flown back from an international trip that week had miss placed a bag, it had now arrived. Sounded fine by me, I needed to use the restroom anyway. We pulled up to the curb. Jen ran in and quickly came out hauling a blue suit case, she was now going to stay with the car as I ran inside. I walk in the doors by the baggage claim and I see a familiar profile leading against the wall. “Mom?” I ask, “what are you doing here?” She asks the same question back at me. I go on to explain that we are picking a bag up for a friend. After I finish my detailed explanation I realize no one’s bag got misplaced. Even more time passes before I realize she has flown in to watch me run my marathon. What an awesome surprise. The fact that my mom flew in to watch my first marathon was right along side the feeling of completing the marathon itself.

I like fast cars…

…and my husband knows this. That is why, for my birthday, Peter gave me a ticket to ride in a NASCAR at the Kentucky Speedway. Sweet!

Taking in the scene and getting excited for my ride.

When I saw that the cars running the track were real, sponsor painted NASCARS, my thought was “boy I hope I don’t end up riding in a Jeff Gordan car or it will really put a damper on this experience.” Thankfully, the cars being used for the ride-a-longs did not include a Jeff Gordan car.

Suited-up (with a helmet at least) and ready to go.

I was a little disappointed that I did not get to suit-up. That is reserved for those having the driving experience. Maybe that will be my next adventure.

Feeling like a NASCAR driver as I enter through the window.

Getting in the car was such a Dukes of Hazzard moment and I LOVED it! After seeing numerous people of all ages and sizes struggle to get in and out of the car, I was determined to enter and exit gracefully.

My driver, who races, just not on the Sprint cup circuit, was a real sweetie. He held my hand while I was buckled in and kept smiling at me, asking if I was nervous and if I was ready for this. “You bet” was my reply. You could tell few women take advantage of this opportunity. 🙂

Three laps around the track hitting 170 mph.

One low lap.
And a high lap.

It was amazing the G-forces exerted on my body. I was trying to imagine driving an entire race with those forces, maneuvering in traffic and not hitting anyone. Incredible athletes, those drivers! I was also smiling like a fool the whole time and getting a nice layer of track grit on me. It was thrilling, exciting and made me want more, as you can plainly see from this smile that Peter caught just after I finished.

Seriously fun!

Thank you Peter for an awesome birthday present!