I kept repeating this to myself all day and night before the marathon. “Trust Your Training…Trust Your Training.” My family could tell I was stressed, worried, unsure, on edge, not myself, maybe a bit bitchy – as they tried to celebrate the night before by making an incredible carb-loading pasta feed.
And I just picked at my food. A few noodles and a glass of water was all I could stomach. But I did manage to touch-up my roots. Because as no one has ever said “If you can’t carbo-load, then make sure your gray roots are covered.”
But basically every women over 40 includes this step in their training.
I went to bed early and tossed and turned until I finally just went downstairs at 4am and turned on the coffee. I logged into Facebook and Twitter and read the “good luck” messages from friends, the Grandma’s Marathon feed, and checked the weather forecast 52 times.
I ate two pieces of toast and a banana with my coffee and drank very little water. By this point I was already peeing constantly and my nerves were getting worse. I hated being up this early and having to catch a bus with so much time to still kill before the start of the race.
“Trust Your Training…Trust Your Training.”
I made small talk with my bus-mate during the hour up to the start of the course, and during our conversation I said “I just need to remember to have fun and enjoy this celebration of my training journey. This is the party.”
And then I felt better.
“Trust Your Training. Enjoy the celebration.”
I mean sure, then I had to pee three million times before the race started – and if you’ve never ran a marathon before, the starting area goes something like this…
…there are about 10,000 people and 500 porta potties and you get in line…wait in line…pee..get back in line…wait in line…pee…get in line…wait in line…pee..hear them announce that you better get your ass in line to start the race and think “My god, but I have to pee again!” but it’s too late.
So then all 10,000 people finally get lined up and start stripping down. Clothes, hats, and gloves are flying everywhere as we strip down to our running clothes and shed our warm-up clothes because it’s only 45 degrees and raining. Now we freeze for a few minutes in our tank tops and shorts. Nobody smells yet though, so we all stand close. But we all have to pee.
Then the National Anthem in sung. Everyone goes quiet. Except me when I whisper to the young, shirtless, cold chap next to me “OMG is that Gordon Lightfoot singing?” And he’s all like “Who?” and I’m like “You know the guy who sang the Edmund Fitzgerald song!” and he was all like “The What?” So I gave him a dirty, motherly, exasperated look and scooted up a few rows where I spotted some handsome guys with graying hair and said “Gordon Lightfoot, seriously the best, right?” And they were all like “Right, how amazing?” And then I realized that I found my people. And they are no longer 25 years old.
“Trust Your Training. Enjoy the celebration. Teach the young people who Gordon Lightfoot is.”
And then the gun goes off and we just stand there because there are 6000 people in front of us. And everyone still has to pee. But after several minutes we finally run through the starting line and run like a pack of sardines for a mile or two. Unless you are a man. If you are a man – you have broken off from the pack and are now peeing on the side of the road.
Actually – there are three types of men who run marathons – 1. The ones who pee right on the side of the road in front of everyone, 2. The ones who prefer to run into the woods and hide and pee behind a tree, and 3. The ones who wait in line at the porta-potty.
There is only one type of woman who runs a marathon -women who wish we had a penis when we run marathons so we could more easily pee on the side of the road.
“Trust Your Training. Enjoy the celebration. Teach young people who Gordon Lightfoot is. Don’t pee your pants.”
So then I started out too fast – like I always do and kept hearing this voice “Don’t go out too fast.” But I didn’t listen to that voice because I still felt great at the half-marathon point and even the 19 mile point..and I didn’t really feel too shabby at the 22 mile point. Also, the urge to pee finally let-up at mile 9. That was the best part of my whole day.
But then that damn four-hour pacer lady with the balloons passed me at mile 23 and that really pissed me off because I could no longer keep up. Also my stomach hurt and I was convinced all of my teeth were rotting out because of the 16 gel-shots I had consumed.
“Trust Your Training. Enjoy the celebration. Teach the young people who Gordon Lightfoot is. Don’t pee your pants. Don’t puke and keep the balloon girl in sight.”
And then I saw MY PEOPLE at mile 24. My aunt and uncle were there – and I was like “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN.” No, I was more like sobbing and so happy to see someone I knew…because it made those last two miles so easy. Also, my teeth hadn’t fallen out yet.
And then I got to mile 25 and starting smiling and almost sprinting at the end and then I saw MY PEOPLE at the finish line – my babies and husband yelling for me..and I waved at them all cool like….
“Trust Your Training. Enjoy the celebration. Teach the young people who Gordon Lightfoot is. Don’t pee your pants. Don’t puke and keep the balloon girl in sight. Finish strong.
And I saw that I was finishing at about 4 hours and 1 minute. And just in front of a couple of young guys in their 20s who have no clue about Gordon Lightfoot. We high-fived all around and one of them said “Good job, Ma.” I finished strong and not even tired or that sore. And I could still walk and talk. I felt incredible actually.
“Trust Your Training.” – When I ran Twin Cities Marathon I trained for a 4:15-4:30 marathon and I finished right in there. This time – for Grandma’s Marathon – I trained for a 4-4:15 marathon..and I finished right in there..and wasn’t disappointed that I did not finish in under 4 hours – because I finished the exact marathon I trained for – and without injury, or peeing myself.
Next time – I plan to train for a 3:45-3:55(Boston qualifying for this old lady) – and if I can do it without injury – well I know I can do it. Because I trust my training. The rest of it is just a bunch of mind games.
So next time – tell me to simmer down – and to remember that the marathon is indeed the easy part and the celebration. And maybe with a little luck I’ll get to hear a little Gordon Lightfoot again.
And even if I don’t reach my goals – at least I still have a cat at home to mess with.