First off, thanks so very much to the many sweet people who left me such encouraging remarks. I am so grateful for your kindness to me. I love having people in my life!
Now, here is my race day report.
It wasn’t entirely the day I had hoped for, though it started out very well. I was up at 4:30, eating breakfast at 6AM, then on a yellow schoolbus heading to the US border and then Buffalo at 7am, stuck at the border until 9AM because a Swede and two Englishmen did not have proper credentials.
Before the race started, all runners were well cared for in the warmth of the elegant Albright Knox Gallery, so we got to look at some beautiful works of art while we stretched and hydrated. The race started a 10AM, on a sparkling clear morning. Starting out, I felt very well, and it was a perfect day, and all indications were positive So I bounced along doing OK, shedding fleece jacket and gloves as the day got quite surprisingly warm. It was a spectacularly beautiful day.
And I was in the company of some really fun, friendly and very entertaining women. Things were looking good.
We ran around Buffalo for awhile, and were well protected by the charming Buffalo Police and some wildly enthusiastic onlookers. We ran across the Peace Bridge, which must have caused some delays and irritation for quite a number of border crossers, but it was nothing like the white-knuckle terror I had built it up to be in my mind. Then we ran out to Fort Eerie, and headed up along the parkway which would take us all the way to Niagara…..just gorgeous on this perfect colorful warm fall day.
Now, you may or may not have read what I said in an earlier post (“Drawing Lines in the Sand”), about my right hip and the prospect that this marathon would cause me to lose the use of that joint. I fully expected that my hip would do me the courtesy of hanging in there for me until the race was done. But it did not.
At mile 18, after a bit of minor discomfort (I love that word…..it is the medical term for “pain”) I felt/heard my hip pop out of it’s proper spot in the socket, as it has done once or twice before. Sometimes I am able to pop it right back in if I baby it a bit…so, I walked and ran with it like that for two miles. But at mile 20 or so, when I had a very clear view of the finish area across the water, my leg stopped swinging forward. I was praying and trying to think of everything that has ever helped me before. I know that getting on a bike and pedalling for a mile or so often sets it right where it should be, and I nearly grabbed a passing cyclist at one point. But getting on a bicycle in the middle of a race is cheating.
I was trying to move it forward, but the medical guy at mile 20 (or mile 23, according to Carrie’s comment……) water stop pulled me aside and very warmly and kindly encouraged me to get some help. I don’t know what his name was, but he was such a patient and considerate man, as I was kind of arguing with him that I could see the finish, and would like to just walk there. I could see the mist rising from the falls, it looked so close! The worst part was that I cried. I hate crying in public, I just wanted to kick myself, but my leg was useless.
Here is the heartbreak…..I went off and got my hip rubbed and iced, and afterward, I was able to walk OK. And I think I could have done those last miles at that point, but I was out of the race, and it was all over.
The interesting thing, at least to me, is the fact that I ran exactly to the point to which I had trained. I missed those long runs at the end of my training when I wasn’t quite well, as I talked about in a sad post a couple of weeks ago. I had not run beyond 20 miles, and that’s where my old body just stopped yesterday.
It was all quite predictable.
I don’t feel very inspirational today, but I do enjoy the great support I have received from lots of people. My family was just awesome, and so encouraging and positive.
And my precious mother and father in law even called me, at nearly midnight Norway time, to see how I had done. I thought that was the second nicest part of the day.
The very sweetest thing though, was seeing Jon and the kids craning their necks looking for me to cross the finish, because they expected me to do that. And when I came upon them from behind and told them my sad tale, they were so enthusiastic and supportive. They are such a gift to me.