Back in June, when I was feeling ambitious and had the whole summer in front of me, I signed up for the North Shore Inline Marathon. I started rollerblading several nights a week after DS was in bed, and got my sister to teach me some core-strengthening techniques. In the middle of July I did a "test run" 10 mile skate to see how hard that would be, and it wasn't bad.
Then I got sick. Really a bad cold,
and couldn't even think about skating. Then we went to Arizona for 8
days. Then... well then I was lazy. I mean, I was starting a new job, so
that is something, but I could have started skating in the evenings
again, but I didn't.
All the sudden it was September,
and I hadn't been on my skates for 6 weeks, and my longest training run
was 10 miles (less than half of the marathon I was signed up for).
I thought "Hey, I already paid for it, and I think I can do it, and its
on my 30x30 list, so I mine as well give it a try, what is the worst
that could happen? I get picked up by the 'you are too slow' car and
don't get to finish??" (Or you know, crash and die, but I tried not to
think of it that way).
So on Friday I went to pick up
my race packet. I felt totally ridiculous and out of place walking into
the skating expo where all the booths were trying to sell the latest
gear. But I picked it up.
And Saturday morning, I found
myself getting on a yellow school bus to ride the 26.2 miles to the
start of the race, holding my 13 year old RollerBlades and a small bag
with some water, a protein bar, and safety gear.
The weather was perfect temperature wise, but there was a strong headwind.
a traditional marathon, at the Inline Marathon they release you in
waves - to make it safer and keep you spread out. I was in Wave #6, also
known as the "we are not sure we can even finish this" wave. We didn't
cross the start line until 10:43am. (The first elite wave started at
The first 3 miles were hard. I had no idea how
fast I should be going, and there were a lot of hills so I kept changing
paces, going to fast and then being out of breath. Then around 3 miles I
settled into a rhythm (admittedly stolen from people who looked like
they were doing well in front of me... hold my hands like them, push off
when they do, boom I have a rhythm).
Miles 3-10 were
pretty easy actually. Then it got a little harder, but I was excited
because I was almost to the half, where my family (dad and little sis)
would be cheering). So, I made it to the half in good spirits and making
decent time (1:40).
Then Mile 14 came. And, out of no
where, I suddenly felt like I couldn't move another inch and I was just
going to drop dead. I would describe it as total body fatigue. For miles
14-18 I considered it a success if I kept moving forward. The head wind
was a killer and I couldn't "catch a break". At the 18 mile marker I
sat down on a guard rail and then the ground. Drank some water.
Stretched my back. Ate a bite or two of the protein bar. A medic stopped
and checked on me. I told him it was just a break and I was going to
get up... so then I had to do it. LOL. The thing was, when I did stand
back up, I felt a LOT better. I skated around the corner to find the
straight-away I had been looking for, where the scenic highway ends and
runs into town.
So, mile 18-20 were OK, because I had just had a break and was excited to be able to move towards the goal of town.
I got to town, and there were NO spectators. I mean, I didn't expect
many, but skating down a very empty London Road (usually busy street)
was pretty eerie. The edge of town is 60th Ave East. I thought that DH
and DS would be waiting for me at 40th Ave E, so I counted down the
blocks. But then, they weren't there (as it turns out, DS was down for
his afternoon nap). So, I sat down at 40th Ave and had another break
(1-2 minutes). Got up, felt better again. Turned the corner, and could
see the infamous Lemon Drop Hill, the biggest hill on the course (to
climb). I felt like "The Little Engine that Could" at this point and
literally was going "I think I can" in my head. And I climbed up it,
into the head wind still. Mile Marker 23.
Now I knew I
would make it. I had labelled Lemon Drop as my "point of no return" and
told myself and others that if I made it to Lemon Drop, I was going to
make it all the way (or crash.. but not drop out. LOL). Besides, the
long climb of Lemon Drop was followed by a long downhill onto the
highway (it is the northern tip of Interstate 35, pretty cool that we
get to shut it down for this race), and then we got to skate through the
tunnels. By this time I could FEEL that we were closing in on the end.
Just had to climb up the exit ramp (which was practically as bad as
Lemon Drop), then turn out of the head wind (probably like 25.8 miles
into the headwind. then the last .4 not), and down the off ramp (the
biggest/steepest down hill of the race), around the DECC, past cheering
DH and DS, across the finish line!!
Since we were so
spread out by the time I finished, they even announced my name as I
crossed! I guess that is a perk of being at 3:32 (three and a half
hours). Once I got off the race course and into the recovery area I
pretty much just sat down in the middle of a parking lot and took off
the skates. I got one large blister on each foot, and several bruises
around the top of my skates. I am pretty sore.
But here is the thing... today, when I wore my finisher's t-shirt to work, I felt invincible.
I mean, if I can skate 26.2 miles on a whim, I can pretty much to anything, right??
It sounds cheesy, but that marathon was crazy empowering.
the question is, what next? I think perhaps I will tackle that section
of the Superior Hiking Trail that is on my 30x30 list....