Monday, May 11, 2015

What the Duck?

About a year ago, I told Brian, "Next year I will do Mind the Ducks with you." What the duck was I thinking?! :) However, I am a woman of my word and my goal was set to see how far I could walk during the 12 hours allotted for the race.
Mind the Ducks is a race for ultra marathoners, novice runners, and the clueless alike. This makes it unique, in my opinion. It's a course made up of a 1.01 mile loop. It goes by ponds and near wooded areas. It's relatively flat with one little bump about .3 miles in. You can stop whenever you want.

As the race began to creep up- my plan of walking longer and longer each week for "training" went out the window. I just didn't have 4, 6, or 8 hours to allot for a walk. I occasionally went for a walk around my city and thought the entire time, "I am going to die at Mind the Ducks. There is just no way." 

I decided I wanted to try to complete a half marathon, if I couldn't no bid deal. Now, if I can just get around that loop 13 times, I will consider it a success. 

The week before the race I spent preparing. This meant I had to get some more "running clothes" so I didn't look totally like a fish out of water. That's the last thing I needed to be- unprepared.  I bought a shirt I didn't really like, some official running socks, and a lightweight running hat at Dick's. (The night before the race we went to Target and I found two shirts I liked way better for the same price as the Dick's shirt-- so that was returned today and I wore the Target one). I bought a hydration backpack (which will come in handy at Girl's Camp in August). I bought ibuprofen for the aches after. I was all ready. 

I've heard people say that labor is like running a marathon. Boy, were they spot on.
The day of the race, we get there in time to pick up our packets and of course the only parking we could find was like .75miles away from where we needed to get the packet/start line. This is when the negative self talk started. Why was I there? I was already feeling discouraged and the race hadn't even started. We plopped our "aid station" by a tree (which was a couple backpacks and a small duffle). I picked up my number from the cheerful ladies who asked for my name. I pinned it to my shirt with shakey hands. I sat at a nearby picnic table and thought I was going to puke, still wondering why I did this to myself (often those are the same things running though my mind when labor starts). Brian offered to fill up my camelbak type thing for my pack. We snapped a couple selfies, doused ourselves with sunscreen (from the "aid station" duffle), and I went to the bathroom. "FIVE MINUTES" the race director yells. People start lining up at the start line. We naturally did too. Then a woman declared she was moving more to the back bc she didn't want to impede the runners. I asked Brian if we should but he said we were okay. We were. "GO!" And we were off- most walking- some jogging through the start line..... As the laps increased, so did my confidence. "I can do this. I can walk 13 times around this loop." I think it was a mix of the atmosphere/enthusiasm of the runners, the beautiful scenery, and the cool breeze that helped the boost. (Reminds me of when you check into the hospital and you're feeling safe, confident, and ready to get the "show on the road")

Brian asked me on the way home Sunday, "What did you think about? You didn't really listen to your phone like you said." Well, I can tell you what I didn't think about- I didn't think about the numbers. I just tried to admire the beautiful world we live in. Church songs would pop into my head "for the beauty of the earth" and "pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked" were some of the lyrics I remember popping into my head. I listened to the patter of feet of the runners coming up behind me, I would try to guess if it were either Brian (or Matt, a friend from high school who was also running the race). Each time Matt passed me, I would clap or cheer him on. He's a real runner- like Brian. Brian walked a lot with me, but would run a lap or two and catch back up to me. It worked out perfectly. I talked Brian into buying some real running clothes and he said he never felt better. "It's like I'm wear a Ferrari," he would say. See, I might not be a runner, but I know a little about running. I listened to my scriptures for a bit. Before I knew it- I was almost on my last lap- 4 hours in. Brian asked what I was going to do with the rest of the time. "Eh, maybe I'll just keep walking, but I've happily met my goal." I was on lap 12 and Brian ran ahead. He wanted to cross the mat when I completed a half with me so he was going to catch up to me while I was on lap 13. He ran ahead and a few minutes later I crossed the mat. It read 13. Did I go farther than I thought? Brian caught up to me, and I told him that I didn't think it was right, but we went with it (how could it have added a lap). He was sad to have missed that milestone with me but we "celebrated" this lap like it was lap 13 instead of 14. We grabbed drinks at the aid station set up by mind the ducks and slammed our cups together "cheers" we said in unison. The aid station workers giggled. I told him to run whenever he wanted but to not wear himself out- tomorrow was mother's day afterall and I knew that if I kept going I would be in pain- we can't have two soldiers down.

My pinky toes started to hurt after the half and kept getting worse and worse. Blisters were forming. Ugh. Seriously? I hobbled a couple more laps. Brian encouraged me to try to do a marathon. I didn't know if I had it in me, each lap my feet were hurting more and more. I stopped and changed my socks and shoes thinking that might help. I think they were worse. I walked two laps in those shoes and changed my shoes back. Ow, Ow, Ow: I thought with every. single. step. It was lap 22. "I can't do this anymore," I told Brian. 22 miles was nothing to be ashamed of. I told Brian I would rather complete 20-something with my head held high then try for a marathon and run out of time and be discouraged. He agreed. I stopped by the bathroom on the last leg of the mile, and went pee. As I sat there I wanted to scream "I QUIT." I felt like I wanted to take my little blue c-section surgical hat and throw on the bed and say, "I'm NOT doing this anymore," just as I did when I was in labor with Beckett. That's when I knew I was in transition in labor, and I instantly made the connection between marathons and labor, and made it real.

After I crossed the line,  I went to sit down by our tree. Brian went down a bit and sat at the picnic table bc he said if he sat on the ground he would never get up. I told him to keep going if he wanted, he didn't have to wait for me. He decided to run another lap. I sat against the tree, and took my shoes and socks off. I examined the damage. Each pinky toe had a blister the entire underside. There was a blister on each foot pad between the big and second toe, The left foot had a small blister on the side while the right had one about 1.5 inches in length. I was so sad that this had happened. My muscles were feeling pretty good. I had only 4 laps to go to finish a marathon and there was over 3 hours left. I could either sit there and wait for Brian or I could suck it up and keep going. 

I put bandaids on the blisters on my pinky and pad, put on my flip flops, and stood up. Ow! I breathed through the pain (like in labor) and kept walking. A blister popped all over my flop."Gross!" I thought. Now, that blister was burning, breathe, step, breathe, step, eventually the burning subsided to the normal pain. Phew. Brian caught up to me. Bad news. They somehow added a lap (like I thought?) and I needed to re-do it. I now have 5 laps to go. Seriously? Each step was a chore and now I had to do another entire lap. Well, we will see how far I can get. I told Brian that if I did a marathon he was going to buy me any camera and lens I wanted. He agreed. I told him that it was prob upwards of $15,000. He laughed. ;) He took of running again. On one of these laps another blister popped and the pus shot straight up and hit my leg. EW! I don't know if the grossness  or the burning was worse. Just keep walking I said in my head as I clenched my fists and teeth, soon it'll feel like the other foot. Finally made it to lap 24 and started walking with a lady who was on 31- her last lap (40k). (I picture her to be my marathon nurse, that kind spirited lady who just makes you feel like you can move mountains). We talked about our kids and why we were there. It was refreshing. Since she was on her final lap- her enthusiasm sped up my pace a bit. I cheered as she crossed the finish line! Starting lap 25 I see all my boys with Terry and Mitch eating their picnic on the very table that Brian had been sitting at earlier. I frantically wave- so excited to see them. I tell them that I will finish this lap and walk one more with them. (PERFECT timing) I didn't tell them how far I had gone, and we all walked that last lap together.

We ran across the finish line at 11hours and 29minutes, and Brian gave me a high five. Matt was behind us and gave me a high five knowing what I had done! :) We got to the car, and I asked Brian's dad to take my photo. I held up my 26.2+ bumper sticker. "Oh is that your combined mileage?" He asked? "Nope, just mine." :) I had done it. I felt like a rockstar.
PS- Brian completed 39 laps (a little over 39 miles) if you were wondering. :) 

Brian surprised me after the race with a pandora charm to celebrate my first Mind the Ducks and my first marathon! :)

You can see all the results here: