"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for 20 years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." John "the Penguin" Bingham
It was fate that I read that quote right before I embarked on my 9th marathon. Thank goodness I did, because from about mile 18 to 26.2, I am not sure you could call what I was doing running :)
The Smuttynose Marathon was held in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. It looked like a very beautiful beach area with very fun places to visit during the warmer months. Only a few stores and restaurants were open this past weekend, but just enough to feel like I was on vacation.
We had a great pre-race supper at Mama Leone's with a great waitress and great company. On Saturday, the weather was intermittent rain, little wind with about 60'. Well after we filled our bellies with yummy Italian food, we went right back to our hotel rooms to get a good night's sleep. The monsoon/tropical storm winds were a little problem...the wind was so strong, it literally woke me up and knocked furniture around on our little balcony!!!! Not the kind of weather one wishes for when preparing to run 26.2 miles!
We got up early on Sunday, looking out the window and all we could do was laugh. If we didn't laugh, we surely would have cried. It was awful, pouring rain, terrible winds and about 45'.
We walked down to the start, all asking each other what they heck we were about to do??? How were we going to do this??? This is FREAKING TERRIBLE!!! But despite all of us complaining, we still kept walking to the start line...strange hold these marathon thingys have over us humans, huh??
Once we finally started, the rain subsided some and the winds died down once we got away from the shore. I had a strong race for about 15 miles and then I started to fatigue but the muscle cramping waited to attack around mile 18...and never ceased. I had to walk/jog the last four miles and they sucked. In addition to cramping, the last four miles were along a very scenic stretch of ocean. Had the sun been shining, I am sure I would have loved the scenery, but yesterday, the waves were so strong they were splashing over the wall and hitting me in the butt!!!! I couldn't move away from the waves since the traffic wasn't closed!!! I literally was miserable. Absolutely miserable. I swore I would never ever run again, never visit New Hampshire again and hated anyone that I came across for those long 45 minutes.
Now that a day has passed, I have made peace with the State of New Hampshire, not so sure I will ever run again since right now walking is nearly impossible. And I am sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings that had the misfortune of meeting me during those last four miles.
I would not recommend this marathon though. It is only the 2nd year that a full marathon was offered and I don't feel like there was enough support. I think the half marathon is very well-done and supported by the community. In addition, the scenery was amazing, I could imagine how beautiful it would have been if I wasn't keeping my eyes downward so as not to be blinded by gale force winds :) The full marathon splits from the half at mile 11, after that the community support dwindles to almost nothing but the real concern I had about this marathon was that the last aid station was at mile 21. There are waaaayyyyyy too many disatrous possibilities that may occur in those last five miles. It really was not safe. I held water in my fuel belt, but I sure would have appreciated gatorade and emotional support to get through the last few miles.
But anyway, number nine is history. I am sticking to yoga for a while. I haven't decided if I have forgiven running just yet.