Sunday, June 20, 2010

We did it!

I started my final blog on my honeymoon in St Thomas, and it just wasn't there. I needed to be at home, on a Sunday night, feeling inspired. The marathon was 2 weeks ago from today, and it's nice bc it has given me a chance to reflect and take all of this in. It was another amazing experience to say the least. I have been thinking a lot about why I even do these marathons. Why do I put my body through the months of pain and conditioning? Is it just for the end result, just to know I can do a marathon? That's part of it, it is a cool kind of elite club to be a part of for sure. But I realized there are a lot of reasons why I do it. I love the conditioning my body goes through, it is a remarkable feeling of how healthy you feel while you train for one of these. I love the sense of accomplishment when we knock out our long runs during training. Smaller reasons would be so I can pig out on anything and everything for 4 months, and you deserve it all. The post party you get to throw for yourself is always nice as well, and because I do not want to get fat. But I gotta' tell you, the biggest reason why I do it is for the cause, and the cause is to beat cancer, and to comfort cancer victims as they suffer. Who hasn't been touched by cancer? And joining up with Team in Training, again, has been one of the best experiences ever for me. And everyone down from the coaches, to the people we train with, and to the volunteers that come out to work the aid stations, it is amazing. But here is the real deal, none of this, and I mean NONE OF THIS ever even gets off the ground without the people who donate to the cause, you! As a chapter up here in the great Northwest, we raised $93,000! This money will make a difference, a huge difference. And from every $10 donation to the bigger ones, they all matter so much. So thank you all again for your undying support.

Okay, now just a quick recap of the actual race: It was hot, really hot. We were at the start line hanging out at 4:45 and the fact that none of us were cold raised an early concern for me. You could just tell it was going to be a warm one. We made it out the gates at around 6:45, Bonnie, John, Kate & I. It was overcast as it should be in June for the early part of the race. The 4 of us ran together for the first half of the race (13 miles) but at mile 10 or so, I knew I was not going to be keeping up with the Jones'. I needed to run my own race. My plan all along was to take what the run gives me, and at the halfway point it was giving me a lot to deal with. It gets a bit discouraging when you're not running your big race the way you trained, but you just fight through it. The sun came out around mile 9, and when it arrived, it was beaming. We all had sun block on but I probably sweat mine completely off at mile 5, perfect. I cut those guys loose and made my way on to the 2nd half of the race solo. It was good for me, I could stop when I needed to and not feel guilty by having any of them wait for me. There were so many TNT people running so I would rap with people from time to time. I was plugging along doing pretty good until around mile 18 or so. I remember my feet were absolutely killing me, I still am not sure why. I literally stopped and took my shoes and socks off at mile 18to massage my feet, just so I could finish, it did help. But this is the last thing you want to be doing during the end part of your marathon, it's so easy to cramp up. The risk was worth the reward though, it had to be done.

I knew I had my great friends Geoff and Todd out there somewhere between 18-20, I just wasn't sure where. I prayed I would find them, especially because Geoff promised he would run 2 miles with me. And seeing as I was unexpectedly running solo, I was really looking for these guys. I come up to mile 19 and there is Geoff! I could not have been happier to see him, I was hurting pretty bad. I was so completely exhausted when I saw him, and nauseous. The sun was winning. Geoff and I ran along and my man kept pumping me up the whole time, I needed it. There was never thoughts of stopping or anything, I just needed a friend and a positive source of energy. We ran about a mile and then we saw Todd, so pumped. It was a perfect time to walk for a bit so we walked for about 5 minutes and rapped. Then Geoff and I were off again. At mile 21, Geoff and I approached Fiesta Island, and the last 5 miles were running around this island with the deceptive name, as there was no fiesta to be had I can assure you. Geoff kept telling me to cut him loose whenever I needed to, and I would tell him "you are gonna have to cut yourself loose buddy." He understood. As we approached the island, I had gotten my 2 miles out of him, and by the way Geoff just barely started jogging recently. He ran his first 5 miler the week before. And he had already run a mile with Bonnie earlier on. Bonnie cut him loose and said "now go get my boy."

As we approach the entrance to Fiesta, he tells me he is doing the island with me. I was so psyched! In my head I was praying he was not paying attention and that he was going to enter that final stretch by accident or something. Because once you start, there is not backing out. I could not have been more thrilled. Miles 21-23 were nothing short of a complete runner's nightmare. There was hardly any bands on the island and there was not an ounce of shade. I was roasting. And I was so nauseous I could barely hold down water. I dumped it on my head every chance I got to stay cool but that barely helped. But I was still sweating which was a good thing. If that stops you are in trouble. We ran and walked from miles 21-23, and Geoff told me afterwards he was pretty worried about me at like mile 22. As Geoff puts it, "you were a little wobbly." Then all of a sudden at mile 23 I came back to life, all thanks to the one and only Journey. Yeah that's right, Steven frigging Perry saved my arse! One of the only bands in there was there at mile 23 ripping off a Journey cover and it kicked me into gear. I can't even remember which one it was but I know it's on the greatest hits album. We ran the rest of the way which was awesome, I just wanted to finish so bad, and I wanted off the island! I kept yelling that, calling myself John Locke. Other runners were rolling. It's funny I get this "crazy time" as I like to call it at the end of my marathons. I just start yelling or singing or just talking crazy, and it helps me, and singing journey and yelling I want off the island was my crazy time.

We finally get about 50 yards from the finish and Geoff cuts me loose. He says he can't cross the finish line bc it's be like drinking out of Lord Stanley's Cup without winning it, I understood. So I say my goodbyes and I start hauling. When I tell you I sprinted, I mean I am not even sure I have ever run that fast before in my life. My other friend Gerry said he saw some screwball come flying through the finish and then realized it was me and started cheering 'go Sully!". Classic.

So I finished my race in 5:07 and Bonnie did hers in 4:14, her PR, her personal record. Imagine she runs her best run on a steamer like this? Truly unbelievable. As Bonnie puts it, "I just felt good." My boy John finished but struggled hard at the end, he pushed to hard and tried to run with Bonnie for too long, silly boy. But A for effort Johnny! So the marathon itself was such a huge success; we hit our fundraising goal, and we both finished and didn't hurt ourselves, well permanently. So once again, I am signing off on the blog, at least until another marathon sucks me in. Once again, Bonnie and I can't thank all of you enough for your support and encouragement. You guys reading this are the ones that make this all possible and worth while. Signing off from blogville, I will miss you and terribly miss doing this blog, cheers guys!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

San Diego-Here we come!!!

We are less than a week away from the big dance, oh how the time can fly. Happy Memorial Day to everyone reading. Saturday was our last long distance run, and I couldn't be happier. Not happy to end our TNT experience, but you get to a point as the marathon nears, where you just say "enough already, I am ready!" It is great knowing your training is essentially over, and that the big event you have been training so hard for is just around the corner.

Saturday was an 8 miler, just an 8 miler kids, no big deal. Everyone just calm down, please. The weather was kind of crappy, but not actually raining, just damp and chilly. I told Bonnie if there is one week I did not care what the weather was going to be like, this was the week. We are just tapering down now, the trainings done. John, Bonnie, Kate and I ran together, at least for about 7 of the 8 miles we did. We could all tell Bonnie was feeling it and that she was kind of holding back. Then at mile 7 she said she is gonna "pick it up" because she feels like running hard. So I saw her raise, and I sped it up a bit. Well it didn't take long for me to get winded, so I said bye to babe and slowed it down. Then it hits me, this my last run. I have to catch Bonnie, or at least die trying. I turn to John and Kate and say "you think I can catch Bonnie?" I was off, almost sprinting. I was about 50 yards back from her, but she was not jogging. I dug deep to catch her, and I did catch her right at the end. Bonnie was surprised to see me, I was too. Her and I were fully sprinting at the very end, but of course I held her off for the victory. I am not competitive or anything...

So next Sunday June 6th is the marathon. San Diego has this bad boy starting at 6:30am. Bonnie and I hope to see everyone we can while we are in town. Sunday night Longboards looks like the call.

As we near the end of our marathon training, we also near the end of the blog. I will miss the blog, a lot. And once again, this Team in Training experience has been nothing short of amazing. I always seem to be chatting it up about our phenomenal Coach Karl. Our other Coach is Jenn, and this girl is just unreal. She was due to have her first baby last week. She is as pregnant as pregnant can be. She comes to all of our workouts, and for our Wednesday night track workouts, she's always there, cold rainy nights or shine, doesn't matter. She has been such a great coach and inspiration to all of us.

I look forward to letting you all know how my 2nd marathon goes; wish Bonnie and I luck. This will be her 4th marathon, so she doesn't need as much luck as I do. And I have only had a few people ask me to run on behalf of a family/friend, but we both would love nothing more than to fill up our shirts with names, whether it's a Cancer victim or a Cancer survivor. Thank you again everyone for all of your support throughout, and I will work extremely hard to make you all proud of me. This is an amazing cause, and I am blessed to be a part of it, cheers!