This is a continuation of my blog post on March 16, here. ------
At mile 14, I had both headphones working again. Hallelujah! Only, two more miles until Amber met me to finish the last 10 miles.
I had a roommate in college that did the New Jersey Shore Marathon the Spring of our senior year and I ran the last 10 miles of that with her too. It's amazing how helpful it is to have someone motivate you those last few miles. Someone to grab you water and oranges from the stations you could no longer deviate your path to get to. because running the straightest line to finish is the only option you have with 16 miles under your belt and still 10 left to go.
I knew I could make it that far on my own and more if I needed to though. Against better judgement and unlike most others, I have trained for both my marathons alone. Not recommended for the social butterfly. But I am an only child. I grew up 45 minutes from civilization (aka, a grocery store and school) and I learned, for better or worse, how to survive well on my own, most days. So, yes, I am one of those weirdos that enjoys running 20 miles alone. Okay, well maybe not "enjoy" per se, but "prefer" maybe is more accurate. I find that it's more relaxing for me to just run with my headphones on as loud as I like at my own pace, on my own route... most the time.
The other 5% of the time I can be found running with a select friend or two, who usually serve to motivate me to run faster and take my mind off the auto-pilot track that my thoughts run on in circles. Similar to the great article that Runner's World Magazine had in their March 2010 headline article on runner Kara Goucher's mental struggles ( RW Article ) with the exception that I am not a world-class professional runner. Her article has given me more mental strength than I had before I read it, but that's a whole new blog post, if I ever finish this one! It's almost like a treat to have someone to run with as a break in the normal routine.
Back to the SD Rock N Roll. I was well into mile 14, running on a long straight away on West Morena Boulevard. I am not really sure what happened exactly to cause it, but I quickly found myself trying to pick up my legs as fast as I could to keep from what felt like I was going to falling flat on my face. I couldn't. Now, I was just trying to keep myself from too much injury and from falling too hard. Before I hit the ground I heard gasps coming from the runners and spectators behind me.
"ffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuooooooooo" "ooooowwwwwww" "oooouuuuucccchhh"
It sounded bad. Real Bad.
Wait, I was the one they were making the sounds effects for. Oh man, this must be bad. I must have really done it now. Good bye my second race, I will never finish. Good bye. It was nice getting to know you on the first 14 miles. At least this one is progress on the one I sign-up for 5 years ago and couldn't run at all. We are getting somewhere. See you again in 5 years. Maybe that time I will get to finish.
Just then, a nice runner behind me stuck their hand out in front of me and helped me up. "Are you alright?" she asked. "Well, I don't know. I think so," I said, as I peered down at myself. My shirt was ripped. My race runner was a little thrashed. My shorts looked a little torn. But no blood. Not yet. I mean I had a small scratch on my knee and shin. My hands took the brunt of the fall it appeared. Okay, they were bleeding a bit. Weather it was the adrenaline pumping through me or my injured pride, but I started running again.
Then I heard an applause. As I looked around, the runners and spectators peered back at me and applauded. They were clapping for me? For my awesome spill and the even more miraculous regrouping. Well, okay, maybe not miraculous, but it was something, that's for sure. And in a marathon of 20,000 people, I got an applause from a good group of them at mile 14 and a half. How many people can say that!?!
I was off to mile 15 and to finish this thing. Well over the half way mark with battle wounds and a fan base. Now one more mile to run alone. The last ten, piece of cake. Right?
...to be continued...