This has potential to be long.
As most know, this week saw sickness ravage the Train family, first with Ella then Addy, then me. 2 days ago I did not feel at all good, and whil I'm better I know I'm not 100%. I've been weak legged, my stomach has been queasy (I couldn't even finish my dinnner last night or breakfast this AM) and my HR has been noticeably high. But I'd come all this way, I needed to at least run the race and see what's what.
Greg_C decided to drive down Sat and get situated, to save us an hour or so in the AM. Meanwhile, Mrs. Train decided she was going to come with us and stay the night at our friends house, which added to some weird logistics. There really wasn't room for Greg and the whole Train family. We brought an air mattress, and Greg joined a carful of Trains for the ride down. We got there no problem, Greg and I went to the expo and then came back to the house. It was decided that we would go out to eat, though I would have rather ordered in and relaxed. Long story short after an hour wait (even after calling ahead) we ate, and 2 1/2 hours later and after my kids' bedtime, we were done. We got back, got the kids to bed, chilled for an hour or so and went to bed.
Oh, somewhere in here, Mrs. Train said she felt sick.
She got up puking all night, and in the process Addy kept waking up in the pack n play next to us. I basically got booted from bed, and ended up sleeping on the floor in my other kids' room. Exactly what I pictured my perfect prep to look like.
Woke up, didn't feel right but not too bad. Couldn't finish my breakfast. Our friend Karen picked us up and off we went.
FF to the start. Nice and cool (in fact cold) at 40 degrees or so, but you could tell weather wouldn't be a factor. Saw mikey, EGH3 and Bash in Tsongas, and a few local friends, hit the portapotty and went to the start line.
Fist bumps everywhere. Before I knew it we were off. Sort of. The first mile was excruciatingly crowded. Tried to just let it be and not weave. Cost of that was an 8 flat. Next two miles made up a little time, still felt pretty easy. But I was not right. I was already working and by mile 3 I felt certain that at some point this race I would vomit. It just felt like it was up to my neck and could come out any second. It was here that I abandoned staying with Greg, because I knew I couldn't run 7:30 for 20 miles. Maybe I could run 7:37s, but then I have no cushion at all. I was not optimistic.
By mile 5 or so, my friend Brian caught me. He had had to weave thru traffic quite a bit, but he said he had caught me pretty easy. Another mind fuck because I just wasn't feeling good. He said I looked good, I said thanks and we ran on.
Lots of empty miles next. We just ran together. We'd check our Garmin's at the mile, I'd occassionally ask if our pace was still on time during the miles. I took 1/2 Gu one time through here and could barely keep it down. Thru the miles I learned that I could handle one small drink of water or gatorade, that was it. Got to the turnaround at the bridge and headed back (the bridge is effed up, it's like being in a Fun House). Caught Robin just after this, she chastized me for talking. We ran on.
More empty miles, right on time if I was only interested in banking 2 seconds/mile. I was bargaining with myself wondering where I could quit. By the other bridge short of 1/2 Brian picked up and I thought I was done. What a good place this would be to stop. If UI lost him I was done, I could never find the pace by myself.
I decided to pick up and catch him. I told him if I lost him I was dead. He seemed like he was doing really well. 14,15,16, here I said OK, ten miles. Anyone can run 10 miles.
Up the one hill (again) one of our faster miles (7:32). Huh. Got to the Fun House again and turned back. With the wind a bit (though there wasn't much wind) and on our way in, so a mental boost.
I remembered my other marathons, I was already hurting at 14,15 or so, so I thought really I'm doing better than I have before. Broke it down to getting to 20. Passed 20 at 2:33ish, right on time with no buffer because we had run 2 bad miles in here somehow and lost 10 secs per mile.
Fuck the Wall. I wasn't glycogen depleted, despite my lack of fuel. My legs were tired and my left hip/hammy were getting progressively worse. But I could basically hold pace, which was different from past experiences. One mile at a time. Every mile I held pace was another mile where I maintained a small buffer. And Brian just kept on chugging and all I thought was don't lose him.
21,22 a little slow. But my stomach was actually a little better. Took a 1/2 Gu somewhere in here because I could. Sort of insurance. And I was sick of carrying the damn things. 4ish miles to go. There would be no quitting, maybe I'd lose pace though. Anyone can run 4 miles. Let's see, that's to Salty's house and back. One mile at a time.
Somewhere in here I heard a crowd behind us. Then the 3:20 pacers passed us, like 5 of them. I thought, OK< I have a miunute to play with plus another 30 secs or so. Just keep them in sight. Then it hit me - what if they weren't on time?
I picked up and caught them (picked up is loosely used - they were 5 strides ahead). Brian, who I'd run with since 5 and who basically helped me through the hardest part of the race, fell back a step or two. I couldn't look back.
Then I thought of Candice the Horsefly. I'm not letting them go. I'm so close I worry I will trip them. They go to the middle, I go. they go on the sidewalk, I go. I ask if they are on time and they say yes. It's 24, 2 miles to go, my stomach is mostly OK and I have two miles to go. I mention to them that anyone can run 2 miles.
Now I'm trying to do math but can't, but gaining confidence. Is this really going to happen despite my shittiness? I stick like glue for nearly two miles. I start to fade, one of them turns around and yells at me as we cross the bridge. 0.5 to go. Anyone can run 1/2 mile.
I catch them again, and as we turn into the stadium I just go. They all start yelling at me, Go, Go!. Then I get in the stadium and I her "Lance!". I know it's Thunder. I think I've got it but he yells at me all the way around the place. It was awesome. He must have run all through the infield. I saw the clock, 3:20:44 or something. I crossed in 3:21:02, but I had 30 seconds chip. I nearly collapsed, I can't explain that feeling.
Unfortunately, Brian had a hammy issue and missed by like 10 seconds. I really couldn't feel worse. He got me my BQ. Short story after that is I find my sick family, we exposed people to our germs at Beer Works, went back and forth between family and local friends and Swamp members. Saw Hudson and the man behind the curtain. For real. Even saw Dragon and of course Bad Dawg and Nader.
And I couldn't finish my burger and my stomach won't tolerate beer. So I'm completely sober and hurt like hell. And I love it. Mrs. Train is still sick, so I get to drive home. And THAT hurt like hell.
Mikey said that he may not have seen anyone so happy after racing. And I guess it was. It wasn't about my time, or even Boston. It was really the fact that whatever got me to put my body through miles 3-26.2, I faught and perservered and didn't give in. I'm glad that whatever that is is in me.
And I needed every last mile of that training. In addition to Brian, I owe Greg_C, Robin and other local people who trained with me all summer, and mikey who became my coach without even knowing it. And now I know if I can run <3:21 feeling like that, I am capable of much better. That makes me happy too.
See you boobs in Boston.
Mrs. Train editing the log entry - thanks to my wonderful wife too who lets me run all the God damn time.