Friday, November 19, 2010

The Finish

My right leg is not so sure it wants to play the game any more. My quad is doing this funny thing, where I step on my right foot and the quad holds for a second and then gives way. I catch it before totally collapsing, so it looks pretty funny.

First thing after crossing the finish line:


There are numerous volunteers standing in the pathway that we get funneled to. I am just trying to stay upright and look like I am not going to collapse. I get to the volunteer and she attempts to hand me my medal. My little voice says to me "No freakin' way after running this am I gonna put my own medal around my own neck. NO FREAKIN" WAY." I also really appreciate volunteers, so I know they have probably been standing there for hours, dealing with runners who are in various moods. So, I look my volunteer in the eyes as she is holding my medal out and I just slightly bend at the waist and offer her my head.

God Bless this woman - SHE GOT IT!

The medal got placed around my neck and I heard congratulations from all of the medal distributing volunteers around. I was so proud of me. I didn't know my time for sure and I did know I finished in under 5 hours. Did you hear that? I finished in under 5 hours.

Let's be clear - I was going to be proud that I finished. My starting and finishing was not an "of course", given what my body went through. I was going to brag and be puffed up that I finished. That I finished in under 5 hours was "sky writing worthy" as far as I was concerned.

There was a smile on my face that would not stop.

Next stop, the post finish photo:

I Did It!

Then the mylar blanket thingie got put on me and then someone taped it on so I didn't have to hold it on. I was starting to get the shakes from being so sweaty and starting to get cold.

From there we inched, and I mean inched, our way to the UPS trucks. On the way, we got our post finish fuel and fluid bag. I drank the entire bottle of water and started on the pretzels. They stayed down very nicely.

I spoke with a woman from Finland. She came to NYC just for the marathon. Seems that is another way one can get a bib. She was so happy. She actually had fun....... tried to wrap my brain around having fun running the marathon, couldn't do it, but I got that she really had fun. She couldn't wrap her brain around that it was not fun for me. I loved doing it. I loved that parts that entertained me, I loved the parts I hated. I loved it all and, let me tell you, it was not fun.

Finally got my UPS bag and inched closer and closer to getting out of the park.

Steve called to find out where I was and where I would be exiting. I was still a bit 'out of it' and told him the signs I saw.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Blur Continues

The truth is, the rest of the marathon was just one big blur.

I was physically not well. My quad hurt, my knee was screaming and my ankle was starting to make the whole thing into a trio. I thought I could throw up at any point. I even tried to drink some Gatorade at a Fluid Station.

At some point, I saw the time clock. I did some math and knew that if I stayed at this walking pace, I would not finish in under 5 hours.

Time to Be Bold and Dig Deep, Lynnie. This is it!

I tried various strides and various 'forms' and finally found one that had me moving and the pain was tolerable.

It was ugly - I saw photos of it and I laughed, right out loud. My shoulders are up around my eye lobes, my elbows are way far out and my back is curved. I just needed to get to the finish line.

The crowd did not bail on me. I heard my name more than I can count. There were comments about my power walk. People were so awesome, I was forced to raise my head and smile at them. The crowd got me through the last 2 miles.

One guy totally pissed me off.

After passing the 25 mile marker and trying the Gatorade (it did no harm and did not help), some spectator on my left yells out "Only a half mile to go." Okay, I say, at this pace, I bet it's 100 right foots per tenth of a mile. This is a game I would play with myself while training. My 'good stride' was 80 right foots per tenth. So, I say, you can do 500 right foots. You can.

I start counting.

Son of a Bitch! at 170 right foots, there is the .5 mile official marker.

I was crestfallen.

I did not slow and I did not stop. I started counting again.

There was the finish line.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

IT Band Starts To Play

My father likes to say something like this: "I was perfectly healthy until I went to the doctor and then suddenly I had all these problems."

I went to Dr Gennaro because of the pain in my quad that was preventing me from running. I have never, ever been more thoroughly examined. He checked things and measured things that I didn't even know mattered.

He discovered that I had bursitis in my hip and IT Band irritation. He kept asking me if my right knee bothered me. It never did. When he or Heather touched the IT Band, it was tender, but my knee never bothered me while running. It was my right quad all the time.

So, here I am, somewhere on the Willis Avenue Bridge and my right knee starts to talk to me. My quad was already on the verge of yelling but that was a conversation I was accustom to. It was not a shock or jarring. When the right knee decided it wanted to talk, I was "You wanna talk now?" "Really?!"

When we hit the decline of the bridge, both the quad and knee were yelling and yelling loudly. I was in tough shape. They quieted to an 'outside talking voice' once we were on level ground.

Somewhere around this time, Danielle had to use the PortaJohn. I was running alone. Then..... there is Michelle, Kyle and Melissa and Melissa jumped in to run with me. She is training for the Vegas Half-Marathon in December. It was so perfect for me. Once she jumped in, my knee and even my quad shut up. I mean, not one peep out of them. She loved that people were calling me by name - I gotta say that continued to be very cool - she talked about how she enjoyed this blog and other things. She was a joy to run with and she made my injuries shut up for a mile or so.

At some point after Melissa peeled off, Danielle caught up to me. It was like the angels came down from above and started that harp music and all was right with the world.

That is until somewhere, I do not know for sure where, a red hot knife came out of no where and stabbed me in the right knee. I almost fell over, it hurt so badly. I stopped running and it was all I could do to keep moving forward, some how. Danielle was gone and I was all by myself with my knee not playing fair and somewhere around 2 miles to go.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just Keep Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

Soon after getting rid of my nagging thought about my Pigskin Pool Picks, Danielle says to me "There is your sister again". Michelle was wearing this purple t-shirt:

And, of course, in true Big Sister form, she had my FuelBelt bottle and it was full. I quickly grabbed it and went on my way.

I was starting to get nauseous. I never got nauseous during my long runs. This was odd. I had cut my PowerBars up into bite size pieces, as I learned in my long run in Yorktown how hard a PowerBar is in 48 degree weather. I had bite size pieces and just popped one in my mouth. A few minutes after swallowing it, my tummy was not happy. I tried more water, my tummy was still not happy.

Then I remembered that Carrie was going to be at Mile 15 and she was going to have a banana for me. I could make it to Mile 15.

I saw Kevin and Steve again at 14, this time they got video. I saw it later and anyone can tell that by then, all form was gone, my hip was compensating for my quad hurting. I did not know then that I was hurting, in my mind, I was still moving well.

Okay, not much further and I can have that banana and stop this awful feeling in my stomach.

I saw the 15 miler marker and started looking and looking for Carrie, I looked and looked and looked and then, then looked some more. Okie dokie, I say, no banana in my future.

By this time, the subways had thrown all of my peeps plans out the window. I knew this was possible, as last year Jimmy and I missed Doreen at mile 18. I just kept moving, allowing all of the peeps who did not know me, but knew my name, to support the crap outta me. Every time I heard someone yell "Way to go, Lynnie" I grinned from the inside out. My feet felt the grin and moved faster.

The Queensborough Bridge is sorta mile 15 and 16. We had already traversed the Verrazano and the Pulaski - I have zero memory of the Pulaski but it is there on the map, so I must have crossed it. After we cross the Queensborough Bridge, we come into Manhattan for the first time. I read all this stuff about the roar of 1st Avenue, about how it stays with people forever and blah, blah, blah. I gotta say - it was nothing for me. I heard nothing any different than any other place on the course.

Can I just say, I hated 1st Avenue. The spectators were in cages. I know they weren't cages, but the were behind silver bars. They were pushed back onto the sidewalk so far that they were not within reach. No high-fives, nothing personal. The only possible people to make human contact with were the cops and they were so busy keeping people in their cages that the whole avenue just sucked.

Once the suckitude that is 1st Avenue was done, we headed over the Willis Ave Bridge to get into the Bronx. Somewhere in the early incline, a banana appears in front of my face! It was a miracle. On the other end of the banana is Carrie! I think I even said "Thank God!" I tear into the banana and take a bite. It tasted so good. It hit my stomach and it was not a good idea. I thought I just might puke right here on the bridge, while running. I realize Carrie is running with me. She is in her street clothes and she is running with me. Danielle is staying at our 'usual' pace and I am slowing to Carrie's pace. I told her that the banana is making me queasy and I give it back to her. She asked me if I was digging deep and many runners around laughed at that. I then told her I could not lose Danielle and she helped me look for her in the crowd and I took off to catch up.

I loved the Bronx, not as much as I loved Brooklyn, but the Bronx was a great feeling after the 'stick up one's buttness' of 1st Avenue.

Monday, November 15, 2010

You Were Worried About What?

Somewhere in Brooklyn, one of the drunken house parties was all decked out with NY Giants gear. I am a Steeler fan (minus the Big Ben fan part) but I do appreciate die hard fans of any team.

As we are running by that house, Danielle yells out "Go Giants!"

My heart goes into my throat as I realize......... I did not make my Pigskin Pool picks.

When I first let Alex into my life, I knew crap about football. I knew the rules and I knew how it was played and I knew stuff, but I knew crap. He slowly taught me about the NFL. He slowly taught me about playing on the road, about the kind of offense teams have and how they gets smashed by 'bad' teams who have a certain kind of defense.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire had a message board provided by ABC when the show was in it's prime. I started posting on it when I said "I am going to be on WWTBAM". The board got cancelled by ABC and the Board moved around the internet over the years and is now privately managed.

We have a pigskin pool each year. I have become a contender over the years.

The week before the marathon, I took second place.

A zero for this week would ruin the entire season.

Here I am, running in the marathon, obsessed with not having made my picks. I can't let it go.

Then, I start thinking (as I am apt to do) "What can I do?"

I came up with an answer!

I would be seeing Alex at some point before 1:00PM (the picks had to be done before kick-off). He knows enough of my screen names and he knows a couple of my passwords and one of the ones he knows is the one I use on ESPN - so I knew he could fix it for me.

Sure enough, somewhere in Brooklyn, there was Doreen and Alex. I saw them just as I was passing them, so I turned around, ran back and looked him in the eye. I said "I forgot to make my Pigskin picks. Can you fix it for me?" Then I took off to catch up with Danielle.

The thought was gone.

He did not produce the result, I went from 2nd to 12th, but the result of the day was to have that off my mind and that worked.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The First 11 Miles

Let's review:

I had come into this marathon injured. My last long run was the 16 miler on October 3rd. I had a 5 miler on October 5 and an 8 miler on October 6. I did nothing but limp and ice and stretch the week of October 10. I did 5 deep water running sessions the week of October 17 and twice the week of October 25.

On October 26, I set out to jog and was stopped cold by the pain in my quad. The next 2 days I hit the elliptical for an hour each day. I did run 4ish miles on the 30th, then did 90 minutes on the elliptical on October 31. I ran 3 miles on November 2 and again on the 3rd and walked 3 miles on the 5th.

I missed the two 18 milers on my training schedule and the taper of a 9 miler and then an 8 miler.

So..... I had no, that is zero, evidence of how long I could actually run. I was starting the marathon determined to see how long I could run for before I had to walk.

I have no idea how this could have happened, but I got to the place where the orange, green and blue corrals merged and my quad had not even whispered to me. I felt strong.

I saw Steve and Kevin at 8 and then before I knew it, there was Michelle in her purple Run To Remember t-shirt somewhere in mile 9. I had finished 1 of my fluid bottles in my FuelBelt. I didn't think I would make it all the way through on what was on me. Before starting the marathon, I had thought I would stop at the Fluid Stations when I was out, but after having been through them, I did not want to stop. I did not remember who was scheduled to be at 9 but I knew Michelle was somewhere before 15. I knew my Big Sister would be able to help me.

I handed Michelle the empty bottle and asked her to get it filled and back to me. The great thing about Michelle is that she can process things fast, get what is needed and then you can count on it being done.

I went to catch up with Danielle.

We tooled along (can one tool along on foot?) and suddenly there was this blaring, loud, deep yell that I recognized as my name! Danielle jumped, I mean jumped. It was Robin! I told her that was my other sister and she laughed and laughed. About a block from Robin, I saw Yvette and her eyes alone fed me energy.

At this point, I had no idea where we were. I had stopped looking at the mile markers and I had lost count in my head. I was happy about that, as counting at that point was not productive.

I was just getting out of the 'danger zone', otherwise known as the Fluid Station and there were Amy and Betti Lu. You have got to love the way they were dressed. Look at this:

Betti Lu made herself earrings - one said Be Bold, the other said Dig Deep! They both wore those alien ears all day long. Can anyone ask for more exuberance than these two woman provide? I think not!

The only reason I know how far I had run at this point is because of the Peeps Schedule that Amy compiled.

My Peeps

When Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer and it became impossible for her to train and complete the NYC Marathon with me, she still wanted to support me. Support me she did.

She not only lent me her home and yard for 2 yard sale to raise funds for the Run2Remember team, she asked many of her friends and clients to donate 'stuff' to the sale. She spent hours and hours cleaning and tagging the stuff.

She was with me for 3 of my long runs. Once in a golf cart with my dad and twice on a bike.

When I was paralyzed with upset and failure after my second injury, she asked me what other medical help I could get. That is what spurred me to find MAH and Heather is who steered me to Dr Gennaro. No doubt that without Amy, I would not have found them and without them, I would not have completed the marathon the way I did.

Then she asked what support I would like during the marathon. I told her that if I could have it my way(and in life, I rarely have it totally my way) I would want a friend at each mile from 8 on. I would want to have that to look forward to. I would like to be able to tell myself "Just one more mile and you will see (friend's name).

Amy put together a plan for me to have what I wanted. It was very much like the time and effort I put together to find the prefect 5 Phone a Friends when I was on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. My structure of support was in place and all I needed to do was keep moving.

The plan looked like this:

Mile 8 - Steve and Kevin

Mile 9 - Kyle, Michelle and Melissa

Mile 10 - Robin and Yvette

Mile 11 - Amy and Betti Lu

Mile 12 - Doreen and Alex

Mile 13 - Kyle, Michelle and Melissa

Mile 14 - Kevin and Steve

Mile 15 - Carrie

Mile 16 - Amy and Betti Lu

Mile 17 - Kevin and Steve

Mile 18 - Skoop, Donna and Kay

Mile 19 - Doreen and Alex

Mile 20 - Amy and Betti Lu

Mile 21 - Kyle, Michelle and Melissa

Mile 22 - Doreen and Alex

Mile 23 - Steve, Kevin, Michelle and Kyle

Mile 24 - Marc, Lois, Amy and Betti Lu

Mile 25 - Doreen and Alex

Mile 26 - Steve and Kevin

Doreen ran in the 2009 NYC Marathon and sent out an e-mail to all my peeps telling them what they might encounter, what I might be experiencing at various spots on the course and gave them this valuable advice: If things don't go as planned, roll with it. If you miss Lynn at some mile marker, move on - it will be fine.

That was great advice for all of us - including me.

Mile 13