Sunday morning I woke up the same way I do for most marathons, tired because I can’t sleep before a marathon, excited to run and nervous because I was out of town and didn’t know exactly where I was going. When I turned on the news I added scared to the list. At 5 a.m. it was 86% humidity and expected to reach a high of 82.
Woah Woah Woah, wait a minute. I checked the weather a couple times a day and ever since Friday it was predicted thunderstorms. Obviously, Mother Nature and the Meteorologists and I are not seeing eye to eye and can’t make up their minds, sheesh!
I headed over to the starting line which was weird for 3 reasons. 1) the DJ kept playing Michael Jackson songs over and over. And they weren’t the ones that would pump you up either. 2.) I was dressed in shorts and a long sleeve throw away with a tank top underneath and was not even cold (I’m always cold at the start). 3.) I was all by myself 😦 I didn’t know any other runners there so I just walked around to waste time before the start.
What was cool about the start line was they had corals (didn’t expect that at a small race) but on the sides they had huge huge huge flags on where you should line up for each pace group. It was even maked for the marathoners, half marathoners and by pace. Made it super easy to find where my pace group should start…even if my pace leader didn’t show up until 5 mins before the start.
As the race started I was going a little bit fast and doing 8:10 min miles. Not too bad but just a little faster than I wanted. I kept that up until just before mile 6. At mile 6 all the runners around me were hitting the wall and complaining about how hot it was. I knew it was hot but I thought I was the only one dying. I did just run the Cleveland Marathon maybe that was it. I tried to slow it down a little bit but my 10K time was 51:06, 8:15 pace. Not too shabby with that heat.
At mile 8 full and half marathoners were pulling themselves out of the race. Even the pace leaders were dropping out. I thought the race officials were going to call the race because it was so hot. I didn’t know if I was being stupid or stubborn but was still trying to ignore the hot sun beaming down on me. We did go up and over, I think 5 death bridges overpasses. Not gonna lie they were killer bridges. That pretty much wiped the last of my energy out of me and I had many miles to go. What happened to a flat and fast course I had heard about?
After this many miles started blending together. I remember the half marathoners breaking off to finish their course and all I could think about was how I wanted to finish so bad and how I wanted to not run the full anymore and just quit. So at mile 12.83 I had enough and I cried. Really hard. I was hot, really hot, sweat was burning into my eyes, my skin was burning and no amount of water could quench my thirst. There was a water stop at about every 2 miles and I grabbed a cup of water and Gatorade at each one and I was still thirsty. Usually I take a sip of each and that’s it but for this race I was chugging them I was so thirsty.
After I had my cry and wanna quite phase I started seeing the half marathoners walking around with their medals and I got my second wind. Wahooo!!!! I was halfway done, I was going to double what they were doing, I wanted that awesome shiny medal, wanted to become a marathon maniac and I wanted to finish this marathon!
Sadly, that excitement only lasted about a mile. I started to remember how thirsty I was and how little shade there was 😦
At some point along the course I saw watermelons that someone ate and discarded on the course and I was so thirsty I was tempted to pick it up and finish what was left. I also wanted to do the same thing when I saw a discarded water bottle on the ground. Luckily, I didn’t but it was very tempting.
The second half of the course you get to run through a lot of residential neighborhoods and the best part was that they all had their hoses out and would spray us to cool us off. No joke I easily ran through at least 20 hoses. I would actually speed up every time I saw a hose in the distance. Some houses even had water out for us which I would normally not take water from anyone but the volunteers but it was hot, I would have taken water from anyone at that point.
Even with the hoses I was running through I was not sure I was going to finish this race. Everytime I got sprayed with a hose I could taste the salty sweat off my face and felt like I was drowning in the ocean. Somewhere before mile 20, I cried…..again. I felt like I needed a glass of water every half mile. It was hot and I felt sick to my stomach from the heat and weird things were sounding good to me. I suddenly needed to have a glass of orange juice and a Pepsi. I don’t really even like orange juice but suddenly I wanted it NOW! I told myself that when I finished I could have anything I wanted I just had to get there. I saw a guy and his son passing out ice around this time and I grabbed a handful and stuck a couple pieces in my mouth, a couple in my bra (lots of room in there) and rubbed the rest on my arms.
By this point I was just over 6 miles from the finish, I was almost there. Even if I had to crawl the last couple miles I was going to finish this race. Perhaps my third wind?
Somewhere between mile 20 and 23 they were handing out watermelon. I have never ate actual food while running. Unless you count Gu as food (I do, don’t judge). But it was so hot and I had been dreaming of watermelon for miles. So I took a slice and it was heavenly. I am not even sure if they were race volunteers or just really nice people handing out watermelon to melting runners but it was awesome.
The last couple miles actually started to fly by and there was still crowd support cheering on runners and I smiled and waved at each and every single one. It meant so much that people were still out cheering for the runners. Some you could tell were waiting for their runners to come by but others had on their half or full medals and were still cheering on the rest.
Throughout the entire race I was over all just hot but it was taking me a lot longer than I thought for me to finish and by mile 24 I was hurting. My hips especially but it was shooting up my back and just the overall pounding was hurting. With 2 miles to go though it didn’t matter and I cranked out an 8 min mile and a 7:45 mile. Baller!
As made the last loop around the obelisk, I took my headphones out so that I could hear the crowd (they were awesome) and crossed that finish line with by far and I mean FAR my slowest time EVER. 4:35:26, I don’t even know what pace that is. 472 out of 871 marathon finishers and 22 out of 75 in my age group.
And then I cried…for a third time. Not because of my time but because I was finally finished, tired, hot and overall exhausted. Medical staff kept asking me if I was ok and I choked back my girly tears and said yes. Overall, I was ok just dehydrated. I grabbed a water bottle and headed over to the milk area only to be told that they ran out and went home 😦 No chocolate milk for the slow melted marathoners I guess. Honestly, it would have been warm by that time and I probably wouldn’t have wanted it anyways.
I can say that the Buffalo Marathon is a very organized and well put together race. I had not expected that since it is a smaller marathon but they take good care of the runners. I would highly recommend this race. You can’t predict the weather and minus the death overpasses it really is a flat course.
Although this was one of my toughest marathons I still managed to finish and in doing so I became Marathon Maniac #3963.
And I ruined a brand new pair of socks. I would like to tell you that it was so hot and I was running so fast that I burned holes in my socks. In reality though I think my toenails were long and cut through my socks.