13.1 It’s Justin Beiber Time!

**I wrote this late Wednesday night/Thursday morning. It took me longer to write than to run the damn race. It’s long. You’ve been warned.**

My training this time around has been both amazing and not what it could be. Some things went well, like ALL of my long runs. This time I hurt a lot less and recovered a lot better. I know most of it has to do with this being the second time but I also believe part of it was Vegan. Truly. I am convinced plant protein and the lack of animal protein (or less of it any way) helped my muscles work the way they should and helped me recover with less effort. You won’t convince me I’m wrong.

Some things went badly, like the fact that I never hit my intended mileage. After the 4th week of training I never ran more than 3 days a week. That’s not enough for me. My taper was a little long probably too. But the reality is I couldn’t do more. I honestly didn’t have the time because of work. I hate that. I really hate that. I have to remember that at the end of the day I did my best.
It’s late now. I should be sleeping. I am very overwhelmed and each time I think things are getting better they get worse. But I need to write this. I need to do this now before I forget it all. For me. And for you of course.
Two days before the race I worked 14 hours. They don’t pay me for that. The day before the race I forced myself to leave work early (an hour after the time I’m supposed to leave). I told myself I had to forget about work for one weekend because from that point on it was running only. I needed to get focused because although I did an ok job with hydrating and nutrition in the days leading up the race I hadn’t done much else to prepare. I had a lot left to accomplish. I forgot to drive the race course. I probably would have forgotten my race packet if Virginia Slim hadn’t driven me there (she needed to pick up her brothers packet for him). When I left work I headed to Target to try to find some pants. I have this pair of capris I wanted to wear. In recent weeks I’ve dropped a few lbs (still no winner to that competition) and several pairs of running pants I have no longer fit well. It’s a terrible problem, I know. I had to go to 3 stores to find the right size. Succeeding calmed me down.
We went to Running Buddy’s for dinner and because she’s better prepared than I am she had a course map (I’d left mine at work) and it was even in color. She and Biker Boy decided they were going to ride bike so as not to have to worry themselves with parking the car and driving to different destinations to see me. Genius idea. Little did we know Kansas City basically shuts itself down for this thing.
Race morning came early and as I rolled out of bed I heard Biker Boy yell to me, “It’s Justin Beiber time!” I couldn’t stop laughing. It didn’t make any sense. He only even knew who JB was because Tony and Wilbon had talked about him calling out Tom Brady for copying his hair on PTI a couple days prior. It was just what I needed to hear. I was a little anxious and tried to force down some food when Running Buddy came to pick us up. This will forever be my flaw with running: I do not like to eat before running in the am. I just can’t do it.
I got a text from Jamie early. She was on her way to getting almost locked into a parking garage so that she could volunteer at the race. She gave us a great tip about driving to the start which saved us tons of time and me some anxiety. As we got closer to Crown Center people were bailing out of cars left and right. I couldn’t figure out what their hurry was. Why rush to go stand outside and wait? After a few more minutes waiting with no movement I got too anxious and had to bail like everyone else. Running Buddy flipped a U-ie and dropped me off right at the corner of the Westin hotel. For those of you that don’t know, I used to work there. I took it as a sign that I should use their bathroom. Eff you port-a-potties. I walked right past the super long line in the lobby and up to the second floor where I knew there was a much larger and much nicer bathroom. The Pacers were in line there but it moved quickly and I was happy that I could pee in a real bathroom.
I made my way outside, passing thousands of people in Crown Center and outside waiting in line for a port-a-pottie. Rookies. I couldn’t find the start, or rather I didn’t know where it was. It was dark out and I felt very alone. I had left my phone with Biker Boy and all of a sudden I thought that was a huge mistake. I realized I could have used it to call him to tell them where I was after they parked the car. Idiot. I finally found the start and lined up behind the 2:35 pacer as the sun came out. I didn’t want to go out too fast. There were two girls chatting behind me that were super annoying. I don’t know exactly what it was about them that ticked me off (HOW STUPID THEY WERE!) but I wanted to punch them in the face. It was actually a good distraction. As the time neared 7:30am people began pushing through and making their way toward the front. This pissed me off. It’s like at church. If I get there early to sit in the damn aisle and you get there late, YOU should have to sit in the middle. I held my ground and let the serious people push through. At some point a girl came up next to me with her hand in the air. I was annoyed. See a theme? What the h was she doing? Finally I realized she was trying to get a satellite signal on her Garmin 305. You’ll remember, Mav is a 405. I panicked, realizing I hadn’t turned him on (that’s what she said) and was worried that the crowd would keep me from finding a signal. Dude, I am short. I turned him on (only took 10 months but I can finally do that right) and within 15 seconds he found a signal. That chick stood there for at least 15 minutes waiting on hers. Mav turned himself off twice out of boredom and refound the signal each time. Time to upgrade, honey.
Finally, after announcing there were 11,000 runners out there and singing the national anthem the race began. It didn’t take long before I crossed the start line. Running felt good. I hadn’t been doing much of it for a few weeks. I started out slow and scanned the crowd for Running Buddy and Biker Boy. I was afraid if they didn’t see me start they wouldn’t know how long before I’d make it to certain mile markers. I found them easily and waved as a huge grin crossed my face. I was so glad they were there. My game plan for the race was to focus on each mile. To try to hit my goal time (11 minutes) on each mile. I let people pass me and took in the sites. I quickly realized Jamie was right, running Kansas City is really cool. I saw a coworker run by me shortly before the first mile was over. I called out to him and he ran with me for a bit. He’s fast. I kept telling him to go on but he hung with me for awhile. Mile 1: 11:03 Right on track. I looked down a little bit later and saw that I was running a 9:30 pace to keep up with this guy. I told him that was too fast too early for me and way too slow for him and again, that he should go on. Finally he did.
I thought to myself that I wished I had a tape recorder so that I could remember everything. I saw a couple with matching shirts that said, “Happy Anniversary. 6 years and still running”. It only took me about 2 minutes to totally get it. Dude, I’m slow. I heard a weird noise around this time and looked over to see someone dribbling a basketball. It was awesome. I wanted to yell, “Hey man! I’m open!” but was afraid if he threw me the ball I’d miss it and it would hit someone. About that time I saw RB and BB. They didn’t see me and I was nearly past them when I yelled, “Did you see that guy with the basketball?”
It was good to see them. I found myself anticipating seeing them, a lot. When I started seeing signs about the approaching water station I got excited cause I knew Jamie was there. Uh…what I failed to realize was that there were like 6 tables set up. On both sides of the street. This is good because 11,000 people wanted water but it was bad because I couldn’t find her. I took some water and moved on. Due to my time running with a boy Mile 2 split was: 10:34. I told myself that was ok and I would need that 1/2 minute later in the race.
We passed Union Station and I was really enjoying the sites of Kansas City and again thinking Jamie was right. I had my iPod but it was in my pocket, I was trying to enjoy racing and running for as long as possible. I saw a sign that said, “Head up, shoulders back” and I took notice. As we turned a corner I heard the crowd’s reaction to what I knew was coming, “Are you serious?”, “No way!”, “We’re running that?!” and the responses from those that knew, “Yes. Yes we are.” One guy in particular, wearing a Hospital Hill shirt was amusing to me. The back of his shirt said, “I conquered the Hill” and yet he was seriously bitching about this hill by Liberty Memorial. That shirt was super popular, BTW. I settled in and made the ascent. Jamie had told me in an email that week that the hill was steep. But short. I couldn’t figure out how that was possible because I knew the hill and it was anything but short. I figured we must run a different way than I was thinking. As I started up the hill I thought to myself that no one was walking. As I tried to look over the thousands of people in front of me to see when this MOTHER EFFING THING WAS GOING TO BE OVER I realized Jamie had lied to me. I wasn’t happy. Fuck you Kansas City, I muttered, head down. I knew KC was known for it’s hills and I used this mantra whenever I trained and ran a hill, knowing that my training would carry me through. At one point (I’m not kidding, it was that long, I could have stopped for a sandwich – I should have) it was really hard and I was a little surprised by that. I shook my head as I thought to myself, “You thought it would be easy? Really? You’re an idiot, of course it’s hard. That’s why you are doing it.” I saw up ahead that we were going to turn and head towards the monument with the eternal flame. Even after the turn it was still uphill. Answer a nagging question, did they extinguish the flame? BB said it didn’t look lit, I swore it was, as I ran towards it I thought he might be right. I had had to pee for about, oh…2 1/2 miles at this point. I saw a port-a-pottie at mile 1 but there was a super long line. As we crossed a timing mat and the end of Mile 3 I saw a girl veer off to the left. I couldn’t’ figure out why until I saw the line. I was too far past it at that point to turn around and wait in line. I spent another 3 miles searching for a bathroom. Mile 3 split: 11:11. The hill slowed me down. For sure.
Somewhere around here there was another hill. A huge, awful, really steep hill. And I was pissed. The course designer lied. I would rather be prepared than surprised. Fuck you Kansas City. That one was really rough. People were walking all around me. I saw RB and BB around this time and they both seemed super surprised and proud of how I’d dominated the hills. I shrugged my shoulders and said I had to pee. It wasn’t until after I left them that I realized I’d forgotten to hand off my long sleeved shirt like I’d wanted to. Mile 4 split: 11:30. That hill really slowed me down. I knew I had done the best I could on that mile but I was slowing instead of keeping a steady pace.
Somewhere in there I did hand off the shirt. I was loving seeing RB and BB so much and chatting with them while they rode next to me a bit. I thought the port-a-potties were every 2 miles so I anticipated the one at mile 5 because I knew I had to stop, despite not wanting to. We turned onto Westport Road and I must have been distracted by thinking that places like The Foundry should do some kind of event with breakfast and beer so people could sit outside and watch because I never saw a bathroom and the course map clearly says there was one. Probably another lie. I considered stopping at every single business that was open. I didn’t. Mile 5 split: 11:18. Better. It wasn’t sinking in that I was missing my goal on basically every mile and that meant my overall goal was definitely slipping away.
I saw BB again and told him I was gonna stop at the QT up ahead. I knew it would be quicker than a port-a-pottie line and it was a real bathroom. I thought I was so smart. So did the other 12 people who stopped. Oops. I stopped my watch because I refused to count this time towards my race. I know it’s cheating. I told myself a bathroom break was not that big of a deal. It was frustrating but there was nothing I could do. Dang you super hydration. I also knew I wasn’t going to make another 7 miles without stopping. I tried to use the guy’s bathroom cause of course there was no line but there were guys in there so I didn’t. One guy walked in, walked past the girls, peed, walked back past us and said, “That’s why the guy’s times are always faster.” Hilarious. When I finally got in there I seriously had to fight the urge to puke. It smelled so bad. Like a port-a-pottie. Dangit! Then Mav lost his signal. Ala Monica from Friends, I yelled, “No!!!!” He picked it right back up when I went outside, no data lost. I didn’t wash my hands.
I felt instantly better. I headed back to the race. Mile 6 split: 11:30 (without the bathroom break of course – the time with the break was something like 16:30) We ran through the Plaza around mile 6.5 and I thought about how this was the most I’d ever run without walking. I was proud of myself and excited that I was halfway done. I looked at my half split and it was something like 1:15. I knew that I wouldn’t make 2:25, there was too much time to make up in only 6 1/2 miles but it didn’t totally sink in. I also thought about how they seriously shut down some major streets for this thing, not just the ones we ran on but all of the cross streets as well. As much as I cursed KC on that course, it was a really cool thing. Jamie was right. But not about that damn hill.

Somewhere in there I asked for some Chomps. I was nauseous after that bathroom break and I knew it meant I needed to eat something. I stopped while RB and BB searched through the bag until RB told me to go ahead that they’d catch up to me with them. I made a stranger laugh when I responded, “Oh, right, you’re on bikes”. The Chomps must have worked because Mile 7 split was 10:59. I thought to myself that the novelty of running wore off around mile 4. I was getting restless.
I had hoped to see Virginia Slim around the Plaza but hadn’t seen her. There was almost no one on the Plaza. Later I learned she was near the Nelson Atkins which I remember passing (nobody forgets a shuttlecock that big) but we missed each other somehow. When I reviewed the course map I remembered thinking the second half seemed like sketchy areas of town and I was thinking to myself that I was totally wrong about the time I saw someone who can only be described as a crack whore. I looked up at the street sign and thought, “Now that’s what I was expecting from Armour Blvd”. Stay classy Kansas City.
The half and full split right before the Mile 8 marker. I thought about it for a second. No, really, I did. Then I realized I would have had to run another 18 miles. Eff that. Mile 8 split: 11:30. I started getting bored but was still proud that I was now 8 miles in and still running. The rest of the course was really boring. I think part of the problem was that after the courses split it was a little lonely. Yes, there were still plenty of runners but not nearly as many as before and not many spectators. For the record, I never once felt crowded, not even at the start. That’s saying something for a race with 11,000 runners.
I was chugging along listening to “If I die young” by The Band Perry on repeat when someone came up and tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I like your shirt” and pointed to her own. She was also wearing the No Meat Athlete shirt. It’s from a great blog I read written by a Vegetarian Endurance Athlete. And the shirt is right up my alley. The front says “No Meat Athelete” and has a carrot running on it. The back says “Runs on plants”. I was excited to wear it and hoped it might cause some conversation along the race or perhaps it might inspire someone thinking about going Veg or Vegan. I emailed Jamie earlier in the week and told her I was afraid people would think, “Maybe if she ate meat she wouldn’t be so slow.” Jamie assured me no one would think that. I gave the girl a high five and we chatted about the race. I asked if she was from KC. She said she went to KU. I asked if I could have my high five back. Not really, but I did say, “Ok, good luck,” and picked up the pace.
Mile 9 split: 12:28. I remember thinking that was slow and I hadn’t felt like I’d slowed down. I started trying to remind myself that I was going to focus on just one mile at a time. I wanted to think about only 4 more miles. I knew the 2nd (THIRD YOU BASTARD!) hill was somewhere around here but I didn’t really know where. I remember at one point thinking, “This better be it cause if it’s worse than this I will not be able to handle it”. It must have been because I don’t remember anything being worse. I barely remember that.
About this time is when they started letting cars go through gaps in runners. It was super dangerous. I’m on record with that. One runner heckled a volunteer. That pissed me off. A lot of things were starting to piss me off. I remember thinking, the novelty of racing wore off around mile 9. I also walked after I saw the mile 9 marker. I was impressed with myself as I walked through the water stop. It was by far the longest I’d ever run without walking (before that it was 5 1/2 miles) and I told BB that when I saw him during this walk break. I walked longer than I wanted to but got myself moving again. Mile 10: 13:52. Ouch. Walking break was too long.
I looked down at my Garmin and saw it turn over to 10 miles. Then I realized I hadn’t see the mile marker. Then I realized THE COURSE WAS LONG! Dude, I don’t need to know that with 3.1 miles left, mostly because now I know there is more like 3.2 miles left. Fuck you Kansas City. I did not sign up for a 13.2 mile race. At least I had an excuse for that slow split. I was really hoping the next mile was going to be short since that one was long. I was soooo ready to be done but told myself to just hang on. I thought about walking a lot. I walked a little through water stops but for the most part knew more running meant the sooner this thing would be over. This is when I decided I’m done with 1/2 marathons. I thought to myself, What’s the point? I knew I would finish this one so I thought, I’ve done this twice now. It effing hurts. What is there to prove? I was smart enough to know you can’t ever trust your feelings about running during a race. Especially 11 miles in.
Mile 11 split: 11:58. Not short. Not short at all.
I saw RB and BB again. I saw them a lot. It was awesome. They always asked if I wanted more Chomps or water or anything. I kept saying I just wanted to be done. I asked if they’d seen the Veggie and BB told me he saw her behind me and took a picture. She had made her way forward to say hi to me. BB said he saw us together and thought to himself, “Ah, they found each other.” I told him she was from KU. She was very friendly and seeing her with that shirt was awesome. I was cranky, the course was long, I really really just wanted to be done. Awhile later a cop was honking his horn and trying to get everyone to move over. I couldn’t figure out why. I thought it was because we were so far in the back that they had to open up more streets or something. I saw a car come by with the time on the roof. I thought it was strange that they were showing us our time. It was 2:23 and I was thinking how crappy it was that I could see I wasn’t going to make my time. And then I saw him. The winner of the marathon. It gave me chills. I nearly cried. He was flying. And way ahead of everyone else. Mile 12 split: 12:29.
I knew I only had a mile left (I MEAN 1.2 MILES LEFT!) so I told myself I had to run it all. I heard someone behind me yelling at people. She was super agressive. I thought she knew them and was part of Team in Training or something. I thought to myself that she reminded me of Jillian Michaels. I always thought I’d want Jillian as my trainer. Bob’s super sweet and nice to look at and VEGAN! Holla! but I need a Jillian when I work out. This bitch was pissing me off though. I wanted to punch her in the face. Then she directed her comments at me. Something like, “Stay in front of me” or “Come on!” I turned to see that she was the 2:40 Pacer. Wearing Angel wings. Something about her being a pacer totally made the yelling ok. And exactly what I needed. She said something about “Only 2 laps around the track!” and while I knew that wasn’t true BECAUSE THE COURSE WAS LONG it still made it ok. Then she said, “You can do anything for 5 minutes.” That shit always gets me. I picked up the pace. A couple other marathon finishers passed me which was still cool. They were flying. I started to round the corner onto Grand (or is it Pershing, eff, I don’t know) and I saw a little boy on his dad’s shoulders holding out his hand to give high fives. No one was high fiving him. I ran totally out of my way to give him a high five. It was awesome. I had to jump to reach him. I was so beat down, tired, and done but seeing his smile was really great. Mile 13 split: 12:14
Did I mention the last .22 was up a hill? No? Well neither did the course designer on his description of the course. Actually, I just went back and he did describe it as: “…then to Grand to negotiate a final small gradual hill over a bridge…”. Dude, that’s the worst description I’ve ever heard. It should have said, “Right about the time you are dying and want to murder me because the course is long and you should have .1 miles left instead of .22 you have to go up an incline of about 90 degrees. Have fun, sucker!” For the record, that second hill I thought he failed to mention he had this to say about “…heading South on Wyandotte for a short, steep up and downhill…” While he is correct that after scaling that short mountain there is a steep downhill he should have said, “You’ve barely caught your breath from that first hill before you have to look straight up at your next adventure. Dodge all the people who don’t train on hills and are now walking as well as that super deep pothole that almost took out someone’s ankle. Don’t worry though, once you crest it and feel good about yourself you’ll have to use the only energy you have left to keep yourself from falling face over feet down the damn thing.”
I picked it up when I saw the Finish Line, not because I cared about my time or wanted to kick but because I REALLY WANTED TO BE DONE. There was a lot of crowd support at the finish and one guy was really close and said to me, “Just 60 seconds” and it was the greatest thing I’d ever heard. It was as if he said, “There is Beer at the finish and you haven’t drank in 4 weeks! And your ass looks great in those pants!” I wanted to hug him. But that would have taken too long. I started to pass an older guy (like 50) and said, “Come one man, don’t let a girl beat you”. He got chicked. I reached both the finish line and the puke threshold. Last .22: 9:40 pace.
Mav time: 2:34:41
Average pace: 11:42 FAIL
Calories burned: 1467
Distance: 13.22 miles
I really had to try not to puke. The person who gave me my medal handed it to me. I wanted her to put it on me – Annoyed! and I was dying. I later found out they ran out of medals for the 1/2 shortly after I got mine. I couldn’t catch my breath, the finishers chute was like 3 blocks long, NO exageration and I couldn’t find BB and RB. I’d seen them as I finished but now, 30 seconds later I’d lost them. I heard someone call my name from the other side of the chute and smiled when I saw Jamie. I had a bone to pick with her. We chatted about how we missed each other at her water station and how she lied about that hill. She just smiled. She was super excited for me and I think I told her she was right, The KC Marathon is pretty awesome. RB and BB found me so I hopped the baracade and by that I mean I squeezed my ass through it. I was hurting. Everywhere. I told them I was ready to go. They asked where. I said home. Now. I didn’t want that beer because who even knew where the damn tent was or if they still had beer? We walked back to the car, it took forever. I made RB stop and take this photo of me. I LOVE PEOPLE DRESSED AS ANIMALS! I saw a lady with a super cute baby and thought about asking her if I could hug it (seriously) and then we finally got to the car. I was tore up. It must have been the hills. RB popped a bottle of champagne and I had my first drink in 4 weeks. It was as good as you could imagine. My crew was starving, no doubt, and I just wanted to get away from the crowds. I started texting and facebooking while drinking my mimosa. I felt much worse than I ever did on my training runs or my first half and I realized later it was because I didn’t do anything right to try to recover. I drank water at the finish. And a mimosa. No protein. No food. Idiot. I had cheese dip and a grilled cheese sandwhich about an hour after the race. Dumb. Really really dumb. I really wanted a ham and cheese sandwhich but I knew I couldn’t eat meat wearing that shirt! 🙂 BB and I took a nap when we got home but I didn’t sleep at all. My legs and shoulders hurt so bad.Later that night BB and I went out with my Brother and his wife in Baldwin. BB and I walked home. At least a mile and a half. Genius. My hips were screaming. BB kept offering to carry me, probably so I’d quit complaining, but I knew that was a bad idea. I couldn’t find a comfortable position to sleep in and didn’t get much sleep that night. Also, I had 4 vodka drinks (technically 2 double vodka and sprites) and didn’t get drunk. What?!Overall I’m not sure what to say. Some things were great, some things weren’t so great. I’m really happy I did it but I’m still not sure I’ll be running more long races. Perhaps I’m still just stressed out and overworked but I really thought the later miles were going to be less grueling this time around. Perhaps that was dumb. Honestly, what I’m really mad about is the fact that I Ran SO MUCH MORE this time around and only beat my time by less than 5 minutes. I know, it wasn’t about speed, it was suposed to be about beating 13.1 mentally and I did that. Blame Mav, he feels the need. The need for speed.

I can’t finish this SUPER long post without thanking Running Buddy. Having her crew for me and pop a champagne bottle at the end was even better than if she’d run it with me. Call me selfish but I loved it! BB really made me feel special and kept telling me how proud of me he was. It was great to see them both so much during the race and to always know I wasn’t alone out there.
Thanks for sticking with me this long folks. Another 13.1 (or 13.22) in the books. Verdict is still out on if it’ll be the last.