So here we were again - 3am BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! This time I wasn’t already awake. My legs felt like lead after yesterdays 13.1 miles and the last thing I wanted to do was get up and run another 26.2. But thats what we were there to do and this was the main event.
So the bus was there at 4am just like the day before. In fact everything was exactly the same as the day before except this time Mickey Mouse started the race.
The first 10 miles flew by, I don’t even remember anything until the sun came up I tend to zone out during my runs by putting on some music with a high BPM and let my feet get into a rhythm.
At mile 18 my world fell apart. I started to get really emotional which has never really happened before during a race and I knew something wasn’t quite right. Then it happened.
The only way I have been able to describe what I went through is this…
It felt like my Diaphragm just decided to stop working
I couldn’t catch my breath. NO I couldn’t breathe. Physically I could not get air into my lungs. It was if my entire respiratory system had decided to stop. This then brought on a panic attack of epic proportions. What was going on? Why can’t I get air into my lungs? As I gasped for air I wanted to reach out to someone to slap me on my back, find a medic or worse - GIVE UP!
Just as I was about to stop my stomach muscles tightened and I thought my abdomen was going to separate it self from my body. I seemed to have pulled my stomach muscles trying to breathe. The pain was extraordinary.
At that exact moment I felt the air streaming back into my lungs the relief, however, was over shadowed by what was going on with my stomach.
I kept going for as long as I could and by the time I got to mile 20 I had had enough of my music and actually put away the headphones. Just after this I got talking to an older woman for a mile or so. It was around this time I decided in my head to switch to a 10 minute run 1 minute walk strategy.
Without knowing how to set this up on my Garmin I settled for a 1 minute walk at every mile marker from then on in. seeing as I was keeping a 9:30 pace I thought this would be about right.
As I crossed the finish line I collected my marathon medal and then headed to the Goofy tent to get the medal I had been waiting for.
As I walked through the baggage tent and caught up with Chris I was surviving on pure adrenaline knowing that at that moment I was on my own and only I was able to carry myself through. As soon as I met up with him I pretty much fell apart, I would say I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Unfortunately Chris will testify to I pretty much collapsed in a heap as the burning returned to my stomach muscles as the cramp kicked in again. I told him what had happened and with that he managed to get me to some shade and made me drink the fluids that we had been given as we crossed the line.
It’s funny I have now run 5 full marathons and I’m amazed at how little I remember from this one - apart form the relief of finishing (and the 2 cute blondes that ran with me through miles 23-25 (if only I had a pen)). Maybe due to the heat, or the pain, or maybe just maybe it was because i was running 40 miles in one weekend.
I’m going to finish this little series with one final post, maybe tomorrow, as I have so much to comment on about the whole ‘Goofy’ experience.