THANK YOU TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS AT THE HYANNIS MARATHON/HALF MARATHON! IT WAS MISERABLE TO RUN OUT THERE, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW HORRIBLE IT WAS TO STAND THERE. THANK YOU! YOU GUYS DID GREAT!
I just passed the 20 mile marker and my brain was already shouting, searching, crying for mile 21. What started as a plan to avoid the large puddles has turned into a never ending river fording adventure across a body of water and I don’t even know how to swim! Every article of clothing is starting to fight against me. That extra pair of socks I thought were a smart idea were also wet and weighting me down. My fancy rain-jacket completely soaked through. My tights, my socks, my sports bra and everything in between is cutting into my skin with a cold, wet sharpness. I try to run forward, but I realize my body is refusing to move because it is trembling, no straight out shaking to keep itself warm, and when your muscles are spasming for warmth, getting them to coordinate with your brain to move forward is a challenge that I never knew could exist. The road is barely closed for all the runners and all I can think at this point is that if I get hit by a car, I won’t be too sad because I can stop trying to run.
But let me start at the beginning, before I thought getting hit by a car was a brilliant solution to being cold, wet, and 6 miles away from the finish line.
The Hyannis Marathon was held on Sunday February 24th 10AM. There is also a half marathon and a relay. The marathon registration is $60 and the half is $50. The price only goes up by $5 to $65 & $55 if you wait last minute. Compared to Boston Marathon or any Rock n Roll event, the race fee is a steal! However, you get what you pay for. NOT MUCH.
The whole weekend is actually a whole grand fiasco with a small fun run Friday, pasta dinner, with some local greatness (BILL RODGERS & GREG MEYER), and a whole giant disorganized (from what I hear) expo. Tony and I decided to skip out on the expo and the pasta dinner because at $17 per person, I can eat better than that. If you sign up for the Malden 5K/10K you get a pasta dinner for free but you’re downgraded to local greatness like me and Tony =).
Pre-Race Food & Logistics
Instead of attending the expo, or any of the pre-race events, I spent the weekend packing, worrying and reloading my email. There was serious threats that with the snow and wind factor (50 MPH) the race was going to be canceled. The race organizers told us to wait until 4PM Saturday until they would have the final word from the town police about whether we may (not can) run in this weather. Not gonna lie, a small part of me that has never run in the rain EVER, was hoping for a cancellation, and I know all of Tony was hoping for a cancellation because he doesn’t appreciate the thrill of running many miles like I do. Luckily, the race was to go on!
Scuba Liana was ready for her 26.2 mile swim. I spent the rest of evening, packing, repacking, three wardrobe changes in picking out an outfit. I briefing looked for some cheap lodging, failed and decided Tony should love me enough to wake up early to drive, instead of forking over the dough for a hotel. Luckily he did!
We woke up at 7AM with a goal of being out the door by 7:30 knowing we’re always a little late. The drive to Hyannis took about 90 minutes and was relatively traffic free due to horrible weather and it being a Sunday morning.
Fuel – We fueled up on Dunkin toasted almond coffee, Munchkins (for me) and a cream cheese bagel (for Tony). About 30 minutes before the race, I shoved a piece of toast down my throat because I decided maybe I should have something besides caffeine and sugar in my stomach.
Parking – We actually had no idea where to park, but then again, I have never ran a race where parking wasn’t confusing. Luckily one of the volunteers flagged us into a spot and then warned that we have a 10 minute walk in the rain to the starting line/bib number pick up. Good thing I had my fashionable trashbag with me.
Number Pick-Up – Even though half the runners that signed up didn’t show up, number pick up was a wreck. First there’s two buildings, between the convention center and the hotel, we had no idea where to go to grab our numbers. There was no sign or anything on the door entrance to remotely assist you. Luckily, with enough asking.
Swag bag – The swag bag is utter CRAP! Please save yourself the cost and sweatshop labor and don’t hand me a giant over-sized cotton t-shirt when I’m running a half marathon or a marathon. I rather get nothing at all, then this waste of energy, and resources that will just clutter more landfills. You’re using valuable volunteers’ time to hand out garbage and that upsets me. It’s something that always bothers me about races sponsored by Marathon Sports, a local running store chain. You’re a running store that hopes people will spend their hard earned money on running appropriate clothes and gear, why are you handing out chemically colored cotton giant shirts?
THE MARATHON – I won’t break this race into a mile by mile analysis because really there were three parts to this race, the good, the horrible & the I contemplated death finale.
Miles 1-15 – This part of the race went great, well as great as running in cold rain can feel. The wind was relatively low. The course seemed relatively flat, but to be fair I wasn’t really paying attention to the rolling hills. I had one mission, that was to run, try to avoid major puddles, keep running and finish this race. All pacing strategy was out the window because I just wanted to be done before the weather got worse. I made a last minute decision to ditch my long sleeve shirt and just wear a short sleeve shirt under my rain jacket. At these miles, that seemed like a great idea. My Garmin was saying I was at 7:07 pace and I wondered if it was broken but kept going. Around 13.1 mile, my Garmin still claimed I was running a 7:11 pace which would have killed my previous PR. I waved to the finish line and got ready for my second loop.
The marathon course repeats the half marathon course twice to make up the miles. As I passed the finish line at mile 13, I questioned myself if I was really going to go for the full. My mind said go half, but yet my legs went forward and began the second circle. Mile 14 & 15 I still felt great and really believed I was going to crush this.
Miles 16-20 – It was around mile 16 that I realized that the small puddles I was avoiding have now consumed the whole path. The rain was not planning on stopping any time soon and the wind was beginning to pick up. These too would have been miserable miles had I not chatted with another girl running around a similar pace as me. The chat distracted me for a few miles but overall I still felt pretty good despite the horrible wetness and coldness.
Mile 20-26 – Around mile 20, the rain turned into a downpour and the wind became bone chilling. I don’t know if the weather changed drastically, if I hit a wall, or I’ve been so soaked that my clothes were no longer retaining any of my warmth no matter how hard I tried to run. In a normal marathon, when you get exhausted or want a break, you can slow down and take a little walk, this is not an option when its raining and cold. The slower I got, the wetter and colder I felt. A catch-22 that was creating my own personal hell. I tried to look at the runners around me to see if anyone else felt as miserable as me, and failed. They all looked so strong, so graceful, and not a bit broken by the weather. I questioned why I was so mentally weak but then reminded myself there was no where else to go. It’s either call 911 or keep running. My pride was all that was left to push me… or maybe I’ve become delirious from the cold and wetness.
The finish – I don’t know how, but after an hour or more of suffering, I saw the finish line. I was still cold, wet & miserable but I gave a kick and sprinted forward. I may not be number 1 or even an age group winner but at that point, no one else was going to pass me to the finish line! As I crossed the finish line, I started crying, literally. I have never cried at a race before, not even at my first marathon when I was training for a sub 4 hour and ended up with 3:25. I was so happy to finished, that I couldn’t contain myself with emotion.
Post – Marathon – As I slowly limped my way inside, I couldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t find Tony who had my dry clothes.. A girl let me borrow her cell phone because mine was acting up. Everything felt confusing, I even tried looking for a medic station or something because I knew that since I was inside, I shouldn’t be shaking so hard. Tony finally found me, helped me take of my drenched jacket, and I left to the bathroom to change. Of course the line was super long as usual even post race so I just changed by the sinks. I’m not sure if there was post race food, there might have been, but I felt so angry, and so cold that we just left and stopped by Mary Lou’s for coffee instead. Tony said there was soup and bananas, donuts after he finished the half. There might have been some stuff left, but who knows, ,my mind was gone at this point.
Yup, that’s the look for a girl who swam 26.2 miles for a chocolate mint coffee and a slice of bread. Good thing I grabbed a loaf of bread to the car this morning before heading out!
And if you’re wondering what that lovely mark on my forehead is… that’s the markings of my cap that I wore during the race. The lesser of my battle wounds from that day.
Pros & Cons of Running Hyannis Marathon – I don’t regret running Hyannis Marathon, and I’m glad I stuck through for the full despite the weather. It was challenging and despite how miserable I felt, I feel a pride in knowing that I survived. That being said I will probably not sign up for this race again alone. The race is relatively cheap, the course is relatively flat and I think in nicer weather could be scenic. However, there’s a lot about the race organization that angered me. Aside from the cotton t-shirt, I cannot express how angry I am that the roads were not even partially closed. There were almost 3,000 runners that ran, but from what the race announcers said almost 5,000 people registered (I guess 2,000 of them decided to sleep in and cut their losses). To have that many people run and not even close a lane of a road was dangerous and unpleasant. I can do that on my own, without someone charging me a fee to be timed. We were literally running in something that was less than the shoulder of a road, where all the rain gutter was being drained to on a highway. Pretty much running in a sewer. Probably worse road course I ever ran. I’ve ran Lowell where the road isn’t fully closed but they at least leave a full lane for us to run on.
I have more to say on running in the rain, but I’ll save that for another time as this post is long enough. Instead the most important part of this, my results:
Boston 2014 by 34 seconds! I’ll take it!
And just as my shoes dry up, so are the horrible memories and just two days later as I finish writing this, I think to myself it wasn’t that bad, can’t wait for my next one!