|OREGON - Vernonia Marathon
I'm not usually nervous before a marathon. Some of my past marathons have been in awful weather with major hills, when I had terrible colds, etc...
This one is downhill/flat and the weather prediction was great. So what was the problem? I had signed Richard up for his first half marathon, and I felt
a lot of pressure to get him to the finish line. This not only meant a slower first half, but also a lot of mental focus on getting to 13.1. I was very
worried that it would affect me when I tried to finish up and get to 26.2.
The day started out good. Up on time, out the door on time, arrived on time. Then it turned un-good. I went in to use the restroom and discovered I
had a major wardrobe malfunction. As a larger-on-bottom woman, I prefer to wear "compression" pants. I was wearing my favorite pair of
compression capris, and when I "dropped trou" to go pee I could see through them. What? I'm careful not to wear my shoes for too many miles, but I
had never ciphered the miles on those capris. I think they have been with me for at least 7 marathons, and many, many training runs, so they
probably should have been retired about 100 miles ago. But here I was, 30 minutes from the RV, 50 minutes (and a 30 minute bus ride) to start time,
with holes in my pants, one on each inner thigh. Great. I couldn't have noticed this at home? Or at mile 25? Nope, I had to notice before the run so I
could stress about it for 26.2 miles. Very clearly, this was going to cause a serious chafing problem. I shared my dilemma with Richard as we got on
the bus to the start. He was wearing his running shorts, but because it was a cold morning, he was also wearing his running pants over them to keep
warm. He offered me those. I was being so hopeful that there would be a Wal-Mart in Vernonia, right next to the start line, and I could just zip on over
there and buy some yoga pants or something. No such luck. I optimistically tried to ask a few folks if they had a sewing kit. No, safety pins just won't
work. No sewing kit? Okay fine. Take your pants off Richard. I headed to the bathroom to try them on. To my utter surprise, they were stretchy
enough to fit, but they offered no support. (I would rather go without a sports bra than without my compression pants.) So, I faced a major decision.
Which would be more uncomfortable, chafing or jiggling for 26.2 miles? Partly because the capris were like my security blanket, but mostly because
jiggling is really uncomfortable, I picked chafing. I tried to stand just right so no one could see the holes; I even hung my hankie in front. Richard sent
his pants and jacket to his finish line, and we headed to the start.
The hole in the right leg was smaller, and was easy to hike up where it wouldn't chafe me,
but the hole in the left leg was larger, and I kept tugging and pulling and tucking to get it
tucked into the "armpit" of my leg where it wouldn't chafe me. Every time we stopped to
walk, it would slip down, and I would have to go through the whole process again. It
looked really silly because these compression pants have all this compression fabric down
and around the knees. You can see in the pic above at the start line, the knees were
almost in the right place, the left knee was a bit higher, but now from all my tucking, the
pant's knee on my left leg was about 3" above my actual knee. So I kept pulling up the
right knee to try to match. I was getting worn out just from pants arranging. This was
going just fine since we were the last ones so no one was behind me to see all the tugging
and groping that was going on.
We were doing so well that at about mile
10 we started catching up with folks.
Although that sounds great, it also meant
that I had to be quicker and more discrete
with my pull-tuck pants routine. And the
chafing was really getting annoying!
About mile 11.5, Richard's feet started
hurting so I had to give him lots of
encouragement. I pushed him to mile
12.5, then I tugged on the capris one
more time, and rrrip. They explained to
me that they were tired. They were not
going to finish another marathon. From
my knee to my upper thigh, the
compression fabric seam was wide open.
Lots of thigh was hanging out.
EMBARASSING! But, worse than that,
totally uncomfortable and not doable for
another 13.1 miles. At least Richard was
still holding up...
YAY! Getting ready for Richard's first half marathon!
Jeff hung back to take our picture before he headed off to a fast finish. You can tell we are still in the first 1/4 mile, because
there are still people behind us. Didn't take long for us to be at the very back.
|He was complaining that he
was cold, but he was looking
Lots of Marathon Maniacs like
always. I found my favorite
picture-taker Jeff at the start line.
Just so you could see what I'm talking about, I
shoved a pillow in my pants. Ouchie holes!
During all my pants drama, Richard was doing a great job. I tried to get us to start slow.
You're always supposed to start slow, but the first mile was all downhill, and we carried
that momentum into the second mile. About mile 1.5 we heard steps behind us. What?
Everyone had passed us? I looked behind me just in time to see a mostly naked man in a
mask carrying a sword. Wow. I ran ahead fast so I could get a picture of him chasing
passed us, but
we kept up our
fast pace. It
had nothing to
do with the
in front of us!
About mile 2 we cruised around a beautiful lake.
The course was really nice. For most of it, we were on a paved bike/walking trail through the woods. About mile 5 we passed a beautiful old barn
(with a nubian goat chewing his cud in the back. He ignored us.)
We were doing great. We were running faster than our targeted pace, and Richard hadn't gone through his usual mile 6 cranky phase or
anything. At mile 8 we even stopped to take a picture at Beaver Creek.
Thank goodness Richard's pants were waiting at the half finish line. As he cruised around the corner to
the finish line, I grabbed the pants and made a quick change in the port-a-pot. (By the way, it is so gross
to take your shoes off before going into a port-a-potty!) I was sad I hadn't gotten a picture of Richard
finishing his first half marathon, but he met me as I was putting my shoes back on. I gave him my torn
pants, kissed him, told him I was proud of him, and off I went, jiggling all the way.
Richard's pants were much better. No chafing, no pulling and tugging and tucking, just a lot of jiggling.
After a major uphill right after mile 13, the course was mostly downhill. After about a mile I rolled the
pants up to capri length. After another half a mile, the jiggling either stopped, or my mind tuned it out as
I started focusing on getting to a strong finish. We had decided to not take the early start, so even
though there were probably folks slower then me, they had all started an hour earlier, and I was pretty
sure I was going to be the dead last finisher. I didn't care about the stigma of being last, but I didn't want
to the be the one all the volunteers were waiting on, so I really kicked it in. I saw no one but bicyclists
and aid station volunteers from mile 13 to about 18.5 when **HALLELUJA** I passed a couple of walkers
right before crossing this cool bridge.
I was no longer "last", but I now had hope I
could pick a few more folks off before
getting to the finish line. It took until mile
22 before I passed the next person, then
she caught back up to me at 24. What??
Oh no! I kicked it in again, and left her in
the dust, and passed two more before
finishing with a respectable 5:30 time.
Sorry, there was no finish line
photographer to get a picture of me in
Richard's unflattering, but comfortable,
I thought this would be my most memorable
marathon because I was running it with
Richard. I think the wardrobe malfunction
definitely added to this one. I've never
changed pants half way thorough a
marathon before! I'm just so glad he had
those extra pants. Otherwise I probably
would have finished the run in his
turquoise shorts while he would have been
forced to try to modestly wear my torn up
girlie capris until I finished... That may
have been even more memorable!
Another pillow re-enactment.