When we last heard of AM and Matt’s adventures in Seattle, they were applying Snoopy band-aids to AM’s hand after a bad twist of fate (literally) involving jell-o, a lime and a really sharp knife…
Our alarm buzzed at 5:15 a.m. and before I had both eyes open, Matt was pinning his race bib to his cool new race belt. I threw myself out of bed, into my running clothes and then straight to my bag of protein bars I hadddd to purchase the day before at REI. (They have so many varieties! Like protein bar heaven, for real for real.) While I was chomping on Clif bar, I made Matt pin my bib to my shirt for me as I wasn’t ready to handle sharp objects thanks to my little incident the night before. Dave was also up and at ’em, and before I knew it we were headed to the race start!
We got down to the start line around 6:30 and could not believe how organized and easy everything was. Coming from our last run in Jacksonville where buses were late/ nonexistent, start lines were off and the weather was hovering around 15 degrees, the Rock and Roll ppl really know how to throw a running party!
While waiting for the start, I took a ga-jillion pictures of the same thing (“Matt smile! Okay now take one of me. Hold on take another one of me pointing to my bib. Do you want another one? Should we ask someone to take one more of us together?”) we met a couple from Arlington – small world after all, eh? We chatted with them for a bit and then the gun went of. Ready, set….run!
Matt and I ran together for the first two miles but I could tell he was ready to take off. Well, I could tell that once he took his shirt off, he was ready to take off. I gave him permission to leave me in the dust and told him I’d hold his shirt. After all, he had a much longer way to go than me! With a missed fist pump and an “I love you, good luck!” he was gone.
Left on my own, I was taking it all in. I forgot my headphones, since I can’t be 100 percent organized for anything, so I was left along with my thoughts, my Chocolate Outrage GU and rock n’ roll bands at every mile. I didn’t have a certain pace in mind – all I wanted to do was finish under 2 hours. However – I never actually calculated what pace I would need to do to be under 2 hours. And since I failed Math in high school, I spent about a good two miles trying to figure out the needed “under 2 hour time” pace in my head. Then I just decided to just keep running and see what happens.
The run throughout Seattle was gorgeous, although a bit hilly! At one point, we all turned the corner and faced a monstrous incline. Groans, laughs and a few cuss words were thrown out to everyone’s amusement. Minus the hills, my favorite part was when the race cruised down the thruway, right around Safeco field and the city skyline. It is a good thing the course didn’t pass Pike Place…Dave and Matt might still be waiting for me at the finish line.
The first half of the race, I was feeling great. I was running at a comfortable pace, enjoying the sights of Seattle, the sounds of rock bands at every mile and the smell of breezy morning air. The only thing that was bugging me were the two long-sleeved shirts I had tied around my waist! Yes, I know they donate the clothes that get thrown to the side of the road, but I really like both my shirt and Matt’s! I decided to suffer through this time, but swore that the next race we run, I was to wear nothing but a tank top and shorts – no matter how cold it was supposed to be. (Disclaimer: this doesn’t apply to faaahh-reeeeeezing Jacksonville races. Then, I will wear a Snuggie.)
However, when I crossed the halfway point, I saw that an hour and three minutes as passed since the start. Now this was simple math I could do: an hour and three minutes plus another assumed hour and three minutes at my current pace meant I would finish at two hours and six minutes. (Or would it be two hours and seven minutes? KIDDING.) I had to kick it up if I wanted to finish under two! I ripped open my chocolate GU and hoped it would carry my legs to the finish. At mile 10, I found the itty-bitty piece of energy/strength/craziness and went into a full-out sprint. It was exhilarating to be going that fast, as I only trained at about an 8:45-9-minute pace for three months. However, once I hit mile 12, the exhilaration turned into desperation. I just kept telling myself (out loud) that I can do this, that I had run many, many miles before and that if I finished under two hours, I could have as many jell-o shot wedges (and ice cream) that I wanted. Then, I thought I should listen to the headband: SHUT UP AND RUN.
When I finally saw that finish line, I was one happy little lady. Well, one happy little lady whose two shirts around her waist decided to fall down to her knees in that last tenth of a mile. Needless to say, it was a very, very graceful exit.
I did spot Dave right before the finish line, which was awesome! I gave a quick wave and “woo hoo!” then crossed over the finish line at 1:55:35, which turned out to be 1:52:30, due to the gun time vs. time we actually crossed the start. Not only was I really, really happy with my time, the moment got even sweeter when ppl started bombarding me with huge bottles of water, Gatorade, Snickers Marathon bars, bananas, smoothies, muffins and bagels. I grabbed all I could as well as my medal (kind of important), snapped a picture and found Dave. Since he knows me too well, he brought a backpack to hold all my free/hoarded goods!
Since we had a good hour until Matt was due to finish (thanks to the wonderful world of technology, we knew he was estimated to come in around 10:40 a.m., running at an 8:30 pace), Dave and I walked around Seattle Center (I secretly was looking for more freebies) and then fittingly, went to Starbucks to hang out.
We made our way back to the finish line around 10:20 to wait anxiously for Matt. Matt joked earlier that since he was wearing a hat, he was going to flip the switch a la Sylvester Stallone in “Over the Top” around mile 20. So if his hat was backwards, we knew he was in good shape. If it wasn’t, Dave was ready to scream “FLIP THE SWITCH!” We even practiced yelling it a few times, just to be prepared. The people around us LOVED it. Really.
Sure enough, around 10:45, I saw Matt come over the hill. Shirt was off, switch was flipped. Just .1 mile until freedom! I screamed “MARATHON MAAAAATTTTTT” about 74 times (again, ppl around us were thrilled) and Dave was on video. I may have also screamed “grab more marathon bars when you cross!” but that’s neither here nor there.
Matt’s final time was 3:43, which is more than 10 minutes less than his first marathon time! He was really happy but realllllyyyy looking for some water, some food and a place to sit down!
I was so proud of Matt, not only for finishing at such an awesome time but for running a very successful race. In his first marathon, he hit the wall at mile 20 and had severe cramping in both legs, causing him to walk-run the last six miles. This time, he trained harder, ate better and during the race, focused on a steady time and made sure to walk through each water station to ensuring he drank enough and let his body have ten seconds of rest before running’ on. That’s mah boy!
After more pictures and a stroll around Seattle Center, we headed back and then headed out for much- needed refueling! Dave took us to another great spot, Brave Horse Tavern. With its long wooden tables and mason jar drinks, we were instantly best friends. But what sealed the deal was my farmer’s skillet: eggs, fresh cured ham, pearl onions and smoky potatoes. Un. Real. All this with a well-deserved pints of local lager we were in heaven!
After our hearty refuel, we made our way back to the apartment for some much-needed relaxation. Which meant nap time for Matt and a serious viewing of Laguna Beach clips on YouTube for me. Gosh, I’m still such a sucker for LC and Stephen. They were so perfect together! Why is the world so cruel? Grrr.
After viewing LC’s, Stephen’s, Lo’s and Talan (remember Talan?!?) audition tapes, I decided I should probably get up and get ready for the par-tay Dave was hosting at his apartment. I threw together a batch of salsa and sliced our oh so cute jello shot wedges. Dave helped me with the deck photoshoot by adding the red flower necklace he found while cleaning the apartment. So profesh, huh?
And with that, I’ll leave off. Someone with two thumbs, a half-marathon medal and a healing stab wound in her left hand got a new job today! I’m going to drink a few glasses of celebratory wine…with my good hand.