The day started early on April 5th! It started at about 5:30 for me so that I could get some breakfast, coffee, and give my body enough time to "let the coffee do it's job." (it was hard enough to find a place to pee along the route, the other just wasn't going to be a choice - more on that later!) The only logistical mistake that Kari and I made all weekend was not planning to have her stay at our hotel the night before the marathon. My day started early, but at least my hotel was walking distance from the starting line, Kari and her husband had to get up earlier in order to get to the hotel by 7:15, giving us enough time to use the bathroom four times and walk to the start.
(KARI - insert monologue about the pissing men here)
We were all too eager to kiss the hubbies and head to the official start - there were so many people there that it was just easier to be without them, and focus on the job at hand. We felt a bit like sardines as we squeezed into the gates - have you ever stood on the Champs d'Elysees with 37,000 of your closest friends? (We have!)
The ambiance at the start was unlike anything I had ever seen or felt. Once the starting bell rang, we waited for literally 15 minutes to walk across the starting line. As we got closer and closer to the start, there were clothes and trash everywhere! I guess I hadn't thought about how 37000 people would get rid of their pre-race necessities, but I tell you this - it was dangerous getting to the starting line.
Kari and I both mastered the peeing on the go technique - it wasn't really 'on the go' but it was much faster than waiting in line for the toilet (something that the men in this race didn't have to do EVER.)
The first two hours were, I dare say, ENJOYABLE. Downright euphoric. Music, bands, spectators, firemen, etc.... Kari and I really soaked it all in. As we began our return to the center of the city, it was apparent that when Kari was struggling, I was not, and vice-versa. It actually worked out really great, because we paced eachother very well during thosee hard times.
Aside fron finishing the marathon, which was never in doubt, Kari and I had but ONE goal -beat the beaujolais wine cart (I will post the photo when I get home.) As a promotion for the Beaujolais Marathon, there were two men pulling an antique wine cart the entire distance. The only time it was in front of us was when we stopped to pee, or I stopped to fix my utility belt that broke (bummer.) There were costumes on some of these runners like I hqd never seen before - nor could I imagine running in them (summo wrestler, alligator, beer bottle, ballerina, ...)
It was right about kilometer 25 when we started feeling the need for a pick-me-up ---- all of a sudden, the smiling face of our friend Maegon appeared at the street.....then Christine, Giorgia, and Marco (all three of them running with us for a short bit)...then Cristian....the fantastic THREE again and again and again. Our supporters really gave us power when we needed it most - THANK YOU THANK YOU a million THANK YOUs.
Kari was strong - really strong! She pulled me through the marathon (particularly when it felt like the jet-lag had finally done it's duty with me.) I think it was Kari who called upon the powers of Atalanta to help slay Mr. Reaper (who only showed his ugly face for one small moment... about the time when I said to Kari 'I think I've lost my sense of humor' to which she responded 'don't worry, you don't need it. You're fine!' classic Kari comment there, one that we continued to employ in the days to follow as we approached yet another flight of stairs or curb....ugh!
As I think back to Mr. Reaper, it seems that he really did his maginc with many other marathoners. There were plenty of people who dropped out at the aide stations - not us! As we apprached the finish line, while we didn't feel strong, I dare say that we must have looked stronger than many of the others who seemed to be limping their way to the line - NOT US! We were strong at the end. Kari did some calculating, and we sped up the entire marathon - beginning to end! That's somethin!
So - there is so much more to write, but that's a good start. Do I think I'll run another marathon? ummmmm....... probably! As our frined, Minken said to me last week, if I decided to stick to half-marathons, I will begin to see all the other marathoners put their marathon medals around their necks and I will say to myself 'hey, I want one of those...' He's probably right AGAIN! (he's always right)