Saturday, September 19, 2009

Marathon #2 - Rochester, New York (and the surrounding 26 miles)

There are a few things that I learned when running my very first marathon.
  1. it is best to run with a partner (for many reasons, and I'll elaborate later)
  2. stay hydrated and take water at every water station (walking as you do)
  3. cheer on the crowd as much as they cheer you on (keeps your mind in a happy place)
  4. the last 6 miles are harder than anyone could possibly tell you
  5. it is important to have a huge party planned at the end in order to keep your mind occupied during the last 6 miles

Paris was a HUGE marathon, simply huge. There were over 30,000 people running and it was absolutely impossible to run by yourself. At times that was a disadvantage because it was sometimes hard to keep a pace that worked, but it was largely and advantage. Similarly, running with Kari was perfection - we had a perfectly matched pace and were essentially the Ying to eachother's Yang. When she was strong, I used her energy, and vice versa.

Rochester was miniscule, comparatively. There were only 600 people running the marathon and as the field stretched out along the 26 miles, it was absolutely impossible to run with someone the entire time. At times this was a disadvantage because it was impossible to gather energy from the runners around you, but is was also nice at times to be alone with the 15 miles of Erie Canal - I enjoyed this long stretch along the Erie Canal until about mile 20, when I was just about ready to jump right in and swim the rest of the way.  Having said that, I missed my friend, Kari and feel that Atalanta left me for a few miles when I needed her most. Not to worry, though, I found company in a younger (and much skinnier, bitch) woman who needed my support just as much as I needed hers. From mile 19 on, we set small goals for ourselves and urged eachother on ... not the same way as Kari did, but I don't know that anyone would have the sense of humor at mile 22 to tell me that it was ok that I had lost mine and didn't need it. (still one of my favorite stories from Paris!)


During my training for marathon #1, I had grown accustomed to having water with me for every step of the way. I carried my water belt with me and liked the ease-of-mind that it provided me. That effin thing broke at about mile 3 or 4 and I ended up tying it to my body and ditching the bottles at mile 11 or 12.  It worked out just fine, though, because Paris was well-equipped to hydrate the massive amounts of runners with bottled water at every water stop. While the bottles were down-right dangerous as they were cast aside from the THOUSANDS of runners who had arrived at the water stations before us, it was a great excuse to walk through each and every water station. Similarly, the system that Kari and I developed between these water stations worked brilliantly - we shared one bottle between the two of us - it was perfect!!!

During my training for marathon #2, I had grown accustomed to not having water with me. I usually made a pass back home for a refill or arranged for someone to meet me out on the route. I really liked not having to haul the extra weight around. Rochester was well-equipped to hydrate its marathoners, used paper cups and gallons of water, but it worked just fine. I ended up carrying a water bottle with me from the start of the marathon (a fluke, really. The starting bell sounded and I had an unfinished bottle in my hand.) As it worked out, I would pour a cup of water into the bottle, drink a cup of water, and pour one over my head at every water station. It worked great - I remained hydrated, I walked through the stations, and I was sufficiently SOAKED at the finish line.


Paris streets were lined from beginning to end (with the exception of a very few spots) with bands, crowds, entertainment, dancers, hot french firemen, random food stations, and a generally energetic atmosphere. Kari and I quickly settled into the practice of clapping for the entertainment (and even singing with them) as much as they were for us. Admitedly, toward the end, there was little energy to give them, but truth be told, the crowd was thin at that point anyway. Similarly, we benefitted from our small band of groupies as they found us along the route. How they managed to track us down three or four times is beyond me, but is was invaluable!

Rochester streets were not lined from beginning to end (with the exception of a very few spots) with entertainment and crowds BUT I will say this: the people who WERE there were die-hards. Their energy was fantastic. I especially appreciated the father and two young boys who seemed to pop up at each and every mile. Their ability to follow us from start to finish made me wonder if they were as tired as I was at the end of my 26.2 mile journey. I loved looking for them, and they soon started chanting JELL-O JELL-O as they would see me coming (AND, NO, it wasn't because of the jiggling of my mid-section that made them chant, I was wearing my Jell-o visor.)  I depended on them being around every corner, and they didn't let me down. I high-fived them at least 10 times out there!!


Really, do I have to relive these in writing???? All I need to say is this: the 2nd marathon was no easier than the 1st. The only difference was that I knew the pain was approaching this time. I walked much more in Rochester than we did in Paris - mind was simply stronger than my body this time around.  I do, however, think that these last 6 miles and the pain associated with them are not unlike childbirth. As quickly as it is over, you seem to forget about it. Consequently, your mantra of "why the hell am I doing this, why the hell am I doing this, why the hell am I doing this...." is quickly replaced with "when the hell am I going to do this again.......?" REALLY??? Am I thinking about marathon #3?????


Truth????? At no time during marathon #1 or marathon #2 did I think about the wonderful parties that were planned afterwards. Truth???? We had two amazing parties planned at the end of each marathon. Truth????? there was a common sensation that I experienced toward the end of each marathon (mile 25 and on....) Sausage! At the end of the Paris Marathon, our band of followers met us and cheered us. What they didn't realize was that the 'street meat' that they were eating looked so freaking delish that I wished they had brought one for me. By the time we managed our way through the crowd to reach them, their morsels of food were deep in their bellies (leaving ours still very empty.)

My hunger in Rochester at mile 25 was OUTRAGEOUS. I wanted an Italian Sausage so badly that I told the crowd on the side of the street that I needed one. Mile 26.1 was even worse. .1 mile from the finish line, my belly was stronger than my mind and my body and it took every ounce of energy I could muster to keep my feet headed in the finish line direction (and not heading off to Nick Tahous's for a garbage plate.) At the end, I raced to the hospitality tent, grabbed two bagels, an orange, a piece of pizza and a bottle of water. When I found my husband, I sent him for a hotdog (ok, TWO.) I was starved.

As much as I ate at the conclusion of this race, I was still able to put away a handsome plate of goodness when I arrived at LimaRuss's house for our spectacular post-race party. 


Every race is different. There is nothing that can compare with the sensation of crossing the finish line at the end of a 26.2 mile demonstration of determination. I had many people running this marathon with me, none of them WITH me but all of them OUT there at the same time. Great story: I wasn't the first of my many friends to cross the finish line ( although I was happy with my 4hour 50 minute finish.) Here's my inventory of friends who participated in this race:

  1. LimaRuss - first time marathoner, met him during my training for Paris, Rotarian, inspiration for many! (Finished in great form, despite cramps and pain from mile 22 on....)
  2. Judi - first time half-marathoner, met her through LimaRuss, runs every race in honor of her late brother, inspiration for many! (Finished ahead of her projected goal - fantastic job!)
  3. Michael - 29th marathon, member of GoonSquad, British transplanted to California, fellow blogger, inspiration for many!! (Finished a quiet marathon with no problems what-so-ever) 
  4. Cliff - first time marathoner, last minute decision to run, barely trained, usually bikes hundreds of miles for Cancer awareness, high-school graduate with me, inspiration for many! (Finished in a very respectable time despite body-shut-down from 20miles on.)
  5. Paul - ironman (need I say more?) inspiration for many! (Finished in 4hrs 10 minutes - wished I had stuck with him for a while, but couldn't find him at the start.)
  6. Jennifer - first time half-marathoner, high-school graduate with me, inspiration for many! (Finished in great form, with a great time, with eyes on a marathon..... met me at the finish line with this great story-

The half-marathon and full marathon shared a start and finish line. The half-marathoners ran the first 3 miles with us and cut across a very hilly course to the last 6 or 7 miles toward the finish line. Jennifer said that she, running the half-marathon, was feeling very good and strong. She was running along the Genessee River at about mile 10 or 11, when she heard the motorcycles coming from behind. As they approached, she suddenly realized that she was being lapped by the marathon leader. She had run a full 11 miles and the marathon leaders had come a full 24 in about the same amount of time! I know it's amazing, but it gets better, she was inspired to run stronger and harder as she noticed that the marathon leader was....

7.   Derrick - 9th time marathoner, high-school graduate with Cliff, Jennifer and I, elite runner, insipration to all (WON the marathon in 2hrs and 36 minutes despite stopping 3 times to stretch his cramping hamstrings!!!!)

Just a great time had by all. Of course, there is so much more I could write - but this should do for a while. (Pictures to follow!)


  1. Great race report! Between yours and Michael's, I felt like I was there. Now I want a Jello visor. Will that be part of our new uniform??

  2. Awesome report chica! Congrats to all finishers and hooray for the father and sons cheer leading squad. And I'm with you on the hunger situation. My long run route is littered with deli's so I drop in for some bagel bites. Life gets brighter after that lol...

  3. Iloved the recap! Forgive me for being absent for so long.

    I found it funny that you crave sausage at the end of marathons...I'm just sayin'

    I have found that the perfect number for me is 1000-3000 participants. That generally keeps a good trickle of life along the course while not cramping your own style too much.

    I cannot wait for #3!!