This past weekend, we ran the Davy Crockett Bear Chase. This was Wes’s ninth marathon and my eighth marathon. And while all marathons are 26.2 miles long… well, this was the longest 26.2 miles we’ve ever run.
The trouble started on the Wednesday before the marathon when I found myself with one of those colds that just won’t go away. I spent all day Wednesday and Thursday in bed, trying to get over it, and when it wasn’t gone by Friday, I concluded that I would just have it forever. (Which I may!) It wasn’t enough of a reason to stay away from the marathon when we’d already registered, already found a room for the night close to the race, and already done all of those training runs, right? Right.
Despite the cold, I was able to get a good night’s sleep the night before… but Wes wasn’t. I’m not sure what he ate and why it messed him up like it did, but he had a particularly horrible evening.
No matter, though, because we were still there at the starting line the next morning, ready to get this thing done.
The trouble started early on when Wes had to stop at every porta potty on the course. For real. Of the eight restroom stops, Wes used seven of them. (And some of those he used coming and going.) Common sense would have told him to stop running, but he was determined. He did tell me to go on ahead without him… which I did! Hey, I should’ve felt bad about it, but since he did the same thing to me last time, I didn’t.
I was having a great race from that point on, with an incredible pace and lots of enthusiasm. It was a two lap course, out and back both times. When I reached the end of the course and prepared to turn around to come back and complete the first lap, I was surprised to find that a certain someone had been keeping my pace and running right behind me the whole time. And he looked even worse than he had.
“You look awful!,” said the world’s most supportive wife.
“I’m good,” said the world’s proudest husband.
“You know, there’s no shame in actually letting me do better than you for once,” said the world’s most irritated wife.
“You’re not running that fast anyway,” said the world’s dumbest husband.
(Dumb because he actually said this. I overlooked his rudeness because the man had just lost about fifteen pounds on the course, in the most humiliating way possible.)
“Okay, let’s stay together,” I said. “That way, if you collapse, I’ll at least be in the know.”
And off we went… until mile eleven when Wes, who clearly should have left the course, said he needed to walk. We walked a mile then ran until mile fifteen when Wes was really, really done. Perhaps it was the freedom that his gastro-intestinal issues afforded me that made me admit that at this point? I wasn’t feeling so great either. I once again couldn’t breathe through my nose and was wishing for a decongestant. Unfortunately, they didn’t have those available on the course. (Though they had everything else! Best aid stations ever!)
At mile fifteen, we were already far enough along on the second lap that stopping and quitting would have been dumb. So we walked it in… for eleven miles. I’m pretty sure we’ve never taken that long to finish a marathon, and I think our feet paid the price. We were hurting so bad when we got back to the car that the quarter mile walk to the showers was too far. We just threw on regular clothes and said we’d shower at home. We stopped at a burger joint about ten miles down the road, and it took us ten minutes to get ourselves out of the car. That’s how badly we were hurting. But it was worth it, as we were able to get ourselves some super salty fries and milkshakes, which ALWAYS help.
Up next… I have a marathon in June, which I’m running by myself. (Gotta catch up to Wes!) Here’s hoping the cold is finally gone by then!