Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In my defense...

After my post yesterday, I received an e-mail from John saying "Well you could have called me.  Hopefully I could have given you some encouragement."  To that I say "YEAH RIGHT!"  John texted me at midnight saying he was so worried about me.  Although very sweet, he was so not the person to call.  Had I called John on the verge of tears in the deep, dark forest in the middle of the night, the following would have happened... he would have called Maria ASAP to have race volunteers and cops come find and rescue me.  There would have been helicopters hovering up above with huge spotlights looking for his wife.  He would have jumped in the car and started driving to Cleveland.  John was NOT the person to call.  Sarah, on the other hand, would have said..."You can do this.  You gotta keep him going.  You are fine."  And I would have realized that yes, I was indeed fine.  Sarah jumped in at the end of my last two marathons.  She did not let me stop and made me pick up the pace at times I thought I could not.  She'd seen me at my very worst, but somehow knew I had more to give.  Because of her, I got two sub 4 hour marathons.  So as much as I love and appreciate the guy I married, he wasn't the one to call then.

I also talked to Maggie last night who said something about writing what I was thinking.  She wasn't criticizing me, just kind of surprised I guess.  I think my thoughts as an unprepared, inexperienced pacer were normal.  I did no research and did not know why I was doing 27 of the 30 miles on trail.  Turns out, this was a 75% TRAIL ultra marathon.  That would have been handy for me to have researched that.  The other point is that I can assure you, Jack NEVER knew I felt this way and nor would I ever have complained in front of him.  For the amount of suffering I was dealing with, his was 10 times worse.  Can't imagine all that pain AND constant nausea.  At least I could keep food (and plenty of it I might add) down.  Much of my mental state was the result of extreme exhaustion.  We had gotten up at 3:30 on Saturday morning and by 24 hrs into it, I was not coping.  Jack was.  That was irritating me also :)

I now know what to expect as a pacer.  I remember reading something about pacers being suckers in Chris McDougall's book, Born to Run.  So I looked it up last night and found the passage:

"pacing is so grueling and thankless, usually only family fools and damn good friends let themselves get talked into it.  The job means shivering in the middle of the nowhere for hours until your runner shows up, then setting off at sunset for an all-night run through wind-whistling mountains.  You'll get blood on your shins, vomit on your shoes, and not even a t-shirt for completing two marathons in a single night.  Other job requirements can include staying awake while your runner catches a nap in the mud, popping a blood blister between her butt cheeks with your fingernails (for the record, Jack.... you would have had to deal with that blood blister), and surrendering your jacket, even though your teeth are chattering, because her lips have gone blue."

I am thankful for not getting bled on, puked on and for not needing to give Jack my jacket, since I was cold.  I am also thankful that he did not take a nap since we were indeed, in mud much of the time.  So I guess as pacers go, I had it easy.  And just like people who drag themselves miserably across the finish line at the end of a marathon, I'm thinking I can't wait to do it again!

1 comment:

  1. Kate had it much worse. First, I knew what the possible challenges were as I have seen them happen to others and I have seen those people recover. Second, my issues were physical but she was facing more intense mental demons. Always a more daunting task. But I never knew Kate had issues while we were on the trail. It finally went through my thick head that she was really hurting when she opted not to finish the last three miles with me. Kate was a great pacer.