Days later and I’m still upset. I have experienced being among the last in on a race and seeing the vendors packed up and gone. But never the race officials.
But I suppose I shouldn’t carry around this bitterness. (It just slows me down.)
What else can I tell you about the race?
After I finished, we made our way back to the bed and breakfast, making a short stop at the local grocery story to pick up some chocolate milk and some epsom salts. I intended to soothe my wounded ego as much as my wounded body. The bed and breakfast where we always stay when we’re in St. Louis has a pool in the back — a cement pond, I fondly call it — and I intended to get in it after the race. Ice baths are an actual thing that many runners indulge in after a hard run. I don’t know the biomechanics of it, what good it does for your muscles, but I was determined to try it, and the cement pond allowed me to do so without filling a bathtub with ice. I don’t think the temperature ever rose above the mid fifties that day, and the sun never did make an appearance. Plus, the host at the B&B told me the water temperature was in the 30s in the pool. (Ideal ice bath temperature is between 50 and 60.) So when we got back, I took off my (soaked) shoes and socks, emptied all of the little pockets in my skimpy shorts, and then stepped in the pool. I only went in as far as my hips, and I only stayed in for about 5 minutes (ideal time is 15-20 minutes). My feet went numb, but the pain in my thighs did go away. Libby got it on video and posted it to Facebook. Ha ha ha!
Then I went into the house and prepared a hot bath with the epsom salts. Again, I don’t know the biomechanics of it, but many runners swear by this post-run treatment too. The B&B is an old house, and the tub I was to use was large enuf for three people, and plenty deep. I drew the water, stirred in the salts, and then somehow coaxed my legs to lift themselves high enuf to get over the top of the tub and into the water. It was blissful! It was heavenly! I could fill the tub to the rim if I wanted, with copious amounts of hot water. I soaked in there for most of an hour, and I felt about as great as you can after having run (and walked) 26.2 miles. But then, a problem.
I couldn’t get out. The tub was deep. I couldn’t push myself up enuf with my arms and had to use my legs. But every time I bent them, they cramped up severely. I literally sat naked in that empty tub for a half hour, waiting for the cramping to subside after each attempt. I finally called for Libby and she came, but she wasn’t strong enuf to be able to pull me up. So I just kept trying, finally sliding high enuf up the side to perch there and let the cramping subside again. I did eventually get out, of course. I put on some clothes and gingerly walked down the 17 steps from our room to the ground floor of the B&B, then out on the town for some well deserved pizza and beer.
The equivalent of the index finger on my right foot is swollen and smarting. I expect to lose that toenail and possibly two others. When the rain came and soaked my socks, I could feel three of the toes on my right foot rubbing against my shoe. This was partly the result of me running on the right side of the road where it sloped to the gutter. This caused my right foot to slide inside my shoe to the right (downhill). I tried to correct for this by running in the center of the road where it was flatter, but I don’t think I caught it in time. The coming days will tell the tale.
I realized the day after the marathon that I had run it with the arch support inserts in my shoes. This was a little experiment I had begun some months ago to see if it would prevent Achilles tendon problems after a run. That worked, but I didn’t know if I could go a full marathon with the inserts. Then I did it without even remembering they were there. So that’s a win.
My running watch once again gave me a low battery message during the run. Granted, I am not a fast runner and my finish time is higher than most, but it was still well within the advertised capacity of the watch battery. So I’m disappointed.
I seem to have forgotten the pain of the run. (My legs are mostly better, and I intend to try a short run this weekend.) I’m already thinking about what I can and must do to make the New York City Marathon a good run. And I’m actually thinking about running more full marathons. It may be that my body only has one of these in it each year. (I hope to find out when I run NYC in five months.) If so, I’m resigned to that. But if I can train better, and fuel better, and find some forgiving runs, maybe I can tease out two a year.
Finally, I really thought the medal for this run was ugly. (You may recall my posts about how ugly I’m finding the medals lately.) But when I crossed that finish line and they hung that medal around my neck, it didn’t look so ugly any longer. It now hangs with my two other marathon medals, and I’m happy with it.