I am having a bit of a difficult time writing this at the moment. I have to believe though that I made the right choice for myself. We have all been in a place or time where our heart's were telling us to do one thing and our head was pointing us in a different direction. Yesterday I had to listen to my head and let my heart take the back seat - a difficult choice for any runner or person.
I did not run CIM yesterday. I got up on Saturday after getting a great night of sleep on Friday night. I felt rested and had a few things to get done before we headed to Sacramento. Sac is only about 2 hours away for us so it was nice not to have to rush. I kept with the thinking that if I didn't think too much about Sunday's race that it would be better. I did some last min laundry, focused on packing up all my race gear and getting to see my family and nephew. I had no appetite at all. I managed a bagel in the morning early and kept up on my fluids but I still had no desire to try and carb up or eat properly. I actually did not eat again until almost 5:30 when we went out for pizza with the fam. On a side note, I had decided to go with my old pre-race meal of pizza instead of Indian food since my last couple of races that choice didn't fare to well for me out on the course.
We got to Elk Grove and unloaded our stuff and then decided to head to the Expo real quick. I felt like a fake when I got there. All around me were runners who were excited about the race and I just didn't feel it. I think though too, that I have become a bit jaded by the whole race expo this year. I had no desire to walk around and check out the booths or grab any free stuff. I just grabbed my bib, chip and bag and got out of there quick. I didn't get to see any of the bloggy peeps, but that was okay. I was still not wanting to think about the next day too much. All over the race expo they had signs up saying that the race day temps at the start were going to be 35! Wowwzza! That is cold and it freaked me out more.
When we got home I put my bib on my SpiBelt, put my chip on my shoes and got my clothes ready for the morning. That night we decided to go for pizza with my family. I had a few slices, kept up on my water and crawled into bed around 7:30. I think I was asleep by 8! My alarm went off at 3:15 and I was feeling rested but COLD! We got dressed quickly and headed downtown. The car said it was 29 in Elk Grove and when we got downtown it said 31! Ugh! I decided to ride the bus with Aron because I knew that I didn't want to ride the bus alone in the cold. She was staying at a race sponsored hotel the Citizen and the buses were going to start picking up at 5 am. The cool thing about this was that they were going to let you stay on the bus until 15 min before the start. We go to the lobby at 4:45 am.
The lobby was packed with runners. I quickly found a seat and started to freak. Every runner had tights on, which was what I was going with last min. I had decided on running tights and a long sleeve tech shirt and gloves. As I sat there though, I had an internal dialogue running trying to pump myself up. It wasn't working. I was anxious and DID NOT want to run. I had mentioned to Ari a few times in the lobby that I didn't want to run, but being the good hubby and running sherpa he is he kept reassuring me that I would be fine. The plan was that he was going to drive as close to the start as possible and then pick me up on his bike along the course. This made me nervous though. All over the pre-race instructions they had warnings that no outside assistance was allowed on the course. This usually isn't a big deal. But the warning also said that they would be video taping the course and have race officials stationed and if they saw any assistance they would disqualify you right away. I did not want to run this alone. Maybe if the conditions had been better I wouldn't have Ari with me, but the thought of running 26.2 miles in this weather was just daunting so I went with the risk.
By 5am the lobby was packed and I hadn't found Aron. The buses were passing the hotel and heading to the other official race pick-up up the street. They weren't stopping at the Citizen. We were all huddling near the door and waiting. If you read Aron's report here, you will see that didn't go so well. At the last min I decided not to run. I told Ari I gotta go and we headed to the car. I was sad. I was mad but I didn't want to stand there anymore. I was cold and scared. When we got to the car he said let's go back to the house, get the map and drive me to the start. This way I would be in the warm car longer and not at the cold start. That sounded okay, but I knew in my heart I had already decided not to run.
When we pulled up to the house I told Ari I wasn't going to run. I cried. I felt like a failure. I felt like I had let so many people down: Ari, my family and all the other peeps who had decided to brave those awful running conditions. I had come all the way here, paid race fees, got all the way to the buses and backed out. But I didn't not want to be cold out there. I knew I would be miserable. I did not want to feel like garbage on Monday. I did not want to have an awful running week recovering from a marathon. I love to run and the thought of having another recovery week was daunting. I had already gotten my BQ in a really honorable fashion and my heart was just not in this. Ari was okay with that. He knew that I would be risking injury, too. It wasn't worth it. Yes, I was saying good bye to a shinny medal and my Maniac staus, but I had to make the right choice for me. I just didn't want to run. I have never not wanted to run so badly in my life. That is not the way it should be.
We headed inside and my sister-in-law decided she was going to go and cheer on her friends still. That sounded great. I could at least see Aron, Amy, Danica, Maritza and Tara finish and cheer them on. Ari grabbed the dog and went back to bed while Suz, William my nephew and I braved the cold at 7 am. We headed to mile 10 and when we go there at 7:45 it was only 38 out! The wind was the worst part! We got to see the elites pass, something that I have never been able to do before. I have only seen them on TV so that was pretty cool. We went back to the car to wait for the 3:15-3:40 pace groups to pass. At 8:15 it was still only 38 out and people started coming. I have never been a spectator at a race before but I do know how important it is to have people cheering you on, stranger or not. I had my cow bell going and was screaming encouragement like crazy! No one looked happy out there. The pace groups were huge packs of people. I think they were doing this to stay warm and combat the wind. The wind is what made it bad. It went right through you and just chilled you to the bone. Everyone had red legs from the cold and wind burn. I was glad I wasn't out there. Again, no one looked happy but I kept the encouragement coming. I never got to see any of my peeps, but I have a feeling that was because people were running in packs to stay warm. After the 4:00 pace group passed we decided to head to the finish, as we heard it was going to be crowded.
It was really neat to be on this side of the finish line. I have never been here before. We got to see the elites finish and that was awesome. Ari has said that there is a huge gap in the runners between 3:10 and 3:40. That most people finish before or after those times. But this race runners just kept coming. NO ONE looked happy. Everyone looked beat up. One man collapsed who had crossed in 3:05 and was rushed away by ambulance. About 50% of the runners finishing had medics helping them walk or giving them aide. It looked like a battle field. I had initially been sad and disappointed when we go to the finish that I hadn't run. But I had realized again that I had made the right decesion. It was cold and no one looked elated that they had just finished a marathon or grabbed a BQ.
The clock said 3:31 and I headed over to the woman's finish side to see Aron and Amy come across. I know how important it is to have familiar faces at the finish right away. Those girls didn't disappoint. I got to see Aron finish (YAY!) and then Amy and give her a big hug! Go over and read those girl's blogs, it won't disapoint. I am really proud of them. But again, no one was looking too good when they crossed. I was cold, too. I had put on over my running tights my jeans, Uggs, my long sleeve tech, two sweatshirts and a jacket and gloves and I was chilled to the bone! I soon saw Danica and Tara cross and got to say hey and hug and congratulate them, too! Great job girls! I was really proud of all of them for braving those horrid conditions. I was a bit disappointed when I saw the fun medals, but again was glad I was on this side of the finish line. I also have to add that I have a new found respect and appreciation for my family who stands at the finish. It is a lot of work and it was cold.
We soon headed home and got out of the cold! I was constantly thinking of the "what if's" and the scenario's that could have been for me that day. I was sad and disappointed but knew I had made the right choice for me. Sometime's it isn't easy to make the "grown-up" decision but it is what you have to do. I made the right choice for me yesterday. I want to run for a long time, I want to keep going and enjoy my running. I could have set myself up for failure yesterday and that is not what my running is about. WE run because we love to, not for pride with other people. WE run because it makes us feel good, not for the approval of other people. I had to make the choice and I am happy. I am just over 40 miles short of 1500 miles for the year. I want to focus on achieving that goal this month, and if I had run yesterday and possibly got injured I would have put that goal in jeopardy - just not worth it. I will get my maniac status next year, I am already planning out my races so that I can make that happen. And I will BQ for 2011, too! Maybe I will BQ at Boston! I am also working on my goals for 2010, and reminding myself of why I run. I have to remind myself that this is a fun sport, that I do this for me. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish and I could have risked it all because I was fearful of letting someone other than myself down. A good runner is a smart runner. Yesterday I passed that test and I am proud.
Thank you to all of you for your encouragement and support this past couple of weeks. It means a ton to me, and don't think I wasn't thinking of you in that lobby yesterday morning or that car ride home. I was, but I also know that you would be proud of me for my choice and that given the same situation you probably would make the right choice for you, too. I am excited that the holiday's are here and that I am going to enjoy my day off (don't think I was going to sacrifice a day off from work just because I didn't run a marathon yesterday! LOL) and go for a long run at the gym. Yes, the gym. It is cold, rainy and snowing out and I don't want to run in that. I didn't run in it yesterday, why would I today? Hahahaha!
Enjoy your week peeps, and thank you again for all your support and encouragement!