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Well, well, well…..yes, I am alive and fairly well.  I know, I know, I’ve been MIA way too long.. Ahem….or maybe not?  The good news is that race day came, I started and I finished.  Oh, what’s that?  You’d like a few more details?  Ok, I’ll try.

This is by far the toughest post I’ve ever had to write.  As I sit here and type I feel anxious.  I’m even getting that damn lump up in my throat that I did for about 48 hours after the Ann Arbor Marathon.  Ok, deep breath….here we go.

First things first.  I never made my race goals blog-public.  I’m not sure why.  I thought about it many times and didn’t really feel like I needed to keep them private but I also never pulled the trigger.  Interesting.  I did tell a few people in person when they asked so here they are (were.)  I set them up in ABC format in my head and that’s how I would deliver them in person.

A Goal:  Finish in 4:15 or better (that’s the time we were training for)

B Goal: Finish between 4:15 and 4:30 (seemed respectable)

C Goal: Finish the damn race

…..and the winner is……Goal C.  Yay! No, not really.  I wasn’t happy about it at all.  In fact, I cried a lot about it.  Why?  Why am I so damn emotional about it?

Let’s play the list game again.

1. I trained for 16 weeks, 112, days to play better than that

2. I hit every single one of my training sessions.  I. DID. NOT. SKIP. ONE.  I wanted to be rewarded for that

3. Training was hard work.  I had to re-arrange and juggle my already very busy schedule.  I worked hard so that my training did not to interfere with my prior commitments.  I wanted it to pay off.

Sadly, it really comes down to one thing.  EGO. My ego took a beating on June 17, 2012.  It got battered and bruised.   It wanted to crawl under a rock and hide for a very long time.

It did not want to have to tell people that my finish time was 5:28!!!

Six days later I am beginning to recognize my accomplishment.  I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere close to feeling proud but the sting of defeat is easing.

Let’s switch gears.

The race expo on Saturday was at Briarwood Mall and was actually pretty  fun. We ran into lots of friends and met some new ones.

Happy and ready to race. Kristi was rewarded for something good she’s done in her life with her name being printed on her bib….me? Not so much.

We got to pick up our cool t-shirts:

Cute shirt. All tech-y and stuff.

A few hours later we had a pasta dinner at our house for our support team!

Thank you Toledo Dewhirsts for hanging out with me for soo dang long on that course!

Special shout out to my brother, Matt, (royal blue shirt and white shorts) who walked in the 5K and raised over $1000 for the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation.  You’re awesome!  I’m so proud of you.

Everyone slept at our house and I actually got a good night’s sleep.  I woke up Sunday morning at 4:45 and was feeling pretty good.  Temps were in the low 70s and it was really humid but the forecast was better than they had been predicting so I was relatively happy.  Here I am at home – all decked out and ready to run my first marathon.

Me in my LBD, my funky headband and my kiss of death 4:15 pace bib….

And here is my favorite pic of all time with my favorite training partner of all time:

112 days, so many miles, so many smiles, so much work, so much to be proud of. We. Were. Ready!

Here’s the start:

and here’s Pacer Eric.

Thanks for trying to help us obtain our 4:15 goal, Eric. We hung with you for a few miles!!

Note to self. When your goal is 4:15, don’t go out with the 4:10 pace group of which the pacer doesn’t know the course and has never paced “that slow before.”  No, I don’t blame Eric at all for my failure.  I blame myself for being so damn cocky that I thought I could hang with him.

We did hang with him through mile 7 and were feeling pretty good.  Then mile 7 came and just as planned Doug was there with fuel and water.  This wasn’t a regular water stop so our pace team ran ahead as we stopped to chow.

Big mistake CP. You should have taken that fuel and kept on trucking with the group.

Because we stopped we had a lot of catching up to do uphill in the heat and humidity.  It sucked.  By mile 8.5 I told Kristi I couldn’t keep up with the pace group anymore and was going to back off.  She decided that was a good idea and slowed down too.  Problem was I just kept slowing down more and more.  I didn’t want to but I just couldn’t make my body go any faster.   By mile 9 I told her to go on ahead without me and I’d see her at the finish.  I ripped my pacer bib off, crumpled it up and slammed it into the nearest trash can I could find.  I was pissed. Then I took a walk break.  Kiss. Of. Death.

As I came up to mile 12 I saw Kristi again.  She was standing with Doug and her Aunt Lynne who were part of our amazing support crew.  As I ran up to hear I could tell that things were not going well.  She told me she wanted to stop.  She was considering not finishing the race.  I must admit I also had a fleeting thought that I may pull out.  I quickly talked myself out of it by reminding myself that is was Father’s Day and that I had dedicated this race to my Dad who I never saw walk or run due to his battle with Multiple Sclerosis.  I was also running for the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation and had raised $4500 from very supportive friends and family.  I was going to finish this race.

I told KG I was going to pull out a mantra that I thought would be used much later in the race “shut the fuck up and run”…….and she did.

So, we continued.  By this time my knee was also starting to really hurt.  I’ve only had that kind of knee pain on one other long run, several weeks ago.  It would get to the point where it hurt so bad I had to stop and walk.  We continued the next 13 miles with a run/walk combo.  It was awful.

Of course, this is when I started to see the rest of my support team!  Pete and Noah first on bikes and I looked like this:

Lookin’ good right? You’d have no idea that I was walking just a few minutes ago!!

Then we met up with Alisha, Abby, and Lisa.  Thanks so much guys for hanging in there with me and my very slow first marathon!  A few blocks later there was Tom and Matt.  When I saw Tom I really wanted to cry.  But, then I saw Matt.  He had fallen during the 5K and had 2 bloody knees.  If he was brave enough to complete his race I sure and hell could finish mine.  I sucked it up.  Gave Tom a hug and kept on going.

We walked, ran and shuffled to that finish line and eventually we made it!

Happy to be there!

This is right before I burst into tears. Overcome with emotion. So happy to be done.

I wasn’t proud at that point.  I didn’t feel like I had accomplished a major goal.  I felt sad and embarrassed….and tired.  But in the end I know I did something many people never will.  In the end I learned a lot.  In the end I realize that I may have tweaked a few things during the race but I don’t regret anything.  In the end I know I will run another marathon.  Are you ready for me Chicago?  We’ve got a hot date on October 7.  I’ll be prepared.  In fact my new training cycle starts on Monday.  I might even blog about it……


14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Matt Perros #

    thanks for the weekend of a lifetime christy p

    June 23, 2012
    • Christy P #

      You are welcome, Matt! So glad you had a great time.

      June 24, 2012
  2. sheet, christy. what a loser! …. gimme a break. I’m not saying I would’ve reacted differently had I gone through all of that. but wtf, it was a fscking marathon, and you finished it. respectably. congratulations. imagine how your daddio would’ve felt seeing this. er, I bet you have. I actually have a guess as to what his reaction would be to this post… “Chicago in 4:15, or don’t bother coming home.” well, maybe not… or, maybe…

    June 23, 2012
  3. Christy P #

    Thanks, Anwar! George would have definitely told me to put up or shut up. Chicago in at least 4:30. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    June 23, 2012
  4. Wow! We think you are awesome and are proud you! Your blog made us cry 😦

    June 23, 2012
    • Christy P #

      Thanks, guys!!

      June 24, 2012
  5. I wrote a super-duper long reply to this, but it got lost somehow (or moderated out, but I don’t think so.)
    In summary, you picked a course and conditions that were just terrible for a PR. A 4:15 that day, to me, would have been equivalent to a 3:55 on a flatter course with regular weather. Huge hills, around twice the elevation of Boston, high 70’s, humidity close to 90% at times. Did you notice how alone all the pace group leaders were? I watched them start surrounded by 20 folks and cross the finish all alone. My goals changed from 3:30 to :3:45 to ‘just don’t walk up the hills’ and a DNF certainly crossed my mind. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug, but run enough marathons, and you are going to go splat. It took me ten years to finally run my Boston Qualifier.

    I love your honesty and can relate to your feelings of “how can I feel disappointed after finishing a marathon?’ And how it feels awkward to blog your times after being so public. I recently read an Olympian wannabe blogger who, pre-marathon, blogged about a hoped for PR, and then post race blogged about a DNF. It’s expected. Now you just have another battle scar. Crushing, but you’re not crushed.

    In case you’re curious, my race review. Thanks for your post. Keep us updated on Chicago.

    June 24, 2012
  6. Christy P #

    Thanks so much for your very kind words. I popped over to your blog (thanks for the link!) and was brought to tears. You write beautifully and you capture exactly the feeling the race director wanted you to have. I have worked pretty closely with Mike Highfield (race director) for the past several months. He will definitely work on the changing the course and we’ve already had several conversations about “next year.” I encourage you to send him your thoughts at
    I hope you return next year and I look forward to reading your blog.

    June 24, 2012
    • Thanks so much Christy! You’re on my blog roll, and I will be contacting the director. I didn’t like the ‘whining’ I kept hearing about the race. It doesnt’ do ann arbor or runners proud, but I suspect the few who whined just outscreeched the rest who were content and grateful. Chicago is a much more PR friendly course, although very crowded. If you never ran it, it is so huge, the whole town is alive with the marathon, and it makes you feel like small yet powerful atom inside this huge beast.

      June 24, 2012
  7. Helen Starman #

    Christy ~

    I know how hard you trained and how much you had your heart set on the goal BUT no matter what the time, finishing that race is amazing. I am so honored to know you and to have shared this journey with you from my very comfortable desk! 🙂 Two things – first that Sunday was brutal – humid and muggy and hot, I barely survived my water stop duties and second I heard from many runners in the race that only 1% of the population has ever finished a marathon. You did it! And raised a boatload of money to support public school education to boot! AWESOME!


    June 24, 2012
    • Christy P #

      Thanks, Helen! Your support means the world to me. : )

      June 24, 2012
  8. Lynne Marie #

    CP you are so cool. You are the girl I knew you were. I am so proud of you for your finish. You did a great job. You had horrible heat and hills that were terrible. No one with any sense would set up a race like this one. Chicago is a great race with a wonderful course and if it isn”t too hot, you will achieve your goal. After AA you will achieve anyway. Just to let you know it is possible from my first marathon to my second I dropped over an hour of time. You go girl and I will love reading about your journey. Thank you for your wonderful party before the race and for all the support and love you have given KG. Congrats to Matt for his event and what a wonderful family you have supporting you.

    June 24, 2012
  9. Susan C. #

    Christy, I hope you eventually get to where I am – thinking that you are over the top amazing. You’re a marthoner. In an earlier comment Nancy said that for fuel you ought to take along some goodie goodie gumdrops. They’ll do you nicely in Chi-town.

    June 25, 2012
  10. Betsy Cavanaugh #

    Great job Christy! You accomplished a huge thing and trained the right way for it. You were healthy and ready to run. The course and condtions were not what anyone would have picked for a race but you stuck with it! I am so proud of you and the fact that you met a goal..I choose C= finish the race! Great job. Your blog made me cry and I hope you know how I respect your hard work and dedication to your training! Way to go and please blog Chicago!

    Betsy C.

    June 26, 2012

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