Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Half Marathon (part two) and a Butterfly

Ok, yes, I know, I am more than a week late on part two.  Very sorry.

I left off saying I had a horrible nights sleep. This is really unusual for me and I hate when it happens.  Once I was up and dressed I felt better. I ate a good breakfast, grabbed all my gear and headed out to meet Beth so we could drive up together.

Beth drove, of course.  No problem getting into Providence and parking was easy.  We headed towards the crowd, stopped at the PP and then thought we would try to find Sarah.  We headed to the starting line but did not see her. Beth suggested we walk down a bit and maybe we would catch her once the crowd spaced out a bit.

That worked!  We spotted Sarah and started yelling for her.  She saw us and waved. I got a pretty good pic of her and her friend. I was so happy to see her at the start of her marathon.

Go Sarah, Go!

The marathon went off a little late so Beth and I just got in the starting line and only had to wait about ten minutes. We sang the National Anthem and then they played Follow the Yellow Brick Road to send us off.
At the start.

We went out fast, of course.  I had no real goal in mind and Beth said she didn't either.  I have learned that you can't trust Beth.

Beth actually ran into a couple people she knew and hi's and hugs were had.  It is always so nice to see a friendly face during a race.

Conversation was good and I asked a few questions about her upcoming 50k.  Beth has trained well and was more than ready to conquer it.  She was running really well, and I had doubts early on that I would be able to keep up with her. Not only is she better trained than I am, this is a though time of year for me and my allergies/asthma.

At the first water stop, two really cool things happened.  As I approached the table, I was behind a girl in a tutu with butterflies attached to it. I loved it and let her know how cool I thought it was.  I caught up to Beth and then I was tapped on the shoulder asking if I was Nicole from the Sub 30 FB group.

For those of you who don't know, it is a cool little group put together by Ted Spiker of Runner's World.  It offers great support and motivation and I am happy to be a part of it.

Back to the tap on the shoulder. The tap was from Jim who I spoke with only a couple times in the group.  He is also a RI'er and I was just so shocked that he recognized me. We hugged and then he was off.  Very cool!

As we were starting to run again, the girl with the tutu approached us and asked if we were running a 10:30 pace.  We said we were and invited her to run with us.

Introductions were made and her name was Nancy.  She had just moved here from Hawaii. Her husband is in the military.  She ran the Hawaii marathon and it was really cool to hear about that. Then, of course, the "do you have any kids?" came up.  Beth has three dogs, I said I had George and Gracie and she said she had a little girl who was 4 and a baby who was stillborn.

Yeah, you just don't see that coming.

Then she said, she was eight weeks pregnant.

I don't know about Beth, but my head was spinning a bit and I had a ton of questions, but how do you talk to a perfect stranger about something so personal?

Well, it starts with the tutu and the butterflies.  I had no idea, but apparently butterflies are the symbol they use in the hospital to let the staff know that they are walking into the room of a mom who delivered a stillborn baby.

Something else I did not know was that if your baby dies before it's delivered. You still have to go through labor and deliver your child.  Silly me for thinking that they would knock you out and do a C-section.  I had tears in my eyes as she was telling the story.  How could you not?

Her first baby was a c-section and I was confused as to how they let her do a VBAC.  If you know me,  then you know how heart broken I was that I had two c-sections. I so wanted to do a VBAC but after many months of talking with doctors and doing some research on my own, we decided the risks were too great. I still tear up thinking I am some sort of failure that I could not deliver my babies the "normal" way. The bottom line is I have two healthy and happy kids and that is all that really matters.

Apparently, when they don't have to worry about the baby, only about saving the mother, they induce labor and you experience all the pain and emotions that go along with that. I am having a hard time writing this just thinking about it.

The baby she delivered was a girl and her name was Penelope.

Nancy stayed with us from mile 3 to about mile 10. It was a pleasure to talk to her and I wish I got a picture with her.  But unfortunately, after mile 10 I was slowing down and she had a nice pace going and she just kept at it.  We looked for her at the finish but never found her.

Not only did she finish before me, she beat her husband. Seriously, is that not the best brag ever. "I am eight weeks pregnant and I just beat my husband running a half marathon!"  She is my hero!

Now Beth has been training for her first 50k for months and when I was hitting my wall, she was just getting started.  I really had a hard time at the end and then the last two miles were filled with some of the craziest wind ever! I wanted to just walk the rest of the way but Beth was not having it. I was so happy she was with me but at the last .10 I just said go Beth and she did.

Once she took off and I was watching her run, I had a change of heart and picked up my speed thinking, "No wait come back!" Such a silly runner girl.

I finished in 2:24:58 which is a 2:32 PR.  I was pretty happy and then Beth said she was hoping to get me to finish in 2:20.  That was quite a secret Beth, but now you got me set on that time for Newport in October. That is, if I survive all this swimming!
The happy finishers!

Once we got our water and some food, we decided to head to the finish and maybe see Sarah come in.    It was getting cold and we were both tired, we hung for a bit and got to see Monica cross but knowing what time Sarah wanted to finish in would have us waiting another thirty minutes and I was not going to make it so we headed home.  Sorry Sarah!!! ( you can read her race report at See Sarah Run)

So there you have it, the first race of the Rhode Island Triple Crown in complete. The next one is the Jamestown Half in July.  Honestly, I am not looking forward to a July half marathon. Plus, Beth will not be there.  I do know a couple people who will be running it, so I am hoping to have a little company.  But before that, my fist tri is coming up June 22.  Oh my goodness, I am so excited and equally nervous.  It is a sprint and I feel pretty good about it.

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole


  1. Great job! I would have been sobbing listening to Nancy's story, definitely something you don't expect to hear from a stranger. But, running with someone definitely opens me up to talk about personal things too:)

    1. Me too and I think it helps to talk about things like this. Thanks!

  2. Congrats on the PR! And good luck at the tri!
    I didn't know about the butterflies, but a girl I knew went was induced into labor after they discovered that the heart had stopped beating :(

  3. I am way to slow to keep up with you.....but we must meet in Jamestown!!! I learned about the butterflies 3 years ago (today actually) when my friend lost her twins at 38 weeks :( So sad

    1. Oh so sad Gigi!

      Yes, we will definitely meet in Jamestown. I am looking for people to keep me company. I will be very slow as I am not looking forward to a half marathon in July! it's gonna be hot one!

  4. Wow... what a beautiful story. I feel like all races are an individual experience, if you have the time to meet some fellow runners. You certainly learn a lot on the road. Great race!!!!

  5. Awesome report, thanks! And wow, what a story about butterfly woman. Will look at them differently now.

  6. The range of different personalities and life experiences among runners is pretty fascinating. I'm glad you got to meet someone who was so open and able to touch you in such a way.

    1. Thank you! It was very cool and I will never forget her.