The final push for me to actually sign up and train for a race was having Chloe. I felt like I could conquer the world after having a baby. After all, nothing could be more difficult, right?
I can now answer that question with a resounding "NO!" This marathon was a lot more difficult than labor and delivery.
But, am I glad I did it? Yes! Even as I write this (the day after the race), with sore knees, calves, quads, back and shoulders, I can tell you that it was worth every pain that I'm now enduring. By crossing that finish line at the end of 26.2 miles, I defeated my SELF. My doubts, inhibitions, my body and that part of my mind that tells me daily, "no you can't" is wrong. I can. I will. I did.
I don't expect anyone to understand how this whole experience affected me. That would be impossible. After all, every single runner out there on Sunday had a different experience and took away something different.
Now for the play by play:
It was 60 something degrees and 100% humidity when we started the race. I was in corral 15. When it was our corral's turn to start, I had no nerves. I think the lady I was talking to before the race helped me settle those. A big thanks to her!
Mark set up shop at mile 3, 8 and 10 to take pictures. Around mile 11, the race split off and Mark could no longer watch. I felt great the first 15 miles. It was around mile 17 that my mind and body started getting the better of me.
Every time my feet hit the ground, pain radiated in the balls of my feet. (If I had been paying attention to my running gear, I would have purchased new shoes a few weeks before the race. Instead I was running in worn out gear with little cushion on the soles.) It also didn't help that the people around me were walking. It's very tempting to walk with them. So around mile 18, I started walking through the water stations. Partly in effort to make sure I was actually getting to eat the salt packets (that's right) and drink the water (it's difficult to drink while you're running) and partly to save energy so I could finish the race running.
At mile 20, I was physically spent. I was walking through water stations and a little between them. The two miles between the 24 marker and the 26 market felt like another 5 miles. And the .2 mile before the finish line was the longest, steepest hill in the race. I took somewhere between 5 and 10 walking steps before I saw Mark yelling at me. Everyone along the finish line was saying 'It's just around the corner' so I sucked it up and started running again. They were right. I turned the corner and saw the finish line. I started crying and my throat closed up making it hard to breath, so I pushed the sobs back down and ran as fast as I could (which wasn't fast at all) to grab my metal.
My official time: 4:54:17
117 out of 311 in my division (Females 25-29)
643 out of 1783 in my gender
1771 out of 4040 in the race
That wasn't as good as I hoped for but I'm glad I finished under the 5 hour mark.
|before the race.|
|not even half of the crowd.|
|fueling up before with a bagel and banana|
|wheel chair marathoners. impressive. at least two military vets.|
|Winner? I don't know.|
|interesting. if you dress like that, you better run fast!|
|Trojan coach for encouragement.|
|at mile 3. still feeling good.|
|mile 8. still feeling good!|
|just passed Mark and got a high five at mile 10.|
|after the race. holding back happy tears.|
|I DID IT!!|
"Running is a road to self-awareness and self-reliance. You can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the Earth spin at your feet. But, when you are through, exhilarated and exhausted, at least for the moment, everything seems right in the world." (-Unknown)
Say a quick prayer for the family of a fellow runner and Red Raider who passed away after completing the half marathon on Sunday.