The title of this post has a dual meaning: 1. the marathon recap (duh) and 2. it’s going to be a long post, so put your feet up and settle in!
I was lucky enough to sleep ok the night before the race. It took me a long time to fall asleep, but once I was asleep I was OUT until the wakeup call woke me up at 5:30.
I rolled out of bed, got dressed (easy peasy since I already had everything laid out ahead of time), and made my regular oatmeal breakfast so that I would have enough time to digest before the 7:30 start time.
I met my friends from home in the lobby at 6:30 so we could walk the 10 blocks over to the start line. I think I look pretty calm in these pictures, but my stomach was already doing flips at this point. I knew the weather said it was supposed to rain, and be 78 degrees, my 2 worst nightmares (rain AND heat!).
As we walked over to the start we felt a few rain drops, but nothing to worry about (yet).
The starting line was craziness. Once we got close, I gave J and Mandy kisses goodbye, and Lauren and Danielle and I made our way to the 4:20 pace group, and Alisa (on the Left) made her was to the 5:00 pace group.
Right away I had a bad feeling about our pacer. She wasn’t very friendly, and only seemed to talk to the people surrounding her even though we introduced ourselves and asked questions, etc. Plus, Steve (my Garmin) would NOT pick up a signal.
Soon after, the race started, and we didn’t cross the start line until 7:40 minutes in!
The first 2 miles were exciting, though very congested. People were elbowing and tripping their way through – it was really hard to get into a groove. Then at mile 2.5, the rain just started coming down. And I mean it DOWN POURED. I remember thinking it was kind of funny at the time, but I had no idea how much I was going to despise the rain soon enough. This was about the time Steve finally caught a signal, but by then it was too late. I was so bummed after running with him during all my training and then he blew it on the big day. *Sigh………*
I thought the crowd would thin out by mile 5, but no such luck. Right around mile 4 or so I ended up losing Lauren and Danielle because we were dodging around people and when I looked around they were gone! I couldn’t even see them behind me anywhere! I made a split second decision to try and stay with the pace group, as I was feeling pretty great at this point still. However, I could tell the pacer was running much faster than the 9:55 minute miles that would put us at a finishing time of 4:20. Steve said miles 7 and 8 were 9:15 and 9:17!
Here I am around mile 7, about to give my sis a high five, and still feeling good (even though I look a little crazy!):
We crossed over a few bridges, and the half marathoners split off around mile 10 or so. This is when the crowds finally died down and we were able to spread out. It was also around the time I stopped at a water stop and totally lost the pace group. I knew there was no way I could catch up to them, as the hills were really starting to take their toll on me by now, and my shoes and socks were soaked through enough that they were squishing. It felt like each foot weighed 10 lbs each. I was starting to get down on myself at this point, but I knew my friends and J and Mandy were up at mile 14 so I kept on. I was so excited to see them and J even hopped in to run with me to the top of the hill I was on (thanks, Babe!). I had started walking the hills at this point, as there was no way my body was having it anymore.
At mile 17, I saw everyone again, and our friend, Chris hopped in to run with me. I was so grateful to have him. We didn’t even say very much (I was completely dying at this point), but it was SO NICE just having someone next to me. I owe him big time. Here I am coming around the corner at mile 17 and meeting up with Chris:
I felt bad for him because I was so down on myself at this point. I couldn’t understand why my training went so well, but that this race was so horrible. I know that my 10 lb shoes, the rain (it was still raining!), and hills were huge factors, but it didn’t matter at this point. It was all a mental game, and I was losing. Plus, I was having trouble breathing. I’ve never had trouble before, but the only way I can describe it is like asthma. My breath was real short and quick, I couldn’t seem to catch my breath at any time from here on out. I’m not sure if it was the humidity, or anxiety, or what, but it totally sucked.
Around mile 22, I noticed a girl come up next to me and I screamed! It was Danielle!!!! She was so funny, this was her quote “OMG, Heather, I could totally make out with you right now! I’m so happy to see you!” Haha! Love her. She had lost Lauren early in the race because Lauren’s right knee started hurting and she had to walk/run almost the entire race.
We kept walking the hills, but at least the rain had stopped at this point. My body was spent. Those last 3 miles were the longest , hardest 3 miles of my life.
As we were coming down the home stretch, I could barely run anymore. I had blisters from my soaking socks and shoes, chaffing from my wet pants, and my quads were on fire from all the stupid hills. But we were determined to bring it home.
Can you see the pain on our faces?? It was so nice to see everyone near the finish line, but it was hard to smile! Danielle and I crossed the finish line together with our arms in the air with a time of 4:38:13. Not ideal, but pretty good considering it was our first marathon, and the challenges we were given.
This was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Honestly. I have never faced something so mentally and physically challenging as this. Marathons are NOT easy, and I am so proud to say I conquered these 26.2 miles.
I couldn’t have finished this race without my husband and sister. I dedicate this race to them, as they were my guardian angels and life savers. I love you both!!! (bottle it up!)