I did it! I'm a marathoner (again)!
Prepare for a reeeeeaaaallly long race report because a) I want to type it all out before I forget and b) that's just how I roll, but you guys know that by now.
So, as you all know, I've kind of been in denial all week about this marathon thing. I think part of that was just doubt that I could actually do it! Even as I was laying all my gear out last night, I really was not grasping that I was running a marathon this morning! Oh, and then I woke up and found dog puke in the bathroom and my closet, so that was a fabulous start to my morning.
I headed down to the start, was plenty early, but miraculously as I was texting with my friend Liz to figure out where she was, I ran (almost literally) right into her! I also miraculously managed to find my friend Shannon, who didn't even have a phone...no small feat in a sea of 15k runners, the majority gathered right in front of the gear check/portopotties! It was COLD, and I really didn't want to check my bag, but it was time, so we checked and walked over to the start. Everyone was in separate corrals, but it was awesome to have some friendly company until we split! Eventually we started moving forward, but it took 17 minutes for my corral to get over the start line, and we were off!
The first four miles were through downtown, and it was fun. I think the best cheerleading squads were in this section, and my friend Randi was at the mile 2 aid station, so I got to get a cheer and a quick hug from her. Oh, and I saw a woman totally run into a fence on a rented bicycle at about 1/2 a mile in, which was hilarious (she was laughing, so I felt ok about laughing at it!). I saw my friend Hillary's DH around mile 3, and then it was up a short but steep hill out of downtown. I was feeling pretty good at this point, so I figured I'd just go with it and hang on as long as I could. I thought that at the very least, I'd bank some time for later on! There was an out-and-back section where I saw Hillary and a friend from school, which was fun. Randi was right around mile 9 and ran with me for a few blocks and gave me a pep talk, then it was on to a long gradual uphill that seemed a lot worse than it did during last year's half! Right around the half, my friend Cody (remember him?
) was there and ran with me for a few blocks. I cannot tell you how much having friends along the course helped. It was unbelievably awesome. At the half, I was pretty much rocking it. I was at 2:20 and hoping to hold on for at least 4:45. My friend Lindsay was at mile 16, where we were going around and through one of the 3 big parks in town for about 5 miles. She was fantastic...brought oranges and a bottle of water and ran with me for a bit before peeling back to try to catch Hillary and then get me on the other side of the park. By the time I saw her again just before 19, I had hit the wall. Not having so much fun anymore. But still smiling! I walked with her a little bit (I didn't walk at all until the mile 17 aid station, go me!) and let her give me a pep talk.
From there it was just a little over 10k to go, so I knew I would finish, I just had to tough it out. My friend Becky surprised me by popping up at EXACTLY the right moment around mile 21 and running with me (pushing a stroller!) for a few minutes. This part of the course was tough. It wasn't in a very scenic area, the crowds had thinned, and it was starting to heat up. At mile 21, I knew 4:45 was gone, but thought if I could just run 12 minute pace, I could still PR. By 22, I figured that was going to be a stretch. At 23.5, for some unknown reason, they ran us up a viaduct just to turn around and come right back down.
Thanks a lot, course designers! There was a lot more walking the last 10k than I had hoped for, but I was still smiling! I made it a point the last few miles to really try to thank all the volunteers and police officers.
Soon enough, I was running across the finish line, and there was Becky again, and Hillary's DH! I'm so proud of myself. I didn't have exactly the race I wanted, but I really did have fun. I smiled the entire 26.2. I'm not sure why, but I was really emotional today, too. I almost started crying after I finished, and I didn't even come close after Phoenix! I hung out for awhile with Becky and waited for Hillary to finish (her first full mary, hooray!) and then got some lunch with a friend from school. I hurt, but I'm still smiling. I don't know why, but I just can't stop! It was a beautiful day, perfect weather, good friends (even if I never found half of them!!!), and I ran 26.2 miles. Not bad for being in denial right up until the start.
And as always, much love to my dingo(e)s. I carried you all with me the entire 26.2.