This morning I woke up bright and early (at 4:30…even though my alarm wasn't set until 5:30…darn job that gets me up super early) and slowly worked on getting ready for race day. I had my coffee and a couple of hard boiled eggs around 5:30, then I got dressed and ate the rest of my breakfast (toast with almond butter and half a banana) around 6:30. Kiva was a little annoyed that she wasn't invited after all the training she did!
Amber and Ben came to get me just after 7am and we were off to the race! Amber dropped us at the start and headed off to her checkpoint (she and Ben and a couple of other people were doing the relay). Ben and I walked to the start where I saw a couple of friends from work who were walking the marathon. I chatted with them for a bit and then caught up with Ben. He had run into Kate, who Amber and I played soccer with in high school. I found out that Kate had roughly the same pace goal in mind and was super excited that I had someone to start out running with. This was Kate's second marathon (she did the same one last year) and she said that last year she hit the wall at mile 20, so her plan this year was to walk all the uphills. That was definitely a plan I could follow! Before I knew it the gun went off and off we went!
Ben ended up sticking with us for the entire first leg even though we kept telling him he didn't have to wait. It was really nice to have people to run with, especially since I had planned on being on my own. We chatted out way through the first 7 miles and arrived at the first relay exchange were we dropped off Ben and picked up Amber. Amber ended up sticking with us for her whole leg as well! It was really great to have company the whole way. Amber was even so inspired by Kate and I that she said she was considering doing another marathon! We kept on chatting, walking up the hills, and walking through the water stations. The sun was warmer than the forecasted temp (it was only officially 66 degrees, but it felt much warmer than that in the sun) so I was worried about being able to stick with the pace we had going. As we were walking up a hill, I checked in with Brittany who was bringing me supplies around mile 16. Everyone was on time and things were going as planned.
We passed the halfway mark, patted ourselves on the back, and kept going. Once we hit the single track, I knew it was (literally) all downhill from there.
Soon it was time to say goodbye to Amber and pick up her sister Heather at the next exchange (mile 15), Heather said she would stay with us as long as she could, but was worried about having to walk. Kate and I were happy for whatever company we could get! Somewhere after mile 16, I saw Brittany and Jack on the road with my stuff! I took a little walk break and reorganized myself with fresh supplies. I was most excited about the PB Gu that I had put in the bag! We continued to walk up the hills and through the water stations and run at a super relaxed pace. Pretty soon we were on Tudor Road and headed towards Kate's parents and her dog. After we passed them, we headed up MLK Dr. and towards Goose Lake, where we would be parting company with Heather.
At mile 20 was my favorite aid station. They had a hose and were misting people and they had POPSICLES. I don't even like popsicles, but I ate part of one because it looked and sounded amazing. It was.
At the relay exchange (mile 22?) we saw Amber and Heather's parents and said goodbye to Heather. By then I was starting to fade a little due to the heat. I was getting thirsty more quickly and starting to feel a little sick to my stomach. A couple of walk breaks later I felt better (and we were more in the shade on the bike path). Kate was super happy to have not hit the wall yet, and I was pretty pleased that I felt as good as I did. My feet were starting to hurt and my legs were tired, but I figured at that point the worst thing that could happen was I would end up walking the next 4 miles. Kate could tell I was fading and did an amazing job of keeping me going. She kept picking out places where we would stop and walk (to the next sign, the second light post, the clearing in the trees) which really helped. At mile 23 we had a celebration becasue that meant that there was only a 5K left! In 30-40 minutes we would be done! Somewhere around there was also a surpises supporter…Brittany's mother-in-law, Anita! I was so suprised and happy to see her!
Soon we were at Valley of the Moon Park, and then almost to Westchester, and mile 25 was around there. My walking became more frequent, and my running was becoming slower, but we were holding onto a 12:10-12:13 pace, which considering how warm it was and how I was beginning to feel, I felt pretty good about. When we hit mile 25, Kate said "1.2 miles left!" and a lady that had been run/walking near us said "I don't know if I have 1.2 miles in me." I said "sure you do…anyone can run 1.2 miles!" There was a little hill coming up to Westchester that I walked, and then I jogged most of the rest of the way until we hit the last water station. At that point it was mostly uphill, so I jogged the flatter parts and walked up the hills. Then there was a big downhill before the final stretch (mile 26 was at the bottom of the hill). When I got to the final uphill I decided to try and run up it (it was the last .2 miles and there were a fair amount of people around…who runs most of a marathon and then walks to the finish?? Not this girl!). When I was about halfway up I stopped to walk for about 10 steps and then spotted my dad at the top! I mustered a smile for him at mile 26.15...
I plodded along up the rest of the hill and when I passed him I hit the grass and the finish chute. At that point I almost threw up. I had no finishing kick, I really didn't want to puke in the finish chute in front of all those people! I finished in 5:28:18…which I really don't care about, but at one point Kate said "under 5:30…let's go!" so I'm happy about that.
When I was done I got some water and my race shirt, found my dad, changed into my sandals, and said hi to the Arctic Valley crew at the beer tent. I had at least three people ask me if anyone had taken a picture to send to John so he knew I was still alive. Thanks Byran and Tom for taking a photo with sweaty me, and thanks Rich for being the photographer!
I kept saying "I have to keep moving." So my dad and I headed to Sagaya where he had parked his car. And by headed, I mean I hobbled. At first I was skeptical about having coffee post race. Turns out it was the best coffee I have ever tasted! Good plan after all.
While we were running, I kept saying that I was in denial that I was actually running a marathon…and I still think I don't really believe that I did it (maybe I will tomorrow when I can't walk). I am pretty sure that I would not have made it through the end without Kate, she was so happy to be feeling better than she did last year that she was an excellent motivator. Thanks Kate!
All things considered, I felt pretty good once I was done (once the urge to puke passed). My feet hurt and my legs were tired, but I couldn't believe that I didn't feel like dying. I think I even mentioned once or twice that I felt better than I ever did after finishing Lost Lake (which is only 16 miles, but brutally uphill and then down).
I read and loved every single comment that anyone left for me on Facebook. My friends/family are awesome! Although I have to say that my favorite is from my aunt...
I lauged out loud when I read it and wholeheartedly agree with her statement!
When I got home I promptly ate some lunch, showered, and took a nap. Then John came home and hauled me (very willingly) to dinner. I ordered so much food that he felt the need to share with the waiter that I had just run a marathon. We went to the Spenard Roadhouse and I had super tots (like nachos, but with tater tots), a salad, a cubano sandwich (no onion, extra pickle), and a side of mac and cheese. I ate almost everything except half the mac and cheese, which will probably be gone before midnight.
Thank you to everyone for your kind and motivating words! A huge thank you to all the people I ran with today and to all the specators who were out cheering! And a big thanks to the volunteers for hydrating, feeding, and motivating me!
I'm headed to bed soon. Hopefully I'll make it back out!