So Sunday we met in the lobby at 5:30. *Yawn*. Thatís early! We all made our way down to the start line and found our corrals. Tammy and I were in G, so we hung around and chatted with nearby runners as we waited. The moment of silence for Boston, followed by ďSweet CarolineĒ and ďDirty WaterĒ made me smile. I felt the love for my city all weekend!
It was almost 20 minutes after the gun went off before we made it to the start. Tammy and I had planned to run with the 2:45 pace group, but that lasted for 2 miles since they took off way fast. Our 2 mile time was under 22 minutes according to my watch. While I couldnít keep that pace given my less than stellar training this time around, I was feeling great! No right knee pain (which thrilled my PT), my breathing was good, I just felt strong! We crossed over into Kentucky, and I was enjoying looking around at the scenery and spectators.
Right around mile 7 the hills started. Thatís also when my left IT Band decided it had had ENOUGH. Now, at this point I was on pace for a personal best, but that dream quickly disappeared as the pain became progressively worse. Uphill was okay, and running felt way better than walking. There were moments I felt great, like when I saw the Boston Shriners Hospital folks and ran over to thank them for being there. Or when I ran though the main straightaway before the marathoners split off and just soaked in the cheering and support that brought tears to my eyes. Iíve never seen this kind of support outside of the Boston Marathon and it was an experience I will never forget.
It was at about mile 10 that I considered quitting. Itís also when it started raining. We came around the corner to a ridiculously steep downhill that I couldnít possibly run. I considered crawling down it, I was so afraid of falling with my leg hurting like it was. I stopped to stretch and wasnít sure I could start again. But I did, and just kept telling myself if I could run at a slow pace the pain was manageable. And I was determined to get that medal.
Those last three miles were the worst run of my life. The pain of a beginning runner had nothing on what I was dealing with. Iím sure the photos from the finish are awful because I was just holding on. Seeing Rachel and her hubby at the 12 mile mark gave me just enough to push through that last mile (Thank you SO much, Rachel! You guys being there was incredible!)
I crossed the finish line to see Tammy waiting for me. She gave me a hug and I just collapsed. I was done. Iíve never truly cried at the end of a race, but I was crying then. Enough that she put me in a wheelchair where I sat until I was able to at least stand up.
We wandered slowly for a bit, catching back up with Rachel, but the rain was ice cold and we were both frozen, so we decided to head back to the hotel.
Eventually we all gathered back together, including Maryís hubby, and found this great bar that made us amazing food and treated us like queens! If youíre ever in Cincinnati definitely check out FBís!
Monday was the long drive home, sore but enjoying the fact that we completed another race!
Mary, congratulations on your very first race! You rocked it, and I canít wait to meet up with you again!
Tammy, as always you are amusing as hell. Thanks for being our organizer for these trips!
Shirley, it was awesome to meet you finally! Great race!
Rachel, you canít imagine what it meant to us to have you come all that way to cheer us on. Having a friendly face there waiting was amazing!
Merle, coordinating all that craziness was a feat! Thank you so much!
Anne & Bob, you guys are awesome. Thank you for making me feel so welcome!
Jeri, thanks for seeking me out on race morning! You and Nancy made me smile in your tutus! Too cute!
Mel, Iím so glad we finally got to meet! I donít think anyone could not smile when around you Ė you are just a burst of sunshine!
Chris, we missed you. I thought about you all weekend, and hope we can meet up soon!
All the other Sparkers, thanks for an amazing weekend.
And to Tracy, a girl couldnít ask for a better best friend, running partner, troublemaker, etc. You not only tolerated over a full day in a car with me, you made it fun!
Costa Rica in 9 days!!!