** I originally posted this on my personal blog. I can't get the pictures to upload here, so if you want to see pics, go here: from262.blogspot.com/201
If you don't care about pictures (and don't care if it doesn't entirely make sense) read on!
I did it!!!!!! (insert hobbling happy dance here)
I was surprisingly not nervous on Sunday morning. I slept well and woke up a little before my alarm.
I started getting a little nervous driving to Burlington.
There was no place to park near the start, so I hopped out and wandered around the park until it was time to line up.
This is the starting line – I’m nowhere near here.
The elite runners were amazing. I got to see some of them during the race, and it was incredible to watch them move.
I ended up a little too far up in the start. I was near the 5:30 pace group, which I knew was too fast for me, but once people packed in there was no changing places. So, needless to say, I made a typical mistake and started out way too fast. I kept it up for the first 4 miles, but then I slowed down and never got my pace back up.
This was 8 miles in, my second trip down Church Street. Still smiling at this point.
That was when I first saw Andy and Max, though they saw me at the start. I definitely needed to see them at that point. It was the lift I needed to keep going.
It got really hard from there. Around mile 12 I was tired. The major problem with being in the back of the group is that by the time I reached the water/food stations, there was no food! I even passed a couple without any more water. I panicked a little.
My favorite part of the entire race was the hill. Just after mile 15 there was a huge hill. The Taiko drummers were at the bottom, and I got a second wind. It felt so good to use my muscles differently, and I passed several people going up. It was a nice confidence-building moment.
The rest was pain. That’s all I could think about. I was crying as I approached mile 19 because I was exhausted, in more pain than I’d ever been in my life, and I still had 7 miles left.
Keely (my awesome trainer) was waiting for me at the 19-mile marker, and I gave her a huge hug. She gave me flat coke (weird, but actually really helped) and the best banana I have had in my life. Nothing will ever taste as good as that banana did. I’d had nothing but GU for hours, and real food was amazing.
Keely ran/walked with me the rest of the way, and I was so grateful for the distraction. I needed someone to talk to, and I needed to get out of my head. It made the end much more enjoyable, which was good because those last miles were absolute hell.
I am not joking when I say I’ve never been in that much pain. That includes childbirth. It hurt as much as contractions, but it never let up. I would walk, and it hurt. I ran, and it hurt. Nothing made it go away. Pushing through the last 4 miles was intense. I was fighting the pain and the head games, too. It’s hard to be near the end of a huge race. I saw so many people who had already finished, eaten, relaxed, and were on their way home. It’s hard not to get discouraged.
The last half mile, my mood improved. I could see the park and knew I was almost done. My pace picked up. I smiled at the people I passed. Everyone was cheering and so supportive, and it made me feel a lot better. I may have taken a lot longer than most, but I still finished it.
So close to the finish!
Seeing Max and Andy made me feel 100% better, and I finished with a big smile on my face. I’ve never worked so hard for something, and I’m still in disbelief that I actually did it. I may not be thrilled with my time, but I finished it. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and the most painful.
It was totally worth it.
Max wanted to see my “trophy” in the car. Marathons are exhausting for everyone.