We made a plan on where to meet to load buses in the morning and said an early goodnight. 3:45 am comes really early! The crew at my house headed to the buses but we didn’t see our friends so we loaded and headed up to the start. Having never done a marathon before, I was noticing how far we were driving and realizing that I would be running back the same way! We stood in line for over a half hour for the bathroom and a little more to drop our clothes bag and then the race started so there wasn’t a lot of time to think about anything. We never did find the others in our group but I was going to run alone so I knew I would just see them at the finish. My biggest problem is always starting out too fast so I worked hard on watching my pace so I would not run out of steam. I was running a little under the pace I had planned for but felt good so stayed with my run/walk plan. The course was beautiful and it was fun to see the sun coming up over the red hills and the beautiful setting. I failed a little on my nutrition plan but never felt deficient. I did have a little “bathroom” problem and ended up stopping half a dozen times the first 20 miles. The weather was about 37 degrees to start so I left sweatpants and a long sleeve tech shirt on for the first hour or so. They say this is a “downhill” course but there are several little blips on the elevation chart that translate into hills but nothing insurmountable. Until mile 19 starts. Coach Lizz and I had talked about this so I was prepared and, as I told her after, “I ran up the effing hill at 18-19!” I hit 20 miles at about the same time as I did on my training run and still feeling good. A 10k left – no problem! My pace dropped a little but I was in familiar territory and knew the end was near. As I rounded the corner for the last mile, there was my husband taking pictures and cheering me on with our friends.That gave me what I needed to finish. When I first registered all I wanted to do was finish in at least 6 hours but as I trained, I thought I could maybe get it done in 5:15-5:30. My time was 5:19 so I was happy! I found my friends who had finished before me, we took pics and headed to clean up.
After an ice bath and shower, I felt almost human again. Unlike some of my younger friends (Candice & Kenzie!!!), I will not return to the gym until Wednesday and even then it will be at half effort. The sense of accomplishment that I have is enormous – I ran a marathon! Thanks to all my friends and family who believed in and encouraged me. Especially to Wes, who delayed his work life in order to be here for me!