We met up with Elizabeth and Jim and scrambled to find a place to eat dinner since we didn't have reservations anywhere. We were able to find a great place and had an awesome pre-race dinner. We headed back to the hotel, hung out for a bit and then around 8:30 headed to our room to hit the sack. Being that I really didn't sleep well for most of the week before the race(had nightmares and crazy dreams about the marathon), I was really hoping for a decent nights sleep! I think I finally really fell asleep around midnight!
The alarm went off at 4:30am and we got out of bed to start getting ready for the race. For people who know me, getting up this early on the first alarm is an accomplishment in itself as I am NOT a morning person. Overall with running this has been one of my biggest obstacles to overcome, waking up early for training runs and races. Anyway, after getting up I took a quick shower, got all my stuff together and got ready for breakfast. Now, I don't think Jeff has mentioned this about me before but I am very OCD about my running routine. Mind you, I am not this way with anything else in my life. At home before a run I have a whole wheat bagel with natural peanut butter and a small cup of coffee. So naturally I needed to have this same breakfast this morning. I brought my whole wheat bagel and peanut butter from home with me. I headed down to the hotel breakfast to toast my bagel then back up to the room to eat and grab the rest of my gear. I headed downstairs, met up with the rest of the crew and we headed over to the starting line.
Jeff took off to find his spot as I headed to my pace group. My goal was to finish the race in 4:30:00, so that is the pace group I positioned myself with. When the gun went off, well we slowly walked to the finish line. When we finally got there, 9 mins later I hit my Garmin and finally started running. Unlike Jeff, the people who had slotted themselves in the wrong spot didn't bother me so much. Maybe it was because this was my first big race and I was busy taking in all of my surroundings, or maybe it was because I wanted to make sure I didn't let adrenaline take over and start out to fast, either way I really enjoyed the start of the race. I was really having a great running day, in a great groove and was keeping my pace, despite the fact that my knee started bothering about 2.5 miles in. I also had to go to the bathroom, but every port-a-potty line was so long. Finally around mile 4.1 I spotted a shell station and thought why not. I popped in and took a quick bathroom break. I was very glad I did this as I later found out Jeff's cousin spent 20 mins in a bathroom line!
So far the hills were gradual and not that bad. This all changed at mile 8. This hill really snuck up on you as you turn a corner. At this point in the race my knee was really bothering me and I was really wondering how I was going to finish. About half-way up the hill I ran past one of the wheel chair participants and decided to HTFU and keep going. I told myself over and over that my knee didn't hurt and kept going. I was still running, but having a hard time keeping the 10min pace I wanted to. The next couple of miles were pretty uneventful. At mile 10.5 is where the half marathoners split off from the marathoners. It was at this point where I really realized what I had signed up for. The next big hill for me was around mile 12.5. Luckily as this point I met up with another runner and we ran the next couple of miles together which was a big help to me.
My next turning point was at mile 19 where I had to use the restroom again, luckily the line wasn't too bad this time. I was in line and some guy from the water station came over to give us some encouragement. I asked him what time it was and he told me 10:45. I realized at that point I was not going to meet my time goal. I think this is where I hit my wall. After using the bathroom I freaked out and had to pull it together to start breathing normally again. I pulled it together about halfway through the mile and kept going. It was also at this point that I stopped at one of the medic stations to see if they had any biofreeze. They didn't, but they did have Tylenol which I gladly took!
After mile 20, which was the most I had run in my training I pretty much just kept telling myself, make it one more mile, you've come this far. At the next mile, I repeated myself, and so it went. I also didn't stop at any of the other water stations. I used them during the beginning of the race so I could have my hydration belt to use in the last miles and that worked out very well. At mile 24 I spotted that 5 hour pacer and decided my new goal would be to come in a head of that group. I kicked it up, pushed hard and kept going. Coming around the corner down the final stretch I pushed all my pain aside and picked it up. It was at this point that I saw my cheering section of Jeff, Jim and Elizabeth. That was the final boost I needed. I crossed the finish at 5:01:31. Not what I wanted, but in the end it was a great race. I am proud that I finished, and that the only time I walked was through the water stations. As beat up as my body feels right now, I will go back next year, hopefully with a healthy knee, to beat my current time.
Oh, and BTW, the stupid head band that was supposed to stay in place slipped off 3 times -- money well spent.
One more thing, I want to get a tattoo to signify my accomplishment and was wondering if any of you guys have seen anything cool or have any ideas?
Here are some pictures from the weekend:
At the Expo with my Cousins Bonnie and Erika
Annie and Jeff the day before the race
Big ass steer at The Driskell Hotel Bar
Our friends Jim and Elizabeth and baby Walt
Annie and I with Bonnie and Erika before the race
Annie and I right before the race
This was parked on Congress and 6th street - love college towns!
Finish right in front of State Capital
Jim and Walt getting ready to Cheer for Annie
Annie right after she finished
Annie looking strong at the last mile
Annie and her friend Susan
Thanks for Reading!