So, it's been almost a week since my first marathon. Below is a report of the race day.
The day started of fairly nice. I had on a short sleeve compression shirt, a short sleeve tech shirt and a long sleeve tech shirt on. I was pretty comfortable with that and a pair of running capris. We parked the car on one side of campus, where traffic wasn't horrible. I left the fam and took off on my warm-up run. On the way, I ran into a couple of friends--she was running her first full, he was running his first half. It was nice to see them before the race; it calmed my nerves a bit.
I left those friends and headed for the meeting place of the "Nerd Herd," a great group of training buddies. We were getting together for our pre-race picture and well-wishes, then it was off to the race start. Standing there, I began chatting with a woman who was running her 50th marathon, on the 10th anniversary of her first marathon. WOW! What an accomplishment!
By this time it had started to drizzle. Unfortunately, I had not brought a hat, so I knew I was in for it when it started raining. But it was too late and there was nothing I could do. Before the start of the race, there was a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. It was pretty amazing to have the mass of people go from extremely noisy to pure silence. Then, during the moment of silence, a plane flew overhead with a banner that simply said "4-15-13." That was awesome.
The gun went off and so did we. The 4:55 pacer was running with the 4:20 pacer so I decided to stay back and insure that I stayed at a slower pace. I wanted to stay around and 11:30 pace, so I kept slowing myself down. I didn't want the race-day adrenaline to make me go too fast. I managed to do a pretty good job and felt comfortable at my 11:15-11:30 pace. The rain wasn't a huge factor, except that I couldn't see. I wear glasses, and can't really see without them (more on that later) but I took them off around mile 3 since I could see better without them, than I could with them. I held on the them until mile 10 when I decided it wasn't going to let up; that's when I handed them off to Hubby.
Speaking of Hubby.... I couldn't ask for a better support team. He and the kids were all over the course to cheer me on. I think I saw them 12 times around the course. I'm not sure I would have that much patience--to get three kids in and out of the car so often, within a timeframe. He is amazing! His parents showed up around mile 11 and were there through the end as well.
Around mile 15, I started to feel like I had to go pee. I really didn't want to stop, but I knew I couldn't wait another 11+ miles. I tried a porta-potta but it was in use. Just after that, I was rounding a corner and saw my family again and they said I looked good. I yelled out that I had to pee, and Hubby's response was "you're already wet, just go down your leg!" That gave me a good chuckle, but I just couldn't do it. As I was rounding that corner, I heard my dad yell my name and say "we're here!" Unfortunately, I couldn't see him or my mom, but I knew he was there. That was awesome, since I didn't really expect to see them until the finish. I remember turning around and blowing them a kiss.
The 15 mile point was a big thing for me. That is the furthest I have ever run straight through. I wanted to beat that, and boy did I ever! After 15, my next goal was to run to 18, then if I ran to 18, I told myself I could do 20...
Mile 16 1/2--I was in a metropark and there were more porta-potties there, so I tried one as my watch was beeping for the lap. It was open! I don't think I have ever peed for that long continuously. Luckily I had checked my watch and noticed that I had gone for three minutes straight. Yikes! That's not good for my time!
Starting up again wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was able to get my pace back up to where I wanted it. Then I hit mile 18 and my knee started hurting worse that it ever had while running. I started walking for 3 seconds or so then told myself to pick up the pace and push through. I ran another half mile and had to walk again. After the 18.5 miles, it was pretty much back and forth walking/running.
Nothing exciting to report after that (other than all the times I saw Hubby and kids-and had a short run with our oldest), until mile 24. At that point it had stopped raining enough to get my glasses back, so I could see for the finish. Mile 25, my running buddy, M, who had just PR'ed in the half was walking back on the trail--I can only assume, to find me. I got a little emotional when I saw her, then said "let's go" and I started running again to finish. She asked me how I felt and I told her about my knee (the cause for having to walk). I asked her how she and some other friends did and this all took my mind off the pain. She and I walked briefly, then I told her I wanted to get 5:15, and when I looked at my watch, I thought I could still make it. I had forgotten my watch was off on the mileage a bit so I had further to go than I thought. I still kicked it up and ran the rest of the way.
The cool thing about this race is that it begins and ends on the college campus where I went to school. They open up the stadium and have the finish line on the 50 yard line, which is pretty cool. As I was running towards the stadium, I saw my dad taking a picture of me, then I started to round the corner to head into the stadium and saw my twin sister. She lives two states away and came to see me run... after she had told me she wasn't coming! Apparently she was there since mile 15, and I couldn't see her without my glasses! I got pretty emotional but found some new energy. I kicked it up the last 75 yards, heard my name announced, and finished my first marathon in 5 hours, 17 minutes and 56 seconds! I collected my foil blanket and my metal and then looked for my family. Hubby was the first one to show up with a hug. Boy did that hug feel great!
More to come later since this post is really long. I'll do a post-race one and maybe post some pictures too.