The last 24 hours have been such an incredible experience. Marathon #2 is in the books and I cannot wait to tell you all about it!
RunningFirst came into town yesterday afternoon. We picked up our race packets, spent some QT with my boys, and had the traditional pasta dinner. I turned in pretty early in anticipation of the 4:50am alarm.
At 0-dark-fifty I dragged myself out of bed. Attempted to eat some oatmeal. Nervously checked and re-checked my do-not-forget-these-things-under-any-circumstance list. Worried about my back, which was giving me some shooting, pinching pains 'cause I slept on it funny. Took the obligatory pre-race picture. Packed up. Headed out.
At 5:25 we left my sleeping boys behind and left to head to the race.
It was probably 40 degrees at the start line, but warmed up quickly once the sun came up. We pre-Gu'ed (ate runner food), put our bags in the bag drop, and lined up right about 7am.
After just a mile I'd warmed up and was just enjoying the sunshine. My strategy was to run the whole race and walk the water stops. So, dutifully, I walked through the first water stop. And then my right shoe was off. You read right. The guy behind me stepped on the back of my shoe. RunningFirst helped shield me from the stream of runners (I was *right* in the middle of the road) while I put it back on. Shoe back on, and we were off again.
10:31 (shoe incident)
Were pretty easy. I Gu'ed at mile 6, as planned. Around mile 7 we hit the bridge over the Missouri River, which was lovely. Shortly thereafter we turned and started running along the river. We talked our own ears off all the way through mile 10 (read: I talked non-stop and RunningFirst responded every now and then), which helped to make the miles pass a little faster.
Gu'ed again at mile 12. As we approached the half-marathon finish I started scanning the crowd for my boys, since the plan was to see them at the half and at the finish. I looked and looked and looked and didn't see them. I started to fear that I'd missed them. Then we were past the halfers' finish and getting toward the start of the Katy Trail and I still hadn't seen them. I was holding back the tears with everything I had. I hated thinking that they might be out all morning and we missed each other. I worried that they'd gotten lost or run into trouble along the way. Seeing them in a race is always incredibly emotional for me, and the idea of missing them tore me up. And then, just as I was giving up hope, I saw them! My boys! They both yelled "Momma!" and I just beamed. And maybe cried just a little. You would too. Don't lie.
9:32 (this was through the half-marathon finish, and it just pulled me along)
One word: hilly.
And in case you were wondering what my boys were doing to pass the time, I give you this:
I still hadn't hit the wall. In fact, I kept waiting for it and it kept not coming. Score! At mile 23 I took about half a Gu. I was starting to tire out, but I kept going. Between 23 and 24 I really wanted to walk, but there was no way I was going to run that far and walk when I had less than 3 miles to go. Plus, I knew my time was way under my target and was starting to believe I might hit a 4:30. At mile 22 I told myself to get to 23 so I could Gu. At 23 I told myself to get to 24 and see how I felt. At 24 I told myself I had to wait until 25 to pick up the pace. At 25 I was not fast, but I was determined.
I saw the finish line from about half a mile out. I just went for it. My Garmin was showing lap time, lap pace and total distance, not total time. I knew from what people around me were saying and a quick mental math estimate of time, that I was close to a 4:30. I didn't know if I was going to do it or not. As I passed my boys, Mr. Joanna yelled "Great time!! It's a great time!" I knew he also thought I might be under 4:30 but also wasn't 100% positive. Neither of us could see the clock on the finish line yet AND I didn't know what it had said when I started. I smiled at him (or tried) and went for it.
When I went over the line, the clock read 4:33:28. I didn't know what the start clock had said, but I knew it was going to be close. Two things that didn't occur to me at this point: 1) to stop The Vengeance (my Garmin), and 2) to check my history for the total time. It turns out that I remembered to stop it 65 seconds later, and didn't think to check the history for about another 5-10 minutes after that. Do you know what it said?
Somehow, beyond my wildest dreams, I'd come in under 4:30. Chip time puts me at 4:27:23. 27:31 faster than my PR. I prayed in thanksgiving. I made a few calls. I gave Mr. Joanna the whole run-down of the race. I beamed.
RunningFirst came in a little over 5 hours. I am super proud of him for toughing it out to finish. And still thankful for his company over the first 13.1. I don't know if he'll blog this or not, but if he does, be sure to stop over and tell him congrats.
What Lies Ahead
The US Half, November 7. Time to get faster and shorter. But for now, a week off!! Thank you all SO much for your encouragement, advice, and friendly support that got me to the finish line!
543.5 + 3.8 + 26.5 = 573.8 miles