This is my "Marathon Rewind" post where I'll do my best to look back to a few weeks ago when I ran...really jogged, walked, huffed & puffed my first full-marathon!
Let me rewind just a tad before that...on February 28th I ran my first half marathon in Fort Worth, Texas and it was AWESOME!!! First off I trained really well for this race, I stayed on my training, running 3-8 miles almost daily and ate really well. My goal for the Half was to run it without stopping and I DID it! It felt so amazing to accomplish that. I'm not a fast runner and never have been, but I'm good at pluggin' along. In fact I was less than half way through when the "average" runners were finishing.
During the 2 months in between the Half & Full, I patted my back so hard for the good job I'd done in the Half that I sat back and enjoyed the good feelings I was having. And I sat and I sat some more and I almost backed out of the Full b/c I knew I wasn't ready. But then I started thinking that if the 400lb Biggest Loser's could complete a marathon then surely I could too even without the necessary training.
Fast forward...morning of May 1st...woke up at my parents about 5am to get ready to go...even though the race was in our hometown we ran late because the race detours were so wacky! I didn't prepare ahead with a pre-race breakfast so I settled for McD's sausage biscuit...probably not my best choice! Arrived and there were about 300 people still setting up. This was Beaumont's first race ever and things were off to a slow start. I found my virtual running friend Teri and we caught up, stretched, and synced our iPods for the race. Teri and I were something like acquaintances in high school but over the last few months we found a connection in running and finally got to know each other 10 years post high school. I found this to be an awesome perk to being a part of the running community.
Before the race started a gal asked if Jason and I wanted our pic taken together and then we took her pic as well. We started chatting and found out that she had run 8 half-marathons in the past 8 months! Wow! (Sidenote...ya know how in baseball there is a stat for everything? Well personally I find it to be a bit overkill, but when you throw stats around like 8 half-marathons in 8 months and and 142 marathons in a lifetime or running a marathon in every state...now those stats are impressive! In my humble but accurate opinion)
(This is the gal(Robyn) that ran 8 Halfs in 8 months!)
Lining up at the starting line, Teri and her running posse were chatting and laughing, Jason was walking around taking pics, and I was standing there thinking, "What am I doing here, what have I done, I didn't train for this, for the next 5-6 hours I'm going to be running and I'm not even in shape to do it! Internal screaming followed!" The gun sounded and we all took off. We ran a small 3 mile loop and came back through the start line for the first time where all the 5k-ers were cheering us on, that was kinda cool. I ran alone most of the time, like I said before I'm a slow runner. The entire race was hot and humid, weather conditions that I hadn't been training for. Thankfully there were PLENTY of water stations chock-full with GU (love the new blackberry flavor), water, powerade, bananas, and oranges (my new favorite fruit thx to the Gusher)!
About mile 9 it became such a mental battle for me and I was already so tired. At mile 12 I saw a little girl in the distance with a Hello Kitty shirt on and I was hoping and praying that the little girl was Bethany...and it was! My parents, Bethany, and Ethan were right there yelling for me and waving their hand-made signs! Sweet-relief...exactly what I needed to get me to the half-way point! My Dad said, "Are you ok? Are you going to make it?" and I said, "I don't know". That got me thinking how badly I wanted to stop and that if I did stop no one but my family would know, but then I thought of the commitment I had made and that even if I had to walk the next 13 miles that I would finish it!
Mile 13.1...The cruelest part of the course for sure b/c it was the half-way point for me, but the finish line for all those half-marathoners! So I kept going, I ran right across that finish line where proud families were hugging their recently medaled half-marathoners, not many seemed to realize that there were a few crazies running right past the finish line on to the rest of their race.
(Me at the half-way point...see everyone around me looking past me to the half-marathoners finishing)
I ran for about a mile looking behind me every few seconds to see if I was the LAST full-marathoner because it sure felt like it. Finally "Old Guy" was in my hindsight so I was encouraged. The next 7 miles were a blur. I felt so out of it and exhausted and I walked a LOT. I probably drank too much Powerade and ate way too many oranges just to give me something to do. :) As I wrapped around the downtown course I kept an eye on "Old Guy" to gauge how fast I needed to go b/c I didn't want him to pass me.
Mile 19...a very handsome guy in khaki shorts and a Baylor shirt started running toward me...he was running so fast that I thought something was wrong. When I met up with him he was smiling and I realized nothing was wrong, he had come to rescue me! My hero! He wasn't even in his running clothes and he still ran with me the rest of the way.
Mile 20...my cute little Hello Kitty, Ethan(with a broken foot), Mom & Dad, and Teresa(SIL) were all waiting with signs and cameras. This race was so small that I was the ONLY one on the road for most of the last half so it didn't bother me to have my Mom & Dad yelling "Go Jambo, Jambolina, etc." :)
Mile 21...my best friend in the world and her daughter were waiting at the bottom of a hill with a big sign...oh how I love my friends and am so very very blessed! Lindsey joined Jason and I for the rest of the race, I was so thankful for their company. I could not have finished it without them! For the next 4 mile markers Melissa would jump in her car with the sign and park at the next mile marker to get a new position for cheering! Have I mentioned how much I love her? :)
Mile 24...kids and parents were waiting again with signs, such a boost! I was fading fast! "Old Guy" was gaining with speed.
Mile 25..."Old Guy" caught up! He said, "Please don't run just because I've caught up to you." :) Boy am I thankful he sped up (or I slowed down, not sure which one) b/c he had a cool story! This was his 142nd marathon, he runs a marathon every month (b/c that's all "Old Wife" will allow him), and he has run a marathon in every state! Very cool "Old Guy"!!! Jason especially liked his shirt..."Batman & Joker: Arch Enemies"! :)
Mile 26...almost there, I was envisioning myself sitting or laying on the pavement as soon as I stopped! At the end Lins & Jason broke off to meet up with the family and I ran the last bit alone. Home free! I was so emotional that I had done it. Even though it included a lot of walking and moaning, I had completed 26.2 miles in a single day. About 30 people were still on the sidelines waiting for their families so they graciously cheered me through the finish line. Oh sweet victory, I finally felt amazing with my family and Jason's family all there congratulating me. The medal gal draped a beautiful "Gusher" medal around my neck and I was "gushing" (haha) with pride!
And then I sat!
I looked something like what I imagine "Old Wife" looked like for the rest of the day. I sat in a bathtub half-full of ice water and I know that really helped my legs recover! I took lots of Excedrin and just soaked up the pampering I was getting from the family. At that moment I thought "I'll never do a full again", but this marathon made me realize how much I really enjoy the Half and know with the right training I can do them well and it also made me realize that with the right training a full may be in my future again someday...distant future that is!