I know it's been a while and didn't write my post about the actual MARATHON! Well, here I am, a little over a month later ready to talk about my first marathon experience.
I wasn't even nervous that morning. I was very excited and I was very confident that it was going to go well. We put in the training and prepared ourselves in every way so that we would be successful and able to finish feeling great...or so we thought.
We spent the night in the hotel and luckily the morning of the race we only had to wake up at about 5:30 am. I know you are saying, "Only?" but compared to some of the other races I've done, that was cake. The line was long outside already waiting for the shuttle bus to drive us over to the race site. Plus, it was freezing that morning and I was relieved with my decision to wear my running tights instead of shorts.
When we finally started the race it was so exciting and the crowd was amazing! So many people participating in the race-most who were wearing pink tutus, pink shirts, and just LOTS of pink! One man who was doing the race, who was not wearing pink, was wearing a U.S. Marine uniform and did the whole race with a backpack and boots!
One thing I have to say about this race was how wonderful the support of the community was. I am so happy I decided to sign up for this event and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Mile after mile, all of the runners continued to receive support with yells, cheering, fresh fruit, music...and most of all, the support from cancer survivors yelling a big "Thank You!"
My husband, my friend's husband, and her sister were also out there along the course at various points cheering us on and taking pictures. Without the support of your own family, the training and race would not be managable.
One highlight of the race was running on the beach-which was a lot easier than expected and definitly memorable. Not just memorable because of the beauty of it, but because my watch decided to have a mind of its own right before we turned onto the beach, and I spent almost the whole 2 miles(miles 5-7) trying to set it straight so our intervals would be correct.
Unfortunately, the second half of the race my friend's hamstring started hurting worse and worse...until she could barely run. I remember at mile 20 the pain she was feeling and her blister that was not getting better. But I am so proud of her for continuing on the journey to complete her goal. It's in these situations the mind must take control over the body; to tell your pain, "I am in control, not you."
By mile 24, we had been mostly walking, but I felt my body wearing down and yearning for food. Unable to stop for walk breaks any longer, I apologized deeply to my friend and told her I must keep going without stopping, for I could feel my body was shutting down. She had been telling me to go and I know she wasn't upset and so I set off to finish the last 2.2 miles alone. I think those were the longest 2 miles I've ever ran. I stopped maybe twice but felt worse so I kept telling myself to keep going and I did.
I finished in just under 6 hours and my friend actually pulled through and made it to the finish line not too much longer after I did! I know before the marathon, the training was tough, but it was no comparison to the mental and physical toughness that I experienced that day.
If you had asked me the day before the race if I would ever do another marathon, the response would have been a quick, "NO!" But that tune slowly changed while riding the shuttle back to the hotel, even though the pain was still very much real. I started thinking about next year doing it again...and my friend, a few days later, agreed.