So, yesterday was race day. "The Race." The one that I have been waiting to run for an entire year. I had two goals going into the race: first - finish the race feeling positive about the experience AND second - finish in 4:30.
Well, I didn't quite hit 4:30 (more on that in a minute) BUT I totally had the best experience EVER!
The day started like this:
I had a ton of stuff to prep. The weather was iffy. Not really warm, not really cold, slightly humid, kind of raining. It could have been worse, but it could have been better.
After I got dressed and organized, I headed downstairs for breakfast. Water, a peanut butter and jelly bagel and a chocolate pumpkin muffin - so yummy.
At 6:45, G picked me up and we headed down to the race. It was odd. I was too relaxed. Like I was completely unaware of the fact that I was going to be running 26 miles. We arrived (parking at Club Velvet - Richmond's premier Gentleman's Club), and walked up to the start where we met Jackie P. and Fay (she rocked the half).
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity (really only 30 minutes) and after a potty break where there was no toilet paper, we moved to the starting corral with the 4:30 pacer. G and I got the ultimate complement moments later when Sarah (in the blue shirt below) asked us if we went to school in Richmond. We laughed and informed her that, "No, we lived her with our husbands and three children, each." Her jaw dropped. It was classic and totally made my day!
The first few miles were a blur. We joked (probably out of nervousness) and talked to the other runners in the pace group. We were having fun. Just like I had hoped. Things turned for me around mile six. My ankle was starting to act up, so I tried to slow the pace. G noticed. I told her to run her race, not thinking that I might not be able to keep up.
At mile seven, we saw Rach and S and picked up Em. Totally a spirit booster. The next six miles were the worst for me. I was getting mentally defeated. It was so early in the race, my foot was killing me and I knew I was in trouble. I decided that I needed to take it easy and just finish. It was at that point I started walking the first two tenths of every mile. Sure, it slowed me down, but it gave my foot enough recovery to run the next eight tenths and to make it through the whole race. Em kept me going, as did some friends that I saw around mile 11.
The second party zone was around mile 13. I dropped off Em and saw S who told me that G was about 4 minutes ahead of me (she was really 8). I knew that there was no way I was going to catch her and that the next 13 miles were tough by myself. But do you know what kept me going through the pain and doubt? MY PINK SOCKS! Everyone I passed yelled for them and all those comments kept me moving and pushed me further.
I saw more familiar faces around mile 16.5. Dizzle's BFF and her mom were waiting with water and powerade. Just seeing them was enough to boost me. I ran into another friend just after mile 17, she ran with me shortly and cheered me up!
The next few miles were easier. I had gotten into a groove. I was talking to other competitors (and was asked again if I were a student - I must have looked really young yesterday). I just had fun. I yelled back to everyone who yelled for me and my socks. I was good until about mile 24.5. I finally hit the wall. I just wanted to sit down. I knew I was close, but I swore my legs wouldn't be able to carry me. Somehow, I kept moving. Then at mile 25.7 I saw V come around the corner. She had run the last six with G and came back to run me in. And THANK GOD! She pushed me until the homestretch, cheering for me with every step. She didn't get how huge that was. It was beyond awesome.
As I came down the final hill with about a tenth left, I spotted my hubby and kids off to the side. I instantly became choked up and ran over to them. Time was so unimportant at that point. I just wanted to share this with them. After I visited the girls, I picked it up and finished the race and it was AMAZING! (Not amazing enough to make me do it again though!)
Once I finished, I found G and the emotions overflowed. I was so proud of us (she finished in 4:55 and I crossed in 5:09). We posed for some post-race pictures (looking fabulous, if I do say so myself). And went home to recover.
This morning I woke up and I can barely walk. My ankle/foot is purple. I'm really thinking that the marathon and I don't mix ... I'm going to have to break up with him. I think in the future I'm just going to date his younger brother, the Half.