So we're back and I'm recovered (mostly). To sum it up briefly, the race was HARD. So hard, that I honestly feel that had I not run a marathon before it, I would probably never have tried one. (seriously, my legs were more sore after finishing than they were after the entire 26.2 - how is that even possible?) Oh, and did I mention it was hot? No? Well, more on that in a minute.
But even though the race wasn't ideal ... it was super fun. This whole "weekend with the girls" racing thing was awesome. Every second of it. Even the ones when I was praying that a race official with a golf cart would feel bad for the pregnant woman and drive me to the finish.
Anyway, we left on Saturday afternoon, giving us ample time to pick up our race packets and check out the expo (without children - oh how I wish every expo could be like that.) Then after a group picture in front of a race banner (corny? maybe. important? most definitely.), we headed out to dinner. And although my meal was tasty, where we ate will be left nameless since several aspects of the meal kind of sucked (i.e. the 12 hour wait for our food, F's fly in her iced tea, K's weed-marinated chicken) and I would hate it if you went there on my recommendation.
After the meal we headed back to G's dad's to attempt to sleep (I'm not sure any of us really slept all that well - too much excitement, fear, and a deflated air mattress.) Then bright and early (OK, not bright, but early) the next morning, we got up for the race and the next thing I knew it was 6:30 a.m. and we were standing in a line about a zillion people deep waiting to use the bathroom (E liked the wait so much, she hopped back in line for a second go-round).
Once the bladders were empty, we headed off to the start line, confident and excited. Our corral was released and we (K, F and I - everyone else was scattered) were off. We were running comfortable and we looked good. Seriously, our "run like a mother" shirts got about half a million comments. We were a bunch of hot mamas ... and then about half a mile into the race we were literally a bunch of hot mamas. Remember that heat I mentioned, well it hit full force that quickly. Before we even hit the first mile marker, we were wiping the sweat out of our eyes. It was SUPER HUMID and not at all breezy.
We ran as a group until mile 8.75 where K turned to me (thanks to the obvious discomfort on my face) and said something to the effect of "if you're uncomfortable, you need to take it easy" and thank God she said that. Although I was doing my best to keep hydrated (with water stops and my hydration pack), I was struggling, but my ego was taking control. I didn't want to stop. But K's comment gave me permission to do what my body was telling me to. Something I really needed.
So it was at that point we separated. (F fell back from K less than a mile later.) The last 4 miles of my race consisted of a 4/1 walk run strategy and two more bathroom breaks (we had already taken one). It wasn't the prettiest race ever, but oddly enough I was really happy with the outcome. Sure it was slower than I would have liked (2:37:59). Yes, I had to walk some. But, I listened to my body and didn't over do it (like the couple dozen people I saw puking or collapsed on the side of the road.) And I finished. At 17.5 weeks pregnant. That's probably more than most people can say. (Aren't you shocked at my zen? Who would have thought that I could drop the competitive thing? Even for just one day.)
Just an FYI - after the race, I learned that there were other crazy pregnant runners out there too. (Which made me feel a lot less crazy for doing the race). Anyway, a woman asked us about our shirts and then mentioned that her friend (another competitor) was 19 weeks pregnant (even though she didn't look it). The pregnant friend then said that while they were running there was a woman (pregnant with twins) who had a shirt that said, "Running with six legs is better than two." How freakin' awesome is that? I felt inspired and validated in my decision to continue to run.