Finally the race started and I was off. Once I got running I felt better about life and worked on getting in the groove of running. I couldn’t feel my feet for the first 3 miles. They were so frozen I was a little worried I would kick something and get injured but not even know it. Once they warmed up I felt better and was able to settle in a little better. The rolling hills were not as bad as they looked while we drove them.
I decided to do the first 5 miles with 5:1 intervals and the rest of the marathon with 2:1 intervals. The first few miles I focused on warming up and nutrition. It was really hard to remember to drink water those miles because it was so cold. I came up with the plan to drink water at least every other walk break and to take a drink of electrolyte every time there was a water station on the run. I was also eating fruit snacks every 30 minutes like I had on long runs. I knew this plan would keep me hydrated and fueled for the entire 26.2 miles. Surprisingly the mile markers came up much quicker than I expected. I was crossing them off my imaginary list and counting down pretty quickly. I felt good for the first set of miles and knew I would be finishing a marathon that day! Before I knew it the first 5 miles were done! Around mile 4 (I think) there was a group of people along the side all with tissues in hand. I took one from a little boy who was probably around 4 years old. Seriously how could you not he was so cute!
Next on to the second 5 miles. Mile 5-10 were a little harder for me. I always struggle with wanting to do these miles. I kept focus on the miles ahead and my form. I knew if I let my form slip in these miles the rest of the marathon would be a train wreck and I would be in pain. Thankfully by now I could feel my feet and I was able to feel how my body was running. I was very conscious of my foot and trying not to allow it to change my form at all. My foot only hurt when I was on a road that was angled. Essentially if the road angled down to the left I was in pain, if it angled down to the right I felt great. I quickly learned to look closely at the curve of the road and run where it would be in my favor. Finally mile 10 was upon me and I was almost to the half way point. It felt good know that I only had 16 miles left to go after running sooooo many long runs at 16+ miles.
Mile 10 through 15. These miles were good ones. I felt like I was checking off miles pretty quickly and just enjoying the race. I couldn’t believe I was actually running a marathon. I kept telling myself “enjoy the moment because you only get one first time.” I kept on my fueling and hydration and completely ignored my pace. I really needed to pee but kept putting it off because I didn’t want to wait in line for a porta potty. At half way I decided I had to just stop and waited for one person in front of me. After that I felt so much better. I was loving it and enjoying it at this point. We passed half way and I realized I had just run a half marathon and was totally crushing this! I was now into the longest race I had every run! Before I knew it mile 15 hit me.
Miles 15 through 20 my focus was on enjoying the little things and looking around. I high fived every person I could, thanked every person possible, and tried to enjoy the moment. Mile 17 and 18 were a rough patch for me. I don’t know why but all of a sudden the fatigue hit me and I struggled. I knew it would pass so I kept pushing through and knew it would pass like on all of my long runs. I tried to focus on everything around me and taking it all in. Around mile 19 I was looking for my friend Nanc when all of a sudden my parents yelled for me. I was shocked. I didn’t think they would be out there and expected to only see them at the finish. Getting a hug from them was great and put me in the right mood to keep pushing. About 20 feet down from them I saw my friend Nanc and got a hug from her as well. It was just the pick me up I needed to push through. Next came mile 20 and the WALL. For CIM people literally put up a wall to run through around mile 20! It was fun and inspiring. There were so many people out cheering and high fiving! Just after the wall a few people were handing out Dixie cups with beer. I took one and drank it. Not really sure if that carbonation was the best idea, but how could I not grab a beer during a marathon when given the chance.
Miles 20 through 26.2 were great. I was feeling pretty good knew I was going to finish a marathon. There were definitely parts in it where I didn’t feel good, but I never felt miserable and I never felt like quitting. I was doing it! Once we hit the numbered streets, it felt good to start counting down literal streets until the finish. There were more people out on these miles and more music as we pushed through. I was going to do it, I was going to finish a full freaking marathon!!! When we were close to the finish there were people walking around with their medals around their neck cheering for us. Finally I turned the corner and there it was! The Finish Line! I was there finally. As I crossed the finish line it all hit me and I couldn’t process what to do next. I got my medal and there my parents were! I finished a FULL MARATHON! Next I went to get my First Timers medal and buy a jacket!
I can’t believe it, I finished a FULL FREAKING MARATHON!!!
Before the race my dad asked me to count how many people said something about me being in sandals. It was actually a nice distraction during the race. I counted 26 people (one for each mile)! There may have been more, but that’s what I counted.