The nerves are in high gear at this point and my hands are literally shaking as I get dressed. It is a very unsettling feeling and I am a basket case going back and forth between being ridiculously excited that we are finally doing this and ready to throw-up at the thought of what I am about to do.
I had studied the course many, many times and knew that the first water stop would be at mile 2.2 and then pretty consistently every mile and a half after that. I made a game-time decision to not use my Camelbak and run the marathon without carrying any kind of liquid on me. I had my Spibelt and used it to carry everything I needed; cell phone, tissues, GU, and used the handy dandy cords to hold my bib. This proved to be the best decision ever. It actually felt great running without that extra weight on my back and the numerous water stops were plenty.
My corral was blue, group #8. This was the last of the bunch, which meant that it would be a good 28 minutes after the race officially started before Jen and I could cross the starting line. The temps started to warm up (the high ended up being 64 degrees) and didn't need gloves, ear-warmer headband or even the extra layer of the jacket. It was a beautiful day!
|Jen and I minutes before starting. |
I posted on FB that I was more nervous now than when I
realized I was about to give birth to Ian and the epidural wasn't working.
As I passed through the official starting point, I became overcome with emotion and was fighting the ugly cry from taking over my entire face. It had been such a long journey getting to this point and it was finally here. Seeing everyone on the sidelines cheering, holding up signs, making noise, made it all very real. It took until about a full mile in before I buried deep these emotions and focused more on the race and wanting to get it done.
The race is best told in two parts. PART 1, which was the beginning to mile 13. And PART 2, which was mile 14 to the end.
PART 1: The beginning to mile 13.
The first 9 miles really flew by. I couldn't believe how quickly the race was going and before I knew it, almost 2 hours had been completed. Around mile 9 is when the big, nasty hill happens and I was told in advance to expect it and know that EVERYONE walks it. No problem, I could handle that! But this hill was a toughie and even with walking it, my legs were now starting to feel the effects of what I was out there doing.
The crowd support was awesome! I could actually feel my body moving faster and run lightly because of all the cheering, the music playing, and reading all the signs they were holding. I absolutely loved it when complete strangers would read my name on my bib and say, "Go Robyn!" "You got this Robyn!" I mean, how can you even think of walking when passing all this? I don't want to let the people down and disappoint.
|Loved all the signs!|
Had to stop and take a few pictures of some of my favorites.
|There's the juggler! He, among many, passed me.|
Jen's cheering committee and mine divided and conquered. I don't think this was intentional, but each group picked different areas to cheer us on as we ran by. I thought this was the greatest thing ever and loved getting to see people I knew twice the amount of time rather than if they were all standing together.
Here's two pictures of me just before mile 6.
I am feeling GREAT! At this point, I'm tracking a 5:25 marathon and couldn't be more pleased. There are still tons of people around me, running with me and I feel like I am part of something really big.
Approximately half the people running are only doing the 1/2 marathon. I know that soon I will be seeing them head to the right for their finish line and the full marathoners (that's me!) will veer to the left to keep going. I didn't realize just how many people would be leaving the course.
I got to see Jeff, Lori and Ben one last time around mile 13.5. I knew that at this point, I won't see them again until I finish. It was not logistically convenient to make it to any of the other cheer zones to see me.
PART 2: Miles 14 to the end.
As I start the 2nd half, I know that the both the men and women top 10 have already finished the full marathon, gotten their medals and made their way to food and a shower. Me, however, I am just getting my groove, that is with finding port-a-potties and pooping. Yes, my tummy decided to either react from all the nerves or the full strength Gatorade (which I was not used to drinking) and I had to go 3 separate times during the race. Yowzer! It is what it is, but I will always wonder how much better my time would've been if I didn't need to stop so much.
As the hours passed, water stations were starting to break down. They still handed out water/gatorade, but now it was only 1/2 table doing so, instead of 8 or 9 tables full. In fact at one point, a guy was standing there with a jug in his hand offering to pour me a glass. Yes, it is comical to look back on this now, but at the time, it was discouraging. The real insult came when an officer let two cars cut in front of me on the course. The cars were not a risk to my safety, but having to run behind their exhaust and fumes was like kicking a person when their down. Come'on people...have some respect for those of us still out there.
As I was hitting mile 17, I could hear the "party" going on at mile 22. WOWEE!!! A big band was playing, there was dancing, cheering, lots of enthusiasm. By the time I swung around to mile 22, no one was left. The band left to go home, the people dancing left. There wasn't anyone left cheering.
When I had to go to the bathroom a 3rd time to poop (around mile 20), I actually left the course and found a Burrito restaurant and walked in and asked if their bathroom had toilet paper, because as I announced to everyone inside, "I could really use some right about now." It was a nice, clean bathroom and well worth the extra time.
By mile 20, I had enough and was really ready for this to be over. I had been out there for more than 4.5 hours and still had a way to go. Unfortunately I wasn't getting any faster, only slower, much slower.
As the miles wore on, the crowd of participants got thinner around me. There was starting to be huge stretches of space between me and the other runners. One guy even asked me to stop and take his picture at the mile 25 marker. Ha! What was I going to do, say no? Sorry, buddy, but I really can't stop right now. This extra 40 seconds might make all the difference in the world for my ending time. I even waited to see if he liked the picture or wanted me to retake it.
Instead of texting every time I hit another 5 miles to let my group know where I was, I was now texting pretty much every mile from 20 to 26. I couldn't wait for this marathon to be over. I was going to blow through 6 hours and it wasn't going to pretty. At this point, I just wanted to finish.
Stay tuned...part 6: The BIG finish!