My marathon weekend started on Thursday afternoon when I went to pick up my race packet at the Run On! Store here in San Antonio. It was all very surreal walking into the store and picking up one of the race numbers for the marathon. I still haven't quite convinced my own brain that I am a real runner. When I go into running stores and to races, I keep waiting for someone to ask me if I'm lost! That aside, the folks at the store did in fact believe that I had signed up for the correct race and did give me a beautiful blue bib for the marathon.
|Ready to Go!|
Miles 0-5: EVERTHING I have read about marathons say the biggest mistake people make is to start too fast so I made a concerted effort to not get ahead of myself early. I got out ahead of the 4:20 group and settled into a comfortable 9:15 pace. I could even see the 4:00 pace group ahead of me during this whole stretch. Cory popped up about mile 3 and I was feeling great. The humidity was pretty thick as it had been raining just before the race started, but my legs felt good; it wasn't too crowded like other races; and once we got out of the park, there was plenty to look at. Around mile 4, we got onto the path around White Rock Lake which was pretty cool--- only bad thing here was the bridge that bounces up and down. I was pretty much all smiles during these 1st few miles!
|Here it comes...|
Mile 10-13.1: These miles were WET. The first drops of rain felt really great and for the most part the rain didn't really bother me too much. The neighborhoods were were running through were really beautiful---but hilly. I was patting myself on the back for running through Olmos Park a couple of weeks ago and having faced hills that were bigger so that I wasn't completely deflated. Cory was at the halfway point and it was definitely a mental milestone in the race as I could switch from counting up to counting down.
Miles 17-21: For me, this was the most MENTALLY challenging part of the race as well has having one hell of a hill between mile 20 and 21. This was where the wetness in my feet started to take its toll. I also had slowed down to a 9:45 pace, but I just didn't see how I could go faster and still run a majority of the remaining part of the race. As I came into mile 20, I looked behind myself and saw the 4:20 pace team. I actually got mad at myself. It was then that I had to do a little pep talk for myself and remind myself that I had started with that team because it was a realistic place for me to finish the distance. After the monster hill at 21, I was angry and tired because the 4:20 pace group had just pulled ahead of me.
Miles 21-24: Just when I was about to continue my internal tirade, I heard a voice behind me that said "Come on let's finish with them". I looked to my left and a girl pulled up beside me. We started a conversation and by 21. 2 we were in front of the 4:20 group as the leader called out that we had 5 miles left! The girl who was next to me, whose name was Jaime, happened to be a teacher as well. We held a conversation and managed to keep each other going through the next 3 miles. At around mile 24, I had to take my last gel and get a drink at one of the aid stations which required me to walk. Jaime kept going and I never quite caught back up with her, but she was definitely a major blessing in those miles and kept me moving forward at a run.
Miles 24-26: At around 24.5, I was back with the 4:20 pace group and joined them for the rest of the race. Another girl, named Nicole, who I had been close to for the entire race started a conversation and that took us through to the end. These were the most challenging miles PHYSICALLY. At this point, I could think of nothing but crossing the finish line. The rain had stopped but I was soaked, my feet were numb, but not numb enough and I could tell that something was going on with my toenails. For most of these miles I could see the Fair Grounds and the top of the building that the finish line was at. I can easily say that mile 25-26 was the longest mile I have run in my life as the end was so close!
Mile 26-26.2: All of this was run between the buildings at Fair Park and was agonizing as you couldn't see the finish line. Just before the finish line Cory was there snapping pictures and I caught a glimpse of the finish. Nicole and I took turns congratulating each other and crossed the finish line together. I pretty much instantly had a medal around my neck and a finisher's cap in my hand and that was it. I am a marathoner for life. I didn't cry-- I was extremely excited and proud of myself. The first thing I said to Cory was "I DID IT"! Official Time: 4:18:06
Debrief: Training for and completing this race has been invaluable to me. I feel like if I could and did complete this race then I can pretty much do whatever it is I want in life. I really believe now that no goal is insurmountable but hard work, sacrifice, and determination are necessary ingredients in getting what you want. I don't have any other races planned in the near future, but I plan to maintain my running so that if I want to do a half that it isn't a big deal and to focus on cross-training. (And I still have to get my 26.2 sticker, but it will be making an appearance on my car in the near future!)
One Mile at a Time....