Well it came and went. I didn't die, and more importantly I finished. I've been talking about running a marathon for YEARS and now I finally have. To be honest it still hasn't sunk in. I kind of feel like I just went out for a long run on Sunday, NBD, nothing to see here. However, my body is a constant reminder that indeed it was no ordinary long run on Sunday but a marathon. Here's how it went down.
(Be advised this is LONG)
Got up rather lazily and putzed around the house for a while, then went into cleaning mode as Jeni was arriving that afternoon. Once she got here we hit up Mall of America for lunch and some shopping. I bought my first pair of sweat pants in about 5 years. This may have been a bad choice.
That night Drew made us all dinner and I angrily pounded on my laptop cursing Spotify, iTunes and all other MP3 technology for being so complicated that NO ONE (me) can understand it. Finally got the little shuffle programmed and charged, watched some tv, took my hippie magic sleeping pills (valerian root) and was asleep by 10pm.
Up on my own at 5:10am ready to rock and even ahead of my alarm. I slept like a rock for a solid 7 hours and I was sooooo grateful I did. First things first, grabbed my water bottle and a Clif Bar. I hopped in the shower which probably seems odd but it helped wake me up even more and get moving. Regretfully I did not have a checklist written out and as a result I forgot one major thing that morning: body glide. I will never ever ever go to sleep without writting out a morning checklist again.
Besides that little slip up, I was fueled, caffinated and bundled up ready to head to The Dome at 7am. Starting temperature: 28 degrees. So you might say it was a bit chilly. I refused to run in anything but my shorts though. It was all I had trained in and the idea of switching up my gear even the week of gave me panic attacks. I opted for a very light weight, moisture wicking long sleeve shirt though so you know that basically kept me toasty warm.
So! After handing off my sweats and saying my goodbyes I headed to my corral with my adrenaline pumping, which did actually keep me quite warm.
Now, I don't know about the rest of you but I get super emotional when I run races. If I don't cry at least once on the course something is wrong. I wasted no time then at the starting line as I was starting with the soldier in his fatigues, boots and all, full pack carrying the flag. I might be sniffling right now too.
Finally it was our corral's turn to go and we were off. I honestly felt great, maybe because the enormity of what I was embarking on hadn't quite hit me yet. Either way I made it out of the city with ease and continued on my merry way enjoying all of the clever signs people had. My favorite being around mile 10 or 11. It said "Don't stop. People are watching".
At mile 9.5 I had to go to the bathroom and sadly so did a lot of other people. I lost a lot of time there but my alternative was peeing my pants so I opted for the lost time. During this time the soldier had caught up to me so we conmenced with tears on the marathon course part 2. I managed to sqeak out a "good job, sir." as I passed then scurried off so no one could hear my sniffling....again.
HALF WAY POINT!!!
(me about to raise the roof at the halfway point)
Before I knew it I was at the half way point and was feeling fantastic. I couldn't believe it. Drew, Jeni and his parents were there to cheer me on and at that point I was like wow. I'm actually going to finish this thing. If you had asked me 2 weeks ago if I was going to finish the marathon, I would have said no. I felt in no way prepared for it. But here I was, half way done and not defeated!
Things got a little boring after that, but I was then on my own turf where I had run 5 million times over the summer and knew the course really well. Also at mile 16 there were bananas. They were glorious. Then at mile 18.5 a little girl was handing out homemade chocolate chip cookies. That little girl was my savior.
At mile 19.5 my little cheering crowd was there again and I couldn't believe I was about to hit the 20 mile mark. I had run 20 miles and was still going.
When I hit mile 22 though, the marathon bitch slapped me into last Tuesday. I physically felt the toll the previous 22 miles took on my body and good lord was I hurting. My IT band especially and my feet because of my idiocy. (No body glide) Not gonna lie the last 4.2 miles were tough. Incredibely tough, basically the hardest thing I've ever demanded of myself. I'd already gone 22 miles and needed to go another 4.2 and my body was all hellllll nahhhh.
But I did. I kept going. I don't even know how. I did have to walk almost a mile while I choked down an energy gel. I knew I needed it but man was it hard to force down. When I hit mile 24.5, Eye of the Tiger was on repeat and there was no looking back.
The beautiful thing about the Twin Cities course is that the last half mile is downhill. And you get this amazing view of the capital and the finish line. When I came over that hill to see that, commence tears on the marathon course part 3.
I think I ran faster? Maybe I didn't but it felt like I was running my heart out to get across the finish line. Stomping on those chip timing mats felt so amazing, like I"M HERE I FINISHED!!!! I was a wreck at that point trying to navigate my way through the finish tunnel through my tears, when a volunteer saw me, put his arm around me and said "congratulations, this is an amazing accomplishment." I lost my shit then. Just found a little grassy area sat down to stretch and eat my banana between sobs.
While I am super proud that I finished, I know I could have done better. I slacked a lot in the last month of training which I know hurt me. It's hard to know what to expect if you've never run a marathon before, even if you read all the information that is out there the distance is just not something you can comprehend until you do it. Now that I have done one, I undestand the distance, I understand what it demands and I respect it. I know I said I wouldn't do another marathon again, but I will. I know I will. Despite the pain and the exhaustion and the mental beat down it was absolutely amazing. I want to try again and I want to do better.