I woke up to the alarm clock today at 4:00 AM. I had JUST fallen asleep at around 3:00, so I barely slept a wink last night. I didn't want to wake the kids, so I went into the bathroom and made coffee pot oatmeal (just heated water from the coffee pot, poured over quick cooking oats and added a packet of sugar. Then I topped it with a big glob of peanut butter.
Got dressed in my black and yellow UA outfit, and read e-mails and stuff until it was time to go. And when I say go, I mean, GO--to the bathroom. That's VERY important to do before a race ;) So after I had to go, then it was time to go--downstairs and outside, where Jessica, Renee, and Andrea were going to pick me up. We actually didn't have to drive far before we had to park--maybe a half-mile. Then we walked to the Brown's stadium, where the starting line was.
After a few trips to the bathroom, and hanging around, we finally went to our corrals. It took a while to walk to the end, where we were going to start. Jessica wanted to start with the 4:40 pacer, who we met at the expo. I was nervous about going that fast, but there was no pressure to STAY with him, so we just started there.
I was feeling discouraged already, and it was less than a mile into the marathon. When I got to the first water station, I walked through it, as planned, and then started running again, hoping to catch up with Jessica. I did see her for a few moments, but I could tell she was having a much better running day than I was, so I just let her go ahead. I fell back to a comfortable pace for me, and started thinking about what to do.
I was not happy--I couldn't remember why I was doing this race, why I even wanted to run a marathon, or any of that. My knee was already hurting pretty badly. So, I made the decision sometime around mile two or three that I was going to run the half-marathon instead. The half and full ran together until mile 12ish, so I figured I would just follow the signs for the half at that point. I would have quit right then if Jerry and the kids weren't waiting for me at mile 12.
Right as I made that decision, I felt much better. I even planned out what I was going to write on my blog about it, and I started thinking about how disappointed everyone would be; but I kept telling myself that I had to do what I wanted, not anyone else. I noticed a woman in front of me wearing a shirt that said on the back, "7 kids -80 pounds + 26.2 miles = priceless first marathon!" I thought that was really cute. She was wearing headphones, and normally I don't try to talk to people with headphones, but something made me say, "I love your shirt!" and then tell her that I was a fellow weight-loser. That was the beginning of about a 12-mile conversation.
|Not sure what mile this was taken... Andrea took the picture|
I was walking through all the water stations, and keeping a pretty slow pace of about 11:20 per mile. At each station, I would drink Powerade, and then pour a cup of water on my head and down my shirt. Pouring the water on me helped with the heat a lot. When I got to the 12-mile mark, I saw Jerry and the boys. I was so glad to see them! The boys were holding their signs, and I gave them hugs (and sobbed, of course).
I started running again, and was trying to decided quickly whether to leave the course for the half-marathon or go on for the full. I had called Rik (my Ragnar team captain) last night, and he was so confident in me and made me feel like I could actually do this--reminding me that it's all mental, and I really needed to think positively--so I thought about what he would say to me. He (of course) would tell me not to quit! And something about that, plus talking to Tina (she's next to me in that photo above), helped me to make the decision to stay on the course.
Tina and I both mentioned at the 13.1 mile mark that we have a hard time after that point--that our energy and ability starts to deteriorate. We got kind of quiet and we were running on this DREADFUL part of the course. It was a really long strip of boring, full-sun road. At that point, it was hard for me to keep going. I started taking an occasional walk break (other than the water stations) to make my knee feel better. Somewhere after 15 miles, I lost Tina behind me somewhere, so I had to continue alone.
I just kept running and taking short walk breaks. I saw a quite a few people who had collapsed and were receiving medical care. That made me nervous! I made sure to eat my Gu on time, and drink Powerade at every station. I kept my pace slow, and walked if I felt my heart or breathing get too high. At around mile 19, I saw a hot pink shirt waaaay in the distance in front of me--and I squinted to make out the purple shorts, and dark braided hair. It was Jessica!
I started running as fast as I comfortably could at that point, because I really wanted to catch up with her. I was gaining on her, but it was taking a while, and I didn't know how long I could keep it up. She was out of shouting-reach. I saw a porta-potty up ahead of her, and hoped that she had to go (the odds were DEFINITELY in my favor, considering how much water she drank yesterday and this morning, haha). She did! She stopped at the porta-potty, so I slowed to a walk to catch my breath, and reached the porta-potty while she was in there. I stopped outside of it, and a man outside said, "Trust me, you don't want to go in there". I said, "I just saw my friend go in there--I'm going to wait for her!"
Then I heard Jessica say from inside, "KATIE?! Is that you?" When she came out, we hugged and we both started crying (yes, crying). We had just reached 20 miles in, and we met back up. We were both relieved to be able to finish together, because we both needed the support at that point. We agreed to stick together the rest of the way. Both of us were feeling the pain, so we ran and walked as we felt like it. We walked through the water stations, and I kept my routine of the Powerade and dumping of water on my head.
I think all the excess Powerade got to my stomach, because it started feeling very rumbly around mile 21. Like, I-need-a-bathroom-right-NOW kind of rumbly. Luckily, we didn't have to go far. That was the first time I'd EVER had to stop to go to the bathroom in the middle of a run. But my stomach felt better, so it was worth it. We could see the skyline of the city ahead, and I wanted to be there already so badly (that's where the finish line was).
We went through a crappy part of town, and I saw these guys fighting in a yard. There were three of them, and two of them were throwing punches at each other. One of the guys had a baby in a stroller next to him, and the other guy started picking up bricks from the ground, and throwing them at the guy with the baby. I couldn't believe it! The guy went after him, and I just turned my head and kept running, because I wanted to get the hell out of there.
About three miles from the finish, Renee and Andrea met up with us. I felt bad, because we were walking more than running at that point. My knee was hurting so bad it brought tears to my eyes with each step. I'm sure I was miserable company, but they stuck with us and actually ran/walked with us for the last few miles. I have to say, they were AMAZING to have there--Jessica and I had our own personal cheerleaders! I don't know of very many people who would do something like that for a friend, and I was so grateful to both of them.
|Andrea with the sign she made (and she made a t-shirt with our names too)|
When we finally saw the finish line, I was searching the crowd for Jerry and the boys, but didn't see them. Jessica and I grabbed hands and crossed the finish line. Then I saw Jerry in front of me, and I kind of collapsed into him, crying and saying, "My knee hurts! It was awful!"
I grabbed some pretzels, some dried fruit, water, and a banana, and started wolfing down the food. Then I stood in front of a couple of fans they had going with water spraying out. I started telling Jerry about Tina, when I said, "I hope that she finished... I want to go watch the finish line for her." And as soon as I turned around, she was there! She was just ahead of me, looking totally worn out, with her husband. I went up and hugged her and thanked her--if it wasn't for her, I'm sure I would have quit at 13.1.
Then we took some pictures...
|Jessica and me|
|With Renee, who is the friend who got us both into running... she's amazing!|
|With my boys|
|The bling... the guitar in the middle spins around. Pretty fun!|
|Noah and his sign|
|Eli and his sign (he worked on this for HOURS at the hotel last night)|
Here are my splits:
|Mile 22 included my bathroom break ;) 24-26 was a lot of walking|
|The calories aren't right, because I forgot my heart rate monitor! :(|
|The "place" on here isn't really correct--this was including ALL the|
races (5K, 10K, half, and full). There were only 2628 finishers of the
full marathon--1,038 female finishers; 194 finishers in my division.
But for everyone that keeps asking if I'll do another? No! Hahaha, I have a whole new appreciation for half-marathons. They are MUCH more fun, they aren't as hard on your body, and they don't take as much time to train for. I also have a whole new appreciation for marathoners--I now realize how hard a marathon is!