The day I was anticipating for months has finally come and gone. I signed up for this race late last Fall after my successful first half-marathon, and I slowly but surely trained for it. I had a couple of setbacks with a broken toe and some tendonitis (self-diagnosed), but I got back on track and felt completely ready on Saturday! Here's a group of photos from the morning. I ran with my iPod in my hand so I could take pictures, even though I run without music. I was afraid it might annoy me, but I was willing to risk it. I am so glad I had it though! Even though the pictures are terrible quality, it's nice to have the memories captured.
We woke up bright and early at 4am, so we could get Libby down to the Brooks VIP potties. She volunteered down there, and luckily we had potty passes so we could use them. Best port-a-potty experience EVER. If you've ever used one of those big blue stink ovens on race-day you know how incredibly wonderful it would be to have a nicer bathroom with a sink and everything. It was basically like using an RV bathroom, and there was considerably less stink than the other port-a-potties. Thank you, Brooks!!!
I'm a relatively slow runner, so we started waaaaaaaaay far back in corral 26. We started a full 40 minutes after the first corral. Have I mentioned this was a race of over 30,000 people? Yeah...it was a lot. Apparently Sheryl Crow was in there somewhere, but I think she did the full marathon.
That's my "OH MY GOODNESS WE'RE STARTING I'M SO NERVOUS I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM AGAIN WHAT IS MY STOMACH DOING I CAN'T DO THIS WHAT IF I GET RUN OVER THE SUN MY EYES IT BURNS OH GOSH I'M GOING BLIND THE HILLS MY LEGS ARE GOING TO FAIL WHAT IF I CAN'T MAKE IT AHHHHHHHHHHH" face. You get all that? Don't you want to run one of these?
I took some pictures of fun things along the way: a juggler (it's for a reason, I just can't remember it...), a guy in a Gumby costume, a big blow-up guitarist, and some girls in some kind of blow-up suits. The entire course was lined with people cheering, which was SO MUCH FUN! It went by so fast because I was just concentrating on maneuvering around people and not slipping in discarded GU packets. I had to weave the road so much that my watch registered 3/10ths of a mile extra. Next year I'll try to remember some of the signs because a lot of them were hilarious, and really helped keep me entertained. Also, the St. Jude Heroes cheering sections were AWESOME. I seriously could not be more pleased with my experience as a Hero. It was extremely motivating to run for such a great cause.
We did it y'all!!! I finished about 30 seconds quicker than I planned to at 2:34:26. I know I can do better next time. I think I could have shaved another 5 minutes off this time if I hadn't battled some intense side cramps. I don't know if it was the heat or what, but I was having some extremely painful stitches around mile 3 and from mile 10 to the end. It's supposed to be caused by your breathing, but I was focusing really hard on my breathing and they weren't letting up. I am going to try to get that under control before my next one. I'm still so proud of myself for finishing this one in my predicted time. I wanted to give up at mile 10 and just walk the rest, but I didn't. I walked a lot of it, but I jogged as much as I could and finished strong. I'm crossing my fingers that I get a good finishing picture. I smiled real big for the camera!
My wonderful running buddies and my awesome cheering section. That's my mom and aunt on the right. They were so sweet to come cheer me on! They happened to catch me at the two places in the race where my cramps were the worse, and seeing them really kept me going. Amy and I plan to run one together one of these days! She couldn't run this one because of an injury, but she was so sweet to still come cheer for me :) And I was SO GLAD my mom came. It makes these things even more special when the people you love are there to cheer you on and experience it with you.
I set up camp to watch my friend Ashli finish and happened to see these hula-hoopers come through the finish. How fun! I can't imagine how sore their abs must be after 13.1 miles of that!
I was so happy to be able to see Ashli finish the marathon! We met basically through Etsy, and we talk on Twitter pretty often. I got to meet up with her at the Expo the night before and thoroughly enjoyed getting to chat with her. She's such an inspiration! I wish I'd had my good camera so I could get a better shot, but iPod will suffice :) The guy in red is her husband, Colton. He waited for her to come by so he could run in with her (he had already finished the half). Is that not the sweetest thing you've ever heard?! Read her emotional re-cap here.
So that's it! My much anticipated race is now just a memory...in my brain and in my hips. It's amazing how quickly the whole event goes by. During the race you think it's never going to end, but afterward it feels like a blur. Thank you to all of the people that stood outside in the 80 degree heat to cheer on 30,000 strangers. It may not seem all that important, but having people tell you that you're doing something awesome is pretty motivating. And of course thank you to my friends and family that cheered me on, both before and during the race :) I couldn't have done it without you!
Which one should I do next?!