You know, I had grand plans of bringing my flip camera along on the race with me and video blogging for you guys along the way. I really wish I had brought it because there were times when I really needed to talk to you guys – if that makes sense – but sadly the rain prevented me from doing so. I didn’t want to risk it getting wrecked.
Also, because of the rain I don’t have any photos along the way for you, so hopefully my words will be enough. I’m actually having trouble finding the words to record this experience. It was so much harder then I thought it would be. So much harder.
I guess we’ll start with the morning. Lisa and I had laid out our marathon outfits the night before and we both hopped out of bed when the alarm went off at 4:45 AM.
We headed down to the lobby where a bunch of other marathoners were eating breakfast. I had my basic pre-run breakfast of a bagel with peanut butter + banana and coffee.
We then headed out for the race start. We got to our corral nice and early and were able to use the porta potty without waiting in a huge line. Then we sat in a parking garage for about 30 to 45 minutes while more marathoners filed in.
Around 6:45 AM, Lisa and I went and lined up behind the 4:30 pace group. At this point it was pouring down rain and we were soaking wet before the marathon even started.
Lisa and I crossed the start line together and I stuck with her for the first two miles, it was really congested with people so we were forced to keep a pretty slow pace.
At mile two I could tell that Lisa had more gas in her tank and was ready to push ahead, and I wanted to be careful to not push myself to hard at the beginning. So I gave her a little push and said “go, go, go! I’m dropping back!” and with a wave she was off (she did amazing by the way!)
By the way, all my splits here are from my Garmin, which said the course was actually 26.44 miles.
Mile 1 – 10:46
Mile 2 – 10:34
I felt really, really good at the beginning of the marathon. There was a ton of people around me and quite a few spectators. The energy was contagious and despite the rain I felt strong.
Mile 3 – 10:40
Mile 4 – 9:18
Mile 5 – 9:59
Mile 6 – 10:20
Mile 7 – 10:06
Mile 8 – 10:21
About mile 4 a long out-and-back started. I entertained myself by scanning the crowd for Lauren and Lisa. I was watching so hard for them that the next four miles flew by. Sadly I missed Lauren, apparently she was right in with the 3:40 pace group but I didn’t know what she was wearing so couldn’t pick her out. I saw Lisa at the absolute last minute as we were passing each other and screamed loudly and high-fived her.
It was around mile 8 that my feet really started to hurt. Not an injury-type pain but just a sore pain. I had a feeling this would happen, my feet had been sore the last few days with all the walking we had done on our trip, but I didn’t think it would happen so early in the marathon. For the next 18 miles my feet basically ached on and off. I just tried to ignore it.
Mile 9 – 10:21
Mile 10 – 9:52
The first 10 miles of the marathon flew by. I remember seeing the 15 K (9.3 miles) sign and thinking, “holy crap, have we really ran that far already?” I felt good and the energy of the course and spectators was really carrying me through. I actually didn’t even put my iPod in until Mile 10.
This is when things started to go downhill.
Mile 11 – 10:17
Mile 12 – 10:40
I have this thing with Mile 12. In almost all of my long runs I hit kind of hit a wall at it. I just want to WALK. Same thing happened in the marathon and it was at Mile 12 that I started doing my 9:1 walk/run intervals. Up until this point I had just been walking briefly through the aid stations.
Miles 13 to 16 were in an industrial-type area out of town, on one side of us was a big hill full of beautiful pine trees and the river was on our other side. This was probably the most scenic part of the course but it also seemed to drag on for a long time. And, of course, it was still pouring rain.
It basically poured rain on and off the entire marathon. I was absolutely soaked through and my shoes were wet, soggy and heavy. I tried to avoid the puddles but by this point I just didn’t have the energy to.
Mile 13 – 10:12
Mile 13.1 Split Time – 2:15:32
Mile 14 – 10:35
Mile 15 – 10:30
Mile 16 – 10:45
Mile 17 – 12:02
Miles 16 to 17 were the dreaded St. Johns Bridge. I knew this was going to be a big hill but holy man, was it ever. As if my quads weren’t tight enough, pushing up this hill felt impossible. I did a lot of walk/running on this hill and it was tough.
When I reached the top and was actually on the bridge this was probably the best I’d felt since Mile 10. I had a big smile on my face after pushing up the hill and was ready to sail through the last 3 miles to 20. For some reason, I kept telling myself “just make it to 20 miles, just push through until 20.” I thought the last 6.2 would fly by.
I was so very wrong.
Mile 18 – 10:43
Mile 19 – 10:50
Mile 20 – 11:36
At mile 20 I stopped on the side of the road and stretched out my quads, which were so tight at this point.
I can honestly say the last 6.2 miles of this marathon were the hardest, most painful, most emotional 6.2 miles I have ever ran. Ever.
Everything hurt. My quads were so tight and sore, my feet ached, it was STILL pouring rain and I was beginning to lose faith in my ability to keep going. Looking at my splits afterwards I can see just how much I started to fall apart the last 6.2 miles.
At this point I reverted to 8:2 run/walk intervals. When I was running I was keeping a good pace, 9:55-10:15 but the walks slowed my pace down a lot. And I needed those walk breaks, they were the only thing that kept me going.
Mile 21 – 12:13
Mile 22 – 11:10
Mile 23 – 10:47
I stopped and stretched out my quads again at mile 23. I can’t believe how tight they were!
Mile 23 was downhill and I really picked it up, I love downhills because I just let my legs go. By this point my legs had pretty much gone numb from the rain and the distance so I just let them go and ran.
The 4:30 pace group was quite aways ahead of me by this point and I knew I wouldn’t come in under 4:30 BUT I was on pace to make it in under 4:40. So that became my new goal.
Then it happened. Right around Mile 24.5 I hurt my foot – I’m not sure how, one second it was fine and the next second it hurt to put weight on it. It wasn’t the sore, achey feeling I’d had in my feet the entire race it was an injury-type pain. Along the outside of my right foot hurt SO BAD, kind of a shooting pain every time I put weight on it. It hurt to walk but it hurt even more to run.
I cropped out half of Sassy’s photo just to show you guys how hard it was raining that day!
I was SO FRUSTRATED AND DISCOURAGED when I hurt my foot. As if this marathon wasn’t hard enough, this had to happen 2.2 miles out from the finish.
I spent the next mile walking and crying.
Mile 24 – 11:50
Mile 25 – 13:56
I don’t even really know how to put in words how I felt at this point. I was SO UPSET that my body was failing me. I was soaking wet, cold, in so much pain and 2 miles seemed impossible. I kept trying to hobble along and run on my foot but it hurt too bad and I’d always have to start walking again.
It was so unbelievably discouraging to see so many people run past me. I wanted to be running too. I just wanted to get to the end.
Around Mile 25 the 4:45 pace group caught up with me and their energy and peppiness was contagious. I forced myself to run despite my hurting foot.
It hurt. A lot. But I pushed through and eventually my foot – or my ability to feel the pain – went numb.
Mile 26 – 10:57
Mile 26 – 26.44 – 9:44
My Final Statistics:
- Distance (Garmin): 26.44 miles
- Duration (Garmin): 4:45:26 (10:48 pace)
- Duration (Official Chip): 4:45:22
I know that marathon courses are generally pretty long, but man it was discouraging to see 26.2 on my Garmin but still have to keep running for another 3 minutes. It’s a bit of a consolation to me that when my Garmin read 26.2 I was actually at 4:42 therefore breaking 4:45.
Crossing the finish line was, anti-climatic for me. I know that I ran a marathon and that in itself is an amazing, amazing accomplishment. But I was just so disappointed with the last 2.2 miles and my time that I didn’t feel any sort of happiness or elation, other then the fact that I was so happy to be DONE.
I got my medal and finishers shirt and grabbed an orange juice to drink but I didn’t eat anything. None of the food looked appetizing to me. I then hobbled – my foot was really sore by this point – to the ‘Reunion’ area to find Lisa. We had agreed to meet under D.
I had no idea what time she had finished in so was worried she might have gotten cold and went back to the hotel, but then I recognized her shoes. I was so happy to see her and started crying when I told her about hurting my foot and having to walk.
We then limped/hobbled/waddled back to our hotel. We did a lot of walking around the rest of the day because I know the worst thing you can do is not move your legs and let them tighten up. I felt pretty good when I went to bed on Sunday night but when I woke up Monday morning I was SO SORE and TIGHT! I could barely walk and my foot hadn’t gotten any better.
OK, that’s it for this post as it’s already far too long! I know a lot of you are wondering if I will ever run another one and I plan on writing another post later this week that’s a “Follow-up to the marathon” post. It will cover things like what my future running plans are, what I thought and took away from the marathon process etc. and, I will tell you if I ever plan to run another one.
Despite the fact that I’m not all that excited about how the run went and my time, I need to remember that I ran a freaking marathon. A marathon! Only 1% of the population does that, and that in itself is pretty impressive.
Once again, thank you so much for your support and kind words over the past four months and especially on Sunday. It means more than you know.