40 Year Old Virgin is always a Hurricane Hit!
Hallway to our 2 bedrooms AND 2 bathrooms, we're pimp style here
The Important Stuff
On to the marathon. Wow. I'm not sure this will come across very well as I'm still processing. Yesterday morning, I woke up and put on my running clothes anxiously, had my pre-race meal, and got KT Taped up by my amazing husband. I had debated bringing my phone because the possibility for rain was so up in the air and decided against it. My dad and I headed out to the Metro and went to Charity Street to drop our stuff off (while raising money is hard, it is well worth it on race day... another blog post!) The howitzer fired at exactly 7:55 and about 10 minutes later, we were across the start line.
Race Day Wear
I can't even remember what I was thinking for the first few miles. I was just taking in the atmosphere and since I didn't have my music or my podcasts, it was really quite amazing. I never noticed how much I miss out on with music playing in the background. I saw men who had been running this thing for 20 years straight, servicemen and women running not only in their uniforms, but carrying 50 pounds of gear on their backs surrounded by people carrying flags, a man who dribbled a basketball the whole 26.2 miles. I also was able to listen to the sounds of footsteps around me which was oddly calming and got me into a rhythm before I hit the hill of doom in Georgetown.
I was feeling awesome til this point at around mile 7 where I just thought, I have 19 miles to go, I'm not gonna kill myself on this hill. So I didn't. I really just listened to my body the whole time and it was amazing. The first 10 miles flew by. We saw my fantastic husband and dedicated friends (seriously, who would stand in the cold, with an oncoming hurricane and run all over DC to cheer for you other than the most dedicated of people?) and headed onto Roosevelt Island which was probably the worst part of the race (if there was one). It's surrounded by water (obviously, island) and with impending Sandy doom on this fair town, the wind was fierce and cold.
After the half marathon mark, there were no people to cheer for the most part. It just so happened after the half marathon mark that I realized, holy crap I'm actually running a marathon! So not having anyone to invigorate me kinda really sucked. When we got back to the mall area, my dad and I split up and I got to see my friends once more! I was excited for this part of the race because it was on the mall and I knew there'd be a lot of people and I was not disappointed!
Hubby running with me to give me my extra shot bloks. Don't mind Nicole's finger blurring the bottom!
I was aware of the time (although I didn't have my watch) and knew I needed to get to mile 20 by 1:05. I was at mile 19 around 12:10 and was so excited that I'd "beat the bridge"! Then when I hit mile 20, it became real. I wasn't going to be picked up by the slow bus, I had a 10k to go and this was real. Heading to Crystal City, I hit as much of a wall as I guess you could call it. I don't really feel like I hit the proverbial wall, it just really started getting hard because my feet hurt. I hadn't seen my buddies since mile 16 and I was worried about my dad beating the bridge! Luckily at around mile 23, I saw some amazing friends who surprised me by making one more stop before the finish! I needed that. So badly. Shortly after that, I saw my dad. He had beat the bridge! I was so proud and excited for him.
So everyone kept telling me there was only a 5k left. I still can't for the life of me understand how those last 3 miles were really 3 miles. I'm pretty sure someone moved the signs. We ran past the Pentagon, where 11 years ago runners ran on the same route and saw the destruction from 9/11. I saw the difference in color on the building and the Pentagon Police cheering for us and that did it for me. I had my motivation to finish. I knew I'd see my awesome cheering team in less than a mile and I had quite a little hill to deal with on the last .2 miles so I dug in and moved on. I heard my cheering team before I saw them. Seriously. If you ever run a marathon, I might hire them out. Then I saw my husband and high fived EVERYONE. Will and my friend Nicole ran with me for about a quarter of a mile to get me to the hill and I ran with adrenaline to the end.
What happened next I could not predict. Of course I was overwhelmed by the fact that I had finished a marathon and was emotional. Then I continued walking and saw 100s of Marines lining the way for me to get my medal, I high fived and shook their hands and they told me how awesome I was. I didn't really comprehend how these men and women, who put their lives on the line for our freedom, were telling me I was awesome, so I cried some more. Then I got in line for my medal. I
looked for the cutest Marine picked a random line and I was given my medal and it was topped off with being saluted. Wow. The after effects were typical. I tried to stretch as best I could and waited for my dad in the finishing area. By that point, I was already chipper and on a high. I couldn't wait to see everyone I loved and get myself into some warm clothes! We headed to the OAR tent and got my stuff. They were awesome and gave me an extra medal and food! They also gave my posse some food and drink and we took a few pictures.
I was really excited about the Coke and SunChips
My dad and I in the tent. We were both ready for a shower!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past 6 months of training and fretting. Whether it has been financially (you can still donate until November 28th using the link on the right!), emotionally, or running with me when I probably would not have run, I truly appreciate everyone and everything so much more now. I saw a woman with a shirt on while I was running that said, "The woman who began this race, is not the same woman who will finish." I thought it was so beautiful and incredibly true. I truly appreciate things in a different way now.