I did it! I ran 13.1 miles in a reasonable time. My goal was to finish in under 2:30. My hope was to finish around 2:15. I came in right in the middle of my two goals at 2:22:17.
On Friday afternoon, I got home from work to find some surprises waiting for me on the back porch. Our friend Sarah had left 2 packs of Sportz Beanz and an encouraging note. Our friends Amberly and Ryan brought me some McDonalds gift certificates (double cheeseburgers!!!) and an equally encouraging note. I looked at my gifts with tears in my eyes - thankful for such wonderful and generous friends!
Race Day Run Down:
3:20am - Rolled out of bed and started making my breakfast, double checking my bag, and getting dressed
3:30am - Woke Chad up with surprising ease
3:55am - Dragged Emma out of bed to go to the bathroom, then tucked her back under the covers
4:00am - Hit the road! Our journey to Louisville had begun.
4:20am - Stopped at Doughdaddy's donuts for a pre-race treat!
5:40am - Arrived in Louisville at the convention center (picked up my race packet, hit the bathrooms, and caught a bus to the starting line)
6:40am - Arrived at the starting line (hit the bathrooms once again!)
7:00am - Started stretching, applying band-aids, then I found my spot in the crowd near the 10 minute mile pacer group. I talked with a man who was near me about the marathon course and about Wilmore - he went to Asbury College back in the day.
7:30am - And we're off! The race started right on time.
Mile 1-8: These miles felt like I was floating on clouds. I was sticking close to my 10 minute mile pace and everything felt good. My breathing was fine, and my legs felt like I could keep running all day. We went through Iroquis Park - and I felt great as I breezed through the hills that had previously crippled me during the Papa Johns 10 Miler.
Mile 8: Reality set in and I started to hurt when I realized I still had 5 miles to go. Between miles 8-9, we ran through a section of Churchill Downs. This was probably my favorite part of the course - we ran through a long tunnel and everyone was hooting and hollering. I know it sounds cheesy, but I got goosebumps! It was one of many times throughout the day where I was like - "Ok, I am really doing this!"
Mile 10: This is where things started to turn for the worse. My hamstrings were cramping, and I decided to walk through one of the water stops. I decided to eat 3 of my Sportz Beanz, and take in a lot of water. Not a good idea. About a 1/2 mile later, I felt like the Sportz Beanz and water were about to come back with a vengeance. I was reduced to a run/walk shuffle for about 2 miles for fear of getting violently ill on the course. I also was thinking...how in the world am I ever going to do 26.2 miles in October!
Mile 12: The best mile of the day! The thing that kept me going through miles 10-12 was knowing that Chad would be waiting for me between miles 12-13. I knew that I had to keep going to get to him, and that I had to be running and looking good when I passed him! Just as I thought I could not go on any longer without finding a bathroom of some sort, a White Castle emerged on the horizon. And who was standing in front? Chad! It was the happiest moment of the race for me. He let out a strange yell/cheer, and I hugged him and told him that my stomach was killing me. He said that he'd seen people using the White Castle restroom, so we went in and I got things taken care of. I felt like a new person when I came out, so I said my goodbyes and headed out to finish the last 1.1 miles.
Mile 13: The course was lined heavily with spectators and I held my head high and lengthened my stride as I made way to the finish line. As I passed under the finish line, I slowed to a walk and tried to get my bearings.
Post Race: I got my finisher's medal, turned in my timing chip, and made my way to the food (my favorite part!) There were all kinds of things, but sadly no donuts like my friends got in Nashville at the Country Music Marathon. There were the obligatory bananas and bagels, but I opted for pretzels, Doritoes, and Take 5 candy bars. And while the thought of eating another Sportz Bean made me want to puke, I grabbed a handful of the fruit punch samples the Jelly Belly vendor had available. I've searched all over for the fruit punch flavor to no avail, and plus - those things are $1 pack so I stocked up on all the freebies I could get. I didn't really go overboard though, I just got three packs. I grabbed some water and PowerAde and made my way to the "Runners Re-Unite" area to find Chad. I was stumbling along, not sure of where I was going, and then all of a sudden Chad was beside me! I was glad we were able to find each other so quickly. We made our way back to the car, where I saw that I had some voicemails and text messages. After listening to some voicemails and reading a text message from my sister - I burst into tears! I was so happy and relieved with what I had just accomplished, and then to see that my friends and family had been thinking about me - it was just too much! I gathered myself together and we headed towards home, stopping at McDonalds for a double cheeseburger, of course!