I did it! I ran 26.2 miles and I only stopped to walk when my quads seazed up and forced me to watch. I set a new PR and I completed it pretty much on my own. It took me 5:04:48 (11:38 pace).
This is how it felt.
Pre-race: I was nervous but excited and highly caffeinated. A bit lacking in sleep.
The gun went off!
I jogged as slow as I thought I could and still ran mile 1 at a 10:13.
That was okay but I should have started slower. My goal was a 10:18 pace.
Mile 2 - 7: My running partner and I booked it downhill at a 9:40 average pace. I would feel and regret this later.
Mile 8 - 14: Was an unforeseen hilly section of the course. I knew it was rolling hills but it felt really hard. I struggled to stay ahead of 10:20 and my pace dipped to 11:00. By the half marathon point I was on pace at 2:14 BUT I could tell I had used up a lot of my legs endurance on the hills.
Mile 15 - 20: I spent these miles looking desperately for my family. I needed some encouragement as my pace kept slipping and the 4:30 pacer caught up with me and passed me at mile 16. I struggled to keep an 11:40 pace
Mile 20: It was awesome to see a huge crowd at this point and my family and most importantly my brother Eddie (who joined me to pace me home). The next three miles I talked to him about how my legs were dead and he encouraged me to just keep moving forward. I'm amazed I eeked out two 12 minute miles at this point.
Mile 23 - 25: Low point for sure. I was running 15:00 and stopping every .25 to stretch my quads which would just stop working all together. When I stopped I felt pain in every last inch of my body. I struggled to keep the shuffle moving forward.
At this point a school bus was trolling the race for the wounded and it kept slinking past me (and folks inside would yell, "come in here for margaritas!") This wasn't fair. I was emotional and yelled things to myself and sought encouragement from the crowd and from Eddie and from Kat (a friend who passed me and said keep going). The bands the last mile were really good and helped me have a sense of humor. I tried to dance along as passed each one.
Mile 26: I did this last mile in 12:38 or so, which was fantastic! Considering I had NOTHING LEFT! The last .25 I picked it up to a 10:30 pace at points. I was SOOOOO ready to be done. In the last 50 feet I sprinted past 5 women!
End of race: When I tried to lift my foot onto the chip timer step I couldn't do it.
My brother Eddie came up behind me and caught hold of me and helped me walk to a space to sit down. I could hardly balance and I was immediately freezing. I had left it all out there in the race and Eddie had to guide me to a place to lay down for 10 minutes before I could really even sit up. I had also spent most of the race with a tummy ache, afraid of throwing up, but thankfully I never did.
I came home with a beautiful medal which I am going to show the kids at church tonight. And I'm proud of how I trained for this race and completed it 97 minutes faster than my last marathon.
My thanks go out to my fam anf friends