I DID IT! I ran my first full marathon. I still sometimes look back on the day in shock and awe that I was able to accomplish it.
For me running the race was a emotional experience, I was entranced with the 20,000 runners that showed up to race day and inspired by all of the women that ran alongside me.
Race start was 7am and RSlo, my good friend Kari and I got there at 6:30 am and stretched and warmed up . It took me about 15 minutes to get up to the starting line and by the time I was up there I was ready to go and start running. The first half of the race was super packed because all 20,000 were running the same course throughout San Francisco and the full and half marathon course split at Mile 11 and that's where it became a lot easier to run. Here are my highlights during my 26.2
Mile 3- I saw my friend Karla! She and I had been talking a lot about the race (she was doing the half) but we were realistic that with so many people running we would likely not see each other. But as I was running in Fisherman's Wharf someone tugged my shorts and it was Karla! I was so excited and happy to see her. We didn't chat for long but wished each other well and kept going!
Mile 4- This was the first time I saw RSlo and Kari, they were able to take my long sleeve shirt. They had a little adventure themselves as when they went to get the car out of the overnight parking garage they realized they couldn't until 9am!! I was due to reach mile 4 at 8 am, so they had to take a taxi to mile 4 and then cab it back to the start line. Kari was adorable when she explained this to me, because she was really calm and I think she didn't want to freak me out.
Mile 9- There were oranges!!! When you're running water and gatorade are nice, but the juice from the orange slices we got there were refreshing and the sugar provided a lot of energy. There was a little boy holding a tray of oranges and he was the cutest little thing ever. In addition to oranges I was able to grab a banana which helped a lot since I was cramping up in my stomach. Almost immediately after I ate the banana the cramp was gone.
Mile 11- the full and half marathon course separated. Thank the lord! There were less people doing the full so I didn't have to navigate through people.
Mile 12- My friend Kari is a redhead and when I saw her red hair at mile 12 I was hurting. All of the aid stations by then were always inundated with people so I had been skipping some of them to avoid the crowd and I was starting to get dehydrated. It also didn't help that I had downed a salt packet (it helps replenish electrolytes). I was nervous that my muscles were going to begin to cramp up. Kari began running and she had some orange slices for me and she was able to stop at the aid stations and pick up water for me while I continued to run. She was with me when I ran through the 13.1 the halfway mark of the race, and was supportive.
Mile 15- here I saw Rslo and my other friend Christy and her hubby Mike. They were holding a sign that said "you do best", Kari told me that my RA's made the sign for me and I immediately starting crying. I was really happy to have the sign and see my friends supporting me.
Mile 20- Kari met me back on the course and by this point the race became mental for me. I knew that I had 6 miles to go and that was really nothing compared to the 20 I had just run, but it would also mean that I had another hour of running to do! Having Kari there really helped a lot. Kari came on to run and I noticed she had a sign on her back, the sign said "the race does not always go to the swift but to those that keep on running". Anytime Kari was in front of me I read the sign and pushed myself more. Kari had signs taped on the front of her. She had emailed my friends and co-workers and had them write supportive notes to me. She had 19 notes so she read 3 every mile. This was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for me and I was emotional hearing the words of my friends but also that Kari would spend time putting this together. The notes really did help me through the end of the race as it reminded me that there were people rooting for me and wanting me to succeed and accomplish this goal. There were moments when I REALLY wanted to stop and walk as I watched others around me do so but these notes pushed me onward and forward. I am forever grateful to Kari.
Mile 25 & 26- So the closer I got to the end, the more the race sucked. I knew I was almost there, but I wasn't quite there yet. By the time I got to 26 I had to say goodbye to Kari as they only let runners with bibs run the last .2. I could see out of the corner of my eye that Kari was continuing to run and I knew that this was the end and I had to pick up the pace. After every training run I sprinted at the end and this wasn't going to be any different. My finishing time was 4:32:02. RSlo was the first person I saw at the finish line and we hugged and I lost it. 4 months of training was complete and I had done it! Not to mention I got that lovely blue box. A girl couldn't ask for a better day!
I sometimes still can't believe I did it. I am immensely proud of myself and it was such a rewarding experience. I have to say that I could not have done it without the support of my friends and family. My friends Kristy and Kari did endless training runs with me and gave me lots of wisdom and advice. Rslo although a non-believer in the beginning always massaged my legs after long runs. My mom always asked me about my runs and told me she was proud of me. My friends Josh and Ali helped me find a 12 mile run when we visited them this summer in Nashville. Thanks for believing in me!
Less than 1 percent of the US population has ever run a marathon and I am so proud to be a part that of elite group. People ask me if I will run another one and I am not sure yet, and I am learning to never say never. But for now I am going to relish in this accomplishment!