It's been almost seven months since I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon. It's hard to believe that it's been almost a week since the race. I thought that I would be really depressed once it was over, but in fact it's just the opposite.
|Mile 25.5 - Mission Accomplished!|
I have never been more proud of myself then I was on Sunday. I walked to the start line with my boyfriend, Erica, and Kara. We lost Erica in the sea of port-a-potties before the race, but as we crossed the start line Kara and I were overwhelmed by all the volunteers (and the mayor!) giving us high fives. I started to feel really emotional and I remember saying "This is so cool!!!"
The race was truly a roller coaster ride. The first six miles were great and I felt great. 7-12 were really tough. There were a lot of unexpected hills, and my left calf started feeling sore out of nowhere. I saw friends at 13, and my amazingly supportive boyfriend shortly after that, so I was feeling pretty good from 13-15. It was hard seeing everyone coming back passing mile 23, 24 though. I so badly wanted to just make a giant U-turn and join them to the finish line! I saw several pace group head to the finish line. There were a few points where it seemed like the next water station would never come. I put on my headphones and tried to get lost in the music. I knew I wasn't going to see any of my cheering squad again until mile 25, so I had to just get through it on my own.
|Key Card to the hotel|
For some reason, I just wanted to get to mile 20, and it seemed like no matter how far I ran, it was still so far away. Once I hit 20 I knew I'd hit the turn around point and I'd be "home'" I saw Erica (at mile 18 and 20) and Elizabeth (@50forbilly) at mile 20 as well and I tried to cheer them on even though I wasn't feeling my best. I told myself to just keep moving, and I'd get to this finish line.
I don't know what clicked, but I think it had something to do with the cup of Gatorade I downed around mile 20. I hit the mile 21 marker and everything just went Zen. The weird pain in my left calf had long been gone and my legs still felt pretty fresh. I put on a few of my power songs on the iPod and just went for it. At 22.5 I thought about how I was so close to seeing my friends and my boyfriend and how the finish line would be just beyond them. I thought about how amazing it was that I was finishing a freaking marathon. I thought about how proud I was. And I just started crying. My vision was all blurry, and I was having a hard time catching my breath so I had to stop thinking about all those wonderful things because I needed to breathe and keep moving!
I hit mile 25 and began the eager search for my friends. I heard someone yell out "Just 1.75 miles left!" Yes! Less than two miles left! I finally spotted Sharon and Elyssa and threw up some metal. (I had been concentrating on this for over a mile so I would remember to do it for the camera) Sharon ran with me for a minute and asked me how I felt. I don't recall exactly what was said, but I remember screaming "I FEEL GREAT!" And I thanked her for coming down to cheer.
A few moments later I saw my boyfriend and I started flailing my arms like crazy. I actually STOPPED to give him a kiss, and then I ran as fast as I could that last tenth of a mile or so. That was actually the first point in the race where I got nauseous, so I tried to slow down enough so I wouldn't puke right before the finish line ;)
Before I knew it the finish line was right in front of me, and I was actually a little sad that the race was over. I crossed the finish line with the biggest smile on my face, arms raised above my head in triumph. I grabbed my Mylar blanket and walked to get my medal. The volunteer congratulated me and placed the medal around my neck, and I couldn't help but look at the medal in awe.I reunited with my boyfriend and we took a cab back to the hotel (the best $5 I've ever spent!)
Recovery has been going amazing so far, and I'm looking forward to going for a run some time this weekend. I can't say yet if the marathon is going to become a favorite distance of mine, but I have no regrets about the race I ran, and I'm definitely looking forward to tackling New York City in 2011.