Friday, I was a bundle of nerves as my buddy (hi Kim) took me to the airport. I was leaving for Orlando to run my first marathon. Sure, I had plenty of time to prep, but honestly, the last nine weeks (especially the last two) have been full of unexpected. I was traveling, I was sick, I was injured and I had a really major personal development that had taken control of my life. Honestly, preparing myself mentally for this race was not a priority.
My mom was waiting for me at the airport and aside from being nervous and excited about running my marathon, I was excited to see my mom and get a big hug from her. We headed to the resort (my mom had been there for two days already) and met with my TNT group really quick before heading to the Captains Grille for dinner (Rosemary porkchops with a bacon polenta---soo good).
I debated waking up early to go and see the half marathoners finish, but I decided to take advantage of some time to sleep in. Mom and I walked to the main part of hotel on a beautiful day, got some breakfast, met with Katye and then headed to the expo.
The expo was huge, but we didn't spend much time there. I wanted to pick up some sports shield (I forgot mine when I packed my bag--had to settle for body glide--never again) and some mint chocolate gus and new belt for the race. Mom and I had tickets for Animal Kingdom, so we parted ways with Katye so we could enjoy the park.
We headed to Macaroni Grill for diner where I thought I was meeting up with Courtney until we realized we were are two different Macaroni Grills! We decided to meet up the next morning before the race and mom and I ate out meal, then headed back to the room where, with the help of Unisom, we were both asleep by 8:15.
My 2:00 wake up call came quickly, but I felt well rested. I quickly got dressed, ate a Clif Bar, drank some water and snapped a picture of my outfit.
I met with my team, rode the bus and then hung out in the family meet up area, where we sat in the cold for awhile.
Katye in her sheet. Seriously, best idea ever.
Katye, Me, Courtney. It was so nice to meet Courtney--she is SUPER sweet! I think I almost tackled her when I hugged her. Sorry!!! (stole the pic from her too)
Heading to the start (20 minute walk in the cold) with my 17,000 closest friends.
My running buddy D and I made our way to our starting corral (after a little confusion as to where each corral started) and waited. Eventually, each wave (and fireworks went off)!
My belt was causing my skirt to creep up for a generous thigh display. Sorry folks.
It was pretty cool running through Epcot in the dark. I forgot to snap a picture of a big Christmas Tree all decorated up :(
Around mile four, my thighs (which are best friends and never shall part) felt like a fire was starting. Darn you body glide. Luckily, we hit a medic station where they had some sort of lubrication goop for runners (on Popsicle sticks) and liberally applied (while flashing people....woops!!)
Before I knew it, we hit the magic kingdom. I wanted to go through this area slower to take it all in. I wanted to find Ariel too!
At the Magic Kingdom
I did not find Ariel, but I did find these lovely peple!
LOVED meeting the Stepsisters and stepmother.
After the Magic Kingdom, D and I split up. I could feel my left knee and hip start to bother me and I was going to change my intervals to 1:1.
13-20 were a blur. I felt great. I never had felt so great in any of my previous races as I felt at 15 or 18. Seriously, how weird is that.
My awesome cousin's husband had warned me that the real halfway point was mile 20. I scoffed at this, because I felt great. Then, around 20.5, I felt like a truck ran me over. My hip and knee were screaming. I was almost in tears, worried that I would not be able to finish (seriously, the pain was that bad). Fortunately, my TNT coach was right at this point, got me talking and took my mind off the pain. I can not thank her enough for that!
Miles 21-24 felt like they took FOREVER. There was lots to see and lots of people, but I was still in so much pain and was trying to power through that that I didn't get to take it in as much as I would have liked.
Around 24.5, I started to get really emotional. I think at this point, I realized I was going to finish and what I had accomplished. I took a nice older woman in her motorized scooter with a sign that read "Dear Stranger, I know we don't know each other, but I am so PROUD of you" to get me teary eyed and realize what I was going to accomplish.
We entered Epcot, went around the world and I realized I was almost done. My TNT coach couldn't finish with me, so I ended up running the last .2 miles by myself. I saw (and heard) my mom yelling for me, and I started to cry. I kept going (after waving) and heard Katye screaming for me as I crossed the finish line and started to cry a bit harder. Then I got my medal and a few more tears came out (in case you couldn't tell, I am a crier). I found my mom and Katye pretty quickly and yes, I cried some more.
We walked around a bit, then headed to the hotel, where I decided to take my first real ice bath. I think that might have been the most painful part of my whole marathon experience. I could hear my mom laughing at me as I shrieked when I first got in.
After that, we met with Katye, got some food and then I was off to the airport (I had to get back to work for Monday morning) with this bad boy around my neck.
My time wasn't great (6:55), but I finished, which is really what is important. I think that I learned a lot from my experience and I know how to proceed for the next time! A guy had an awesome shirt that said "Finished Dead Last is better than Did Not Finish" and I totally agreed. THe best thing was, though, was that I got to slap that 26.2 mile sticker on my car.
This was such a great experience. I learned that I am way stronger, both emotionally and physically, than I ever thought I was and it couldn't have come at a better time. As I finished and was limping around, my mom asked if I would ever do it again, and without hesitating, I said yes. I would do it over and over again.
So, who is up for the Marine Corp Marathon in October (registration is 2/23/11)?