My day started off pretty well. I didn't get a great night's sleep (too many dreams about oversleeping), but I still felt pretty rested. I got up, showered, dressed, and ate my bagel and banana before doing a last-minute sweep to make sure I had everything together. It was a beautiful, cool morning - perfect for marathon day, with a beautiful sunrise.
|What a great way to start out the morning!|
The wave start was slowly helping us make our way to the starting line. I was with probably the last group to start. This year Dave and Craig, the best race directors EVER, had talked about having a "back of the pack" person...someone who would run the marathon at a 13:45 pace, and let the aid stations know that they were technically the end. This was also for those who were worried about being the only person out there. I'm a slow runner, so I said I'd do it....then it hit me that I'd be running TWO marathons this year, three weeks apart! I did get some fabulous advice from my friend Aldona on this sign she posted for me along the race course:
|This was such a great surprise on the course!|
|Time to run!|
It hit me then that I wasn't going to finish in the 6 hour time limit....I was crushed. I knew there were still some runners behind me, but I felt like I had failed at my job as the "back of the pack" person. I sent my wonderful friend Christine a text to let her know I wasn't going to make it under 6 hours...that it would probably be at least 6:10 for a finish time. I knew she'd be there, along with my other friends, family, and my FVM "family". She replied, said "I'll be here waiting for you!" and I said I was going to need a big hug when I got done. I was in tears - not from pain, but because I really thought I could do this in 6 hours. I had actually been training a bit faster than a 13:45 pace, but it wasn't in the cards for me yesterday.
Once I passed Prairie Street, I could see the finish line. It was only another 0.3 miles to go, and I was determined to run that last bit as well as I could. There were still some spectators there (you have NO idea how much that meant to me!), and as soon as I rounded the corner heading on to the Illinois Street Bridge I could hear Bob Hackett welcoming me back. Then my brother, Thomas, and Nathan ran out with me to run me in to the finish. I saw so many of my friends there waiting for me, and I just hung on to Christine and sobbed for a bit. Carrie gave me my medal, and I got more hugs from Pat, Jeanne, and I swear Colleen although it was kind of a blur at that point...haha! My family also came around the finish area for more hugs, and then Pat made sure I got my "space blanket" and food/water/Gatorade. Erin made sure I had my Endurance medal for running a FVM race a second year in a row, and I got to see my friends Sara and Catherine after they finished.
Luckily I took today off of work, and I'm planning to go for a nice walk at some point...gotta keep the muscles moving. I allowed myself to throw a little pity party for one this morning, but now I'm trying to get over that. Because in the end, the thing that really should matter to me is that I finished my first marathon. And I still got some cool bling ;-)