Sorry to hijack the blog with my running updates, but I couldn't resist this one.
Back in October, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC and had a great race. Well, great in the fact that, unlike last year, I made it to the Starting Line uninjured, I had a great time during the run and I finished uninjured. My overall time was just over five hours. My GPS recorded 11:32 minute miles. Remember, I am a DIE-HARD Galloway fan. So, I walked for one minute after every 3 or 4 minutes of running. I swear that this method is the ONLY way I am able to successfully train and complete my marathons. I wanted to break five hours, but that was a pretty lofty goal considering I didn't train with ANY speedwork. I'll save that for a future marathon...
Mile 1: 16:04 (lots of slow traffic to weave through when you start waaaayyyyy at the back like me!) It took us over twenty minutes after the race had started to reach the Starting Line.
Mile 2: 12:39
Mile 3: 11:22
Mile 4: 11:49
Mile 5: 11:26
Mile 6: 11:11
Mile 7: 12:20 (potty break)
Mile 8: 10:29 (see how fast I am without a full bladder!)
Mile 9: 11:03
Mile 10: 12:34 (another potty break, I broke the seal.)
Mile 11: 11:41
The marathon was very memorable because the crowd support was amazing, the weather was ideal, the course was very scenic and all the men in uniform at the hydration stops were some great eye-candy! I got to run past several national monuments, even the White House. At about mile 12, I looked to my left and gave a quick wave to the Obama's.
Mile 12: 11:22
Mile 13: 11:41
I started the marathon with my good friend, Veronica. She is such a strong woman and I wish I had her drive and determination. Her knees are in pretty bad shape, but she keeps pounding away on the pavement as much as she can tolerate. We got to about mile 11 and she let me know that she was hurting. I know how much pain she can tolerate, so I expected her to keep going strong. At about mile 14, I was rockin' out with a band playing along the course and I think she was fighting back tears of pain. It was a grunge rock band and I forget what song they were belting out at the time, but it totally made my mile 14. I was singing along with them and the drummer pointed me out (you know the scene, standing up with his two drum sticks pointing at me, yes , me!) But, then I looked over and saw the anguish in V's face. At mile 15, we decided that she would hang back and that I would keep running on schedule. We both knew that she had another runner waiting to pace her in a mile 20, so she only had a few more miles to run solo. I had already had to make THREE pee stops at this point, but I had been able to run and catch up with her without expending too much energy. (race day jitters?)
Mile 14: 10:44
Mile 15: 10:42
Mile 16: 11:09
Mile 17: 10: 39
I felt really strong and was just really enjoying the race, at this point. There is a saying about marathons, "if you feel good, don't worry. It'll pass." And, it's true. At about mile 18, as I was pretty much worn out. I felt like I was dragging along, but I just kept pushing one foot in front of the other. Your body is basically on auto-pilot at this point.
Mile 18: 10:41
Mile 19: 11:11
Mile 20: 12:03 (I'm really hating life right now. Wishing I was still running with my best friend. Wishing I was done already. Wishing I was anywhere else but still on this course!)
Mile 21: 11:25
Mile 22: 11:56 (At this mile, I run into the local Hash House Harriers hydration stop, ie BEER stop. I'm thinking, I'm already dehydrated and running slow, why not add some beer into the mix? So, I take a few second to stop, introduce myself as "Cocktail from Tampa" and partake in a shot of beer. Nothing wrong with some on-the-course carb-loading and I needed the morale boost.
Mile 23: 11:10
Mile 24: 10:23 (At this point, I'm fighting back tears. Your body can only hold up barriers against emotion for so long. After running for almost five hours, raw emotions come to the surface. Everything made me teary.... seeing military men running with the American Flag along the course, seeing the beautiful faces of the men and women in uniform who were cheering ME on along the way (don't they know that THEY are the heroes?), seeing the national monuments and thinking of our wonderful country, seeing all the babies and families along the course and wishing my family was there to cheer me on. Yes, at this point, it didn't take much to bring a tear to my eye.
Mile 25: 11:11 (I had to stop a walk just a bit here. My legs were getting really stiff and my left knee was just screaming at me. Nothing major, just your typical marathon pain.)
Mile 26.2: 11:04
Ahhhhhh.... the last two tenths of a mile were UPHILL. But, I didn't even care. I was prepared for it. Ready to tackle my Everest. Somehow, I mustered up the energy (barn door syndrome, I have it badly!) and sprinted my way in. I didn't care that I was blowing past injured walkers and slower runners, I had my eye on that Finish Line and no one was going to slow me down!
Best of all, I caught a glimpse of some fellow BRA (Brandon Running Association) peeps in the crowd at the Finish and I could hear them cheering me in.
I was so happy to finish STRONG. And, I was so happy to just FINISH! I felt honored to run that marathon in the presence of such greatness. By greatness, I mean all of the men and women who serve our country and who were also out there to support us runners. I also felt honored to run it for my dad (a fellow Marine), my brother (a fellow Marine), and my dear husband. (Okay, not a Marine, but still a damn fine military man who makes me so proud every day.)
I highly recommend the Marine Corps Marathon for those of you who are deciding what's on your 2010 race calendar!