I got up at 4:00am so I could eat and get to the shuttle pick up. I had chocolate flavored cream o wheat, some strawberries, and some gatorade. I took some of the strawberries with me so I didn't get hungry again before the 7:00am start time.
I didn't cry on the bus ride up this time thankfully. I did take some time to reflect on all the work and training it took to get me back up there again and I may have gotten goosebumps a little. I did get teared up a little every time I thanked volunteers at the different spots for helping. No more thanking people. Seriously, the race would not be as great if it didn't have dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers. It's a lot of work to put on a race.
It was fun seeing people I know at the start. I saw some people I was expecting to see and some I didn't know were running. I ran a mile or so with an old friend from elementary school. Kristine was not only one of the only kids I remember being nice to me in elementary school, but she was the nicest to me. That's something you don't forget. She looks awesome for a mom of two.
I ran the first mile with my favorite racing buddy Cameron. He was sick with fever and chills all week but was able to finish the race anyhow. That's amazing.
Another highlight was just the beautiful weather and scenery. The temperatures were near perfect the whole race. I stopped admiring the scenery around mile 19/20 probably but up til then it was fantastic.
I was worried about my knee but it never was really an issue. I felt some twinging occasionally but I would just take inventory on my running posture--straighten the back, tuck in the pelvis, shoulders back and relaxed, bend at the ankle--and it would go away.
It was around the 17 mile ish that I started feeling tired. I was ok, but starting to feel my pace struggle. I remember when I was just about at 19, that I thought to myself "just 19!". 19-23 were hard but I was able to dig in and keep the negativity down for the most part. It was enjoyable in a conquering a challenge sort of way.
As soon as I got out of the canyon I wanted to stop and walk for a little bit but Kelly was there and ran about a 1/2 mile with me. I had to keep running. It was actually a huge mental boost to have someone there were it was getting exponentially harder.
I wanted to stop and walk again about 3/4 mile left in the race where you get off the trail and are on the road. You know you're so close, but you don't care anymore. And it's the least fun part of the course. It's a long stretch of shadeless road. But just as I was thinking about stopping, I ran into Danielle. She had a sign with my name on it!!! I couldn't stop. That was also a huge mental boost. I ran the rest of the way.
The only times I stopped to walk was through the aid stations. That's actually recommended for most people. For one thing so you don't drown yourself as your drinking. There are also a lot of studies that have been done that show it's good for your body in a long distance event. It helps drop your heart rate and aids in refueling your muscles.
My family was about a block and a half from the finish line. The texting technology didn't work so they weren't sure when I was coming through. I'm just glad they were there anyhow. I put my nieces and nephew in the Kids K (actually one mile) so they were there to cheer for me and run. It meant a lot to me to have my dad there. He's never been to a race of mine before. He doesn't feel good after dialysis so that was cool that he came anyhow.
The kids had fun running the Kids K. I'm glad I can have at least a little positive influence on them (my bad influence: hey apple!, You're wearing a red shirt so you're an apple). Some of them may just end up crazy runners like me. :)
I did a lot of stretching and rolling on my foam roller after the race. I did not take an icy cold bath this time. The thought of sitting in freezing water was just too much. I think the stretching and massaging is more useful as witnessed by my semi-mobile state.
I am already dreaming about the next marathon. Probably not this year, but I'll be back for another try. Only 50 minutes to knock off my time to qualify for Boston....