Not sure what happened with the wave start... it took awhile to move and when we did, we all just walked across the line, which means, the course was uber-crowded. I'm actually a big fan of the wave start, as long as I know what kind of duration to expect. When executed properly, it spaces the participants just enough that you don't have to do a tremendous amount of weaving. This was not what happened... there was a lot of weaving, even more jumping over puddles... a lot of fast/slow accordian stuff... and muscles that never would warm up because of the cold moist air.
Mile 1 - 10:28
Mile 2 - 10:34
By mile 3, we had hit our grove, but the course was still REALLY crowded, then SPLASH... our first soaking wet puddle splash. Shoes turned into sponges. Greatness... 23.2 more miles to carry around water jugs on my feet.
Mile 3 - 10:14
Mile 4 - 10:08
Mile 5 - 9:55
I think it was somewhere around here that we saw Derek's brother, Don, who comes to all his races. Don and his bright orange jacket would come to be the bright spot I would look for along the course.
(No, I'm not pregnant, my race belt is under my jacket.)
Miles 6-9 is the long uphill section...
Mile 6 - 10:31
We saw Operation Sunshine for the first time somewhere around here. Always a happy time to see Corina, Marci, and Cassandra.
Mile 8 - 10:14
And by mile 9, I was feeling the uphill A LOT and asked Derek and Shanda to pull back for a minute.
Mile 9 - 10:47
Not long after this, both Derek and Shanda needed to head off to the porta-potty. I tried to convince both of them that with all the wetness and puddles that no one would know if they just went, but I guess they both have Shy Bladder Syndrome. We spotted a potty with no line, and I sent them off and kept going (knowing they could easily catch me). I got to see Ultra Queen, Michelle B, all bundled up and cheering briefly, then plowed on!
I had forgotten that I wasn't looking at my Garmin, it was under my jacket, so I had nothing to go off of until my pace buddies caught up. I saw some pace team balloons just in front of me, so I just stayed steadily behind them.
Mile 10 - 10:12
Mile 11 - 9:45
Derek and Shanda caught back up and boy was I ready to see them. At this point, we were soaked. The rain had been light but steady, the puddles had been plentiful, and when we hit that lake, the wind cut right through and was bone chilling. Brrrrrrr. Don't get me wrong, I normally love running in 40 degree weather... I don't know why the wind and moisture made it feel so much colder, but it did.
I saw the awesome Pat somewhere around here cheering... and it was the perfect moment that I needed a familiar face. But almost right after that, I finally spotted my friends, Jenn and Robin D, for the first time on the course!!! Yeah!!! So excited and at that point, still smiling and right on pace.
Mile 12 - 10:10
Mile 13 - 10:08
I would've handed over a big wad of cash for a pair of dry gloves. My gloves were completely soaked, but when Shanda took her wet gloves off, she said it was worse, so I just left them on.
Almost immediately after the half, I felt my body pull back, but just a little. The wind was just really cutting through and making me cold and then the downpour came. Lovely. As if we weren't wet enough...
Mile 14 - 10:24
Mile 15 - 10:22
Mile 16 - 10:31
Somewhere around 16, my hip gave out from under me, but luckily not bad enough to face plant. I was not going to listen to my hip, so I just kept running through it, but it was clearly slowing me down.
Mile 17 - 10:44
Mile 18 - 10:51
Then the hip pain hit HARD. I saw Jenn and Robin D again and they both noticed I was visibly mad at that point... because all other systems were a go. I knew Shanda was miserable out there in the freezing cold, so I told her to go on. She has the capability to go much faster, and I was slowing drastically. I'm not sure what was up with my hip. It was an odd pain, but it was pretty intense. It felt like at any moment, it was just going to totally give out, and I was moritifed of doing a face plant. I pulled it back, but continued to run through it. It seemed to scream more on hills. At this point, we started walking through water stops, but only for 30-45 seconds.
Mile 19 - 11:37
Mile 20 - 11:46
And then my favorite part (do you sense the sarcasm)... the Dolly Parton hills. Doesn't everyone like a couple of long steep hills at mile 20 of a marathon? The hip was having no part in the hills... and finally, I had to take a couple of very short walk breaks on the steepest parts. I was being very good, though, about keeping the breaks extremely short. I would guess I walked less than 1/2 mile over the entire duration of the marathon.
Mile 21 - 11:57
Mile 22 - 12:29
Mile 23 -12:21
Still smiling - are you proud, Jason?
I don't know how many times I told Derek he could leave me, but he refused. Probably equivalent to the number of times he responded to a spectator that shouted "Looking good" with the response "Feeling good" which was equivalent to the number of times I considered punching him in the gut. Actually, I'm totally kidding. Besides my wonky hip, the rest of me was actually feeling fine. Yes, I was freezing and soaked, and that made things miserable... but other than that hip, my body was still fully functioning and I was still enjoying my time out there.
I knew my 4:30 goal was out the window but that a slight PR was still a possibility... and when we finally crested the last hill for the final 3-mile downhill finish, my hip pain subsided, as did the cramps I was having on my inner thighs. I was able to pick up the pace a tad.
Mile 24- 11:21
Mile 25 - 11:38
Mile 26 - 11:13
last 0.4 at 9:50
I was elated to be across that finish line and turned around to look for Derek. I cannot express how important his presence was in getting me across that line in the amount of time I did. One of the most supportive and encouraging frunners there is. Thank you, Derek.
PR Finish time: 4:44 for my 4th marathon on December 4th... and 4 weeks until my next marathon.
(And yes, for those that know EMZ and her love for the number 4, I texted her to let her know that I was having a very EMZ kind of day.)
Afterwards, I changed clothes and bagged my wet ones and was stunned by how much they weighed. A couple of friends felt the weight and couldn't believe what we just ran 26.2 with on our bodies. And for the first time ever, I wasn't hungry at the finish. I just didn't want anything, but forced myself to eat half a bagel. The only thing that warmed me up (because the dry clothes actually didn't help at all) was seeing the afterglow of many friends that were touting first finishes or huge PRs. It was worth it to be there and celebrate with them. And the medal, I EARNED this baby...
Strangely, by Monday, I was missing being out there, and ready to do it again.
Next up... The New Years Double - I'll be running a half marathon on New Years Eve, and pacing my awesome friend and Racing It Off Runner, Denya, to her first full marathon finish on New Years Day.