Well Marathon #3 is in the books. The weekend overall was amazing. Fun road trip, rich conversations, laughter and time with friends fueled the weekend with absolute joy. I loved having my hubby there and sharing him with my friends. He not only supported me but ended up taking care of a whole "gaggle" of women. I would have to say that this is the marathon that I learned the most about myself as a person as well as runner.
When Sunday rolled around I had no plan. Even though I started with friends we all had decided that we could go ahead and behind as needed. No pressure. No stress. We knew that we would see our amazing support crew at some point to help us along. I started off way to fast. Of course at the time my watch was not working and I was just running. Later I found out I ran the first 5K at a 7:33 pace. Way too fast for me. My watch started working again I had a better handle on my pace but still was going too fast. I felt good and Megan was with me at this point. I knew we were pushing each other along so I want to keep it up. At 10K we were at a 8:00 min mile. Again too fast. By the time Megan and I parted at mile 11 I knew Megan was on target for a sub 2 half. I wished her luck and told her she better be waiting at that finish line with sub 2 news for me!
I was then solo but still felt pretty good up until mile 13ish. Solid sub 2. By mile 14 is where things get a little foggy. I had missed seeing Ryan and the crew at mile 6 so I was desperate to see someone at this point. Ashley, who by the way is one of the sweetest people I have met was going to "join" me for a few miles at some point and I at this point I was really looking forward to that. At mile 15 I see my hubby. Tall, handsome, smiling and ringing that cow bell. I gave a weak wave and reached out towards Ashley hoping she was getting ready to jump in. I think she said something like, "not yet". So I just kept running. My pace had slowed but was I was doing ok. At mile 18 I see the crew again. This time Ashley joins me wearing her Boston 2011 t-shirt and that in itself made me smile and want to keep going. A few more cheers and HIGH high fives to my hubby and super star friend Devon and we were off. My hubby and his trusty sidekick got in the pick up and gave us a few honks. As they slowly drove along side us I yelled "this is for you babe". I felt tearful, tired and thankful all at the same time.
Here I was running the Eugene Marathon. Undertrained and full of hope. My mind was not really in the run at this point but more in wanting more moments just like the one above, the blessing of more time togeteher and of course more cowbell. I mean you can never have too much cowbell.
Ashley was great. My pace was really slowing by mile 20 and I was starting to have to talk myself into 2 miles at a time. My feet were killing me and any change in terrain seemed to make it all the worse. Ashley was super sweet to me. Next time I give her my permission to yell at me a bit more...I really needed to pick it up. Sheesh! We then heard from Marnee who was also part of the super star support crew. My dear friend Mere was having issues and Marnee had gone to run with her. She was having some leg and hip problems and was hurting and wanted to stop. Due to my past conversations with Mere I felt like I needed to push her to finish. You finish, you win. You just ran 26.2 freaking miles!!!! She did finish and I am extremely proud of how deep I know she had to dig to keep going.
Ash took a few snapshots and I am so glad she did. This pic below is at mile 23. I love that you can see that I am wearing my friend Michelle's ring that she wore when she ran Boston around my neck. I grabbed my necklace many times throughout thinking about the victims of the Boston bombings and what a gift is was that I could even be there, running and feeling pain.
As Ashley left me I knew I was just minutes away from seeing my hubby's face and that stinkng finish line. I finished and threw my hand over my heart for Boston. I felt thankful and amazed that somehow I finally got across that line. I saw Megan and Tracy who ran the half and both PR'd. Woo Hoo!! My main thought was I have to go to the bathroom. I got a little surprise when I went to the bathroom...ladies you know what I am talking about. Seems like something else had "started" as well a few miles back. Oh well...this story is getting better and better. When we left the finisher's area I saw my little sister J there and it warmed my heart. She drove just to see me finish. Even though I was salty, gross and tired and could barely talk in normal sentences, she was there. She will probably never know how important that was to me. Finally I got to see my hubby and give him a big hug. He had been through it ALL that day. From start to finish. Not ony taking care of me but his gaggle of women that he now can now call friends. He stayed in a hotel with 4 women the night before a big race! I loved it and felt like he was able to get a better understanding of running and how it can be so good for my soul and how it bringe people together in a very unique way. It was a beautiful day.
I have so many MORE thoughts and pictures of the beautiful people that were part of this special weekend. But until then here are a few pics to give a snap shot of our great weekend.
It was not my best time but it was my BEST that day. 4:15 finish. With the things life has been throwing my way I will take it and say THANK YOU, I can not wait to see what my next BEST day will bring.