And now I can say I've run 3 marathons. It seems hard to believe that I've tackled that distance on foot 3 times! This marathon went okay. I've recovered much faster this time than the last 2 times I've run one. I didn't have my best time, but it wasn't my worst. I felt great going into the race. I did worry about my training partner, only because she had been dealing with an overuse injury that can sideline a lot of distance runners, but she is tough as nails and I knew she'd finish. I just worried about her pain level and ability to keep running if it gave her fits. We decide to follow a pace team because I loved the pace team I follow in marathon 2. I figured it would keep us slow, help keep us motivated to keep running when we wanted to stop and plus I was hoping to hear some good stories from these strangers we'd be running with. One guy, we nicknamed him Dough Stash, had a hydration belt with gatorade and a big baggie of cut up bagels. Plus a pretty awesome mustache. Anyway, we start, the weather was perfect, and the crowd was great. After a bit, I start to feel we are running a bit faster than the 11:27 minute mile pace the 5 hour pace team was supposed to be running. I figured it must just be adrenaline and if we are running that fast, the pacer would slow us down. At mile 5, my friend checks her watch and our average pace was a 10 minute mile...much too fast for us and NOT the pace we were supposed to be running. What good is a pacer if they aren't going to actually run the pace that they are supposed to. I knew this was not good news. I did try to slow our pace, but my friend was fired up and seemed pumped up to run. I don't know exactly what our pace was but Im positive it was less than an 11 minute mile, but I felt good. At mile 11, my friend started not feeling all that great. I knew that wasn't a good sign because we had a lot of miles to go. Mile 16 comes and she's really hurting. From mile 16 - 23, it was a struggle for her to keep going. We had to walk a lot, slow jog. I kept telling her she could do it, we've done this distance before, and we just had to keep moving forward. She cried a bit, vomited and laid on the ground a couple times, but managed to keep moving. At mile 23, she insisted I go on and I knew if I didn't run at that point, then there would be no running at the end. I feel like a jerk, but at mile 23, I took off running and ran to the finish. My family was waiting at the end for me and it was awesome to see them cheering for me as I ran across the finish line. This was a first. The kids were excited and it was cool to hear them say my name over the loudspeaker. I waited at the finish for my friend to cross and she crossed the line running and looking strong. My time wasn't great, and I'm pretty positive I could have finished at what our pace team was supposed to be finishing at...about the 5 hour mark. But this was her first marathon, and the deal I made with her in January was that I'd run with her in April if she signed up for the one in October. We finished and in October, I will be trying for time. I really want to get under that 5 hour mark. I'm not sure I'll run a marathon next year because there are other races I want to do, so I'm motivated to train better than ever. Recovery, I was hurting Saturday. It hurts running that far anyway, but the stopping and starting didn't really help. I worked a 12 hour shift Sunday night and that was harder to get through than the marathon. Not a good idea, but I did it and gave my patients something to laugh at as I shuffled around. If need be, I could have moved fast...it just would have been painful. By Tuesday morning, I wasn't sore, I could just tell my quads and right calf were tired and today I'm itching to go for a run. But I'm resting through Saturday and will start running again next week. The month of May is going to be my month to run purely for fun, maybe work on some strength training and then come June...training for marathon #4 will start!!!