3 AM: woke up and hopped in the shower. I was shivering, more from nerves then the cold, and had terrible butterflies. I remember looking in the mirror more then once and saying "What where you thinking??"
4 AM: Roni and I check out of our hotel. We had to find our way to the finish line where you park your car and get on a shuttle (aka school bus) that takes you to the starting line. Talk about de ja vu... riding a school bus, in the dark. Felt like high school all over again!
5 AM: We finally arrive at the starting line after our bus driver got a little lost, went down some one way roads the wrong way, backed up a block on a busy road (thankfully no traffic), and finally found our drop off area!! It was cold and Roni and I were the first to christen the port-o-potties!! (the only time it was actually pleasant to be in one)
6 AM: We watched as the Ultra marathon runners headed to the starting line. Crazy people! Roni and I also ran into a lady who is a running coach back in Portland, Oregon. (Hi Vicki!) She was an angel in disguise, giving us tips on what to do and what not to do. She gave us ideas on how to get through the last couple of miles.... like thinking of a family member for each mile of the race. She also said "your mind will want to give up long before you body will"... and those words kept repeating in my head the last couple of miles....
7 AM: We stood around trying to get warm. Marathon runners were lining up to their starting line.... and we went looking for another port-a-potty! I'm guessing when your that nervous it makes you have to pee a lot..... and often!!!
8 AM: We are asked to start heading to our corrals. Roni and I were in 19... Vicki was in 9.... so we went our own ways thankful for all the help she offered! 20,000 runners started gathering on the street. It was an amazing sight! Roni and I did some warming up and stretching. I was more excited then nervous at this point. I had come across some ladies wearing shirts that said "remember, the turtle won!" that were planning on walking the whole thing. They were fun and lively.... I figured if I ended up walking I would find them!
8:30 AM: The gun goes off and the first corral is let across the starting line. Governor Gordon and John McCain where at the starting line waiving them on! Every 2 minutes they let another corral go.
9:20 AM: I finally cross the starting line. Roni and I stayed at an easy jog for the first mile. It was a little crowded, but the pace was good and people were spreading out. It felt good to finally get going.... and get warm! I threw my jacket over to the sidelines where kids were picking them up and putting them in bags. Hopefully a lot of those clothes went to the homeless that were standing on the sidelines for the first block of the race!~
9:33 AM: Hit mile marker 1 and felt good. I was at a good pace that wasn't going to tire me out too fast.
9:46 AM: Hit mile marker 2 and stopped for water. From here on out I had planned on doing a walk/jog. Roni felt strong and kept going, which was fine with me. We had agreed to do our own pace from the start!
10 AM: I saw my friend Cindy!! She was awesome holding up her sign!! It was a great feeling to have my very own cheerleader on the sidelines. She took some great pics of the other runners too!
(The tortoise and the hare!!)
11 AM: I hit the half way point. 6.5 miles!! I was feeling good. I was grabbing water at every stop and sucking down GU to keep up the energy. Stopped for a potty break.... 5 minutes of standing in line!!!
Noon: I hit a wall. I was at 10 miles and both legs were in pain. My muscles were cramping up hard and every step shot pain up to my hips. Of course, this was also the leg of the race with the most hills. I slowed down and just focused on walking the hills. Thank God for the bands playing music along the way... they gave me a boost every time I heard their beat.
Mile 11: I tried jogging, which actually took the pain away from my legs, but caused the blisters on the bottom of my foot to pop. Y-OUCH!!!! Back to walking. People where falling back. They were stopped on the sidewalk trying to stretch their legs, or throwing up. I wanted to stop so badly and stretch but I knew if I stopped I may never get back up again.... so, I just kept going. I had Vicki's words in my head... "Your mind will want to give up long before your body will".... I wanted to give up, waive down a cop and hitch a ride to the finish line... but I could never have lived with myself. To get this far and give up? No way!! I thought of my Dad, who would have been cheering me on from the sidelines... and who I know was watching over me that very moment telling me to kick my ass into gear!!
This was the longest and most emotional mile of the race for me. A true test of will.
Mile 12: One more mile, One more mile, One more mile. I could do this. I could!!! I picked up my pace and started to jog. I didn't care about the pain anymore. I just knew that the faster I ran, the faster I could stop and say 'I Did It!' ..... People were lined up along the street, waving and cheering. Every little turn of the road I looked for the finish line.... every step getting closer and closer to pure torture.
....... there it was. The finish line. I cried. I got my medal. They took my picture...... I went to the medical tent! LOL
It may have been the scariest, most painful thing I have ever done.... but I did it!
Finishing time 3:38:12.... a perfect time for a turtle like me!