The week of the marathon I got very little sleep. Two days before the marathon Lil Man got sick. But honestly I don't think that this had anything to do with the very bad day that I had on Sunday.
I was excited and nervous before the race. And then we were off. I kept myself on pace. I have a tendency to start off too fast and bonk before the end. So for the first couple of miles I was on 'target', but I knew that I was struggling. Really?!? Within the first couple of miles I was struggling for a marathon!!!
It was awesome to see friendly faces along the course both running and spectating. And it was for these people that I kept moving forward.
Around mile 7 a friend met me and ran a little with me. She said she'd see me around 15ish miles. I was going to see my running buddy around 13 miles. I kept telling myself just make it to 13, and I'd see my running partner.
By mile 9 I was crying. I had the beginnings of leg cramps. I didn't have issues with cramps at all this go around with my training. So to have them in the race was quite unexpected. I was hydrating. I was fueling. I was on pace. But things just weren't going my way.
And slowly I watched my goal slip away. And that feeling was devastating for me - the moment that I knew that I wasn't going to reach a goal that I had worked so hard to obtain. And I cried some more - this time harder. And then I gave up. Yep, at mile 13, I told my friend I was done. I want to DNF. I just want to stop.
She yelled at me that I wasn't going to stop. I had trained too hard for this and I wasn't giving up. I kept moving. But I had no heart left to run this race.
I saw my friend around 15ish miles. I don't think she intended to run as far as she did, but she ran several miles with me and refused to let me stop. Seriously, she refused to let me give up. Another runner friend stepped out from the crowd, hugged me and ran a few steps.
No one would let me stop. Strangers urged me on. Funny now that I look back how I had given up on myself, but no one else had. They believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself.
By mile 17 or so, the leg cramps were pretty severe and my knee was pretty messed up also. But I had promised the friend who had just run with me that I'd make it to 20 to see my running partner .
And there she was in all of her bright colored cheery perky you-got-this self. And I cried. And I moaned. And I asked her to just let me quit. I was just 'done'.
She refused and said that I wasn't, and that I would finish and to just keep moving. And so we did. We ran into another couple of River Runners who were also down for the count. So our over-zealous over-cheerful you-got-this cheerleader pushed and prodded us one step in front of the other. She tried her best to get me to the finish in a faster time, but by then physically I just wasn't there. I tried running in 30 second increments, but the cramps and mainly the knee were just too much
Once we reached the River section we joked that we could just push her into the river. and walk off the course and be done.
Then the juggler man passed us. Yep, I got beat by a guy juggling balls while running. Oh, oh, don't forget the fairy who also finished ahead of me. (Not to mention that Pamela Anderson beat me in the NYC marathon.)
But in the end, I finished. And honestly, it was a PR. It just wasn't the PR that I wanted. And I'm ashamed to tell my time. I've never really been ashamed to tell my time before, but I'm embarrassed that it was 5:42:45.
And I keep telling myself that I finished a marathon, but right now I'm more angry that I gave up on myself.
But what I am proud of is the awesome running community that I am a part of. River Runners has forever changed my experience with running groups. It was overwhelming the support that I had along the course. If it hadn't been for them, I wouldn't have finished my 2nd Marathon.
Each race is a learning experience, and I believe I have a lot to learn from this one.