Well it is official. We completed out first marathon. It was certainly no joke. All the training that was put into it, all the 5 am runs, my first 20 miler, was not anywhere close to enough work. It was harder than I ever imagined it to be, partly do to how under trained we actually were.
I ran my furthest distance two months before the race, and in those two months the longest distance I went was 16 miles… this was due to some unexpected events. The important thing is that we completed it. I can now hang my sweet 26.2 medal up and take in all its 26.2 mile glory. Also, I am going to slap that 26.2 magnet on my car… I know it’s super lame, but so am I.
This race was pure torture, pretty much everything after mile 8 pretty much the worst. And oh wait, that’s right, we still had 18.2 miles to go! Before we begin I will tell you that we took an insanely long time to complete this marathon. BUT we did not take the easy way out, and cross the HALF marathon finish line and just stop there. No, we did not have to DNF (did not finish) like many others due to the heat and dehydration (I felt so bad for them) . We completed all this course’s miserable miles. We did get heat rash though (BONUS!). We did not have any moment after the finish line where we cried because of some realization of what we just accomplished… So let me tell you about it.
I will try not to make this to long and boring. So this is going to be long and hopefully not to boring…
We arrived at the hotel the night before. After picking up our packets, we laid out all our goodies. Hit the hay early with our alarms set to 5:00 am. Plenty of time to hit snooze, eat breakfast, use the bathroom a million times, and walked down to the start line. There was also a half marathon too. We all lined up together at the start line, already hot and sweaty. It wasn’t even 7:30 am and it was already pushing 80 degrees… NOT a good sign. Not to much you can do now except… ready…set…GO! Off we went!
Mile 1: Feeling good, and pumped up.
Mile 2: Congestion was already gone. We started heading up McGregor Blvd. Which is a really beautiful scenic road. Beautiful homes and tall Royal Palm trees that line the streets.
Mile 3: Entered into some residential roads. There were lots of spectators, some gave us orange slices. Which I figured.. why not? So I grabbed one.
Mile 4: Regretting my decision to take an orange slice. My hands are now super sticky.
Mile 5: Trying to stay hydrated. Starting to feel the heat. Can’t believe what the woman in front of me is wearing… I am assuming she is a firefighter, because she is decked out in her whole get up, helmet and oxygen tank included. I am having a heat stroke just looking at her.
Mile 6: I think I drank to much water, because I really have to pee… look a baby goat! Took another orange slice from someone.
Mile 7: Regretted taking the orange slice again, my hands are sticky again. Still have to pee. I saw a port-o-pot that is empty. Told the sister I was going for it, I would catch up to her.
Mile 8: Caught up to my sister in mile 8. I finally put in my head phones. It is so hot I have to keep my mind off of the sweltering heat.
Mile 9: I lost my sister, she was behind me and then was gone. Waited a little bit for her as I went up the first hill. No sign of her. I am starting to really slow down. It is so hot, and for the next 17 miles, I don’t believe there will be any shade.
Mile 10: Stopped at the water stop to fill up my bottle. It is really hot, I am talking 85-90 degrees. Drank lots of water at the rest stop, I am sweating a LOT.
Mile 11: The heat is really bad. I took a walk break. There was a lady with a cooler passing out ice cubes. I took a hand full, and it was amazing. I wish I could’ve taken more! I rubbed them on my face and dropped them down my back. Oh that felt nice. A woman was running next to me, and was trying to encourage me, she said “we only have another two miles!” I laughed and said, “Haha, no I actually have another 15 miles.” She was running the half marathon, and then felt really bad for me.
Mile 12: We headed down hill on the bridge, that felt nice and easy. At the bottom was my husband. He was cheering us on. That was a nice boost, kept me distracted from all the other runners taking the final turn to finish their half marathon. I still have another 14 miles to go. Ate some shot blocks.
Mile 13: Passed the half marathon finish line. I saw a few marathon runners duck out. Maybe we should’ve ducked out? No. I came all the way here, and trained for a marathon. So that is what I am going to complete.
Mile 14: We are back on the loop again. Up and over the next to bridges. I am now seeing my goal finish time slipping away rather quickly. I have stopped at all the aid stations to refill my bottle, and drink a cup of water and/or Gatorade. There is another one ahead and I will need to stop at that one too.
Mile 15: Desperately looking for that lady that had the cooler with ice!
Mile 16: Taking a lot of walk breaks. Still desperately looking for that lady with the ice cooler. Everyone around me looks like they are struggling. The heat is brutal. Filled up my water, and chugged some at the aid station.
Mile 17: I saw a runner in front of me reach over into a grassy area and take a discarded old beat up straw hat and put it on. I think we are all wishing we wore a hat. I might do the same thing if I see another trash hat. Okay time to go up that that bridge again.
Mile 18: I am so done with this. I feel like I am going to pass out.
Mile 19: Going up this next bridge, there was a man and his running partner. She was on the ground with her head between her knees. She was definitely dehydrated, she was saying she couldn’t go any further. I gave her my water, and myself and her running partner aided her to the next aid station. She did not continue. Poor thing.
Mile 20-22: Long out and back stretch. I found my sister!!!
Mile 23-24: Walked way more than I actually ran. I got a boost when I hit mile 23. I was determined to run the rest, even though my knee really started bothering me. Quickly realized that was crazy talk.
Mile 25: We have thrown all goals out the window. The only goal left is to finish with out dying. I have never wanted to quit so bad in my entire life. I was questioning my sanity.
Mile 26: So close! So close… I got a rock in my shoe… Noooo!
As we came around the last corner, we could see the finish line. It was probably about 0.3 miles away. We took so long to finish that the finish line party and pretty much everyone else had packed up and left. Thank you finish line volunteer for hanging around and placing that medal over our heads. There were still a few people behind us, so we waited for them and cheered as they crossed the finish line. I have never been so hot, and so happy to be done with something.
In the end, how did it feel?
I was so happy and ready to cross that finish line. I didn’t have an emotional breakdown, or some profound realization. I hear a lot of stories of finishers that do, but I didn’t nor did my sister. Maybe that makes us weird. It is okay, I like being weird. We did feel really accomplished, we actually finished a marathon! That’s a big deal!
So when people ask me, “how long was your marathon?” I can say, “it was the distance of a marathon… 26.2 miles.”
Our post race recovery was definitely not ideal. We drove straight back to the hotel. Gathered our things, no shower no stretching. We hopped back in the car, went through a Wendy’s drive through, and drove six hours back home. I then crashed in bed, woke up the next day and started class all over again.
The surprising thing was that I was going up and down stairs the next day, I wasn’t even remotely sore. Strange…. Either way. We did it!
To answer your question… Yes I will for certainty run another marathon.
Gotta run… Josey