I spent months pounding the pavement, mile after long mile, either baking under the scorching sun, or watching it rise. Admittedly not as often as I would have liked or even as regularly as I should have, but still enough to know I would cross that finish line. But even the best laid plans, don't always work out.
I tried, pinned, tugged, and carefully laid out my clothes while Jenny wandered the hotel halls in hers.
I started my day with a smile almost a bright as these guys'!
I found my friends waiting in line for the potties.
No simple task, considering everyone else had the same bright idea right before setting off to run 26.2 miles!!
I didn't want to worry about how long the run would take, but rather have fun and just enjoy the journey. So I turned my music up loud and had my camera in hand as Rebecca and I ran across the starting line.
The morning was hot but gorgeous with unexpected cloud coverage. We followed the pacer, made friends with the runners around us and smiled from ear to ear!
It is such an incredible experience to watch the sun rise while moving along with a stampede of several thousand people. There is an energy and a thrill that I cannot adequately describe.
We were feeling great 6 miles in, with the dreaded Veyo Hill in sight.
We even stopped long enough to pose for a picture and catch up again with our pacer.
My knees felt great, my hamstrings were loose, and I didn't notice my IT band once!
I took my little gel blocks as often as recommended and walked whenever I felt like it. I drank Gatorade twice and water at every other aid station. I stopped twice and got a little Bengay rubbed into one of my calves. For the most part, I was just cruising along.
By mile 16 I had cramping in my back that made it hard to breathe deeply. By mile 19 I felt like garbage! At 21 I begged and pleaded for the bottle of Coke left for a runner at the aid station...if only Tara was with me and if she was wearing mascara, I'm sure I would have gotten a different result.
A little further along my vision started to get fuzzy and dark around the edges. I stumbled over to a guard rail with the help of another runner. After blacking out, throwing up, slurred speech and about 30 minutes sitting on the bumped of an ambulance, it was decided I wasn't in any condition to run the last 4.5 miles of the race. I would not be finishing.
My friend Jenny finished in 3:35 and qualified for Boston.
Reed breezed through, all smiles.
Corey was all business along the home stretch.
The cutest cheering squad ever saw them all come through. My little nieces had practiced saying,"Go Jen Go!" while they waited for me to come down that final stretch before the finish line.
I never came. I was stuck in a shuttle bus waiting to be dropped of at the park. My stomach had been a little off the day before the race and I'd had a hard time eating anything. The calories I consumed all day were what I probably should have had at one meal. I think I just ran out of gas out there and my body just shut down.
I was hydrated and a little rested by the time I arrived where the race ended. I was thrilled for Jenny and her awesome run!
I was definitely not feeling like the rock star Heather's cute poster suggested.
I was happy for Corey and Reed, Rebecca and Christine, who had all come across the finish line, but also in a bit of awe. They all did what I could not, and I found myself respecting the distance even more than I had before. I thought back to three years ago when I ran St George the first time. My knee gave out not even half way in and I shlepped through to the finish. I felt like an impostor then because I hadn't run the whole thing, and I didn't know what I was capable of doing. Now I appreciate that finish. with my 3rd attempt behind me, I think I finally recognize what I accomplished that day.
While my run didn't end up the way I had planned, I still had the best weekend! I reconnected with some of my favorite people. I ran in a beautiful place. I shopped, basked in the sunshine, made new friends, had great conversations, and ate yummy food. Hugs and smiles were abundant and my heart went home happy. There are definitely more marathons in my future. At some point I will run, healthy, strong, and fast across a marathon finish line. Until then I will keep working on my best laid plans!