So I did it. I made it all the way to the end. Yes it was horrible, yes it was painful, was it worth it? Well... ya, I think I can say it was. I learned too much and wish I had learned or knew more before the race had start. I guess you can say I was prepared, but I wasn't. Is that even possible? No books, no advise can really prepare you for a marathon. It's true a marathon is really hard; no joke. I have more than enough respect for people that do more than just "finish" a marathon or who do more than run marathons... They are really amazing, tough minded and incredible people. Here is a map of the course... The race was in good o'le San Fransisco California. I purposefully did not look at this map until I finished the race... hah! Next time I will check the map before I sign up! And pick a down hill race!
Lets say from point "Start - 5" is was flat. Piece O'cake! Nicole and I (great friend and co-worker ran and trained for this together) were ready to win this thing! It started great! Let me tell you though I was so nervous and anxious I gave my self a upset stomach which then turned into attack of the turds. Right, so not fun! Good thing port-o-potties were every 2 miles because I used them, in fact we stopped every 2 miles for the first 16 miles.. Then I had nothing left so we didn't have to stop any more. This is besides the point though.
So there were 22,000 people running this race. It was shoulder to shoulder! Nicole and I when looking around were the only ones with the pink bibs (full marathon) every one else had yellow bibs (half marathon).
|My bib and getting ready for the race at the hotel|
It was insane how many women and a handful of men there were running. It was awesome! I've never felt so excited to be part of something so great! Nike put on a amazing show... They had the 3 time women's Olympic gold medalist start the race and finish in her amazing 6 min mile time. Signs and volunteers every where, they had DJ's set up and cheer stations. It was pretty neat!
Until mile 5, which was what seemed like a 90 degree winding angle up hill lasted for 5 miles! Every time we would get to what would seem the top there was another incredible hill! "Gee wiz! Will this ever end? Aren't we by the ocean?! Why is this hill so hilly! Crap! Where is the port-o-pottie!?" That was all we could say or talk about for those first 12 miles! Eventually, the steep hill went down really fast. So fast if you ran your legs would depart from your knees and it would be over... "Who cares lets get going and run down this bad jackson! We are down hill from here right? That's it no more hills!"
|4am near the start line waiting for 5am|
NOT. So not true! Oh my, even better a great steady up hill climb until we have a 4 mile break near the end. When I say near the end I am saying about mile 16... Same mile that you can see the finish line just over the median and all the people who can run much faster are already finishing... We still had almost a half of a marathon to run! That's when the bargaining and the fight to keep the tears inside our bodies start. "If I trip and fall and break my leg we could be done? What if we just stop and stay right here, we did half right? That's just as good? Can I make it? Am I dieing? I must of not trained right for this..." THANK GOD there was two of us running this together to keep ourselves from quitting!
We did have to walk the last bit but we pulled it together to run the last 1/2 a mile. We saw Nicole's family who gave us a most desired salty buttery popcorn that snapped us back into the game. We saw Tim and his sister Jen cheering us on to finish strong. Nicole and I crossed the finish line crying, lets say I had about 2 tears and was 1 more tear away from passing out from loss of water! There were Firemen handing out our Finishers Tiffany Necklaces... Most would say, "that sounds awesome!" Well, after 26.2 miles nothing really matters any more. Not finishing, not anything. Your body is just trying to keep it together because you fried your brain and muscles about half way. We grabbed our t-shirts and stood there in shock. I was really shocked it was over, I saw Tim and cried some more as you can see from the photo below.
|I was so happy to see Tim and his sister at the end|
Word of advise, don't drink the Gatorade along the way or eat the bagel they give you after wards. It taste like dirt and I had no saliva to even eat the thing with. Just a horrible taste of hi-fructose corn syrup in my mouth for more than half the way.
I drank a ton of water, Gatorade and goos to boot. I needed salt, we saw a salt pack on the ground and it was empty... I never felt sadness like that before. Just pure despair over salt. Not even the ocean had enough salt for me.
|This is me with my Tiffany Necklace, not sure what to do with myself as you can see from my face.|
|Nicole and I posing for a strong finish.|
Overall though, it was a pretty awesome adventure. We trained for over 6 months and ran almost 4 times a week every week building up to this race. I definitely, know what I will and will not do next time. I have even a better idea of how strong I am and how strong the human body is. My word of advise is that nothing worth achieving is easy and doing today is better than trying tomorrow. Besides whats the worst that can happen?