I had prepared everything on Friday night like I do for every race. The only difference this time was the number of GU's needed...6! I remained calm as I got ready, eat, and grabbed my gear. It was wonderful to have Kim at the house so Drew could drive me to the race. Not having the stress of parking and worrying about the key was such a blessing.
I reviewed my verses while I ate and on the way to the race. I still felt really calm. Drew dropped me off right near the start and the indoor toilets...score! We said a prayer and off he went. I was hoping to see him again around mile 7.
After waiting in line for 30 minutes to use the restroom, I walked to the starting line. It was crowded, but walking through the corrals was easy. I only had to wait about six minutes before the race began. This was a good thing because it was windy and I was cold!
As the announcer shouted "GO" I had to control my emotions...not nervousness, but tears. I just felt overwhelmed that the moment was here. It took me about a half mile to get it all together. I really hoped to run between 3:50-4:00. I felt pretty confident that this was a very obtainable goal if I went out controlled and ran my race.
Initially the course was not too crowded; however, after the halfers began it was a little more full. At this point I had to refrain from running too fast. I kept wondering why all these people were running past me so quickly. I knew I was running a perfect pace for me and I just had to keep my focus. I was also a little surprised by the steady incline up Woodlands Parkway. It was not a hill, but definitely not the flat I thought it would be.
Mile 1: 8:41
Mile 2: 8:51
Mile 3: 8:53
Mile 4: 9:03 (I took at GU between 4 and 5)
Mile 5: 8:56
I saw Drew, the kids, Kim, and Braden between mile 6 and 7. It was a huge energy booster.
There were tons of people at this point on the course cheering loudly for everyone. It was quite exciting! I also saw my friend Maryiah and her kids and my friend Andrea and her family. I ran my fastest mile here because of the energy. I had to remind myself to slow down and remember there was a lot of race left to run. This was also the first time we encountered any of the northern wind and it was fierce.
Mile 6: 8:55
Mile 7: 8:38
Mile 8: 8:56 Somewhere around this mile Drew and everyone passed me in the van. The kids were hanging (safely) out the window to cheer for me. It was a fun unexpected surprise!
Mile 9: 8:47 I took my second GU between mile 9 and 10. My hip became an issue which concerned me. I knew it would probably happen, but I was discouraged that it occurred in the first half of the race. I tried to alter my strides and did some butt kicks to loosen up my IT band. It helped some and I kept up this pattern for the next three miles.
Mile 10: 9:00 I saw Drew and crew again at this point. Again it provided me some energy. I know Elena saw me too for real this time which was fun! Lots of people were at this point as well. It was a full course because the halfers were cruising for this finish. I was looking forward to leaving them behind.
|Blurry, but I was happy!|
|At mile 10 so happy to see everyone!|
Mile 12: 8:44 I was feeling really good with the exception of my right quad. It had started feeling really tight and heavy near mile four. My hip was feeling better and now my quad. I knew it could possibly be a long second half. I think I took my third GU around this point, but I can't totally remember.
Mile 13: 8:49 I was so happy with the first half of the race. I passed the half/full split at 1:55 and change. I knew the second half would be tough, but I felt ready for it. I took some oranges from an aid station and they were awesome! It also starting drizzling. It was not bothersome and a little refreshing.
Mile 14: 8:56
Mile 15: 9:07 I took a GU
Mile 16: 8:55
Mile 17: 9:13 The wind was bothering me and so was my quad. I was disappointed that I did not see Drew and crew here. I knew my pace had dropped and I started to play the mile by mile game in my head. Every mile was closer to my goal. The course was a lot thinner. I was basically running by myself with a few men in front of me. Another female runner and I starting playing cat and mouse around this point of the race. She would pass me and then I would pass her. This continued until about mile 25 when I pulled away from her.
Mile 18: 9:10
Mile 19: 9:14 I took another GU
Mile 20: 8:59 I don't feel like I hit the wall, but I knew it was going to be a long 10K. I just took it mile my mile. I also thought I might see Drew here, but no again.
Mile 21: 9:06 At this point I remember thinking "this is new territory". I had never run longer than 21 miles in my training.
Mile 22: 9:10 I took my last GU
Mile 23: 9:11 These were probably the hardest mile of the race for me mentally. My quads were on fire and I wanted to walk. The crowds had thinned, but were still supportive. I kept hoping to see Drew and crew, but they were not at any of the possible spots. I was psyched for the finish. I knew I had a 5K in me and that I was so close. I knew if I just kept up my current pace I would go under 4 hours.
I also knew I memorized those verses for a reason and they would come to me when I needed them. I had worn my Philippians 4:13 bracelet. I kept touching it. I also repeated "The Lord is faithful, He will strengthen you!" and "Don't throw away your confidence now, for it will be richly rewarded!" This boasted my moral without a doubt!
Mile 24: 9:15 This was my slowest mile of the marathon. The horrible uphill into the wind was during this mile. I felt like I was going to die at any moment. It was all I could do to get to the turn and be in the trees. I just kept repeating "how badly do you want this" again and again. It is the only thing I remember thinking until I saw a lady on the side with a sign reading "You can do all things...." I felt like God placed it there for me to see and I was so thankful.
Mile 25: 9:03
Mile 26: 9:07 I was running as hard as I could. This mile passed so much more quickly than I thought. I hurt...my legs hurt. I was tired and ready to be done running. I still felt like I was breathing well and my hip was great. Dumb quads! I was never so happy in my life to see the HEB. I knew the finish was around a corner...literally!
I took off my headphones because I wanted to enjoy the last 0.2, which was all in a corral. The corral was lined with people yelling, cheering, and screaming for all the runners. I finally saw Drew, the kids, Braden, and Kim. I managed to smile and wave. I was tired, but truly so happy. I saw the clock and knew I would be under 4 hours. I had completed my goal and the marathon. It was totally surreal. I was crying and just overwhelmed with joy!
|Heading to the finish and waving to my family, Kim, and Braden|
0.2 --which on my Garmin was a 0.48. I have to improve running the tangents. So I ran this in 4:06 which was a 8:32 pace, my fastest of the entire marathon. My official time was 3:57.42.
|FINISHED...with my beautiful medal!|
In my age group, I was 20 out of 106.
I could not be happier with my race. Everyone says and everything you read about your first marathon is to enjoy it. Don't put pressure on yourself. Just finish. I knew that approach would not work for me because I had to have a time goal. My goal time changed during training as I gained more confidence. I achieved both things at my first marathon. I ran under 4 hours and I had fun. It was a great experience.
So, what happens after the marathon? Well.....stay tuned!