It’s still unbelievable to think that I’m officially a Marathoner. There are so many emotions I experienced this weekend about the race. From a Saturday night freak out that they might cancel due to thunderstorms, to waking up Sunday morning ready, but nervous, to run.
In the starting corral, I met up with one of my best friends, and we were able to run the first 7 or 8 miles together before we separated. Running those first miles with Amber was such an amazing experience, and she pushed me to give a great effort in the earlier miles.
At around mile 5 we found the cheering section. My mom, dad, sister Katie & my husband were screaming and waving at us. Their support came at just the perfect time. It was early on in the race, but honestly, anytime you see a friendly face, it helps propel you and keep you going.
At the half marathon/marathon split, the giant hill began. I won’t lie, it definitely lived up to its name. I walked only a minute and ran the rest of the hill. I felt great coming through Oakland, and ended up seeing two people I had worked on staff with at Camp Lutherlyn, who were there cheering on another former staff member. At that point I still felt very strong coming around the course. Mile 15 was the fastest mile and definitely one of my best. Through all of my training runs, 15 and on were horribly painful, but at that point, I didn’t feel too bad.
Then Mile 17 happened. I hit the wall. And by hit the wall, I mean crash into it and become a pancake like Wile E. Coyote. I felt completely defeated. I couldn’t possibly imagine running 9 more miles. At mile 18 I started to really doubt myself. I knew I was still on pace for my planned 5:30 finish, but I just didn’t have the will to keep going. A beautiful and wonderful attendant at the next fluid station told me I could do it, and I was strong. The determination in her voice and look of encouragement helped me push forward. I cried for the next quarter mile and got my crap back together. I could do this.
I don’t remember a lot from miles 18-24, but I remember feeling so determined to get to the finish line after that. After all, I was almost there, and still making pretty good time. Once I hit the Strip District, and realized we had run down this way at the start, I knew I was getting close. I took one last walk break, and off I went. At the finish line, I heard my family cheering for me and it gave me just what I needed to get across the line.
My official time was 5:13:47, which was perfect. Not too slow, but faster than I had originally planned for. I still can’t believe I ran a full Marathon. Through all the self-doubt, pain, fear, I made it to that golden arch. I couldn’t have asked for a better city to run in, and I’ll always look at my medal and know that I accomplished something incredible.