My alarm went off at 4:30a.m.... finally. I woke up three times at night and had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. I took a long, hot shower, getting my muscles warmed up. My clothes were all set out and my bag ready. My body was itching to run, so I jogged to the metro. I told my body we had a 26.2 mile run today, but it just didn't believe me and wanted to get moving.
I got there too early, and I was anxious as hell at the start line. I reminded myself I had nothing to worry about, I worked hard for this. The first mile was one of my slowest. The road was wayyy too crowded. The first hill wasn't bad at all, and then I rocked the downhill. I did a 7:05 min. mile. I tried to run slower, really I did. But at mile 6, I thought I was going downhill, when I was really going uphill. Now, you may say that's totally impossible, but I'm between delirium and just lots of adrenaline.
I told myself I was allowed to rock the downhills, so I wasn't freaking out about my high pace. But then, I was consistently hitting 7:30ish miles. From miles one through 13, all but two were under 7:30. Yes, I was running 30 seconds under goal pace. I tried to slow down once the course got flat, but I sucked at that too. I was seriously concerned, but the only thing that was hurting was my face. Smiling for an hour and 45 minutes can get tough :)
The crowd was awesome! And my iPod was taking me through this race easy. When I tried to slow down, I felt sluggish. When I concentrated on my pace and put a smile on my face, I felt awesome. When Megan joined me, it was Mile 16 and I seriously had no idea. I stopped thinking about the miles, and just enjoyed a run with her, keeping it at 7:45 pace.
I was starting to think, just ten miles to go. But then, I wasn't even sure I passed mile 16, so I asked Megan. She informed me that she met me at Mile 16, and we were coming up on 19 now. I laughed and said (rather loudly) "You're JOKING! Why is this so easy!"
I followed immediately with "I should not have said that aloud. People are going to hate me." The guy in front of me looked back to confirm it. So did a few other people. Megan and I focused on picking people off, I sang Baby Got Back to her, saw some friends in the crowd and yelled out "I'm 10 minutes ahead of schedule!" I felt amazing.
People say a marathon is the easiest 20 miler, followed by the hardest 10k of your life. After Megan left me at Mile 20 with some awesome encouragement, I continued finding people to pick off. I was starting to lose steam, but kept going.
At Mile 23, I was at 2:56. If I ran a 24 minute 5k, I could do this in under 3:20 (Note: I must have been delirious, I think it was 4 miles to go, not 3) . I rocked it out to a few good songs, and then I wanted to stop. I wanted to walk. I was completely out of steam. I kept going. I had my only 8 minute mile in the last 5k. I'm bummed about the weak finish, but I kept going, all under goal pace and finished in 3:22:23!!!!!!
Its so... symmetrical! That's a 55 minute PR! I am not only going to Boston, but starting in the first wave!! I still can't believe I have a 3:22 marathon PR! Holy crap!
I finished 10th in my division (20-24 females, there were over 750 of us!), 92nd female, and 801st overall! 801 out of over 20,000! Woo hoo!!
Huge thanks to Megan, and to Tyler, Jaclyn, and Natalie. I like to think I'm completely invincible and they took care of me when I was shaking uncontrollably and didn't want to eat or drink anything. It wasn't until 2 hours after the marathon that I had to go to the bathroom--yikes!
When the sun was beating down on the bridge, it felt way too warm. The sun was so hot. I could feel the salt burning my skin, my eyes, my chapped lips. At the end I dumped a bottle of water over my head. It felt amazing. Amazing amazing amazing... until I was freezing. So, post-race was a bit hard. Here I was imaging having friends there and glowing from the awesome run, and instead I was dead tired!
The best about my Boston plans is that I'm feeling no post-race blues at all. After all the training, its hard to be done in such a short amount of time (this morning flew by! Especially the first 8 miles!). But, I have so many awesome plans! And my finish line isn't until April. So... I'll be outlining those plans at one point, and I'm ready for an amazing marathon in Boston.
Note: So I wrote this that night, and while I'd like to go through and polish the post, I think it works... being inside my excited, enthusiastic, but tired as hell mind.