You know what never gets old? Crossing a finish line.
Yesterday was a wonderful day to race. I may fall asleep writing this.
Katie came down from Boston to be my support crew with Chadd--we all got up and met up with FJ and Eric at the Metro and headed down to Pentagon.
The lines for the portapotties were unreal. I mean, un real. I was terrified I'd miss my start, and just like last time, I didn't even get synched up with my correct corral, I think I managed to get myself into the gates somewhere around the 4:30 mark.
I had originally signed up for a Clif Bar pace group, but I knew I wouldn't join up with them. I walk my water breaks, I didn't want the pressure of a group. I lost FJ and Eric in the crowd, but as much as I wanted to run with them, I'm also one of those people who really just prefers to run on their own.
The gun sounded, but it took about 15-20 minutes for me to even cross the start line. Once I got going, we went up through Rosslyn where I could see the bleachers set up for the spectators at the finish line. Though I felt great, I also felt like that was forever away. Something about this marathon had me in knots--later, talking to some Marines in line for the massage, we agreed that you only become a marathoner after you run your second one because then you know what you are subjecting your body to while the first one, you may be granted temporary insanity.
I was great running through Rosslyn, across the bridge to Georgetown, up into the Palisades (ugh, hills), then down M street, to K, up behind the Kennedy Center where I saw Sarah, K-Lo, Pete, and Jana with a "Go Captain Nigeria" sign, which was totally awesome. I can't remember how much I talked about Ragnar here, but that was my team name from my team (background: I sent out an email about paypal where I said that after people paid me on paypal for the race, I'd reveal myself to be a nigerian warlord scamming people off through the Ragnar scheme--maybe you had to be there.)
I missed Katie and Chadd at the 10-11 mark we'd planned because they wound up dividing the road, but that was okay. I really wanted to get rid of my jacket and gloves, but I waited until after I'd went around the island--is that Haines Point? I never know...when I saw them at 16. I had a 1:58 at the half, which was impressive considering how fast I'd had to run to make up time I lost in the beginning from being with a slower start group (probably a 10 minute mile pace, maybe 10:30). By the time I got to that area, I was in a solid group of runners that I was more or less leap frogging with the rest of the time.
The race had a very different feel this time--Chadd noticed it too. The tone was a lot more serious--there were still people in costumes, but even though it was halloween, not nearly as many people as I thought I'd see. There were a lot more serious runners. People were hyped and anxious. Maybe it was me projecting how I felt onto other people, but it had a whole different feel this year. I can't quite put my finger on what was different, but it just was.
I came back up and went around the mall where I saw my cheer group again (twice! love you guys!) and saw Chadd and Katie again (they had a sign that said "FREE BEER in 16, 10, 6.5 MILES" that they crossed off as they went--people loved it). At mile 20, Maureen joined me and thank God. I was in so much pain at that point, everything else had gone out the window. I was enjoying the first 20 or so miles, but by mile 23, I'd hit the wall. My body just couldn't do it anymore. That's the worst part is that once you beat the bridge, you might not be on the bridge...but it's still desolate highway wasteland.
Maureen was my hero and stayed with me through mile 26 where she peeled off. .2 Miles to go. I passed a guy walking and while I knew how badly he hurt, I grabbed his arm and said "you can't stop, it's only .2 away, come on." Then that hill. Oh that hill. It's just unkind. It would put you out of breath walking up the hill, but running after 26 miles, and you can see the end. You can hear people screaming, you can see the arches, the photographers, the runners stopping and resting. There are marines lining the hill, crouching down so you're at eye level with them while you're forcing your body up that hill and they're clapping and waving you onward. Every step there was a stab of pain going through my body, my legs were on fire, and then that miraculous point where you step across the first timing mat and you are finally, finally done.
4:08:48. It's not below 4, but honestly, I'm okay with that. It just wasn't in the cards for yesterday, and I'm just proud of myself for doing it (again).
I got a foil blanket from a Marine, tucked myself into it, being cold already, then got a medal from another Marine after going through the gates, stopped for a picture in front of the Iwo Jima statue, then let myself get herded off to the water and food. Powerade, water, and this year (great idea!) a bag from sodexho already full of food--somewhere to put everything!
Mom and Dad called me while I was milling around in the crowd then I found Katie and Chadd and with a sweaty hug leaned on them while we got to the finisher area, where I got a mich ultra (mmm favorite "bad" beer) and a much needed massage.
During the massage, FJ came and found me then we all headed to the metro....
Unfortunately, the lines for the metro and shuttles were so long that we decided just to walk back to Georgetown. And let me tell you. I was surprised I could walk so far, but we wound up getting a cab around Wisconsin and M back to the house. We grabbed pizza at Flippin Pizza then drove Katie to BWI.
I felt great last night (for having run a marathon) but today, I feel horrible, kind of like I've been beaten with a baseball bat. Chadd got me into bed last night, turned on the ballgame, and after I took two tylenol pm, I passed out, but around 7 am, the cat started. Chadd got up, took care of him, then came back and helped me roll over. This morning, I was in excruciating pain. Hell, I still am.
I got a late start on work, but spent the day at my laptop, occasionally trying to get up...now, just to wait until the soreness wears off!
Thank you again everyone for your support! I'm pretty sure that was my last marathon, but it was a good one to go out on.
And like Katie said--now that I've done more than one, I can say that I'm a marathoner.