I'll have a "Now What?" post soon. This post is dedicated to the race.
I chose this race because I hoped it would be cool. The prior two years didn't see temperatures above 50 degrees. Hello!? Perfect! I had a feeling this wasn't a huge race, and I was right. This was ok by me though. I'm not a fan of the huge, pimped out races. I ran two, and they both left a sour taste in my mouth. Some people don't like small races because they're afraid support and fans will be limited. The volunteers for this race were AWESOME. If I go back for this race, they are definitely a reason why. There weren't a ton of groups on the course cheering, but that's not a huge issue for me. Sure, it's fun to see them, but it's not like I had people cheering me on during training runs.
As we neared the location for the expo, we were greeted by dozens of aliens pointing the way. I know they are cheesy, but I loved it.
The expo was very small, and they didn't have ton of race specific merchandise. I was bummed. They had a marathon jacket, but I'm too cheap to pay what they wanted. I do regret not getting a hoodie, though. I'm hoping they'll sell some stuff online, and I can snag one up.
I got my marathon. Yes, I was smiling. I smiled a lot during the race despite the pain and despite not hitting my goals.
I had to get a picture with this giant alian before we left! D3 thought it was pretty neat, but was a bit concerned about me being on the same team as aliens. I think he sees them as a danger. ;)
The next morning was D Day. I received an email earlier in the week that they were reserving the parking lot near the start/finish line just for marathoners. Sweet! I'm such a freak about parking, and I was quite relieved to see that. Not to mention, it was free parking! Double score!
Leading up to this point, I wasn't a bit nervous. I was excited. I trained hard. I enjoyed almost every single one of my long runs. I knew I was ready, and I was going to do this. There were two things that could possibly ruin the race, but I did my best to not dwell on them: temperature and my knee. The projected high for the day was nearly 70 degrees. The temperature at race time was 43. I knew once the sun came out, it would get warm fast. Two weeks before the race, I started having troubles with my right knee. I didn't make it very well known because I was very panicked it would ruin everything. I rested a lot up until race day hoping that would do the trick.
The race started out great. The course was very flat and took us through some great areas. I didn't even walk outside of the water stations up until mile 17 or 18. This is when I hit the wall. The stretch of course I was on was on asphalt, directly in the sun with zero coverage from trees. I was getting hot, and my heart rate was elevating. I slowed down, took more sips of water, gained my composure. I started back into my run and the worst thing imaginable happend: my knee locked up and started hurting. Crap. Crap! CRAP!!!
I told Mister before the race he wouldn't hear from me until mile 24 unless I was in trouble. At mile 23, I had to call him for a pick me up. I certainly wasn't going to quit, but I needed to hear him. I let him know it was hot, but I was doing ok. I didn't tell him about my knee. I could have been in denial or hopeful it was a kink that would work itself out. A few minutes later, I sent him a text telling him about my knee. I was walking way more than I had planned. I was so upset I wasn't going to hit my goals, but a DNF wasn't going to happen. I'd come 24 miles. No way in Hell am I letting my knee keep me from my medal after I'd been training for months.
The last two miles were the longest in my life. I just wanted the pain to go away, and it wouldn't. I started running more at mile 25 and really tried to bear down at 25.5-26. I was not walking across that damn finish line. I was going to bust my ass and finish with my head high. As I made the turn into the final tenth of a mile, some jerk wad decides to just come out and stand in the finisher's lane. I yelled at him to get the heck out of the way. Hello!? Runners coming through! I could also see Mister cheering for me. I gave him a high five and was on my way.
I wish I could say I was excited at the end, but I wasn't. This wasn't the race I had trained for. I was really close to hitting just between my A and B goals, and I didn't. I'm not satisfied at all. Am I proud? Definitely. I worked really dang hard and am so amazed what the human body is able to accomplish with proper training. But, I'm not finished. That wasn't my only marathon. I'll be back for more.