My original thought was to run first thing Saturday morning - knock it out early then enjoy the rest of the weekend. But, I planned poorly on Friday and wound up not fueling properly for the next day's run (a protein shake for breakfast and lunch, roasted mushrooms for dinner does not a healthy girl make). I was feeling the effects of too few calories from the previous day on Saturday morning and decided to push the run back.
I fought myself about whether to do it Sunday (with help) or Monday (while I was home alone and Mike worked = no help) and finally landed on Sunday morning. Since it's not blistering hot here in Florida (for a few short weeks of the year), I decided to let myself wake up naturally instead of beat the sun. By 7:30 I was up, dressed, fueled, and ready to hit the pavement.
Even though I was running in daylight, I for some reason picked this fashionable color combo just so I would be sure to be seen by cars. Beauty before comfort? No, safety before beauty!
Roady wished me luck and I headed out the door.
My neighbor and fellow first-time-marathoner-to-be joined me for the first 12 miles before she had to stop to go to church. I let her know ahead of time about how I would be hard-headed about the pace for this final trial, and she did a great job of staying with me as we ran the first 12 miles at a 9:25-9:36 pace.
Like I planned for last week, I completed 2 laps of 6.5 miles each. We breezed through the first loop without stopping for water. On the second loop my buddy needed a quick potty break, so I knew we were running a little behind time. Lap 3 I was on my own and feeling strong. I finished the first 4 miles of the third loop (miles 13-17) around a 9:05 pace. I took a look at the actual time and saw that it was approaching 11:30 am, when I had asked Mike to meet me at the house so he could run or bike the final loop with me. I wound up cutting the third loop about a mile short in order to make it back in time, figuring it was better for him to bike an extra mile with me than be waiting for me to get started.
When I got back to the house, Mike was ready to go with his bike, his Pandora Reggae station playing, and some water bottles to bring on the trip. I was so thankful for the company, as I had 18.5 miles behind me and 7.5 more seemed ridiculous.
I don't know if it was the miles or having Mike there to be strong for me, but my pace really started to slow. I was tired and my hips were aching, but I should have been OK. I was mad at myself for slowing down. Right at the dreaded 21.5 mark the foot pain I've been managing for the past 2 weeks kicked in to high gear and my foot no longer wanted to support my weight. Reluctantly, I stopped to stretch my foot and roll my ankle. My average pace was creeping up and I was starting to lose hope. I kept going, knowing the pain would stop (or go numb) if I could just keep moving. Again I cried a little, not as bad as last time, but enough to get Mike's attention and make him start cheering and pepping me up.
I thought of you guys and asked him to take a picture for the bloooooog, even though I knew I would look disgusting and miserable. As you can tell, I was not feeling great anymore. When it was time to turn around, I got a little surge of energy and told myself "just get home, you just have to get home."
The final 3 miles are a little blurry - literally. I put my head down and stared at my shadow on the pavement in front of me. I felt myself getting dizzy and foggy, and shook my head to wake myself back up. It was hard to focus. It felt like work just to look at the ground in front of me to make sure I wouldn't trip on anything. A little day dream about tripping and falling during the race managed to occupy a few minutes of the remaining miles.
As I approached my street (and the last 0.2 miles!) I saw my neighbor on her way back from church. She honked and cheered out the window, which gave me the boost I needed for those final steps.
When it was all over, I was very happy and very proud...but this is the closest thing to a smile I could come up with.
26.2 miles in 4 hours and 25 minutes. For my first marathon distance, I am pretty proud. I am, however, wondering and worried if the adrenaline from the crowd can really help me shave a whopping 10 minutes off that time on race day, in order for me to make my 4:15 goal.
On my Monday off, I took the pup to my training session with Tammy then for some well deserved play time at the dog park in Ponte Vedra. He loves to run free, swim, and fetch the ball.
Oh, and sniff everyone and make new friends.
This is what $8 of organic strawberries looks like, eaten with a knife since I don't want to run downstairs to the cafe for a fork. Along with this is a homemade larabar and a glass of apple chai tea. Looks like I will need to pack in all my veggies and protein during dinner.