It was a definite challenge.
It was exhilarating.
I'll do it again...just not anytime too soon. I'm way too sore for that kind of craziness.
I've always been in awe of marathon runners but I now have an even greater respect for them after running only half of their distance. In that last mile as I thought my legs may give out on the rest of my body, I swore--with Stephanie as my witness--that I would never attempt the full 26. I don't know how it's humanly possible.
Jon woke at 5:30 am yesterday morning and drove us to the starting line in Tukwila. He pointed to the distant Seattle skyline and said, "You're going to run to those buildings." They really did seem so far away. It wasn't the first time in the last few months that I wondered at my sanity. After all, I've worked more recently than I have at any time in the last decade. It wasn't the most convenient time to push my body to new limits but the sense of accomplishment was ever so worth it.
Here we are at the start of the race. I was definitely nervous.
I was really impressed with the organization of the whole event. Our gear was shuttled to the finish line via UPS trucks. It was so funny to see them all lined up in a row. We were assigned one of 25 trucks according to the alphabetical order of our last name.
I've never seen so many porta-potties in my life! Row and rows of potties for lines and lines of runners. We waited for quite some time for our turn to use the blessed things.
The course was Seattle scenery at its best. Many miles were run right along Lake Washington. The weather was ideal; sunny and 70 degrees.
At mile 9, the course turned into the I-90 tunnel. It was a good sized hill getting into the tunnel but that was only the beginning of a difficult part of the course for me. It was dark and extremely humid inside the tunnel. Since this was a Rock N'Roll marathon, there was a live band every mile. One of the bands was located at the end of the tunnel which created a loud reverberating noise throughout. I'm a sweaty pig to begin with, but that tunnel about did me in. I started to sweat profusely, and my wet palms couldn't wipe the perspiration from my face fast enough. It was such a relief to feel the rush of fresh air once we left the confines of the tunnel. Unfortunately, most of the remaining three miles were hard after that.
I did feel good coming down the freeway ramp into downtown Seattle. I could see the finish and felt the thrill from the cheering crowds of people. At that point I told Stephanie, "I hope my family came." I knew Jon was going to come to pick us up but I wasn't sure my family would make the trek and brave the throngs of people. But not more than 1/2 mile later, I saw my two oldest kids and Jon holding signs and cheering me on. I was so glad to see them...except that I was horrified by Alyssa's hair. She had day-old french braids that had been through a three hour gymnastics workout and then a full night against the pillow. I couldn't believe her daddy brought her without running a brush through her hair!
Shortly after passing my fans, I saw the mile 12 marker ahead and seriously started to wonder if my legs would carry me to the finish. I wasn't in any pain but just felt general weakness in my legs. It felt as though they had a mind of their own and were contemplating collapse at any moment. I slowed just a bit and willed myself to run one final mile.
I crossed the finish line at 1:53:33, averaging an 8:40 mile pace.
I felt so good. So tired, but so good.
The "after" picture.I came home to a cute sign on the house from Natalie. She stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa. Special thanks to them for watching her and for providing my night-before carbo load and race day celebration meals. And, a thorough rubbing of my sore feet by Grandma.
My legs are hurting today. There were many signs along the route that said, "Pain is temporary, pride is forever." So true. The pride of the accomplishment is certainly worth the pain.
Here's to Rock'n and Roll'n again in 2010!