Monday, October 17, 2011

Empire State Marathon

     I did it. I completed my one and only full marathon. 26.2 miles. Ouch. Why anyone does it more than once, on purpose, is still beyond me. I'm glad I did it though. What an accomplishment. It takes dedication, determination, and a lot from within to complete such a feat. A good coach comes in handy too. I'm extremely glad I signed up for the training program with Kevin Collins. I had no idea what I was doing, what I was about to get myself into, or how to properly train for something so big. Thankfully, I trained for and ran the marathon injury free, and I attribute it to the training program I followed. Not to say there weren't any hardships along the way. At one point, I seriously thought I might drop down to the half. I wasn't sure I had it in my to keep going with the training. I was getting burnt out and started to dislike running. I missed running "just for fun." Running did stop being fun for me, and now that the race is over, I'm excited to get back into running just because I like it. That won't be for a few days though...I am still sore as hell from the race! I learned a lot from the training program. I learned how to speed train, what a tempo run should feel like, and how to push yourself to that point just beyond what you thought you could actually do. I learned I had more in me than I gave myself credit for. I made some wonderful friends, whom I plan to continue running with. I also learned my peak "feel good" distance, and that I absolutely adore the half marathon distance. My long run group ran a half race during our training and I loved it. I do see more of those races in my future.
      So race day--I wasn't really nervous about the race because my main goal was to just finish it. I estimated a 5ish hour finish time based on our training runs and I did just that with my 5:02. I ran the first half and then walk/ran the 2nd half. I saw Pete around mile 16, gave him a hug, told him I was dying and kept on running. I was pretty spent by mile 17. I remember crying around mile 18. It was a bit surreal. At first I thought it was the wind making my eyes water. It was a bit windy on race day. Or maybe I was crying because my hamstrings were not pleased from the hills. No, it wasn't that either. They were adrenaline, endorphin infused tears. I was going to do it. I was going to finish this damn run, even if I had to walk the end. I cried and ran for the next mile or so. I saw my mom and niece, Amelia, around mile 22 and 23. They ran with me for a few seconds. My mom took a photo, and from my smile, you'd almost think I was still having fun at that point, but really, I was one hurtin' unit. Around that same time, a 30 year old man from the Rochester area was running his first marathon. His wife was having a baby in December, and he was running the marathon because he had never been a very disciplined person, and well, he had a baby on the way. He was hurting just as much as I was, we had spent that last few miles, taking turns passing each other in our walk/run intervals. As we were headed out of the park and onto the last miles of the race, I turned to him and said, "Come on. We'll interval our way to the finish." We held on for a couple of miles and then he fell a bit behind and I kept going. I walked/ran my way to the final stretch and then ran the last half mile. I think it nearly killed me. There was no finish in sight. Where was the huge banner that had Start on the front and Finish on the back? I KNOW  I saw it this morning!! Later I learned that the winds that seemed to pick up midway through the race, actually knocking the sign down, twice. It hit a finisher the second time it fell, so they just kept it down. Makes perfect sense, but sorta killed my spectacular finish. My finish was redeemed when I suddenly saw my husband and two kids, waiting on the side to run with me to the finish. Now that was AWESOME and better than any banner that said Finish.

Hey, how do we attach these chips to our sneakers?

Hmmm, I think we got it.

Cheese! Marathon crew!
It's almost start time!

A few photos first...
The sun is coming up!

And we're off! We start and finish at the same place. Boo, on the missing finish at the end. 
There I am crossing the start line!
And we're off! Is she running with her coffee?
Wheeee! This is fun. (right now. ask me again at mile 17.)

Fresh legs.
Mile 4ish.  

I think this is mile 6ish when I saw a bunch of my crazy co-workers, snapping photos.
Woo hoo! Paparazzi. 
This is my marathon coach, Kevin Collins, in the Y-runners shirt. He placed third in the half marathon. His brother, Brian, was the one who organized this awesome inaugural event. 
I think this is near the spot that my coach whizzed past me. The half started 30 minutes after the full.
My mama came to see me with my niece. I think this is mile 22ish. Even though there is a smile on my face, I was not having fun.
Mile 22ish. 
Mile 23ish.   
David, one of my long run warriors.

Erika, my partner in crime.

Emily, another long run warrior. I couldn't have done it without these three peeps. Every weekend they kept me going, especially when I felt like giving up. 
Almost to the finish!
I think a bus ran over me somewhere along the course.
At least it looks that way.

My glutes and hamstrings were not pleased with me. I was hurtin'.
I think I see the finish. Wait. Where is the finish sign?

The finish is gone. Am I even going in the right direction?

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