well, today i ran a marathon. it seemed surreal. amazing. hard. beautiful. painful. did i say amazing? yeah it was freakin awesome!
the day started off really good. clarke was so great to wake up with me at 4:30 and drive me down to his office downtown. i ate breakfast, got on facebook (of course) and waited till it was time to walk down to the suntrust building. then i met up with my team, took lots of pics and enjoyed the beautiful morning. we all walked down to the finish line, i kept saying "i can't believe it's here!"
when the race started i wanted to run 100 miles an hour, i felt awesome. coach mark took a video of us running the first couple miles (can't wait to see that!) it was awesome, the perfect start. coach elise paced me the first five to make sure i didn't start out too fast and before i knew it we were at mile 5 on grove avenue with all the mtt coaches cheering us on.
i remember hitting the first 10k and felt great. off to river road shopping center for party zone #1 and to see my mom and clarke cheering me on. then across the hugenot bridge to riverside drive. this was so beautiful! the james river was right there and it was just peaceful. i met up with garrett, a teammate, and we ran together. although looking back i probably ran too fast right here. down forest hill avenue and i was at the half way mark still feeling pretty good.
i finally made it to the lee bridge. about half way across i felt a tap on my shoulder, it was susan my good friend who i've run lots of training runs with. i was so happy to see her. and that junk food stop at mile 16 after the bridge. but i must say, the lee bridge wasn't that bad. neways, i stuffed my face with gummy bears and finally saw my mom, clarke and his whole family cheering me on. really needed that.
me and susan ran up main street and around mile 18 is where i remember it getting tough. we turned onto broad and my good friend emily cheered me on. at this point i really needed any kind of encouragement! i remember when i saw monuement avenue, for some reason this was the point i knew i would finish this marathon. i don't know why it was here. but i remember me and susan saw everyone from the half and 8k with their medals and we said "we want one, lets go get it!"
then there was the hill up the boulevard. that dreaded hill i've run up. every. single. saturday morning. once i got up it was through the pope arch and mile 20. miles 18-22 were hard. but the last 4 were tough. really tough. somewhere around 22 or 23 i met up with coach elise and she ran with us for a bit. somewhere around 23 or 24 i found coach mark. honestly i was so happy to see him because my legs were really hurting at this point and he is always so encouraging. i saw my friend emily who ran the half, she cheered for me and ran with me some. i remember asking her about her race because i didn't want to talk about the pain! ha!
somewhere along the way coach chelle started to run with me. she started counting the people i was passing as we hit mile 25. i ended up passing 13 people at the end. pretty awesome. well i really needed to blow my nose, so i asked coach chelle if she had a tissue, and she didn't. but being the amazing coach she is she let me blow my nose on her jacket! that's real love!
we finally turned off of grace and then finally cary. the finish line was in sight. i was heaving so hard, not because i was out of breath but because i was so emotional. 5.5 months of hard core training, so much dedication had gone into this moment, and it was finally here. right before the finish line i saw my dad. he surprised me and came from baltimore to see me finish. it was great.
when i crossed the finish line it was surreal. like nothing i have ever experienced in my life. it's hard to describe, but it's something beyond a runner's high. it's just simply amazing. they called out my name which was neat and when they put that huge medal around my neck i started to cry. i just couldn't help it.
my official time was 5:28:22, although i really didn't care. i achieved my goal. to finish. although my legs hurt, and they still do, i felt awesome. and i still do because this is something i will always remember. my first marathon. simply nothing else like it.
(check back soon for pics, i'm just too tired to post right now. and for capitalization!)