Did you know there is a handle in the porta potty hooked to the door to hold onto while doing your business?? I had no idea! I was quiet Sunday morning thinking about what was ahead of me. As we gathered at the porta potties for our last race, we were all talking about nerves. Almost falling in the porta potty (again) made me even more nervous and I told my friends this. They asked me why I hadn’t held onto the handle? This was race-changing folks!
At the start line, I was freezing cold. It was a chilly morning and I was happy as a clam. We all knew it was going to be much cooler than the day before and I was thrilled. I sat and chatted with a woman who was doing the Goofy and we talked running for about a half hour.
An even bigger set of fireworks exploded and the first group was off! At this point, I realized I had to go the bathroom again. I had time to run to the porta potty but I thought maybe I was just nervous and I wouldn’t need to pee anymore once I started running. Plus I hate porta potties so I didn’t want to use it if I didn’t really have to. Unfortunately, I overestimated my bladder and I had to stop even before I hit mile 1! Great job, Aim! But the handle sure was helpful!
I used the same strategy as the last three races and made sure to walk once a mile. I used the water stops a lot and also walked any hills despite them not being very steep. My legs were sore and at the start of the race I seriously questioned whether or not I could pull this off. Five miles in, I knew I would finish.
The day before, I found some flat ground in the grass along side the road and since it was a similar course for the full I did the same thing. It allowed me to get in a zone in many areas of the race and I could just run. It was hugely helpful – physically and mentally. My pace was pretty even and I felt more and more confident. All of a sudden I completely believed I was a STRONG runner.
Mile 14 changed my race and my running future. When I saw the mile marker I said to myself, “I only have 12 miles left!!”. Last year? “Oh my gosh, I still have 12 miles left”. The difference between the words “only” and “still” is the best example I have of my strong mental attitude. My quads were tight and hurting. My feet were sore, my left calf was irritated and I was more and more excited about this race and distant running as a whole! It’s completely twisted.
I took some fun pics – Rafiki is my little zen master and last year when I saw this army guy I wanted to punch him in the face. It was nice not to hate him this year!
The woman who brought the cups of Pepsi was back (tasted fabulous!) and another woman brought pretzels. I love taking treats from strangers during a race! I took another picture of the castle so I could completely take in the moment. My new motto became, “it’s going to hurt anyway, so I might as well go for it”. I would select something in the distance and run to the point and then walk a certain amount. I stuck to these mini goals like glue.
My average pace was approximately 14 mins for the first half and a little over 14 mins for the second half. I really owe all of my solid pacing to the treadmill, which I no longer hate with a passion. I hit the medical tents for BioFreeze 3 or 4 times, was able to get 1 Tylenol (they were really strict about this), went through every water stop, and took advantage of the two banana stations. They also had a cold wet wash cloth station and incredible volunteers. I finished in 6 hours and 2 mins! I crossed the finish line and started crying. I truly had a good time the entire race. I felt tough and ran through the muscle fatigue and the hurt. I was/am so stinkin’ proud of myself!
I collected all of my medals, took a massively cheesy finisher picture and headed to the ice tent. They wrapped my quads and I waddled out to our meeting area. I was waiting for friends and then kind of forgot I had the ice on my legs for about 45 mins maybe? It wasn’t until my friend asked me why my knee was turning blue that I took the ice off and noticed my numb legs. I gave myself a minor case of frostbite! It’s no joke! I got a ripe ol’ sunburn and frostbite in the same day. By the way, my legs are still kind of numb so take it from me and be careful when icing.
Oh and right when I got to the meeting area I had to ask a stranger to help me sit down! My legs were incapable of doing it on their own. Once we had all of our team in, we took pics and I headed off for coffee. Seriously, knowing an ice cold mocha awaited me was a huge motivator. I did forgo activities in the evening as I was beat. Just getting off of the bed to pack was an effort!
I really am looking forward to my next marathon. When I was running, I kept thinking about how lucky I was/am to participate in such a cool event. I thought about how just 8 months ago I was so depressed getting out of bed was my accomplishment. I remembered how I had to rebuild mileage and the love and support I’ve gotten from so many people. Endorphins + feelings of gratefulness is some powerful stuff people! Thank you all!