However, I think it is a myth that Pheidippides died on the spot after delivering the news that they had won the battle. If he truly died, it was probably from the 150 miles he ran in two days previous to the battle (which he may or may not have been in) and then ran the 26.2 miles to deliver the news.
But enough about him, let's talk about me. This past weekend I participated in the Cowtown (Ft Worth) marathon, and I loooved it! I'm still sore yet I have already looked up another one for the end of the year. We shall see. It is a very cool feeling to know you have done something of that measure. All the way home I kept having this feeling of something big like I went through a rite of passage. I really like that feeling. A lot. And it was worth every ounce of sweat and physical pangs I went through.
The little dear Erin, watched Gunnar and Lily on Fri so Aaron and I could head out early on the road to get to the hotel with enough time to stretch and mentally prepare. Also, thanks to David and Ashley who watched the bebes overnight and the whole next day. We left around noonish and stopped in Waco at the Cracker Barrel for a nice carb fest of pancakes, biscuits, and cornbread. The drive wasn't too bad, about 4 1/2 hours, and we made it to the hotel and checked in. We stayed at the Hilton with a special "race participant" rate. It is the same hotel JFK stayed in before he was shot in Dallas. We checked out the expo and met up with friends- Matt and Nancy, and Jessica and John. I got my packet with my race number, chip, and sweet t-shirt. I am going to wear it with pride. Aaron and I got Jamba Juice and then headed back to the hotel before 7 for some wind down time. It was early to bed and early to rise.
Lucky for us racers (sarcasm), the wind came into Ft Worth which makes for unpleasant running conditions. After the Endurathon which was sooo cold and windy, I was in no mood to duplicate that. Man, that race sucked-at mile 14 there was a steep hill and all I could think was just get up the hill and you will be home free. Only 1.5 more to go and it is downhill or flat. Wrong! At the turnaround at the top of the hill it felt like someone kicked me in the chest because the wind was so strong and I had to fight it the whole way. But I digress, the weather that morning was in the 30's but with the wind factor it was supposed to feel more like 23 degrees. I love running in cold weather, but I hate running in cold windy weather. I get pretty hot that I don't really need much extra clothes except for the first mile really. Luckily, I didn't think it was worse than the Endurathon. Some people thought it was still pretty chilly. I thought the wind felt good.
The lines for the port-a-potties were long, and that is where I hooked up with Kelly. Cousin Kelly. My running inspiration. She's amazing. I couldn't find any of my other running mates-no pun intended. Aaron, Kelly, and I shoved our way to the start line. The gun went off, and we stood still. The crowd was so large, but I loved it. It was adventurous to see how long it would take to get to the walk, then the trot, then to the run. I ran my first 4 miles with Kelly. She was taking it "easy", haha. I was going my pace. So at mile 4 I gave her my blessing and told her I think we needed to split since I knew I didn't want to be dragged along by her like an old school toy phone with a string attached that had a roll over and was then bouncing around while being dragged. That is what Kelly would have been doing in a sense if I had stayed with her until I took out my pocket knife and cut the string.
That is when I took off my long sleeve shirt. It is comedic, how many pairs of mittens, gloves, ear warmers, and sweatshirts I saw discarded along the way. If I had taken my $2 mittens with me (which I handed off to Aaron at the gun) I think the cheapskate in me would have tucked them into my belt and taken them with me to the bitter end. I couldn't bare to toss gear away. Around mile 6 I was looking out for Aaron. When we went over the map the night before to see what stops he could make to take pics, it was only around mile 6 and then 11. The other miles were as such that he could not get there in time and then the ones he could, he would not be able to make the finish line in time if he hit those ones. It turned out that he missed me at mile 6. I was too fast, hehe, but it was good for me because I kept looking forward to seeing him other places. Like maybe he will be at this aid station, and it kept my mind off of running, looking for him.
I finally saw him at mile 11, but it went by too quickly. Just a wave and a few pics and I ditched my long sleeve shirt with him. At the half marathon point I was stoked. My time was 1hr 55mins. I was thinking if I kept my pace I could finish around 3hrs 50mins. I couldn't imagine that being in my sights and was elated. I felt great and on top of my game. Even at mile 16 I was feeling good. I was in a good mood listening to my music, thinking about Lorna when the song 'Low' came on and how she wants some "Apple Bottom jeans". I was jamming out to Beastie Boys, thinking "I could so do another marathon, this is fun" and then somewhere in between mile 18-19 I could feel it. The tide was slowly turning. My left ankle on the side, whatever muscle that is was starting to get sore and my right hip flexor was getting pretty stressed making my right lower back a little tight. It was slowly starting to get to me. I promised myself a walk break at mile 20 but took it at mile 19 during an aid station to down a GU and Gatorade. I then gave myself a mental talk about starting the race anew at mile 20. It was going to be a 20 mile race then a 10k. I broke it up in my mind thinking I could hopefully get a fresh start at mile 20. It doesn't work that way. The race just went downhill from there. I mean I still ran, only losing a little of my pace, but the energy it took to maintain what I had was huge. I had nothing left to 'step it up'. There wouldn't be negative splits in my future, but I didn't beat myself up too much about it, being my first marathon and all. I kept thinking, only an hour left of running, surely I can do another hour and then I can rest.
Mile 23 was definitely the longest for me. I kept thinking, oh surely I am on mile 24 by now, they just didn't put up the mile 24 marker. Then I saw it. Crap! I had only gone a mile. Miles 24-26 were just sheer focus and will power to keep my pace up. My right hip flexor at that point had actually spasmed a couple times making my stride feel like my leg was going to give out beneath me at times. I didn't see mile marker 25 at all, so you can imagine my elation when I started recognizing streets and knowing I was in the final stretches. Finally when I rounded the last corner and saw the finish line I dug deep and found energy I didn't know I had to sprint to the finish line. I passed 4 or 5 people in that sprint, it was sweet.
I was really worried in the end. My goal time was under 4 hours, meaning that anything with a "3" in front of it would make my day. Even if it was 3 hours 59 minutes and 59 secs, I would be happy with that. But the official gun time was about a minute ahead of my real start time. I knew I would most likely get my under 4 goal, but I also didn't want my gun time to be over 4. I wanted the time clock in my pictures to say "3" as well, not just my chip time. I think that was part of the reason I was able to sprint it out at the end when I saw the clock flashing 3:59:20,21,22,23 and so on. I needed to finish under 4. So my real time was 3:58:31 and my gun time was 3:59:30. I told myself I would be ok if it was anything less than 4hrs and 30mins, but I really wanted that "3". My final stats were 8th female in my age group to finish, 44th female overall, and 271st person overall to finish the race out of over 1100 runners-about 200 of which never finished the race.
I got my medal and stood around looking for Aaron, waiting for him to come to me. There were a lot of spectators around and I didn't want to waste energy walking through the crowds. About a minute later he came up to me and then I saw Michelle a split second later. She had tears in her eyes and was sad that she just barely missed my finish. Parking was atrocious. We walked through the food tent and grabbed some snacks (free food). I put it all in the bag, nothing sounded good to me at all except the semi frozen thing of orange juice and popcorn. Weird because I am not really a popcorn person. Along the way of the race there were jellybeans, bananas, oranges, GU packs, water, Gatorade, Snickers bars, and a few other things, but nothing sounded good to me. I forced myself to down those nasty GU packs b/c I knew I needed them, but I almost barfed when I had to.
After the race Matt and Nancy and Jessica and John met up with us at TGIFridays. I would have loved to hit IKEA on the way home in Austin but Aaron would have had to push me in the wheelchair because the highest I could lift my right leg was about 2 inches. I was the sorest Sat night. Sunday I was still sore but a bit better. Today I woke up sore but don't really feel to bad this afternoon. It's amazing what you can accomplish and get done at home when you aren't training for a race. I cleaned so much. I do have to say that I wore some moleskins for my blisters on my feet. They were a lifesaver and definitely a thumbs up. I didn't get any bad blisters this go round, but it was funny, when I took off my socks I originally put the moleskins on the pad of my foot underneath my big toe. When I saw them again, they had pushed forward and were clear up almost on my toe nail. A lot of movin and groovin going on there.
Overall, what a positive experience. I definitely want to do another. How quick we are to forget the pain. The end result overshadows it all.