Anger - I was angry that I had waited too long before listening to my body. The truth is that I was already sore and struggling a bit during the first half but that didn't seem out of the ordinary. I thought that was part of truly racing a marathon, but I didn't take my own advice and didn't focus on running the first half comfortably. If I had adjusted my pace and goal from the very beginning, run a steady easy pace, my knee may not have given out and I may have PRed. I'll never know that for sure, but you know I can't help but wonder it. Our pace had been increasing steadily through the first half, and then I took comfort when it was at least not decreasing. Once I realized that I was no longer even able to maintain the pace but it was in fact slipping, I was angry.
Bargaining - As my average pace slipped and slipped way past the point of no return to come anywhere near the 5 hour mark, I began calculating how low I could slip and still PR. I adjusted my intervals so I was running slower for longer, but that only helped for a bit. Then I began running slowly for however long I could, then taking a 1 minute walk break. I tried everything I could to at least hit that goal, but nothing worked.
Depression - I had hit the point of no return for even a PR and was in so much pain, that all I had left in me was tears. Every ounce of my body hurt like it had never hurt before. It even hurt to breath or hold myself upright. I started texting Jason and doubting if I could even finish. I was determined to try, but the walking became more frequent and I seriously thought of walking the rest of the race but 10K was a long way to go at a shuffle. My feet were screaming at me, so I ran when I could to help propel me forward a little bit faster. Then my knee would begin to protest and I'd walk again. This went on and on for I don't know how long and I was no longer trying to hold back tears and burst into sobs.
Acceptance - Kerrie caught up to me just before mile 20 as I hit this low point, and she stayed with me to the end. She was struggling too and we were giving the other strength to go on. This was her 7th marathon and she was just the ray of sunshine I needed at that moment. She always has a smile on her face, and her motto is "if we're not having fun, then why are we doing this?" She helped me remember what truly mattered today, pulled me out of my little pitty party, I accepted my situation confirming I made the right choice earlier, and helped me achieve the most important goal of all: finish with a smile! =) Then our other group leader Kirsty and Jason joined us just before mile 26 and now we were laughing. I had regained enough strength to running the entire length of the finishing shoot and finish running with a smile :) I was at peace when I crossed that finish line and proud that I had finished yet another marathon despite of the challenges I faced. 3 Years ago I didn't think running a marathon was something I could ever do and wasn't even sure I wanted to try, and now I've done it TWICE! (more if you count the training runs). And no, this will not be my last marathon; I'm still running BCM in February and others in the future, but the focus will be on enjoying the experience and running. I still prefer the half marathon distance and that will be my focus for speed next year.
- Because this is a local race, there were a LOT of runners doing the half and full that I knew, including a huge showing from our Orlando Galloway Program. Since this is a bow-tie course, with 2 out and back sections, it was great fun to spot them along the way and cheer for each other. I felt like a celebrity every time one of them spotted me and screamed my name.
- The course was gorgeous, and I'm so glad I had Dawn there with me to point it out during the first half. There were all these picturesque spots along the riverbed and some really pretty houses.
- The course support for this race is like no other. I loved seeing the themed water stations, having a ton of water along the way (though they decreased on the 2nd half when we needed them most), they were well stocked with gels, and the volunteers were very helpful and encouraging.
- The medal is huge and even more impressive than last year's. I am glad I was able to be part of their 40th Anniversary.
- Sharing it with my Galloway Family and Jason. I'm so proud that they all did so well.
- I wasn't last! =P
- Finishing laughing with great running friends! =)
- AG 38/48
- Overall 748/906
- clock 5:47:13
- chip 5:43:16
- pace 13:07
- 10k 1:13:06
- half 2:35:02
- 20 miles 4:00:59