I can't believe how quickly this week is flying!... the race was on Saturday and it's now Tuesday, but between travelling, recovery, day to day life and not feeling well, somehow time has got away with me.
I set off on Friday afternoon, packed up with all my essentials (several clothing options, sport beans, forgoodness shakes, puppies and Paul) and headed to Beaumont.
It couldn't have been a worse evening to travel, the rain was pouring like crazy. Once we got to Beaumont we had to go to the supermarket to pick up some things I needed for dinner and breakfast, and we also needed to go to packet pickup in the city centre for my race number and timing chip.
I have never got so wet running in and out of buildings and I was starting to get nervous about the forecast for Saturday morning. I had been checking weather underground all week and storms had been forecast until the last minute.
Somehow, despite this forecast, a little miracle happened and Saturday was clear all dayAs expected I got a rubbish night sleep on Friday as I was full of nerves, excitement and anticipation. I got up at 5 to get some breakfast and we got there just in enough time for a photo of me looking nervous and to get to the start.
The first loop was great as there were plenty of people to run and pace with and lots of supporters along the route. I finished the first half in 2.03.31 then started on the loneliest 13.1 miles of my running life so far!
Initially I was feeling strong after the first half as I headed out onto the MLK freeway. It's such a long stretch and the wind was picking up which started making life a little more difficult. When I got into the town centre it was so much quieter than the first loop. Many of the supporters had called it a day as it wasn't worth hanging around for the more occasional marathon runners. Local businesses were closed because the roads were closed so it was dead as a dodo! I had a few guys behind me and a couple up ahead but there were definitely not crowds of runners encouraging you to push along. That's where the mind games began. The urge to walk was overwhelming sometimes and the pain in my quads started to wear me down.
Running back up the long stretch of MLK (somehow into the wind again!) was the hardest part for me. I had never run over 20 miles so this stretch was pushing me physically and mentally. On the positive side, running down the middle of 6 lanes of motorway all to yourself is pretty awesome!
Somehow I surprised myself and finished in a gun time of 4.26.09 and chip time of 4.25.40. I was 4th in my age group which I'm so pleased with considering it was my first marathon... then I realised if I had been just a couple of months older I would have been 1st in my age group... FIRST!!!! HOW AWESOME IS THAT??!!
However today I'm starting to move a little better and I don't regret it for a moment... it was totally worth the aches and pains!
Between you and me I'm already planning my next one....