I DID IT!
I am a MARATHONER!
It all started 16 weeks ago with an AWESOME group! I am so glad I had the opportunity to join the marathon training group from my running store, Running Wild. It was great having a small group with the same goal. We did our long runs on Saturdays and some of us met during the week. I would recommend joining a training group if you are thinking about doing your first half marathon and definitely for your first full marathon!
I trained with the 4 hour finish group. About 2 weeks ago my finish time goal changed. I made that decision because, well…I’ve been training with a medial meniscus tear in my right knee. I got a cortisone shot back in September, which was the only reason I was able to continue with training. My hope was that it would get me through the marathon with minimal pain. Unfortunately, my knee started to get more achey around the last 2 weeks of training. And it was mostly after running at a faster pace. My final game plan was to run as much as possible and walk when I needed to and be completely ok with that. And I was! Even when my knee started aching as early as mile 6, I knew I would just do my best and keep pushing through. Looking at my splits this morning, I am so damn proud of myself! I seriously kicked some assphalt! I walked for the first time around mile 18. At this point there was a serious steep hill that had pretty much everyone walking. It seems I just couldn’t back under 10 min pace after that. My knee was throbbing pretty good at this point too.
I have to say that I never hit a wall. I was felt pretty good mentally, just legs got a little sore and it got pretty warm. I did get a little emotional when I saw my husband at mile 20. At this point I was about 15 minutes behind my pace group and he told me later he started to get worried when they showed up and I wasn’t with them. When I saw him back around mile 17 I had told him my knee was really hurting. He decided to wait for me and when I came up, he was holding the sign below.
Also at mile 20, my awesome sole sister jumped in to run the final 6.2 miles with me. I’m really not sure I could have finished without her. She held my water bottle, she gave me bananas and oranges, she said some encouraging words at the best times and stayed quiet at the best times. When I had to walk, she let me, when I was ready to run, she would start running with me again. It was awesome how well we worked together! One of the best things she told me was when I passed some dudes and she was like, you just totally chicked them! You are rocking this! That final encouragement as we turned the corner to the finish line is something I will never forget! I seriously thought I had nothing left but I immediately started to speed toward the finish. That’s when my emotions pretty much took over. My eyes started to well up, I forgot about my knee pain and I felt God speed up my legs and then it felt like I was flying. I remember seeing one or two faces and vaguely hearing people yelling my name. I also remember that there were no other runners around so I threw my hands up in the air as I passed over the finish line. I immediately wanted to collapse from emotions getting the best of me. The first person I saw was Paul Epstein, owner of Running Wild and the Pensacola Marathon Race Director. He opened his arms and said, “I told you you were going to cry”. Yep, you were right Paul!
Then he guided me over to where my hubby was. I was immediately grabbed up by a tall medic. As he was practically carrying me to the med tent, I looked up at him and said, I forgot to stop my Garmin. He laughed! My knee was pretty swollen. I sat on a cot and they gave me a huge bag of ice and some electrolytes to take. After a few minutes I realized I was starving! I hobbled over to where all the vendors were and grabbed a brown bag that had a banana, apple, chips, oreo, peanuts and a bagel. My hubby threw a towel on the ground and that’s where I sat for the next 40 minutes or so. I ate everything but the banana and apple. After having like 3 bananas on the course, I just didn’t want another one, haha.
I came home, got in an ice bath and then sat on the couch the rest of the day. I was starving for dinner so my hubby took me to get a yummy steak.
This morning I woke up pretty sore, mostly my knee. I’ve been pretty much sitting on my couch all morning, except when I couldn’t stand the mess in the kitchen and cleaned it up.
This week I will be contacting my ortho doc. I want to see what he thinks about repairing my tear. I’ve got many different things coming up…moving, my boys coming for Thanksgiving, two 5ks, boys coming back for Christmas and a new training group starting at the end of December. I know I want it done before my next half or full. Yes, I knew yesterday that I have another marathon in my future!
My final stats:
10th out of 45 in AG
198 out of 612 overall