|Linda, her daughter, and her grandson|
Prior to the race, I had three different goals. My first goal was to finish the marathon. My second girl was to finish the marathon in five hours. My secret if-it-happens-to-be-a-super-awesome-race-day time was 4:30. My December half marathon time was 2:02:43, so I was pretty certain I could reach my 4:30 goal; however, that half time was prior to my injury.
The week before the run, I did a 3 mile run really pushing my pace. My idea was that running my goal pace of 10:18 at the race would not feel so bad if my legs could remember having to push for a much faster pace (well, it worked for my half marathon). I ate pasta for at least one meal for the four days leading up the race. I also drank a lot of water and got plenty of sleep.
Friday night I was freaking out, when I realized race day was going to start with the weather in the 30s! Luckily, Katy and Chris reassured me that everything would be fine. I made my sign to wear in my shirt on race day.
|My name is Jessica. This is my first marathon! I am running in memory of Linda Franasiak.|
|Me and Chris|
|Caitlin and Ryan|
|Me and Caitlin... sideways. I cannot figure out how to fix it. )o:|
|Me and Katy|
|Adding to the signs|
|Seriously, not sure why the pictures with Caitlin keep uploading sideways. Does anyone know how to fix this? Darn Blogger!|
|The race poster... also sideways|
|Donna's husband, Tim. He wore a skirt during the race after raising a lot of money for charity|
|I love my shirt!|
Caitlin, Ryan, and I woke up at 4:30 am. (Chris had a ton of homework, so rather than making him stand outside in the freezing cold while I ran, I told him I'd meet up with him after the race.) Although I did not sleep well, I felt quite awake. We got dressed, and I ate a bagel and a few bites of a banana while we waited for the bus to take us from our hotel to the start. It was really cold outside! After arriving at the start and checking out bags, we headed to the race corral where I ate a goo. When I signed up for the race, I hoped for a 5 hour finish, so that is the corral I was in. Up ahead, I saw the flag for a 4:30 pace group, and I knew I wanted to catch that group. Just before the race started, I made a bathroom stop. In the line for the bathroom, I met a 53 year old woman who was preparing for her 15th Boston marathon. Yikes!
The race start was pretty emotional. We were surrounded by pink and signs honoring all of those who survived or were lost due to breast cancer. I saw many signs on the backs of people's shirts. I even saw a sign on a father's back about his 6 year old daughter who has breast cancer. I saw a young woman running with a "super hero cape" that was pink and had a sign that said she was running in memory of her mother.
When we started, my feet were numb for the first 2 miles, which is around the time I finally tossed my sweatshirt. Below my sweatshirt was the sign I made for Linda, and I have to say that I am really glad I made the sign. All throughout the race, people were telling me "good luck" or something of the sort. It was really nice. I also loved that our race bibs had our names on it, because hearing people cheering for me and saying my name was very encouraging. I seriously have never smiled so much during a race. I was feeling energetic but made myself hold back a bit.
I took a goo at mile 5. While the race does hand out GU every 5 miles, I personally prefer the PowerGel brand, and I carried those in my SPIEbelt. Then we ran 2.5 miles on the beach, which was beautiful. It was there that I finally caught up to the 4:30 Galloway pace group and passed them. After the beach, I was starting to feel a bit tired. The fact that I had not even reached the half way point made me feel nervous, but then at mile 9 I saw Katy! She was there cheering on myself and all the other runners! That really lifted my spirits! I seriously cannot thank her enough! (You can read Katy's race recap here.) After that, I just kept telling myself, "I am almost to the half way mark and it is all downhill from there" (little did I know that was completely wrong about the downhill part). I took another goo at mile 10.
|Awesome beach shot Ryan took of Caitlin (in pink). The boards led us across the soft sand to the packed sand.|
|Picture Katy took. My favorite picture from the race! Way better than any of my other race photos.|
Those last 6.2 miles seemed to never end. Thank goodness for the crowd support! During the entire race, I must have said, "Thank you" over 100 times. I seriously attempted to thank everyone who was cheering, because my race would not have been as fabulous without them. The last few miles my Thank You's had less of a smile and sounded rather pathetic I'm sure. I ran a few miles chatting with a man who has completed two Ironmans! He was very encouraging.
The last couple miles were the worst. I had to run on a highway ramp which meant that the road was slanted and was killer on my legs, especially my left hamstring/butt. Mile 25 was nearly at the top of an overpass, and it really was rough for me. The last mile was in slow motion. And not in a movie-magic kind of a way, in a slow oh-my-goodness-will-this-ever-end kind of way. I kept hearing people yelling my name, and I saw the clock and knew I could just beat my new 4:20 goal (official chip time 4:18:03). It was hard not to cry as I crossed the finish line. As soon as I crossed, they put a medal around my neck, and a few feet later there was someone who wrapped ice around my knees. I'm pretty sure that saved me the next day.
|Final stretch. I felt as dreadful as I look.|
|With Renee and Joy|
|The cutest niece ever!|
|with Chris and Joy|
|with my old roommate|
I did not get to see Caitlin and Ryan finish, because I was on my way to get more ice, but I heard their names being announced with an amazing time of 5:22! I immediately went to meet them. I am sooooo proud of Caitlin! I could not have run this marathon with Caitlin and Ryan!
I will definitely run another marathon! And I would love to run this same marathon again. It is for a wonderful cause, and it was extremely well organized (including the expo, race start, plenty of port-o-potties before and along the race, lots of water, gatorade, and GU, plenty of support at the end of the race including the ice, and great medal and race photos).
Mile 1: 10:46 (still in a big crowd and my feet were numb from the cold)
Mile 2: 9:53
Mile 3: 9:57
Mile 4: 9:41
Mile 5: 9:33 (chip time 49:17)
Mile 6: 10:00
Mile 7: 9:52
Mile 8: 9:49
Mile 9: 9:38
Mile 10: 9:38 (chip time 1:39:05)
Mile 11: 9:30
Mile 12: 9:46
Mile 13: 10:16 (stopped and stretched twice) (chip time for 13.1 2:09:39)
Mile 14: 9:37
Mile 15: 10:08 (chip time 2:28:16)
Mile 16: 9:42
Mile 17: 9:43
Mile 18: 9:21
Mile 19: 9:54
Mile 20: 9:45
Mile 21: 9:49 (chip time 3:17:08)
Mile 22: 9:56
Mile 23: 9:58
Mile 24: 9:50
Mile 25: 9:52
Mile 26: 9:38
Mile 0.28: 9:28 (I think that extra 0.08 was at the very beginning trying to get around people)
This is just proof that training for distance and not speed on the long runs and doing a bit of speed work really pays off! Our long runs ranged between a 11-12:30 pace depending on the day, which was absolutely great because it was a pace where we could chat and keep ourselves entertained. In fact, our friend Kyle pointed out to me that my half marathon time (2:09) was exactly half of my full marathon time (4:18). I am proud that I was able to stay so consistent.
After the race, we went back to the hotel and showered. Then Chris and I stopped for food and headed back to Orlando, where I slept in the car. I was most definitely sore the next few days! And speaking of the next day... On Monday (the day after running a full marathon), Caitlin successfully defended her candidacy! I am so proud of her!!!! She is officially a doctoral candidate now! This day was also Valentine's Day, and Chris and I opted to eat in and enjoy a relaxing evening at home. It was perfect! He even brought me home roses! He is the best!
I want to thank you all for your support and encouragement! I could not have done this marathon without you either! I love the blogging community! I hope that you all have a wonderful week!