Its official! I have completed my first full marathon. I set a goal and I accomplished it! In the process, we raised a total of $5,898 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation!!!
After a 5:00am wake up call, Denise and I woke up, ate 2 Honey Stingers and a cup of coffee, said goodbye to the men and headed out to the Red Line!
We had plenty of time to get to the start, check our bag at gear check, go to the bathroom and head to our corral. Runners were everywhere! It took us about 30 minutes to get to the start line, but once we started we felt good. At mile 1 I saw a good family friend Tom waiting for me and from that moment on I knew I had support! We kept a strong pace and saw my friend Erin at mile 7. At mile 8, we caught up with the men for some action shots!
Things were going smoothly and we were chugging along. We saw Denise’s parents around mile 10! We kept up the pace and fueled at miles 5 and 10. After a quick bathroom break at mile 10.5 or so, we kept going.
Around mile 12.5, my stomach started cramping. It was manageable at first, but I kept getting cramped on each side of my stomach. Denise pushed me to 13.1, and I kept trying.
That’s when things started to get rough. I felt ok, but every time I ran, my stomach cramped. I was frustrated because my legs felt 100% fine. It was a struggle emotionally and physically. I was frustrated because Denise was fine and I felt like I was holding her back. I was frustrated because I wanted to keep running but I could only walk, so we did 10 second and 30 second sprints of running and walking.
When we saw the men at mile 16, I immediately burst into tears. I was frustrated, in pain and had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to finish. They were worried, but I said I would be ok and we kept going. At mile 18, I graced the portapoty with my presence and puked. But, I got back out and kept going.
At mile 22, we saw them again and my Dad asked if I wanted him to run the last 4 miles with us. My answer was undoubtedly yes. Our time then was around 5:30, so we knew that even if we walked we would be ok. So we walked. For a few minutes, Jeremy and Rich walked with us. At this point I was frustrated, in pain but I knew that I would finish. After a pep talk, Rich and Jeremy took off-they would meet us at the finish line. I kept walking, Denise stayed by my side and my Dad joined us.
The next 4 miles were not fun. I was frustrated, in pain, wanting to walk and unable to push myself to run. But, I had no doubt in my mind that I would finish. My dad left us at the last half mile and Denise and I sprinted. For a second, I stopped to catch my breath (the cramping made it hard to breathe) but the last 500 meters I pushed myself and sprinted to the finish line with Denise!
We finished with an unofficial time of 6:30:49. The cutoff time for an official finisher? 6:30:59. So, we officially ran our first full marathon! We reached our goal!!!
The best thing about today? The support. It was so amazing to be cheered on and supported by perfect strangers and to remember all of the support I have in my life. I am so thankful my Dad was there for the last few miles with us, for all of the people who showed up to support us and cheer us on along the way and for Rich and Jeremy for being so supportive. (I think they even had fun!)
My biggest reason to be thankful? To have such a great friend in Denise! At any point during the race, she could have left me. But, she stayed by my side and we finished together strong. She pushed me, reminded me why we were running and helped me make it through. Denise, we did it!