This was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about quitting. I thought about it. ALOT. And I kept thinking how I was going to have to come home and write on my blog that I didn't finish. And that's what kept me going. Part of it at least.
From looking at the web, it doesn't look like the final results are out, but I think I finished in about 4:30. And for those non-marathoners out there, that's 4 HOURS 30 minutes. :)
I did great the first 3-4 miles. I felt good, pushed through the hills and the burn and actually jogged a little turning my 20 minute mile that I was doing in training into about a 17 minute mile. Somewhere around mile 6 my back started to really hurt. I always have lower back pain when I'm on my feet for too long. It was about mile 6 that I had to start stopping and bending over and stretching out my back. Mile 7 I stopped for my one and only potty break. About mile 10 I felt a HUGE blister on the bottom of my foot and had to stop and put on a bandaid. It was then that I really considered not going on. And I'm not talking about kinda thinking about it. I wanted to quit. And I didn't care that I was quitting. I just wanted to quit.
But I didn't.
I pushed through but had to stop and sit several times on the way and that cost me about 30 minutes in the end. When I had about 1.5 miles left, I decided that I had to sit and the longer I sat, the more I wanted to KEEP sitting. Thankfully, while I was sitting there contemplating whether I was going to make it and watching the girl next to me get loaded into an ambulance (wondering if there was room for me), my co-worker Peggy came around the corner.
Peggy was an answer to prayer. She literally pushed me (ok, not LITERALLY, but mentally) to the finish line where Steve and Jenna were waiting for me. When I crossed the finish, I almost burst into tears. It was very emotional.
As for the course, I started out taking pictures along the way. About mile 3, I stopped because there wasn't as much to look at and by the time there was more to look at I really didn't care.
I didn't walk with anyone until the very end, so there was lots of time for me to talk with God and I did. I thanked him for every breeze and piece of level land. I asked him for strength and positive thoughts. And I begged him to make this end quickly! I practiced my scriptures.
I will admit, I probably won't be signing up for another marathon (full or half!) in the foreseeable future. But I can't express how encouraging all the texts and messages on Facebook were. Might I suggest that you head out to next year's marathon and set up along the way to cheer on the participants? So many times I was thinking of giving up and there were people on the sidelines cheering for me by name (because my name was on my shirt). One guy walked wiht me for several steps telling me I could do it and to look at how far I'd come and how many peopel were still behind me. A woman on a street corner held a sign that said, "You Inspire Me". A church had a band playing Christian music and there were volunteers slapping your hands screaming "You can do it! You're almost there!" Not to mention the hundreds of volunteers that staffed the water stations like my friends from work Sherri, Susan and Cindy! So nice to see smiling faces cheering you on.
Anyway, here are a few shots from today. You can find many more on my Facebook account.