So, I ran another marathon... but this time I ran it with my family! My dad, Whit, Ben, Jill, Hailey and I all ran it together, which makes this family marathon #2! (Click here for family marathon #1 memories!) Most of us split up, but we were all running the race at the same time. :) Ben and I were each by ourselves as we had goal times that we wanted to reach, then Whit and Jill stuck together and my dad and Hailey stuck together.
Since I know the suspense is killing you, I'll tell you, I didn't reach my goal time. :( I was going for my sub-four hour time, and was on course to get it until about mile 16 when I had to stop due to something I couldn't control. Without going into too much detail, I will say that around mile 5 or 6 I started having some 'girl troubles'. Just imagine the worst thing you can imagine happening and that is what happened. Yeah, it wasn't pretty. I tried really hard not to care and just keep on moving because I really wanted that time. I would stop here and there at the water stations to try and keep things under control, but it never really made a difference, just started eating away at my time. I made it to about mile 16 'not caring', but then I just had to stop and take care of things. I was in the bathroom for about 5 minutes, and kept looking at my watch and seeing my average pace climb and climb and climb. I kept thinking, 'it's ok, I can make it up, I'll just book it when I get out of here', and when I got out I was feeling so good and refreshed that I really thought I could. But then after a little bit, I noticed that my stop didn't really do much to solve the problem. :/ About a mile later I saw a Med Station so I stopped again for some necessities- this may or may not have involved hiding behind an ambulance- which cut another few minutes off my time. I finally got back out on the course and was feeling great- for about a mile. This was around mile 18 and 19, and I was trying to speed up, but it just so happened that there were, not only some pretty good hills, but we were also completely out in the open, with not a cloud in the sky, and the temp was getting close to 80, which after training through the winter, was really killing me. I was pretty much dying at this point. I reached the top of a particularly brutal hill around mile 19 and I turned a corner and there was Nate and the boys! He said they had just made it there minutes before and thought they had missed me. Well, if I had been on pace, they would have. I just stopped for a few seconds to give hugs and tell them that I was "dying" and then kept on moving, but it was so wonderful to see them. It's what kept me moving up to that point, as I knew they were going to try and come around mile 20.
Oh yeah, the other really annoying thing about this course was that they had these turn-around/out and back points, so you would be going one direction, and then on the other side of the road you would see all these runners that had already turned around, heading towards us. I saw Whit and Jill on these things twice, after I had already turned around. Once around mile 18, then again around mile 22 or 23 (that was a particularly bad one- you couldn't even see where it turned around it was so far away). That's how I knew that I was too far behind to catch up. Whit and Jill were hoping for under 4:30 I think, so since they were probably only about a mile or so behind me, things weren't looking good for me. But I just kept going and tried to go as fast as I could, which wasn't fast- my legs were done, my left hip had been bothering me since about mile 3, and it was so so hot- I poured water on my head every chance I got (I did not look pretty!), stopped at med stations for ice or water or whatever I could get. I was even carrying my handheld water bottle, but warm gatorade was just not cutting it.
The other really awful thing about the race, was that there wasn't a water station after mile 24!! We were on a highway ramp or overpass thing, so totally exposed to the sun, it was SO hot and we had NO water! I was counting on that last water stop at mile 25, so I just kept going and going and going thinking it was going to be there any second, until I realized that it wasn't there. By this point I figured I needed to just power through and get to the finish line as fast as I could, so I wouldn't let myself stop at all. It never ceases to amaze me how hard and long that final half mile is. It was so brutal, especially when you can SEE the finish line but it is still so far away and it just feels like you are never going to get there. But get there I did, and I was simply elated. It's like this- you cross the finish line and you think: 'wait, you mean I can actually stop?! Like, for reals?!' It'd be hard to find a better feeling. Except for the ending of childbirth, as I've mentioned before. Except at the end of childbirth you have a baby, and after a marathon, all you get is a medal! ;)
I came in at 4 hours, 23 minutes and 27 seconds. I was pretty bummed, but seeing as how there wasn't much I could do about, like, 10 minutes of that time, I decided that I was just happy that I finished at all. I kinda don't think I would've gotten my time anyway, because the heat was just killing me, but who knows, if I was closer and thought I had a chance, maybe I could've kicked it into gear those last few miles. Oh well, we will never know, and that is just fine. Ben was there when I crossed the finish line, and he missed his time as well because of the heat, even though he still did pretty amazing. I think he finished in 3:42. We waited around for Whit and Jill to finish and I think they came in around 4:39. We all chatted and headed to find the fam. We waited awhile for Hailey and my dad to come in, and during that time I got to go really clean up and change which felt so wonderful!!!
Hailey and my dad came in around 5:25. Hailey was really struggling on the course and around mile 17 wanted to call it quits, but after a blessing from my dad, she hung in there like a rockstar, took it one step at a time, and made it to the finish line. I know what it feels like to be out on the course and wonder why you are doing this to yourself, and just want to quit. It can be such an overwhelming feeling, and I am so proud of her for pushing through! She said that it was still so, so hard, but after the blessing, she knew she had it in her. She is truly an inspiration to me!
After the race we headed over to Jill's to shower really fast and then we hit the road right away to head back to Williamsburg, where we were having a little family vacation. We stopped at Taco Bell of all places on the way home. The only Taco Bells in the city are far from us, so we never get to go there, which is sad, because I love Taco Bell! I actually felt really great post-race, aside from my hip and legs being shot. But my stomach didn't bother me at all like it did after NY. So weird.
Overall, it was quite the experience. It's definitely not how I thought my race would go down when I woke up that morning, but it does make a pretty great story. :) It was so great to experience it with my family. I loved talking about the race with them and seeing how different and personal each of our experiences were. No matter what, marathons are pretty amazing experiences. However, I think it will be 2 or 3 years before the next one! :)