Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Enduring My First Marathon (Part 2)

I left you hanging in "Enduring My First Marathon (Part 1)" post at mile 13...

I come around a corner and down a hill to see Hefner Lake. For some reason I had a big feeling of relief. At that moment I thought it was because I was looking forward to the change of scenery. However, I soon realized it was because I visualized the course map in my head and realized it was actually the half way point! I could then see the 14 mile marker when the wind began to pick up. I keep putting one foot in front of the other to make it to the turn around. All I had to do is make it to the turn around and the wind would be against my back. The things you look forward to as you run a marathon!

I turn the corner and I begin to feel my glutes getting tight. I think to myself, "It is too early for this." By now the arch in my left foot had already been hurting for several miles. I make my way towards the water stop provided by the OKC airport where they are offering peanuts. After chuckling to myself I pass them by. What seems like moments later my legs are becoming tingly and numb from the wind coming from the back side. My thought then goes to, "Well at least I can't feel my glutes anymore!....Too bad the freezing puddle in my shoe hasn't numbed my foot!"

From mile 14 to 22 again I don't remember much. I knew my legs were starting to get tired, but not awful feeling. I remember Ryan saying that if my legs start feeling bad to get an orange. I look for oranges at a few stops, but none to be found. I resort to bananas. I know I had seen bananas. The next two stops had no bananas. I finally get a banana and swish it down with water. I must say that banana water isn't that tasty.

Ryan meets up with me again at mile 22. He asks how I am feeling and I say pretty okay, but I will be ready to be done in 4 miles! I feel wonderful compared to my 22 mile training run! So that is great news. During my training I just didn't understand how I could make it another 4.2 miles after feeling so bad after 22. But on race day it never crossed my mind. When Ryan asked how I was feeling I knew I was feeling well enough to make it that last stint. After checking my time I knew as long as I kept 9:00 minute pace I would finish under 4 hours.

Ryan left me with the words, "If you have anything left now is the time to start pushing." Or something along those lines. I know for a fact he said, "if you have anything left." I gradually start to push thinking, "Oh, I have something left!". A muscles above my knee cap begins to get tight and feels as if it could cramp at any moment. I know that I can not afford a cramp right now. My legs are getting tighter and it is harder and harder for me to push them forward. I realize I am starting to slow down. I tell myself I have made it this far and if I just keep pushing I will make it by four hours. I almost felt as if I didn't push and came in over four hours it would make this all obsolete because I knew I could still give it some more. I would not allow myself to slow done. I continue to push.

I hear an announcer and get excited because I know I am getting close. Although I had not seen a mile 23 sign I knew I had to be getting close. I round a corner to see a mile 24 sign and an announcer realizing I missed the 23 mile marker. I pass the announcer and continue on and quickly hit a patch of silence. I think to myself that was like a mean joke! However it did push me. Only two miles! Piece of cake. I hit mile 25 and I no longer feel my legs. Others around me are gritting their teeth so they can push. I tell myself to do the same. I imagine my mom and Ryan watching the clock at the finish knowing I should be there any minute.

Wanting to make sure I get a good finish line picture I rip off the trash bag and throw it to the side (I wont lie I kind of felt like superman! Not only for ripping it off, but also because I was doing it while closing in on the finish line of my first marathon!) along with taking my gloves off. I decide I did that move a little too early as I felt frozen to the core in about one minute. Shortly though I see the finish line banner. I push. I am almost there! The clock comes into sight which says 3:57 and some change. I quickly think, "Keep pushing! It could still take you a minute and a half to get there!" So I push more. I am getting close as the clock rolls over to 3:59. That is when I give it my last final push throwing up my arms!

As soon as I cross the finish line my steps are small and weak. A volunteer asks if I am okay and I say yes. Then, I hear: "You did it baby!" in my mom's voice. Mom and Ryan are there at the fence line. I knew with the clock rolling over to 3:59 as I went under that should give me chip time close to 3 hours and 58 minutes. I high five Ryan and say not only did I get under four hour chip time, but also four hour gun time!

The emergency blanket is now rapped around me and I begin to walk or better said: waddle. I get my medal and head for the food tent. I wasn't really hungry, but knew I needed something. I grab a slice of bagel and take a bite. Yum! It was so good! Then, I see a fig newton. I take a bite of that. I toss the rest of the bagel in the trash as I decide the fig newton is much better. Continuing down the food line I get some cookies, rice crispy treat, milk and a hamburger.

Luckily my mom was parked close by as it was still raining and I was freezing. Sadly it was four blocks away and I felt like I was going to die on the way there. I was so cold that I was shaking so bad. The wind was chilling me to my bone. Each curb that I came to felt like I had to climb a mountain. My legs were so sore! I grunted and moaned the whole four blocks. Once we arrived to the parking lot I had to step up what was about a foot. You can imagine if a normal curb felt that bad what a foot high curb felt like. I literally lifted my leg up with my hand and received a boost from the back side so that I could make it. I got in the car, got dry clothes on, warmed up and ate every single item I choose out of the food tent!

All in all the day was AMAZING! It all came together! I felt wonderful the whole way through. Yes, it is odd to say that after saying I couldn't feel my hands and legs, I felt as if I would cramp any moment and that I felt like I was going to die on the way to the car. But honestly I felt great the whole race. At no moment did I think, "I'm not going to make it." or "I am never doing this again." I seemed to focus entirely on the race. It was as if I was making every move so that I could endure through the whole race. Getting gloves, falling in behind people to block the wind, pumping my arms up the hills, paying attention to my hydration, seeking a banana, and cutting the course. It all was to make it to the end by four hours. I had worked 16 weeks to this point and now the last step was to cross that line before 4:00:00 hit the clock! And that I did!

Pictures and the students' perspective on the whole thing coming soon!

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