Saturday night, we had pasta and bread for dinner at Dan's parents' house. We ate kind of early, around 6:30, and then went back to my dad's where we were staying. I got all ready for Sunday morning, laid out my clothes, packed my backpack, and set my alarm for 5:30! I also drank approximately 17 glasses of water during this hour because I hadn't been doing the best job of staying hydrated all day. I read for a little bit and about 9:30, decided to try to go to bed. I had some trouble falling asleep but it wasn't too bad, and I think by 10:30 I was passed out. I woke up a couple of times to go to the bathroom (hmmm, probably why I shouldn't drink so much water right before bed, but oh well) and each time got nervous that I wasn't going to wake up for my alarm. But I was tired and so I fell back asleep, and next thing I know my alarm went off! I jumped out of bed and got ready in about 8 minutes. Julie was already downstairs making breakfast. I grabbed a Gatorade for the car ride and we were off! We drove to her apartment parking lot and met Diana, Ashley, Nan, and Morgan. We piled in one car and were off downtown.
We parked in the Nationwide parking lot and got to get ready in the locker room there. It was so nice and so warm. I ate my Clif Bar, attached my bib, put on the Vaseline...you know, all the fun stuff before a big race! We finally went outside and it was cold! I think it was in the 30's and it warmed up to the 40's or 50's during the rest of the race. I thought this would be way too cold for me but it felt sooo perfect! Training in Texas's heat and humidity has its advantages, because I felt so great in the cool weather. Anyway, as soon as we got into the big group of runners waiting to start, we all warmed up because we were packed in like sardines. Apparently 14,000 people ran the marathon and we were all packed into like two blocks of downtown Columbus. The race was supposed to start at 7:30 but we just inched forward for about 15 minutes. Actually, we officially crossed the start line at 7:44. And we were off!
It was really crowded at first and so we were having a hard time staying together. We were constantly having to dart in between people and around others in order to keep a good pace and stay together. But the crowd thinned out after the first mile or two, and we were able to stay together pretty easily. We saw some of the front runners of the race looping back for their mile 7 when we were on mile 2 - wow! They were probably running faster than my sprint, and they were on mile 7 of the marathon. But we still were passing lots of people so it didn't ruin my confidence. :)
We saw Dan and the rest of his family at mile 2! They cheered us on. Mom and Grandma were there too but somehow we missed them. It was still decently crowded at this point so I guess none of us were looking in the right direction at the right time. We saw them all again when we looped back around though at mile 7. We were running about a 10:20 pace at this point and I felt good. I was getting water or Gatorade at every stop so I wouldn't get dehydrated. I only took a sip or two each time but it helped. We also started taking Gu breaks at around mile 6. I think I had three Gu's throughout the marathon. I would have liked to have had at least one more but my stomach said no way.
Julie decided to take a Port-A-Potty break at around mile 7 or 8. We all slowed down but kept running so that she could catch up to us. I got really nervous that she wasn't going to find us - I think it was my big sister conscience kicking in! It probably took her like 10 minutes to catch up but she finally did! We started running faster again and then did the same thing later when other people had to take breaks. At around mile 15 I started getting ready for it to get hard. We were all having so much fun running, and we were talking, laughing, even singing! I remembered my last marathon and how much harder the last eight miles were than the first 18. But we just kept running and I kept feeling good! It never really got to that point, even in miles 20-26 I kept feeling like the mile markers were coming pretty fast. The last marathon, they seemed to take forever to appear at this point, but here it really didn't feel like it at all.
We had people cheering for us almost every couple miles; it was amazing! The Fogles and Julie's roommate, Megan, were probably our biggest supporters - we saw each of them I think four different times throughout the course! Donna and Carl also cheered and brought signs that had all of our names on them, and we saw them several times too. Ashley's family was there, my cousin Josh was there, my dad was there twice and Diane was there at the finish, and my mom and Grandma, and Nancy... Nan and Diana also knew a lot of spectators and they cheered for us too. Basically, just about every mile someone was there for us. It made it SO fun! We were constantly watching to find someone we knew and then we got extra bursts of energy when we saw them.
There were also lots of bands playing, and random people cheering us on, and lots of cute dogs out on the course. We saw a little kid in his driveway playing his drum set for us. There was some lady playing a trumpet. We ran by Governor Strickland and Diana yelled "Hi Ted!" to him. When we went by Anthony Thomas' house, they were handing out buckeyes. I thought I would throw up if I even got close to one, so I didn't take one, but Diana luckily grabbed me an extra one and I ate it on the plane ride home.
At about mile 20, Ashley decided to put on her MP3 player and run a little faster because she was feeling pretty good. Julie and I were running together at this point, and we somehow got a little ahead of Nan, Morgan, and Diana. We didn't really want to slow down but they were right behind us for a mile or two. Then we looked back and they were gone! We had somehow gotten ahead of them, so we decided that rather than stopping and waiting for them, we would just go out on our own and even pick up the pace a little. If we had stopped at that point, I really don't think I would have been able to start running again. My legs were like concrete, but concrete machines that were on autopilot and just kept running. Also, I was completely amazed that I hadn't walked so far and I didn't want to break the streak now since we were within a couple miles of the finish. I still can't believe I did that. On my training runs, I even stopped and walked on 6 mile runs. But yet here I was running the entire marathon. Who even knows, I guess it was the combination of being so energized and ready as well as the weather.
So we kept going! At about mile 24 I started feeling like I was going to throw up. But I just kept going. It was a weird feeling of, oh well, I might throw up, but who even cares, I just need to keep going. Julie was still singing at this point, so she was feeling fine, but I sort of stopped and zoned out to try to my nausea under control. I even skipped the last few Gatorade stops because I didn't think I could put anything else in my stomach. I think we passed probably 100 people in these last two miles. I guess we were speeding up when everyone else was giving out. At about mile 25.75 the finish line "tunnel" began! SO many people were crowded around and cheering for us. They had loud music playing and an announcer giving the names of everyone as they crossed the finish line. Julie and I sprinted down the end. We passed several people right at the end too and finished together in 4:33:11! That's a 10:24 pace. Ashley had finished about 10 minutes ahead of us and she was waiting for us at the finish line. We got our blankets and medals and then waited for Nan and Diana and Morgan. My teeth started chattering right away, I was freezing! Luckily I never did throw up. I ate a half of a banana and drank some water and began feeling better. We ended up by taking some pictures and then we all went back to the locker room, showered, and went out to lunch.
What a crazy surreal feeling of running 26.2 miles. I was pretty sore on the plane back to Waco. Dan had to walk in front of me on all the stairs so that I could lean on him. I had the most trouble with ramps...for some reason, my legs would not work right on a downhill ramp. My legs also kept giving out randomly - needless to say we walked very slowly through the airports. I wore my medal the whole time and got lots of congratulations. On the flight to Houston, there were three other marathon runners wearing their shirts and/or medals. We all congratulated each other and shared our experiences - I felt like I was part of some club or something. Overall, this marathon was really just about perfect. Although my time was slower than my first one, I expected that, and I'm so proud that we ran the whole thing! I also had so much fun with everyone we ran with, and all our spectators.
If you are interested in seeing pictures, go to marathonfoto.com, select the Columbus marathon, and type in my last name and bib number (1321). I know some people took pictures but I don't have any of those yet so unfortunately none for the blog yet! I will post them if I get some.
Today I woke up and I was pretty sore, but mostly just really tired. I went to work and wondered why I decided it was a good idea to work a full day today. I seriously was so tired I almost felt sick. At lunch time, I grabbed a pillow and blanket, shut the door to my office, turned out the lights, and PASSED OUT. I slept for the entire hour. The kind of sleep where you wake up and you have no idea where you are or what's going on. (Or maybe that feeling just came from the fact that I was sleeping on the floor of my office...) But that helped a lot because the afternoon felt much better. Everyone teased me for sleeping on the floor but I really don't think I would have made it the rest of the day if I hadn't done that!
Marathon #2, complete!