I am so excited to be writing again because now, I am writing as a first time marathon FINISHER! WOO-HOO!!!!! These past 4 months finally paid off as I crossed over the finish line in the 2009 Honolulu Marathon, but don't be fooled, those 26.2 miles were the hardest thing I have ever done in my life both physically and mentally, but let's start from the beginning...
It was 3:15 am on December 14, 2008 and the alarm was beeping. I jumped out of bed to start preparing for the big day ahead of me. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, put my hair up and put my contacts in. I got dressed and put my brand new TNT jersey on that I had decorated with my name, names of people I was running in Honor of and some team cheers. The night before I had pinned my number bib onto my jersey and put my electronic chip on my shoe (used to record your times) I felt great and I was excited to get started. Kyle and I headed down to Don and Sara's room to fuel up on PB&Js before heading down to the lobby to meet our team.
At 4:15am we met the team down in the hotel lobby before walking to the starting line which was about 1/2 a mile away from our hotel. There were thousands and thousands of people lining up, over 20,000 to be exact in every shape and size. We kept walking towards the front so we could get started right away. Minutes before the start (5:00am) a beautiful display of fireworks went off and a canon was fired and then... THE RACE BEGAN (and so did the rain!!) !
It took about 2 minutes before I actually was able to cross the starting line but then I was off- slowly of course! Knowing that I had had a couple of injuries I was nursing and knowing that I had 26.2 miles to finish that day, I took it slow right off the start, running about 13 minute miles. The rain was coming down pretty hard but I didn't mind as I ran through the streets of Honolulu at 5 in the morning....it was dark out but the Christmas lights were beautiful and the energy of the crowd was AMAZING!
I made it around the first 4 mile loop and was feeling good, especially as the crowd cheered me on. I was enjoying it all so much, that I found myself forgetting that I was actually running a marathon and had to bring myself beck to reality. By mile 7.5 we were starting our climb up Diamond Head, which, with all my training, felt like nothing at that point in the race. Although, with the rain coming down so hard, there was practically a river coming down the mountain, drenching every ones shoes! (wet shoes and socks = blisters = no good!!) I continued on and continued feeling good. There were so many people out there cheering us all on, passing out water, Gatorade and even cookies! The rain had subsided by mile 10 and the humidity was starting to kick in. 2 miles later....so were my knees. :( The injuries I had were starting to bother me.
I passed the halfway point (and laughed, did I seriously have 13.1 more miles to go?)and felt alright, but had to start a walk/jog series because I was starting to have some pain- my knees were not going to cooperate. I was able to continue the walk/jog routine until mile 16 when my knees gave out on me. It hurt to try and lift my legs in a running motion but it felt alright to power walk. So I did. I found myself able to walk faster than some people were able to run. I kept telling myself that I was going to finish, I could do this!
By mile 20 my sanity was starting to fade and the pain was unreal. Blisters, knees, quads, hamstrings...everything hurt. I mean, everything. I was simply walking at this point and had thought about crawling a couples times. Crawling couldn't be this hard. But thankfully, a TNT angel, I mean coach, came up to me and gave me some encouragement. She told me to lay on the piles of ice bags at the next water stop to ease the knee pain for a little bit and to take my mind of the pain by counting my breaths or something along those lines... I decided to sing Christmas Carols to myself because it seemed more enjoyable that counting my breaths. So here I was, in Hawaii, at mile 2o something, singing Winter Wonderland so I wouldn't think about the pain. Can you say crazy?!? Yes, I think at this point I had lost my sanity.
I continued walking, and could feel myself getting slower and slower, at that point, another angel (coach) showed up. He could tell I wasn't doing so hot so he asked me if I had eaten anything lately. I hadn't (losing your sanity makes you forgetful) so I took my last GU. Within minutes, I could feel my body using up those calories and I was gaining my mental strength back but my feet were still throbbing.
So I continued on. At mile 24, I hit Diamond Head again, although this time, it felt taller, longer and much more difficult. Thankfully, one more angel had arrived and he walked me up the hills...although I walked backwards as he talked to me and helped me dodge things on the course. Walking backwards up the hill gave my quads a break and worked different muscles for a little bit. At the top, I felt better (feet were still throbbing) so I power walked to mile 26 before jogging the last .2 miles and crossing the 26.2 MILE FINISH LINE!!! My time wasn't what I was hoping for 6:55:38, but hey, I FINISHED A MARATHON!!! and it felt GREAT! (Kyle finished before me and even cheered me on in those last few steps)
A few things I forgot to mention....
1. This was a HARD marathon...even seasoned runners said it was difficult and took them longer than expected due to all the elements (rain, humidity, heat, etc) so I should be THRILLED that I even finished... and I AM! :)
2. I am so thankful I ran with a team...it felt good to run for a cause but it was so wonderful to have coaches on the course to help me through really tough times and it was really cool to have people you didn't know, cheer you on because you both were wearing the same jersey! GO TEAM!
3. I brought lots and lots of food with me, it's really important to keep your body fueled during such a big event. I had 5 GU's, 2 packets of Gummi Bears, a power bar, some raisins, and some pretzels.
4. There were some crazy people out on the course, a guy running in a thong, another in a tiger suit, 2 Japanese girls dressed up as sexy Santa pandas (what?!?!?) But hey, it was all in fun!! :)
5. Okay, so I was hoping to finish in 5-6 hours and didn't come close to that due to the elements and my knee troubles but that's okay, because I caught the runnin bug and I am going to do it again because I know I can beat my time!! So my question to you is....when do you want to go running with me?! :)
Well, I hope you enjoyed my blog... I really enjoyed sharing my journey with everyone and I hope to continue blogging, I'm just not sure what the topic will be. I can't believe I have become a runner let alone finished my first marathon. I can't WAIT to do it again!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!
PEACE, LOVE & a CURE!
PS. There is still time to donate!!! I am only a couple hundred away from my goal!! Please help me meet my fundraising goal!!http://pages.teamintraining.org/sf/honolulu08/cwebster