Well Friends I made it. I managed to finish my second full marathon and what an experience it was!
Early Saturday morning Stuart and I started on the long treck from Lubbock to Tyler. I was very hydrated and continued to stay that way so there were many little stops along the way. We arrived in Tyler and started driving the course so that I would know kind of what to expect. As we drove the first 2 miles, I began to get a little worried. These first 2 miles were very large rolling hills. I am tempted to call them mountains for those of us who live and run in flat Lubbock. The first part of the course I would be running out to the airport, along some beautiful tree lined country roads and then back into down town. Once in downtown most of the streets were brick and there was a lot of little turns through neighborhoods. This is know as the historical Azaela district. Then, after what seemed like 50 miles, you would head back to the finish line. And a little side note, the whole course seemed to be rolling hills. I knew this would be a challanging experience but I was still excited and very ready.
We ate an amazing dinner with the Dixons at Joe’s Italian Cafe. This adorable little restraunt. We had the patio all to ourselves and even a little violin serenade. It was a beautiful evening and we loved getting to hang out with Traci and Ryan. They were both running the half marathon.
I managed to get some sleep and woke up around 5am Sunday morning. I was feeling good though. Of course, I had butterfies and was anxious, excited and nervous all at the same time. Stuart dropped me off at the starting line where I met up with Ryan and Traci for the pre-race devotional and then headed to the starting line. This was a fairly small race (250 finished the full) but it was nice because Stuart met me at the starting line and I was able to see him until the gun went off which helped calm the nerves.
At the Starting line with the finish line behind me.
Those first few miles felt great. Didn’t seem to die on the hills like I thought I would. I tried to hold back my pace but I was so happy to finally be on the road racing that it was difficult. I kept a pretty good 9:30 pace for the first half of the marathon. The country roads were beautiful. I had my music going and I was having a blast!!
My legs started to really feel the hills taking their toll around mile 15-17. I pushed through a little and tried to stay possitive but when I hit mile 17 and knew I still had 9 more miles… I fell apart. I became so discouraged. Not knowing if I would be able to make it. I would walk for a quarter mile or so and then try to jog for the last three quarters of the mile. I knew I needed to continue to drink water and take gels but I was getting side stiches when I would so that was quite frustrating as well. I was doing a lot of weaving through these neighborhoods and at one point, I could not see anyone in front of me or any one behind me. I could not motivate myself to keep pushing. I knew I would not make my time goal at this point and was so frustrated! Stuart was able to see me multiple times during these last miles and he was so encouraging. I don’t know what I would have done without him! I can’t descibe all that was going through my head at that time but I did feel like I was failing, that the last 4 months of training were for nothing and I was doubting myself. Somehow I was able to get to mile 24 and knew that I could make it 2.2 miles! There were not many people out cheering but the poilice officers who had traffic stopped were so very encouraging!! Definitely the best race police officers I have seen! I hit mile 26, turned the corner and there was a HUGE hill! This just made me angry! I trudged up it and saw Stuart, Ryan and Traci there cheering for me. I was going to finish! I was going to do this! I turned the last corner and kicked it to the finish line. Finishing in 4 hrs 47 minutes and 22 seconds. I’m not going to lie, I am not real happy with that time but I finished. I did not think I could. Stuart, Ryan and Traci all cheered as I crossed the finish line and were so encouraging.
I am still reflecting and learning from the mistakes that I made and am trying to decide what to do next. My legs are feeling tons better today and am looking forward to running tomorrow. I am too stuborn to let that be my last marathon, even though I said multiple times “I will never do this again” throughout the course. I will keep you posted.