we did it!
i did it!
i ran an entire marathon - and lived to the tell the story!
here’s the short version: the first half was really hard - very hilly and i had a stomachache. i was struggling to find my groove and honestly didn’t know if i was going to finish. it was tough. but then, after a quick bathroom break at mile 14, i was a ready to go! the last half was awesome. i felt strong, my knee hurt but it was bearable. i never once wanted to stop - i only wanted to finish.
and for those who are interested, here’s the full play-by-play. i needed to write this out for myself, so i would never forget what an amazing experience this was.
pre-race: the energy was palpable! the course started in a gorgeous park, with the mountains in the background and everyone bouncing up and down ready to run.
mile 1: first things first, run up a hill. i’ve never hated chicago so much for being perfectly flat.
mile 2-5: i struggled to find my groove, my knee hurt and i had stomach cramps. and the hills kept coming, up and down and up and down. ouch.
mile 6: the hill of all hills - this was a cruel joke and as sarah would say, i couldn’t look this one in the eye. i kept my head down, trudged up the effing monster and tried to catch my breath at the top. i could not believe i had 20 more miles to go after this. i tried to put that thought out of my head.
mile 7: i stopped to go to the bathroom hoping that would relieve the stomach cramps. (it didn’t)
mile 8: jason and tom sighting! our cheering section revived the group and we had new energy. photos were taken.
mile 9-12: ohmygod stomach cramps… can’t remember much from this part of the race except that we ran through the university of british columbia and it was GORGEOUS. we were basically running in a forest along the pacific which we could see through the trees. so pretty. i tried to focus on the scenery instead of the pain, and my dad was distracting me by chatting with every random stranger on the course.
mile 13: stopped to go to the bathroom again - this time, it actually helped! woohoo!
mile 14-16: LET’S DO THIS. i felt like a new woman! now i was really ready to run. about time, right? this part of the course was awesome - we ran through kitsilano where the homes are massive and right on the beach. we also saw the guys again, and of course this pumped us up! i put on my tunes and just started cruising.
mile 17-19: we ran over a giant bridge (uphill, sweet) and back into downtown vancouver to make our way to the seawall at stanley park. i was totally in my groove and feeling really good.
mile 20: we finally hit the park and there were tons of people cheering for us. our names were written on our bibs, and one guy looked at me right in the face and said, renee, you’re strong, YOU’VE GOT THIS. and i believed him. i might have cried a little too - i knew i was nearing the end and yes, despite all my self doubt - i was going to finish!
mile 21-24: this part of the course was all on the seawall and it was just absolutely gorgeous. the water and mountains to our left, tall green trees (and people cheering!) on our right. i kept waiting for the proverbial “wall”… but honestly, i never hit it. my legs weren’t even legs at this point, they were just wheels moving from sheer momentum. i barely walked through the water stations, i could not stop running for fear i wouldn’t start back up again.
mile 25: we made a turn on the seawall, and all of a sudden we could see the convention center which we knew was the finish line. we were almost there! i kept pushing, i just wanted to cross the finish line strong - we didn’t stop for water and just kept moving.
mile 26: another small uphill (can you believe THAT!? so mean) and we were truly in the home stretch. the guys were waiting for us at about 25.8 to cheer us on to the finish - we had less than half a mile to go to the end.
the point 2: my dad and i crossed the finish line together, and we heard our names being announced as we finished. a wave of emotions came over me - relief, pride, fatigue, accomplishment. i cried out what was left of the adrenaline that pushed me through to the end.
within 5 minutes of each other, we were all done - first laura, then me and my dad, then jen and sarah. so many hugs, so many tears. we got our medals and posed for photos, grabbed our bagels and hobbled over to find a place to stretch.
after 4 long months of training, it was over in 4 hours, 59 minutes and 16 seconds.
and it was totally worth it. all of it.