I guess I will start at the beginning and just let the story unfold for all of you.
After heading to the expo on Saturday, eating at Olive Garden and relaxing, we headed to bed on Saturday night to get ready for the next day.
Bright and early at 4:55am our alarm clock went off and we were up and ready in about 30 minutes. The start of the marathon was about 1 hour and 20 minutes away so we wanted to have enough time to get there, park and hit the port-a-potties.
Thankfully, Mike's parents drove us to the race so we didn't have to deal with the shuttles. Once we got there we did our thing and as we were waiting in line for the port-a-potties a second time, I saw our friends Sarah and Mark who were also running the marathon.
We took a quick photo and then worked our way through the masses to line up for the start. Mike started out with the 3:55 pace group and I was right behind the 4:10 pace group. They didn't have a 4:15 pace group so I thought that being slightly behind 4:10 would be good enough.
A little after 8am, we were off!
The first few miles were pretty uneventful, I was slightly under my marathon goal pace (yes, I know that isn't good but I felt great) averaging around 9:30 pace. At 4 miles, I thought I would see Mike's parents but I guess they couldn't get out of town quickly enough. I did end up seeing Laura though and I really appreciated her being there cheering for us.
I saw Mike's parents around 10 miles and I said, "I'm under where I am supposed to be". Mike's mom told me that Mike was also under his goal pace, so I knew that he was still doing well.
Around this point I started to slow a little bit, but I knew that I had a little bit of a buffer because of the slightly speedier miles in the beginning. I had taken my first energy gel at 6 and then another at 12 miles.
I started to feel slightly fatigued around the half marathon point, but I was still under 9:45 pace. I crossed the "split" (half marathon distance) mat at about 2:07, which is basically my current half marathon PR.
I saw Mike's parents again and I indicated that I was struggling slightly, but they encouraged me by saying that I had a good rhythm going and I kept pushing. Unfortunately, right after the water stop around 14 miles I just slowed to a walk. It wasn't even a concious decision. I walked for a few seconds and then continued going. I actually felt better for a little while because there was a slight downhill.
My pace slowed to 12 minute miles, which I was fine with because at that point I was still under my slower goal pace of 10:15.
I saw Mike's parents again at around 16 miles and Mike's mom said something about Mike and his pace, but I couldn't really understand what she was saying.
I kept going a little ways but then I slowed to a walk again, but only for a few seconds because these other runners forced me to keep running. They said that I would get there faster if I ran and that I put in all the hard work so I had to keep going.
I kept running and then around 18.5 miles everything went downhill. As I was running along, I saw someone that looked like Mike on the sidelines cheering me on. Even though I was slightly delirious (to be perfectly honest I stopped taking in nutrition after 12 miles, so I went 14 miles with just water and Gatorade), I looked again and realized that it WAS Mike.
I asked him what was going on and he said, "don't worry about me" and of course I did just the opposite. I can't remember if I slowed to a walk then or not but I tried to get him to come with me. He was with some spectators who were outside of their house watching the race and they all kind of laughed, and I just kept urging him to come.
When I realized he wasn't going to, I lost it. I started to cry as I ran/walked away from him, I didn't want to keep going. I even said, "well then I don't want to do this either".
After pulling it together, kind of, I started to run again and saw Mike's parents driving toward him. I motioned that he was behind me and they kept driving. Later I found out that his legs/hips had cramped up so badly that he had to call it quits.
I kept running and at the mile 19ish water stop, I was so hot that I dumped some water on myself. I continued on but I had slowed down a lot. My paces after seeing Mike plummeted to around 15 minute miles, my heart wasn't in it anymore. I didn't want to accomplish something without my training partner, who is also my husband, doing the same.
At that point, Mike and his parents drove by as I was walking, yea I ended up walking a few times in the last half of the race, and I saw them pull off to the side. Mike put his head out the window and said, "you are going to finish this thing" and I again said that I didn't want to. He kept encouraging me and I knew that I had to keep going.
I do have to say that other runners were really encouraging during the race. One time while I was walking, a pace group leader ran by me, rubbed my back (slightly weird) and said "keep going girl", another time a woman asked me if I wanted some of her sports beans, which I declined.
One reason I did end up walking a lot in the end was because my lower back was in excruciating pain almost the entire race. One guy who wanted me to keep running, and not walking, said that I needed to bend over slightly and focus on twenty yards ahead of me because I tend to run really upright. I guess we were close enough to each other most of the race for him to notice. I gave this a try around 23 miles and it kind of helped.
Right around 23 miles, as I was again walking, I heard, "you've got this Jamie". It was a familiar voice and I looked to see our friend Mark running beside me. I said that I was struggling and really tired, but started running again. At this point in the race we went through a short tunnel and at the end I saw that Mark had stopped and was waiting for me.
He said, "we are running this together" and we kept going. I said a few times, "you can go if you want" and he kept saying we were going to finish together. I do have to thank him because I picked up the pace again to 12 minute miles but eventually I had to let him go with a little less than 2 miles left.
Eventually, we were passing a woman that said, "only about 10 minutes left" and I was so thankful and I knew that I was just going to keep running to the finish. Eventually we rounded the second to last corner and I saw runners who had already finished walking in the opposite direction. Then, I turned the last corner and saw the finish line.
At that point, I thought it was really cruel that I could see the finish line so clearly because I just wanted to be done, which probably explains my 10 minute pace the last few tenths of a mile. Then, I saw Mike and his parents on the sidelines and I started to tear up a little bit because I was sad for Mike. He was also signing, "I love you" to me which made me feel even worse.
I crossed the finish line and I had done it, I was a marathoner! I got my medal, a shiny blanket thing (that I threw away pretty quickly because it made me hot) and a bagel. I then tried to look for Mike and when I saw him I just sat down in a chair and started to cry. I was so upset and I said that I had wanted him to finish too. He tried to comfort me but I really wasn't happy like I should have been.
After I calmed down, we went to go wait for Sarah and her friend Jenna. Eventually we saw them finishing and they were so happy, I was a little jealous of how they felt as they were finishing their first marathon.
After the race
Everyone who ran the half and the full
I know that some people will say that I should be happy, and I am to a certain extent. Yes I am upset about my finishing time, 5:01:23, but I am more upset about Mike not getting to experience finishing his first marathon. We worked so hard for this and it was really difficult for me to keep going, when he couldn't.
I know I could have done things differently, I probably should have started a little bit slower in the beginning but to be honest I felt great up to about 15 miles. Even after I had slowed slightly, I was still having a great time but when I saw Mike, I gave up mentally and slightly physically. I stopped taking in nutrition, even though I should have kept taking my energy gels every 6 miles (although my stomach didn't feel great almost the entire race).
I really don't feel like a true marathoner, yes I know that I am, but without my training partner, my best friend, my husband experiencing the same it is slightly tainted. This was not how it was supposed to go, which I realize that a marathon can do just that but I wasn't expecting this at all.
Now, some of you already know this but we are getting our redemption. I want to run a better race and Mike wants to achieve the marathoner status. Which is why this happened, last night.