It has been almost a week since I completed, perhaps one of the most mentally challenging things that I have ever been through. I almost didn't make it, but because I had some awesome cheer people (sorry MJ for not hi - fiving you at the end of the race) I eventually made it, in a time that seemed so well disappointing. Might as well start from the beginning:
This was by far, one of the best expo's that I have been to. It surpasses both the Vancouver Marathon & also the Disney 1/2 Marathon Expo. There was plenty to do and see, lots of samples and lots of talks and demonstrations. I was lucky enough to get the chance to walk around with Winnie and MJ (who didn't complain the whole trip whilst chauffeuring Winnie & I around. Thanks MJ you're the best!! So after we picked up our race packets we posed with the souvenir shirts:
I know awesome photo right. So then we continued walking around until we found a huge line up at the Sony tent. We looked to see who it was and it was Meb:
So we waited in line for a while and decided to get our photo taken.
So after dill dallying around at the expo for a little over 3 hours, we met up with our other Team in Training runner, Ali, Juneko & Veronica (and eventually Summer) and headed off to find some lunch. We found a place with "the best Gyros on the Earth" (no lie that is what the signage said), and had a bite to eat. After lunch, we all headed off to do our own thing, and get prepared for the inspiration dinner. The inspiration dinner was amazing and wasn't short of inspiring everyone who attended. There were great speakers and great food, lots of pasta to fill up on. We then headed off to Veronica's room for the T-Shirt decorating part of the evening, and to get final instructions for the race. There was lots of nervous and exited energy in the room, and then after the meeting we all said good night and headed off to our motel, in anticipation for race day.
Because I wasn't staying with the team, MJ & Winnie were kind enough to get up at 4:30am with me, so that they could drop me off at the start line. Well what I thought was the start line was about a 1.5 mile hike to the start line, but after walking around in what felt like circles, I finally found the crowd and the start line for the race. I thought that it was a little ironic that the start line was near the Ambulance Headquarters. After walking around by myself for a bit, I bumped into Bonnie, a former TNTer and a mentor for the Summer team with Winnie and I. We hung out for a bit, and decided to go line up for the "Honey Bucket" i.e. Port a Potties. Whilst looking for a good bathroom area, we ran into the entire team. Talk about a happy discovery!! We chatted for a good hour before we all had to go to our corals for the start of the race. We were all in different starting areas, so we said our good byes, wished each other luck and we were all on our way.
At 7:00am the gun went and off went the elite. It was about 20minutes before my corral got to the start line, but I was lucky enough to run into a former BC TNTer and we talked a bit while waiting to go. And off we went. I ran the first mile fairly quickly, and was impressed with how good I was feeling. The first band was playing "I come from a land down under" which I thought was a pretty good omen. I was feeling really good, and was eager to get to Mile 7 as this would be where Winnie and MJ would be standing waiting to cheer me on. Mile 7 seemed like forever to get there, but I finally did and seeing them on the sideline cheered me up a bit, as my Ipod music wasn't inspiring me, and the bands on the course, weren't really inspiring me either. The first out and back where the marathoners and the half marathoners split was running across the bridge over Lake Washington. It was about at this point that my foot started to ache. I had had problems with my foot for a while, so stopped training for a few weeks, and iced it constantly. It was really starting to bug me. After running up and back across the bridge we headed into the first tunnel. I thought I was going to faint. It was so incredibly hot, and the tunnel seemed to go forever. In the tunnel they had a DJ playing techno music, so along with feeling faint, the thumping music, just made me feel worse. At KM 20 I felt like I had had enough. My foot was killing me, I was depressed because if I was in a half marathon I would only have a little over a KM to go, and I started to talk negatively to myself, convincing myself that I couldn't do it. Then at mile 13 I saw this:
Winnie and MJ were at Mile 13 to cheer me on. I was so incredibly happy to see them!!! I ran over to them and I think I said to them "I'm in so much pain" and they said you can do it, MJ gave me a kiss on my cheek, Winnie waved her cowbell at me and I was off again. And ran I did. For another few miles, before we hit yet another tunnel. I manage to come across Ali as I was entering the tunnel and she was exiting it, we cheered for each other, and off we went in our very different directions. It was about at this point where I thought I can do it, but it is going to take an incredibly long time. I wasn't in a good place and found the lack of signage very distracting. I kept on thinking how far am I from the finish. I did what I thought was the last out and back and was about to give up again. The heat was starting to get to me, I was way over my anticipated 5 hour finish time, and was getting disappointed in myself, and sad that I was making Winnie and MJ waiting around too long for me to finish. I was about to head back into the Tunnel and another to my surprise I found this:
They had made their way again to see me. It was so awesome, that I started to tear up a bit. I could see that I only had 7 km's to go, and this was going to be the hardest 7 km's that I have ever run! I was lucky enough to come across a lot of TNT coaches, who would walk/run with you for about 6km's until you hit the 26mile mark. I had some good conversations with them, as I was then at the point, where I was walking because my body was unable to muster up any strength to run any more. Argh and then there it was a last out and back. I am not going to lie, it was horrible, and I was so angry at this point, that I swore never to do another marathon in my life! It was so incredibly hot, the drink stations were closing up, and well made me feel bad, and very uninspired. I was lucky enough to chat with a lovely TNT coach whose name I don't remember and he made 3 km's go by very quickly. I was at the last corner, where I got wings on my feet. And I was off. At the bottom of the hill was Veronica, who was cheering me on. I gave here a quick hug, and almost burst into tears, I was so sore at this point, that I just wanted it to be over. Then around the corner, and I could finally see the finish line. There weren't many people there, but that was ok. I saw Winnie and MJ and some girl across from them holding here hand out for a hi-5. Which I gave here with a big grin. I was told after the race that MJ wanted a Hi-5 but he was too late with putting his hand out. I am so sorry about that. Then I finally finished the dreading finish line. It took a little over 6 and a half hours. Way out of what time I thought that I would be finishing in.
Everyone was saying that it was a great effort, because I was injured, but at the same time I was disappointed. Maybe if I had of trained a different way, I may have been able to complete it in a quicker time.
Now that I have had a week to rest my legs, which have no soreness in them at all after two days, I have to think of a game plan for the next marathon. I swore off marathons while I was out there, but it is a great accomplishment, and I am determined to do more. MJ has even said he wants to do the Fargo Marathon next year when he goes home, which I think will be fun to run in. My next event is the Nike Women's Marathon which I am running in with Winnie. I hope that she gets better soon, so that we can start training together. So I start training next week. All I know is that I have lots of Hill work to do. I wasn't prepared for the Hills in Seattle, so I will be better prepared for the hills in San Fran...
Thanks Winnie, MJ, Ali, Juneko, Summer, Cynthia, Vanessa, Veronica, Bonnie, and Coach Ray & TNT for inspiring me during the race day, and throughout the weekend of the Rock n Roll!! You guys Rock, and made me achieve a dream that I thought was impossible!!!