It's done!! If it weren't for the screaming pain in my thighs every time I go down stairs I wouldn't believe that it happened :)
It was pretty gray on Sunday.
Luckily, we trained in Belgium and are no strangers to rain and soggy shoes. It was actually perfect. Nice and cool.
Here we are before the race.
Oh, we're getting excited here!
In marathoning there is this thing called the 23-mile wall.
I hit it a little early... my wall began around mile 3.
“To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind.” - Jerome Drayton, winner of the 81st Boston Marathon
I don't know what happened. It might have been all the people, the noise, the anxiety. Whatever it was, I was in a different world. A sad one. It lasted until around mile 12 or 13, I'm not sure. Clay just kept rocking it out and tried to keep me motivated. He's so great.
As you can see, I had started feeling better by this point.
We ran pretty much near the back of the pack the whole race. We were surrounded by the injured, the elderly, and those in cumbersome costumes.
I was passed by a man dressed up as a Rubik's cube.
The pace was nice at the back, but the thing that made me the most nervous was knowing that "The Bus" was somewhere behind us. There was a 5 1/2 hour time limit to the race, and if the bus caught up to people running slower than this pace the runners had no choice but to ride the bus back.
No finish line.
I was petrified by this bus. I think I asked Clay about every mile "Are we ok? Is the bus coming?" I imagined it had this giant claw that would reach out and scoop me up mid-stride.
I LOVE this picture. On the very far left you can see a man we kept pace with for most of the race. He was hunched over and had a twisted knee. His endurance and drive was incredible. After we passed him (only during the last few miles- he was pretty speedy) we kept looking back to make sure "Paw Paw" was doing alright :) This attests to the comradery one feels towards fellow race-runners.
A real smile. Things had turned around big time by this point.
We rounded the last bend and the song "Last Dance" was blaring from the speakers. It pumped us up, and we sprinted on home! :)
Some of our support crew.
A big thank you to Babette, Doug, Martha, Allie and John for all the cheering, standing in the rain, and sporadically running alongside us during the hard times. And a huge thanks to Randy for all the pictures. They are absolutely priceless.
We tore through our treat bags they gave us at the finish line.
That banana tasted so good.
Then the chills hit. Oh, it was sooo cold!!
But the deed was done and we felt awesome. We leaned on our friends and limped home, showered, and then went out for a BIG dinner.
Oh, the nostalgia. Here's the picture from our first training run in December.
And another milestone, the first pair of Spandex :)
Our first race. I remember it was a 13.3K and I had no idea how we were ever going to be able to run the 42K marathon.
And the morning of our big race. So excited and nervous.
Clay, you're the best. I couldn't and wouldn't have done this with anyone else. I remember the day I first ran for 30 minutes straight and what a victory it was. These past 9 months have held so many milestones.
26.2 in Budapest was a blast, but it was those 600 miles in Belgium that I'll cherish the most :)