Training for a marathon was one of the most rewarding and most difficult things I have ever done. Here is the fifth and final part of my story – spoiler alert – I finished!
When I started this training, I really couldn’t imagine how I would feel the few days leading up to the race. I was so excited and nervous, conjuring up different scenarios in my head – crossing the finish line or hurting so bad I wouldn’t be able to complete it. The week before the marathon I didn’t run very much because my shin was bothering me – which may have hurt me in the long run of the race, I’m not quite sure. But I know one thing for certain, there are few things better than crossing that finish line.
I’m only at mile 10!
The morning of the race it was pitch black out and pretty chilly (it WAS 6 a.m.) when we made to the start. I had what I needed – ibuprofen, gloves, hat, number, chip, snacks, body glide and energy gel shots (they taste like frosting). Right before the gun went off, I couldn’t help but take a moment – we made it here. We did it. Now, let’s just finish it.
Starting off the race was enjoyable. My shin wasn’t too bad and the foliage was beautiful. It was so early that all you could hear was the pitter patter of thousands of feet. Local residents were there cheering you on. Honestly, it was fun!
The light-hearted fun was short-lived, though. I had a serious low point in my run right when between the 10 and 13 mile mark. I’m not sure why, but it was NOT easy. Thankfully, my friend kept pushing me and I got over it. I thought, ‘I can’t quit now!’
Family and friends: Thank you a thousand times over
My parents, sister, boyfriend and a few friends made their way to the race with us. My friend and I saw them twice during our run – and they couldn’t have come at a better time. The first time they appeared was right after the 14-mile mark. When you see your friends and family cheering, it absolutely motivates you – and it makes you feel pretty special.
I felt good until about the 21-mile mark, and then I started to feel every bone and muscle. I could only run at one speed, going faster or slower just hurt. I didn’t walk, just kept it up, and my friend stayed with me the entire time. We saw our families at the 23-mile mark, and they all came rushing out and ran up an extremely steep hill with us, making us forget we were even going up a hill. Like I said, they came at the best times.
Crossing the finish line
There was one more hill we had to go over and then, there’s the finish line. My friend and I were ecstatic – I mean, we did it! Our families were right at the edge and my friend and I held hands (cheesy, I know) and crossed the finish line at 4:49 (not as fast as I wanted, but who cares!?). It was amazing. I hugged my family and friends and they were happy and so very proud.
When you close your eyes and imagine how your body would react to running for nearly five hours straight, you may think you have an idea – you don’t. Well, at least I didn’t. It felt as though every single bone, muscle, tissue and blood vessel ached. This started immediately after I finished and just got worse as the day went on – and the next day. But, it was worth it. I finished a marathon. I had a goal and I achieved it after six months of training. Will I do it again? We’ll see…