Already feeling off was not helped by the cluster that was race morning. We woke early and arrived at security. We waited in the security line for almost an hour and still nothing. I was so cold I was shaking. So, just before the race was supposed to begin we ran to another line. Not good to sprint right before the start of a marathon. After finally getting checked we had to hustle to bag check and the corrals. Thankfully the race was delayed 15 minutes because of the security nightmare. This craziness did not allow me to have my pre-race calming thoughts and prayer time. I was so frustrated and annoyed.
Finally the race began and the first 7 miles felt pretty decent. I loved running through downtown Philly. I literally felt like the road was being squeezed by all the spectators. The spectators were awesome. They were everywhere on the course. They were loud and had fun signs and cheered for everyone. Props to all those people because it was not warm!
By mile 9 I was thinking this was going to be miserable and feel really long. I was still on pace to get a PR so I kept pushing as much as I could. By the time we hit the hills at Drexel I just felt defeated. My flat trained Houston legs were unimpressed. My quads were screaming at me. But, I continued to have hope that I could still run a PR.
At the full-half split at mile 13 I seriously contemplating turning right and finishing just the half. Why I turned left I still don't totally understand. The only thing I can say about that decision is I hate to quit. In my last long run I quit. I hated that then...still do. I didn't want to feel like a quitter again so I went left to endure the longest and most painful 13.1 miles of my life.
I still was managing a good pace through mile 17. The wind was brutal. We ran into a headwind from mile 13 or so until the turnaround at mile 20. It was exhausting. From 17 on I just hoped to run under 4 hours. My body was just done. My quads were killing me as was my hip. At one point my IT band got so tight I literally couldn't move. So I obviously had to do some major stretching. I started walking through the last 4-5 water stations. Just that little rest gave me enough energy to keep plugging along.
Miles 18-24 were like a death march. I seriously have never used the F word so much in my life aloud or in my head. I was so angry. My body was in so much pain and totally failing me. I was breathing just fine. That was never a problem for me even running up the hills. My body just stopped working. By mile 22 I knew any evolving goal I had was not happening. I was going to run my slowest ever marathon time. There was no more hope except to finish.
At mile 24 I decided I could do anything for 2.2 more miles. Nothing could be more painful or frustrating than the previous 24 miles so why not give whatever I had left. I worked as hard as I could and ran as fast as I could. Let me tell you, it was not fast. But I was moving forward more determined than ever to get to the finish. It was a total victory for my heart. My body and mind were overdone. The only reason I finished and I seriously mean this is because of my heart's will to finish. I wasn't going to quit. Crossing the finish line felt like a total victory and failure all at once. I failed to meet any goal I had for the day. It was a victory because I never quit. I ran 26.2 miles for the 6th time. So I cried tears of total exhaustion and frustration and anger.
My watch said I ran 26.47 miles in 4:02.4. I have not looked at my official time and I have no desire to do so. I know that I started pretty close to the gun so my watch time is probably fairly accurate. Time became totally unimportant. This race was about surviving and just that....surviving not my time.
This race became a plan way back in the winter when Susan asked me run with her. Drew and I decided it would be perfect because we could see family in the area. I unfortunately didn't get to run with Susan. She hurt her shoulder and felt her training wouldn't allow her to have a great race. Susan told me to run my own race. So wish we hadn't made that decision.
When the race was over I couldn't have cared less about it. It was done and done. I did care about the races of the amazing women I had spent the past day with in Philly. I love to hear about other's race experiences and hearing about someone achieve a goal makes me so happy.
I don't regret running Philly. I am so glad Susan asked me to tag along with her and her friends. I am so thankful they invited me into their circle for the weekend. They are each so inspiring and amazing. I laughed so hard. Smiled so much. Enjoyed all of our time together. Experiencing Philly with Kim, Jaime, Tracey, Megan, Charlene, and Susan was fantastic. We were silly tourists for an evening and it was so much fun.
It was a weekend to remember. Thank you Tirch's for making me part of your family again! Sorry about that picture George!! Thank you ladies for welcoming me. I can't wait to run with you all again. Come on Ragnar...come through for us! Thank you Susan. You made this weekend happen for me. You continue to inspire me no matter what your race time was. Your guts and determination and heart are uplifting all the time. I am so thankful for our crazy friendship and I love you to pieces.
Never again Philly, but there will be another marathon. It defeated me on Sunday, but not forever.