Since my calves were feeling great and I was beginning to warm up I took my calf sleeves off. The 26.2 headband I had bought was slipping off and since the sun seemed like it was there to stay, I swapped my headband for my Shut Up + Run visor. My signature look if I do say so myself! By this point I was ready for some music so I also prepared my iPhone and headphones. I also took some time to do some minor stretching. It was while I was squatting down that I noticed multiple marathoners passing me and I wish (briefly) that I had been on my way already. After about ten minutes or so my Dad reappeared and I loaded up on sunscreen, Chapstick, swapped out my Gatorade and popped a couple ibuprofen. I debated putting more body glide on my feet or swapping socks but my feet still felt good and I didn't want to mess with a good thing. Now looking back I wonder if it would have made a difference.
I thanked everyone and we talked about where they would hope to see me again and then I was off. Thank goodness it wasn't turning out like the dream I had. I went over the half way check point and figured whoever was tracking me at home probably thought something was wrong or that I took a snooze along the way. As soon as I had made the split for the full I felt like I was on my own. The crowd support disappeared and I was missing the many runners who were driving me crazy just a few miles prior. I'll be honest and say I don't remember much of the next couple miles. It was crazy hot, sunny and there was very little coverage from the sun. I was enjoying the marathon play list I had created though. Somewhere during mile 15, I saw a runner ahead of me and there was a sign on her backpack that said she was running in memory or honor of someone. I decided to make a friend and figured the sign would be a good conversation starter. The runner's name was Jody and she was running in honor of a child who was suffering from Cancer. I believe his name was Alex. Alex was going to meet Jody with a half mile left and run to the finish with her, so cool! Jody was from Ohio and this was her third marathon. She assured me that the feeling at the finish would be worth it all. Jody was not your average runner. As unaverage as I am of a runner, Jody was even more, and I liked that about her. Did that sentence make sense? Jody was running every other mile. Her outlook was brilliant because as we approached mile 16 she said she only had to run 5 more times and that seemed totally manageable. During this part of the run the marathoners had a switchback so there were tons of speedy people heading in our direction. I wondered what mile they were at and how long it would be until I was where they were. Apparently a long a$$ time. We turned a corner and there was a gas station there. I decided I needed a cold beverage. Not that kind, I had already had a couple sips of beer during the first half. I told Jody I'd catch up with her later. The air conditioning felt great when I stepped inside and I considered asking them how much it would cost to rent out their ice cooler. I got a cold Gatorade and the cashier looked at me like I was nuts. I told her to keep the change because I didn't want the jingling for the next ten miles. I had a few sips and then I stuck the icy beverage into my cleavage, yea real classy, but cool and refreshing at the same time. Next time Im running in this...
As I was plodding along, keeping Jody in my sights to catch up with her, a familiar face caught my eye. Rob was in his running gear and was standing on a corner holding a bottle of water. I was pretty happy to see him. It appeared like he was alone so I asked what he was doing. He said he had run from the hotel (about 2 miles) and came to run with me for a bit. He did have a long run to get in and even though it wasn't his ideal pace, I welcomed the company and conversation. As we started to move forward I told him quickly that he needed to run on my left because that is where Molly always runs! I told him about Jody and we worked to catch up with her. Aside from the killer heat and sun I physically was doing okay. We did some running and walking and I apologized to Rob a few times because I felt bad that I wasn't running more. He just kept saying to not worry, it was my race and to do what I had to do. He even held my Gatorade for me. Have I said what a lucky girl I am? So lucky. Still no spectators and at this point even the volunteers at the aid stations were tired and trying to find any shade possible. On a few occasions volunteers offered hoses with cold water, but I was hesitant to enjoy it, for fear of chaffing and blisters. Rob reminded me about finding landmarks and making mini running goals, which is something I say to my Girls on The Run team so often. We picked telephone poles, signage and aid stations to run and walk to. At one point we were pretty close to catching up with Jody so we ran to her and I introduced her to Rob. I asked her if it was a walking mile and she said her legs were really bothering her and she was walking a running mile.
During mile 18 I decided to call Molly for a pep talk. It was also during part of this mile that I knew we were out as far as we were going to go and that we would get to start making our way back to the city. Woohoo! I don't really remember the conversation with Molly but she was positive and encouraging and it was what I needed. Before I knew it I was hearing familiar cheers and a cowbell and my parents were in front of me at an aid station at mile 19.
|Great race support team, even with the bag mix-up|
Okay, I promise to try to wrap this up in the next one, if it feels long, IT WAS!!