We left the house Friday morning at 10am & got to Odessa at 3:30. Considering we were traveling with a baby, that's great timing. Shaylin was an angel. She either entertained herself or she slept. I couldn't have asked her to do any better.
Friday night we ate at Olive Garden to "carb up". I chose just a spaghetti w/ meat sauce. I thought alfredo would be too heavy & greasy. But I made the mistake of agreeing to an appetizer that we didn't know at the time we ordered it had red pepper flakes. That didn't make my tummy feel too good that night. Or the next morning. My nerves weren't helping either.
Then there was all the water I drank that day. I think I managed to consume around 160 oz. of water. I was using the theory of drinking 16 oz. for every half hour you'll be outside. Well, that seems to really apply to warmer temperatures where you sweat a lot. So that was my first real mistake. Then of course I drank 2 more water bottles at 5am on race day. So needless to say there were a lot of bathroom trips the night before & all morning before the race.
The temperature was in the upper 50s that morning. Great running weather! The race started at 7am so the sun wasn't even up yet. I went to the back of the pack at the starting line since I knew I wasn't going to be one of the fastest. The gun went off & it seemed almost immediately most of the runners were a good bit ahead of me. But that didn't discourage me. In some ways it's kinda nice being by yourself.
Jeremy had planned to ride his bike, cutting through streets to meet me at various mile markers but without staying on the race course since that wasn't allowed. But he wasn't well conditioned for it so he got the car which managed to not be any more difficult. He first saw me between miles 4 & 5. I had only had some sips of water from the previous aid stations (they had aid stations at every mile marker) so I was ready for my bottle of gatorade. My side stitch had been trying to act up but once I started drinking the gatorade it went away & then never came back. Weirdest thing.
The half marathoners went off the full course for a short mile so eventually I had some people catch up to me again. That's when people could finally see the back of my shirt & they loved it.
Jeremy saw me again around mile 8. It was so encouraging when I could see him off from a distance. He had parked on a dirt road & was blasting "Eye of the Tiger" for everyone to hear & cheering for the other runners. That's the great thing about running. It's not about competition & winning. You cheer for everyone.
At this point I was feeling great. I soon was by myself again but I was into my music & just loving the scenery. It was just beautiful! My favorite thing about Texas is the sky. It seems so much bigger here.
At mile 10 a family was waiting for their loved one & the kids had their hands out to give high fives so I took them up on it. Simple things like that really boost a runner's confidence.
Jeremy saw me for a 3rd time at mile 11. I told him to post on Facebook that I was feeling great. I really was.
Right after mile 12 the course takes you into a stadium & you're to run around the track & exit. This is where the half marathon ended. A half is 13.1 miles. So I finally got to see the clock. But I was discouraged to see it was 2:33 which meant there was no way I was going to finish in 5 hours. I knew it was a long shot so I didn't beat myself up too badly.
Oh, before I got to mile 12 I saw the leader. So here I was almost half way done & this guy was coming to mile 21. Crazy!
I saw Jeremy again at mile 14. This was the point when it was starting to get hard & I really had to focus.
At mile 16 I finally passed someone. Two runners actually! But they were an older couple so that doesn't say much for myself I guess. But it felt great just the same. I'm not sure of their relation since they were from different cities. Maybe siblings. But she had done around 50 marathons; she'd lost count. And this was his 5th marathon. So I was totally impressed. I later learned they were around 60 years old.
Off in the distance I saw another runner & started "fishing". I then realized who he was. This man is 62 I think. He is known for running this marathon in khaki shorts & a button-down collared shirt. For you non-runners, that is not good running attire. Finally after mile 18 I passed him.
Then at mile 19 I had to make yet another porta-potty break. At the same time another girl was stopping there. She had been walking. When I came out she said she needed a running buddy so I thought I'd help. We walked & talked for a bit & then got on our way again.
Jeremy saw us at mile 20 & again at 21. That was the last he could see us due to road closures. So my buddy & I were on our own.
By now I had some tightness in my left hamstring. I was able to run but it was hurting to do so. So at each mile marker we got water, gatorade, & stretched. And then walked for a bit. It was really starting to take a long time. So after mile 23 we agreed to try to keep going till the end but if one felt the need to walk it was ok for the other to keep going. Close to mile 24 my buddy started walking so I kept going. After the turn at mile 24 I couldn't see her anymore but I knew she had started running again.
Mile 25 was exciting because I knew it was just one measly mile to go. I walked for a couple minutes during it & started back up. Then I made a left turn where a race worker was & there was the finish line. I couldn't believe it! That was pretty much where the .2 came in. It felt so long. I was trying so hard to not lose it emotionally & just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I could see my little crowd of cheerers. Even better was when I could see Jeremy holding Shaylin & waving her arm in the air.
I crossed the finish line with a time of 5:55:39. That's about 25 minutes longer than I had expected. But for my first race it's not terrible.
Once I got my medal & walked to Jeremy I lost it. I felt ok to hold Shaylin & I just held her & cried. I know she doesn't understand right now but I hope that someday she will be proud of me & that she will even want to become a runner like her momma.