I was really nervous for it the days and minutes leading up to the race. I felt pretty prepared for it since I've been training for the full marathon this didn't seem as scary but there's still nerves involved in races since they're a relatively new experience for me, and especially long races with aid stations and such.
Tyler dropped me off at the finish line then I rode the bus to the starting line. I had planned to run this on my own. Well a few minutes before the race started as I was sitting at the starting line, my cousin Emily (third cousin really, but who's counting) and her friend Sarah came running up to me and sat right down next to me. They took my mind off my nerves and got me really excited to run.
We lined up based on the times we thought we would finish and waited for the shotgun start. I hadn't planned on staying with Emily and Sarah but they set a really good pace and I liked their company. We had fun talking for the first mile or so then we really got into our running groove. Before I knew it we were to our first aid station (mile 3) where we drank some water and we all kept going. Aid station 2 came quickly (mile 6) which brought us to the bottom of the canyon. Those first 6 miles were like nothing.
The next 3 miles passed quickly too since there were so many people on the side lines cheering everyone on. I think that's my favorite part of running - just that there are so many people rooting for you and wanting you to succeed. It's such a positive environment and runners love helping each other.
Miles 11 and 12 were tough. They were more uphill and it very sunny and hot by then. Sarah had broken ahead and Emily had stayed behind a bit after mile 9 so I was on my own for awhile. Emily caught up to me around mile 11.5 and really helped my through the last little bit, keeping me going.
The finish was brutal because it's at the end of a long stretch of straight road. I could see it for almost about half a mile but it seemed like I would never approach it. As I got closer I sped up a bit and right before crossing the finish I saw Natalie, Luke and Dax off to the side cheering for me. I ran towards them and gave Dax knuckles. Then Tyler was up a little further holding the camera with one hand and cheering with the other.
I couldn't help but beam with happiness and relief and Emily and I both crossed the finish line. I turned to her and we hugged right away knowing WE DID IT! I finished in 2:26:58 I couldn't have done as well as I did without her and I wouldn't have had nearly as much fun. I'm so so glad she found me at the starting line!
We took some picture and reveled in our victory. It really was such a good experience and such good training for the full. (Click on the pictures to make them bigger)
|Seeing Nat, Luke and Dax|
|We did it, we really did it!|
|Me and Emily - love her!|
|Me, Emily and Sarah|
That's right, I finished! Now bring on the full marathon
Oh and just for fun here's the stats from the run: