Well, I did it and I'm still alive. I ran the L.A. Marathon and am alive to tell about it.
I did my absolute best and I am so proud of that. My official time was 5:04:59, which is a bit more than my goal of 5 hours or less, but close enough for me!
Miles 1-10 were pretty easy. Training had gotten me used to doing these types of runs, and I felt energized, excited and the miles kept coming so fast that I thought, hey, this isn't half-bad.
Miles 10-13 were a little hard, as I could feel myself starting to get tired.
Miles 13-19 I desperately wanted to stop. It's so hard in the middle of the race, feeling so tired and knowing you still have miles and miles to go.
By mile 20 I was physically decimated, but my short walk-breaks at water stations were no longer even a relief. At that point, my body hurt so much that nothing would relieve the pain except hours of rest, so I figured I might as well run and get it over with quicker! So although those miles were more painful physically, they were easier mentally. Also, I knew that if I gave up and walked at that point I would always have regrets.
I usually take walk-breaks at the mile markers and half-miles, but I forced myself to run the last 1.2 miles with no breaks, and I was just praying to God to hold me up and get me over the finish line.
Once over the finish line, every muscle in my body turned limp, and I peed my pants, even as I tried desperately to hold it. How embarrassing is that? Luckily, there was a fire hose a few yards away, so I quickly doused myself to hide it. Haha!
Then I wandered around downtown L.A. for almost 45 minutes, every muscle aching, contracting, barely able to move- and completely unable to find the hotel I'd stayed at the night before. (I eventually found it and met up with Jeff, Mike and Rausa and we had dinner before going home.)
Running the marathon was an amazing experience, but I have to say that however hard you think it is to run 26.2 miles- it's still harder than you think.
I think I would like to walk it sometime, just so I could really enjoy the whole experience more- the cheering crowds, the beautiful scenery, the chance to see parts of L.A. that you ordinarily never see, or at least would never get out of your car in.
Running down Hollywood Boulevard along the Walk of Fame was amazing, the giant trees and graceful homes of Hancock Park were classically beautiful remnants of the Old Hollywood era, the crowds in South and East L.A. were so enthusiastic and supportive, and crossing the 6th Street Bridge from Boyle Heights back to downtown L.A. with skyscrapers in front of me and snow-capped mountains to my right is a vista I won't soon forget, even as the memory of it is clouded by sheer exhaustion.
Kyle, Mike and the boys were at the Mile 8 marker to cheer me on but the crowd was thick and I'm short, and somehow, we missed each other which was a bit of a bummer, but at least they got to see Jeff.
So that was my Marathon experience. Everyone is asking me if I'll run another one. As of now, with the memory fresh in my mind, the answer is NEVER AGAIN!
However, that's what Jeff has said after each of his marathons, and yesterday was his fourth.
I have a feeling that running a marathon is like giving birth- painful, messy, and excruciating- but at the same time life-altering, exhilarating and kind of addicting.
I don't know a woman alive who hasn't said NEVER AGAIN immediately after the birth of each child- yet, women still have babies because once the pain wears off and you forget how bad it really was, all you are left with is the memory of that high you felt when you held your baby for the first time and realized that you made a person.
I think if you talk to me in another month, after my blisters have all popped, oozed and faded away and the pain in my muscles is all but gone, all I will remember is crossing the finish line with my hands in the air. And maybe, just maybe, that'll be enough to get me to do it again next year.