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Average pace- 12:33
20 mile- 4:02:40
Yep, I slowed down ALOT those last 6.2 miles!
Woo hoo!!! I did it!!! I ran my FIRST Marathon!!! And now...I am sooo tired lol! Let me start from the beginning.
Race morning I woke up about 30 minutes before my alarm went off but stayed in bed hoping for those last minutes of sleep...which never happened lol! I slept ok...but kept hearing all the noises of the city. Once I got out of bed I started to get super pumped! I got dressed, ate a half of a plain bagel, and Andy and I headed down to the lobby to meet everyone.
Surprisingly, I didn't feel nervous at all! Just super excited! I knew I had trained well and was ready to run! The weather was great! It started out in the upper 40's and would be in the 60's at the finish. The only bad part was the wind...it increased every hour and would be in the 15-20 mph range in the last half of the marathon. Nothing I could do about that though. Once everyone made it to the lobby, we set out for the start line and of course took a few pictures along the way!
Although I was supposed to start in corral 17, all of us wanted to start together so we decided to start in corral 20.
What was so awesome is having Andy with me at the start of the race!!! He stayed in the corral with me almost to the start line! I was so happy to have him by my side!
Missy also came to my corral to see me! This was her first full marathon too!
And here's a group shot of most of us in our corral!
Angie, Paige, and me with our matching blue shirts!
Me, Paige, and Leah...finally at the start line waiting to start running!
And I LOVE these pictures of me and Paige at the start line! Can you see the excitement on our faces?!
And there's the start line! My hubby did so awesome taking pictures!!!
And then we were off!!! I knew I wanted to stay around an 11:30 pace so I could make it all the way through those 26.2 miles. But our Garmins kept going out at the start due to the tall buildings. So I really think I ran the first few miles a lot faster that I really wanted to because my Garmin wasn't pacing me correctly. One time I looked down at it and it said I was running at a 34:00 pace! I may be slow but am definitely not that slow lol! Once we turned on St. Charles Avenue it was still super crowded. Alot of people were running in the median...on the trolley tracks! I did this for awhile and then was afraid I was going to trip so I got back on the road. But it was definitely not fun having to go around people. I kept looking down at my Garmin and I was running around a 10:30 pace...way faster than I knew I needed to be running. So I would slow down only to find myself running fast again. At this point in the race, Angela and Katrina were running with me. It was a little different than our normal training runs because we couldn't talk much due to the throngs of people! But I was thankful to be running with friends. And thankful for the bands that were playing for our entertainment! And then we caught up to my friend Mindy and she ran with us. We turned on Magazine Street around mile 8 and I started looking for Andy. He was supposed to be somewhere around mile 8 and I was excited to see him. I was still feeling great at this point in the run but seeing him would definitely bring a smile to my face! Well around mile 8.5 I gave up on him. I figured he must not have made it. Then all of a sudden Katrina said, "There's Andy!" Man was I glad to see him!!! He gave me a quick high five and we were off.
We then made a turn and what did we see? This HUGE Brooks Running blow up that is really kinda funny! I was thinking, "Yay! We get to run under this guy's crotch!" So of course I had to stop and take a picture lol!
Running under this guy started us running in The French Quarter. This is one of my favorite parts of the course! Such beautiful scenery!!! We ran by Jackson Square and Cafe Du Monde!
This picture was taken somewhere in The French Quarter! Still looking strong!
We reached mile 10 and I had to potty. I knew I couldn't hold it for the rest of the race. This was good though because I knew I was hydrating well if I needed to pee lol! Katrina needed to go too so we saw a set of porta potties that had no lines and SCORE! There was toilet paper too! After the potty break, we turned onto Esplanade Avenue. I started feeling a little nauseous here (I had been dealing with bouts of nauesousness for the last two or three weeks...I think from my body trying to fight off sickness). That wasn't a great feeling when you are running but I kept at it. Pretty quickly we reached mile 12 and saw the dreaded decision...turn left for full marathon or turn right for half marathon. We said goodbye to Mindy and made our left turn. (Thanks to Leah for this picture!)
And Katrina asked if I wanted a picture in front of these balloons...well of course I do lol!
We made it to the halfway mark (13.1) and I started quoting Philippians 4:13..."I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Some spectators heard me and encouraged us and told us that was right! Gave me chill bumps! I knew my God was with me all the way! We turned onto Marconi Drive and the long stretch began. And we were seeing the speedy marathoners coming towards us and they were at mile 24. That was a little hard to take lol! And then THE WALL appeared...much sooner than I had expected. I stopped at the mile 14 water stop and there were all kind of goodies....cookies, pretzels, oranges, bananas, gummy bears, jolly ranchers, and peppermints. I grabbed an orange slice, a few pretzels, and a jolly rancher and peppermint. I was hoping eating something might ease the nauseous feeling I still had. So this is where I began my walk breaks. I finished my snacks and then starting running again but by this time my friends were ahead of me. I walked and ran, walked and ran however my body felt. At mile 16 I pulled out my phone during one of my walk breaks and called Paige to see how far she was behind me. She was walking at mile 15 and said she was going to start running to catch up to me. I needed my friend. I was getting a little emotional at this point and not sure how I was going to make it another 10 miles. The course turned onto Lakeshore Drive and I knew this was the part that was a super long stretch and Katrina told me she hated this part...she called it the T and they made it longer this year. I started jogging some because it seemed to be taking Paige a long time and then my phone started ringing. It was Paige...and she had hit her toe against the curb and almost took the toenail off. She had to stop at the medic tent and get it bandaged up and told me she wasn't going to make it to me. I was ok though...I had gotten through my emotional bit and was feeling more confident. So I told her I would be fine. I stopped for some water at the next water stopped, looked up, and saw Angela walking ahead of me. I called out her name and ran to catch up to her. We noticed how pretty this part of the course was even though it was a long stretch and stopped for a picture with sailboats in the background.
The professional photographers (MarathonFoto) got some awesome pictures of us running beside Lake Pontchartrain around mile 18!
And this is my favorite picture of me running!!! I LOVE it! I especially love that I look strong here...at mile 19!!!
Angela and I eventually veered away from each other. I needed a walk break before she did and I knew that from here on out I was probably on my own. I did see a few of my friends on the opposite side of me (yes they were ahead of me) so it was great to hear my name and good jobs being shouted at me. I needed that encouragement! Especially because I looked up and saw a bridge with a hill straight ahead! I got through that one and almost a mile goes by and there is another bridge with a hill! What happened to a FLAT course??? Who adds hills at mile 20??? I just passed mile 20 and I heard my phone going off and saw a text message from Andy:
His words of encouragement meant so much and came at such a great time! I was finally at mile 20 and knew I only had 6.2 more miles to go! I was really going to do this thing! During this stretch I met a few people. One man was from Alaska and had come down to run this race!!! He was having some knee pains but I encouraged him as much as I could and told him he could do it! We turned around a little after mile 20 and yes...had to go over the two bridges again! At the top of the second one, I hear my name and see Paige, Sarah, and Missy on the opposite bridge! It was GREAT seeing them!!! We all shouted how we were ready to be done lol! Just seeing my friends gave me strength to keep going. Finally mile 22 came around and we turned back onto Macaroni Drive. I knew I was in the home stretch. I called my mom during one of my walk breaks at mile 23...she told me I could do it and to call her afterwards. Then I met a girl that was doing run/walk intervals and I did a couple run intervals with her. This was her second marathon. I probably ran the next mile and a half with her and had to slow down. Here are a few pictures around mile 24.5.
I reached a water stop around mile 25, drank my water, and started running again. And there were photographers there so I tried to smile but you can see I'm tired in the pictures lol!
Then all of a sudden, I look up and Andy is there in the middle of the road!!! I started crying! I didn't expect to see him until the finish line. He started running with me and asked if I wanted him to run the rest of the way with me. I did but knew they would stop him at the finish line. So he told me he was going to cut across the grass to the finish line so he could see me finish, and that I only had to go around that corner and I would be at the finish! Seeing him gave me the last bit of strength I needed to push through! Here's the not so flattering picture he got of me before I saw him.
I knew I could do this! I was going to be a marathoner! I will always remember the last band that was playing at mile 25.5. They were singing, "Run or Die!" I didn't find that very encouraging but I ran anyway just to get away from them lol! Then I saw it! The New Orleans Museum of Art...and I knew I had to go around the left side of it and the finish line was there! I ran hard and smiled for all the photographers with my hands in the air! I was gonna make it!!!
I could see the finish line and then I heard and saw Andy and my friends yelling for me!
Seeing them gave me the push I needed to sprint across that finish line!
I did it!!!! I was now a MARATHONER!!! They put my medal around my neck and made me stop for some pictures.
Then they gave me 2 cold bottles of chocolate milk (YUM), a bottle of water, a bottle of Powerade, a banana, and a solar blanket. I headed towards my friends....tired, glad it was over, emotional, and ready to sit down lol! Afterwards, I just couldn't stop crying. And when I saw Andy I bawled lol!
Some of us relaxing after the race!
Me and Paige with the finish line in the background!!!
7 marathoners and 2 half marathoners that stayed and waited (for a LONG time) for us to finish!!!
My new magnet for my car!!! Thanks Paige!!!
My main goal was to finish! My other goal was to finish in under 5:30. I made it! I came in at 5:28:46!!! I had to walk more than I thought but I am ok with that. The majority of the people WERE walking that last half. I did it! I'm proud! And that's my story! My marathon journey is done! Will I do another one? I said no right after. But now I'm leaning towards yes! :-)