Short version: I finished my first marathon in 4:49:20.
Long version: I wasn’t quite prepared for the emotional downs and ups that come with running a marathon. The first half was easy and fun. I loved taking in the little details – kids handing out jellybeans, funny signs, clever t-shirts. The crowd support was amazing, and my family was even better. Each time I saw them cheering on the sidelines I felt an incredible boost and wanted to run faster. Things got harder in the second half. Miles 18-21 were the worst… I never hit a wall, but my tired, sore body hurt with each step, the end seemed a long ways away, and I found my resolve flagging. I started repeating to myself “cruise control, cruise control,” and somehow the image of a vehicle moving at a smooth, consistent pace gave me something to aim for. My dad joined me at mile 21 and everything seemed instantly better. He chatted and told me I looked good and made me smile as we ran along. I’m not sure I could have done it without him. When we passed mile marker 25 I realized, suddenly, that I was going to make it. I was going to make it. When I crossed the finish line and heard my family cheering, it hit me suddenly that I had accomplished something I had trained for through so many lonely miles. I cried in David’s arms and hugged my family and felt shaky and proud and weak and strong all at the same time.
I might even do it again.