I'm not the take pictures while I run a race kinda girl - it's all I can do to breathe and stay in the fire fight so here's the written account - enjoy
miles 1-3: We had not run these during our 4/29/11 "dress rehersal", we started off smart - we didn't push the pace, just did it exactly like we had trained - stayed on the mark of my 3:05 pace tat (I wore it on my right forearm). We started off with 2:2 and settled in for the long haul. Spoke to some people - none that were overly friendly. I took 2 cups of cold water at the water stations - drank most, threw some on my face and neck - I was super sweaty already.
miles 4-6: Race was yellow flagged by the time we arrived at mile 4 - the heat index was definitely creeping up. These miles were really no problem. We fell off the 3:05 pace so I moved my attention to the 3:15 pace tat (I wore that on my left forearm). At mile 4, we ate a serving of chomps as we had planned. During mile 6 we took a one minute extra walking break which seemed to really give me a much needed "rest" and I was able to charge ahead refreshed and ready. Met some really nice people that we saw MANY times throughout the rest of the race. We continued doing 2:2. I took 2 glasses of cool water at each water station - drank most and threw some on my face and neck. At the 5 mile water station, I took 2 swallows of gatorade as well.
mile 7: No problem. I ate bloks ("C" had a gu) at mile 7 as planned. We continued to do 2:2. Continued to hydrate with 2 glasses at each station plus some of my on-board bottled water.
mile 7.5-8.5: Killer hill. We had heard lots of people talk about this hill in the months leading up to the race and we had experienced it first hand, BUT it was much more challenging during the race then it was during practice. During our dress rehersal, we hit this hill after only running 5 miles and it was so much cooler during our practice run. This really killed me. We continued 2:2 with an extra minute of walking thrown in there a time or two for good measure - clearly the killer hill had used up all of my reserves. I took 2 glasses of room temp water at each water station. I also took a glass of gatorade at the station after the hill (did I mention that hill was a kil-ler!)
mile 8.5-10: We walked through several intervals. This was really the beginning of my end. The hills just kept coming (in case you don't know - I live in the flatest of all flat lands . . . it's not like these hills I'm talking about were Mt. Everest, but they may as well have been to me). I was very thankful that "C" and I had done a few training runs on hills, but clearly it wasn't enough. Met an awesome group of people - a guy had a 2 sports bottle holder (one bottle had margarita and the other had fuzzy navel - now that's a party!). Thanks guys for being so friendly and supportive!!! I continued to hydrate using 2 glasses of warm aid station water plus as I got thirsty, I drank some more of my on-board water.
mile 10: We ate some chomps as we had planned, but I was only able to eat 2 because they made me nauseous. It's one of my favorite flavors, but at this moment on this day, I nearly threw them up. "C: had suggested we bring along an ipod to help bump up the motivational level during the hard times. I'm not really a music runner and especially not during races because I like to 'chat' with the volunteers and participants. I draw a LOT of energy from these interactions. But, I was in a deep, deep hole and was willing to grab any rope of hope so music it was. We walked quite a few partial intervals during this mile as I had hoped it would help me regain some strength (mental and physical). My lips felt like they were sandy (later looked in a mirror - they had blisters from the sun - nice!). Drank more on-board water - my mouth just felt dry.
mile 11 or so: I swallowed a bug. It totally gagged me. Oh wow - I've swallowed bugs before, but this one hit me in the back of the throat and really choked me up. Yikes!
mile 11.5: "L" was there - what a surprise!!! What a freakin' awesome surprise!!!!!!!! Ohhh hugs all around - ohhh thank goodness for "L" being there!!!!!!!! Sooo nice. We were clearly no longer doing 2:2 - it was more like 1:3. What a wonderful treat to see her . . . the joy ended way.too.quickly as more hills awaited!
mile 12-12.5: Met some awesome people that I owe a LOT to. Hated every single step. Thought I was going to seriously just die. There was hot water and ice at the last aid station - I had both! I'm pretty sure that it was about here when I told "C" that I will do the 3 fall half marathons that I have committed to, but that I just don't think I'll be doing any more after that -they are just too hard. She reminded me that I had "plans" to go to MN and to FL. I told her I had "plans", but that I just couldn't do it - these half marathons are just too incredibly difficult. I felt as if I was literally going to just die!!!!! I'm not a mentally strong person - this is something I'm going to have to work on as hard or even harder than I am physically training.
mile 12.5 -13.1: These 2 awesome ladies plus "C" said we have to run to the end. You all have to understand how LITTLE I had left in the tank - how LITTLE I had in me to do anything of the sort. I just couldn't do it!!! I absolutely just couldn't do it. I told "C" to go ahead and be all she could be. I told her to go be a shining star. I told her I promised that I would finish and that I would run across the finish line, but that I would have to walk until I could see it. She refused and this most awesome girl next to me who was running with her friend started a slow jog and said "come on - just like this no faster - just like this to the end". So I did it - just like that and no faster . . .and I REALLY thought I was going to die. It was the hardest thing EVER!!!! it was THE HARDEST THING EVER!!!!!!! On the finishing shoot I heard people cheering for me (they were Lisa from Train with Lisa and her friend Miranda that we had dinner with on Friday night). Oh sweet goodness - that is awesome to have someone cheering for you!!!! And just as quick as I thought I was absolutely going to collapse - we crossed the timing mat. I never saw those 2 girls who ran "C" and I to the finish, but I'm thankful to God they were there!!!!
Finish line stats:
Our time = 3:14:13 (our goal was 3:15 so that's a win for sure! This was 3 minutes faster than our St.Pete time so I think that's really a win!)
Finished = 2488th overall place out of 2699 participants;