I can't even tell you the relief that I feel that the marathon is over. The month leading up to it has been stressful and so thought consuming. After working so hard for four months training and feeling great, the last month of pain and nerves about not be able to run it consumed so much of my mind.
Saturday night we headed downtown to go to the marathon expo and to pick up my packet. Addilyn loved running around and looking at everything, and cried when we left. We headed to a friends house where we stayed and ate Thai food for dinner. I was worried about Addilyn not sleeping great since she'd be in a pack n play in our room, but she slept fine until 4:30. I actually could not sleep, I'm sure because of nerves. I maybe slept 30 minutes if that the whole night. Addilyn didn't fall back asleep after 4:30, so thank goodness for a good dose of adrenaline!
dinner Saturday night/ exactly how I felt too
We stopped by to pick up Chris' brother and sister in law who were running it too and staying at a cousins house. Chris and Addilyn dropped us off and we walked to the start. It's crazy how many people are there. There are 45,000 runners and I saw on the news that there are 1.7 spectators that day. People are running and stretching and waiting in longest lines to check bags and use the bathroom. Definitely just made me more nervous. I managed to sneak in to a different start corral (which involved kind of running from a security guard. oops) so that I could start by my brother and sister in law. It was so nice to start by them even though we only ran the first two miles together.
Once the start goes off you walk for close to a mile to the start line before you actually start running. It is a really neat feeling to be surrounded by all these people who have worked so hard and are ready to accomplish a huge life goal. You're elbow to elbow with people for awhile, but things start to spread out after a mile or so. It's funny though because I'd start to feel like there wasn't a lot of people around me and then I'd get to a downhill and just see thousands of people running ahead. This picture was probably around mile 18.
I was so worried about my knee, as I hadn't even done 2 straight miles of running for weeks. Every time I'd try I'd get bad knee pain and end up walking and then stopping. I was nervous about pushing myself before the race for fear of more injury. I felt great the first few miles, but at mile 4 started having shooting pain in my knee and leg. I texted Chris that I was in a lot of pain and I was nervous that would be it. I was determined to finish, but thought I'd probably be walking a lot. I decided to keep running to see if it would go away and prayed a lot. At mile six I had significantly less pain and so I kept going. I kept making another goal to run too. 10, then 12, then 15. Over and over I kept thanking God for keeping my pain minimal and I was so determined to finish.
I managed to see Chris and Addilyn at mile 12 and it was so good. Although Addilyn couldn't even focus on me. Chris jumped in and stayed next to me for a few yards but she wouldn't even look at me. There's so much noise and people I don't think she even registered that it was me. But I'm so glad I saw them. It gave me motivation to run until that point and to keep going.
I got to see my mom, aunt and mother in law at mile 17 which was so nice again. I managed to run without stopping once until mile 20 when I started having shooting pains again. I started walking some and once I start walking it's so hard to get going again. And by walking I should say pretty much limping.
A girl came up next to me around 20 and half miles and asked if I wanted to run with her. She was injured the last four weeks of training and was running slower than expected and struggling to keep going. It was perfect timing. We ran on and off the next few miles and talked and it was a great distraction. I hit mile 25 and was able to run the rest of the way. I saw my mom again at mile 25 1/2 and picked it up until the finish.
right after the finish
The finish line was the best site ever. I got teary-eyed multiple times while running. I had so many friends text me throughout the race, telling me how proud they were of me. I got the sweetest texts from Chris that made me teary-eyed. I worked so hard and was so nervous I wouldn't be able to finish. There is no doubt in my mind that God answered my prayers. Healing me knee enough for me to run and push through to the finish. It was a reminder to me that God hears our prayers, big or little. It was a reminder again that I have so many people in my life that love me, pray for me and cheer me on.
Annoyingly the set up at the end of the race is that spectators aren't allowed near the finish line, so I had to walk almost a mile, including some stairs, to find Chris and my family. Addilyn did so good the whole time I was running right until the end and started falling apart once she saw me and we had to walk back to the car (and I could not carry her). It was the longest I've been away from her ever, but she did great. The logistics of the race, the night before and the craziness of the city is stressful to me, and adding her to the mix this time, made it a little trickier. But I'm sure I would've been more anxious had she not been with Chris and I, and even though she won't remember it, I look forward to telling her about watching her mama run the marathon!
(Thank you Courtney for Addilyn's shirt! I loved it!)
When I finished the Chicago marathon both other two times, after I crossed the finish line I immediately thought I would do it again. The hard training and work was worth it and almost forgotten when I finished. This time the hard training and work was totally worth it (not not close to forgotten) and I'm so glad I did it, but I have no intention of running it next year or the year after that even. I will not say never, as I'm sure I'll do a marathon again. But this time the training, getting back in shape, the time commitment and the emotions and frustration with my knee injury, made it so much more challenging. I felt prouder and stronger and more determined this year than ever before and I'm glad I did it. I think it was so good for me to have something outside my role as a new mom this last year. To have a goal and time alone and to work at something that was just about me. To find success in something separate than being a mom and to challenge myself and work towards a hard goal.
I honestly can't tell you how much I appreciated the encouragement I've received on instagram, through emails and texts and all your prayers. This morning I got to spend some extra time in bed resting and I can't tell you how relieved I feel that it is over. I'm excited to workout again and not to have to follow a running plan. To not work out if I don't want to, and to not be constantly wondering how the race would go. I feel beyond happy and proud of myself and am so thankful to God that he answered my prayers to be able to run yesterday.