I know you've all been waiting in great suspense (haha), so I will confirm that yes, I completed my first marathon! I didn't want to post about it right away because I wanted to allow some time to feel the pain (and hopefully feel the pain diminishing!) and process my feelings about the whole thing. Here's a basic run-down of the event and the days that followed...
5:15am - wake up, eat some oatmeal, drink some fluids, rub on some "body glide" to avoid chafing (tmi? sorry), layer up
6:15am - leave my friend Sara's apartment, where I stayed because she super conveniently lives right by the art museum, where the race starts and ends... meet up with friends, wait in line for the port-o-potty, take off extra layers, check my bag, jump up and down with nervous excitement
Approx. 7:10am - my wave of the race starts! high-five the mayor of philly as I cross the starting line
Miles 0-9 - feel pretty awesome, loving the tons of cheering people all along the route, smiling and laughing at funny signs with my friend steven/running buddy
Miles 10-13 - still feeling ok, get past the biggest hill of the route without too much trouble, missing the cheering as there are less people along this section of the route
Miles 13 -17 - pass the art museum at the half-way point, where there are lots of people again, starting to have some pain in my knee, but it goes away after a while, starting to slow down, wondering why I signed up for this
Miles 17-19 - have to stop and walk for the first time because of a side cramp, fighting to keep up with Steven who is clearly still feeling good while I am feeling worse and worse
Miles 19-21 - hit the wall (or what I imagine was "hitting the wall" as marathoners talk about), want to die, holy crap how will I make it 6 more miles? mad at myself for feeling so crappy when I had run two 20-mile long runs before and felt like I could have gone more, mad at myself for not trying a 22-mile long run, almost start crying...
Miles 22-24 - fight to keep going, tell myself it is ok to have to do some walking, alternate running and walking, but still doing more running than walking, thankful that Steven has stuck with me, even with all my walking
Miles 24-26 - ok, only about 2 miles left, definitely do-able, more people cheering again toward the end, Steven is encouraging me, I can do this!
Miles 26-26.2 - holy crap, two tenths of a mile have never felt this long, where is the freaking finish line?! I can see it, finishing strong, hands in the air as we cross the finish together after 4 hours 20 minutes and 22 seconds, and immediately hug each other.
I am so grateful to Steven for sticking by me the whole time, I honestly don't know if I could have done it without him. It was definitely one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. But I am glad I did it. And I'm proud.
After we finished we hung around a little while with our friends/family and had some post-race snacks and then I had to get going. Walking back to Sara's apartment took me a ridiculously long time. I showered and packed up and got on my way to drive back to western PA to be with my mom again. It wasn't an easy drive (duh) but it wasn't as bad as I expected, and I got myself some fatty food as a reward and made it to my parents' house and put my feet up and relaxed and ate some more. The next day was awful. Seriously. I felt worse Monday than right after the marathon on Sunday. And I was beyond exhausted. After visiting my mom for a bit, I spent most of the day resting, and so I started to feel a little better Tuesday, and made progress through the week. I treated myself to a massage on Wednesday because I had some nasty pain in my neck and shoulders.
Now that I'm a couple weeks out I'm able to look at it more objectively. The week after the marathon I thought that I never wanted to subject myself to that again. At this point, I'm not ready to sign up for another one right away or anything, but I also know that I probably will do at least one more marathon. AND half marathons seem a lot more manageable now than before I did a full! While the crazy winter wind here on the island has kept me from running as much as I would like, I have been doing some, and I'm happy to say that I still enjoy it. ;)