I thought I'd split up everything I had to say about the race in to a few easy to read segments (like 285.) Don't want to bore you or anything, ha!
Hey I ran a marathon! What do you say about it? All you marathoners know what there is to say. All you non-marathoners (hee hee I can say that now) go run one and then you will know. Its a good time...
It was a great day. God is good to me. We had been pretty concerned that it was going to rain/snow for most of the race, as the weather forecasters seemed to indicate something like that. This led to a frantic search for some rain gear that I could run in, the night before the marathon. Why do I go crazy like that sometimes? Somehow I convince myself I have to be prepared for anything. Like somehow its going to snow 12 feet (ok they had gotten like 54" in one day a few weeks ago) and I'm going to run through it. Ah well. It meant I only got about four hours of sleep, but I think that is pretty typical sleep for the night before the marathon eh?
The day started at 3:45, my sister (who was running the half-marathon with exactly two training runs (you=1337hax0r!!!! rock it sis!) and I got up, raced down to the hotel lobby and jumped on the shuttle bus which took us to the Transit center where the real buses would take us up to the top of Cache La Poudre Canyon.
The vibe for the marathon is awesome. Energy is high, cameraderie is instantaneous, its just a great feel. Everyone is jonesing to go do something crazy like run for a long time. Its an amazing group performance. The bus ride was about an hour. Sat next to a dude who was trying to qualify for his third Boston. Forced to listen to some nerd loudly bore his seatmate to tears expounding on his knowledge of archaeological evolution. Good times.
Got to the top of the course, and got ready to run. My friend who just got done with his second Iraq deployment and who had invited me to run this crazy thing was there along with a friend of his. Excitement was high, weather was perfect, nice and cold/cool and warmed up as we went along.
The first half went fabulously. I walked only the aid stations for about 20-30 seconds each, and was feeling great. No double D, no tiredness, going way too fast.
Isn't it funny how you "get to know" the people who are running around you? You might not even talk to all of them, but you recognize them and if you're like me come up with names for them. (Canada Dry guy (wearing a Canadian jersey and flag combo, the IPOD ladies who were singing songs as they ran including "I like Big Butts" and offered to be my musical entertainment since I wasn't listening to my MP3 player, that whole group of people you look at and say, "There is NO WAY that guy is beating me!!!" and then there was short shorts guy. Short shorts guy was an EXTREME race walker. He was full blown, elbows flaring to the sky, gel belt, garmin pace tracking, race walk 10:42 minutes / mile guy. I knew I probably couldn't beat him, but I really wanted to stay close, just in case he might trip and I could win at the end. Also, as referenced by his name, his shorts were like just a weeeee bit too short. Ouch. Staying in front was better than being "behind." He also was really steady pace wise so I could tell how I was doing. )
First half was in 2:22:22. I was pretty excited and somewhat nervous about that as that is way fast for me. Those times represent my 10k PR, Half marathon and every other distance above 5-k. I really wanted to keep up that pace until I saw the fam which was supposedly around mile 15. It wound up being mile 17, so I wound up hitting mile 18 at 3:19. Again way fast, but I was feeling great.
When I saw the fam/best support team ever (signs, cow bells, every painkiller known to man, awesome hugs, and pacing runs from the 6, 4, and 1 year olds) I met up with my friend who had hung back to run with me. Running with him was great. The part of the course we ran together was not so great. The first seventeen miles of the course are amazing. Running down this river canyon in the mountains, high rock walls, whitewater in the river, bit of fog in the morning, seeing the sun come up over the cliffs and mountains, good stuff. Mile 17-26 was like running through the desert. It got warmer, you could see forever, and it was sagebrush and dirt. Not nearly as much fun. Also considerably less fun for my friend who was having extreme knee pain. We had a lot of fun talking and walking, and it was absolutely great to be able to finish with him.
At the finish the fam' was there again. Got to give teh wifey a nice hug and "mouth fight" (my six year old's term) tell her thanks, and run across the finish line with my two sons. How great is that?
I think the most exhilarating moment was just after crossing the finish line, they cut off my chip (thanks I didn't want to bend over) and I took a few steps and then I saw the dude. It was the dude handing out the medals. I stopped. Looked at what he had, and then looked up at him. He was nodding his head at me as if to say "Oh yeah. This is for YOU!" I had really done it! That was an unbelievable feeling. I get a little emotional even thinking about it now.
Final time was 5:15 not counting the two minutes it took me to get to the start from the back of the pack. Mario Lopez can chew on that one for a while. I did twitter a challenge-your-manhood type statement towards Mr. Lopez, which accidentally went to some totally unrelated Mario, sorry about that :)
The best advice I got was from teh wifey (and echoed by many of you) and that was to relax and enjoy it! I can honestly say, maybe for the first time ever, that I had fun running. 488 days ago, I could barely waddle a mile, weighed half a c-note more than I do today, and the idea of a marathon brought about thoughts of greek warriors, running, and death. Who'da thunk it? The times they are a changing...
some generic pics...I left off the amazing puke pic (like a three foot stream!) for those with weaker stomachs...