I honestly don't even know where to begin with this post...I am not sure I can adequately put into words how amazing Saturday was.
I ran my first marathon...and it was seriously everything I could have hoped for and more. I had the perfect experience. I couldn't have asked for a better day....and yes, when I crossed that finish line I experienced the highest of highs. I was on cloud 9...hell, I still am :)
In the weeks leading up to the race, I was a little worried that I wouldn't have a great experience. I kept thinking back to my first half-marathon...and how it just didn't live up to my expectations I was nervous that I would
walk limp away from this feeling the same way....and after working as hard as I had for the last 18 weeks I wasn't sure I could handle that.
Luckily, that was not the case. It was the exact opposite.
Friday, AJ's sister, Jenni got into town and we went to the expo to pick up our packets. There were tons of vendors and lots of fun running gear and free samples. We spent more time than we planned looking at everysinglething and it wasn't until we were hit with a case of the hangries that we decided to head out and grab lunch. We decided to do our 15 minute shake out run in downtown KC. We ran and met Brian for lunch and then had him drive us back to our car....I mean, we didn't want to do any extra running ;)
At the expo, Runner's Edge, a local running club was handing out pace bands. I have never used one before but after talking with one of the members I decided it might be useful. The pace bands were created especially for the KC Marathon course and took into account the hills. I couldn't decide if I wanted to go with the 4 hour pace band or 4:10 so I grabbed both figuring I could tear off whichever one I wanted after getting a feel for how the race was going to go. (Spoiler alert...I tore off the 4:10 bracelet at mile 7!)
Saturday morning the alarm went off around 4AM...this is when the early morning training runs paid off. My body was used to being up this early and was ready to run :)
4AM breakfast of champions :)
Jenni was running her first half-marathon EVER so it was definitely nice to have someone to share pre-race nerves with! Brian had run the Prairie Fire marathon the weekend before and decided to run the KC half so he could run with Jenni. I don't know what possessed him to run 13.1 miles less than a week after a marathon...but, it's definitely impressive :)
You know how I said that my marathon experience couldn't have been any better...well a huge part of that was due to my friends and family. Apparently, without my knowing, they all planned on coming to my race and standing at different parts of the course to cheer me on. As if I hadn't been emotional enough...every time I saw them and heard them yelling for me...I started to tear up.
This lady endured strange looks all for my benefit! We have a long running joke about my "Schweaty Betty" status :)
Every time I saw these ladies I couldn't help but smile! Between the hilarious signs, mid-race selfies, and driving by with Kristin hanging halfway out the car window I couldn't help but be entertained.
Seriously...I had so much fun running this race. I am smiling in every picture...I just couldn't help it!
This is one of my favorite pictures. This guy has seriously been one of my biggest supporters. He has put up with a lot over the last 18 weeks...I'm definitely lucky to have him :)
Here I am at the finish...and this group of girls jumped out onto the course to run in across the finish line with their friend. I would usually think this was sweet, but... I like to sprint across the finish line (even after 26.2 miles apparently) and they were not moving very quickly....so I had to whip out around them so I could finish fast and get my finish line photo without them blocking me ;)
Even though the last 3 miles were tough...my finish felt strong. It probably had something to do with my giant cheering section yelling my name.
Seriously, what better way to be greeted as you cross the finish line of your very first marathon?? I mean the second best thing was being met with food...I have never been so hungry in my life than after I crossed that finish line. Luckily my friends came through for me with a granola bar and a sandwich :)
Not only did my friends and family show their support on the day of the race...but they also came through for me in the BioSkin sponsorship contest! I had applied to be BioSkin's sponsored athlete and when I was chosen as one of 4 finalists, my friends and family really came through for me. Even though I posted an annoying reminder and link every day they still kept voting!
I ended up winning and BioSkin will be reimbursing my race entry fees for the KC Marathon AND they sent me a free product! Let me tell you...this free product (compression shorts) has made recovering from 26.2 miles a much more pleasant experience. My poor legs were tired and sore after the race...and after putting these things on I was a whole new woman! I have worn them off and on for the last few days and it has noticeably sped up my recovery time!
So...in closing, I guess what I I really need to say is thanks! Thank you to everyone who has shown me so much love and support over the last 18 weeks. I definitely couldn't have done it without you. Knowing that I had so many people pulling for me on Saturday made this experience one that I still can't stop smiling about :)
What is the funniest race sign you have ever seen?
Will I ever stop wanting to shout "I ran a marathon" from the rooftops?