On Friday afternoon, we drove to DC just in time to hit rush hour. Yay! We made it to the Expo, where we had enough time to buy some official race jackets (hey, you can't wear your medal every day, but you can wear your jacket every day!) and take some silly pictures:
From there we went to the First Timers Pep Rally in DC. We figured the speakers wouldn't hit the stage until 8 PM, since the event was from 7-9 PM. We got there around 7:30 PM, and then remembered we were surrounded by Marines and of COURSE they started right at 7 PM. We basically missed all of the free food and good speakers. Bummer. We hung out for a little bit before eating dinner at the hotel and heading back to crash.
Saturday was a very calm day, since we wanted to save our legs for the marathon. We met up with our DC friends for brunch at Busboys & Poets, where the food was delicious and the wait staff pretentious. From there we went to the Women in Military Service For America Memorial, where my Grandmom was a charter member. The Women In Military Service For America Memorial is a unique, living memorial honoring all military women - past, present and future. I haven't been since 7th grade, and a lot has been done since. It was very moving, and appropriate given the marathon we were about to run. We gave our thanks and then went off to the Team Lemon dinner.
We actually got up with the first alarm, got ready, and then took off for the big day. Between walking to Runner's Village (the staging area for all of us), checking our bags, and using the bathroom the time really flew by. Before we knew it, we were starting.
The first half of the race was great. If I didn't have a 15(?) minute bathroom stop right before the halfway mark, I would have PRed for my half marathon time. Despite a huge blister on my right foot, I was feeling good. I was confident we'd finish with our 5:30 group, maybe a little later. I thought for sure we'd finish under 6 hours though.
After my bathroom break, I started to get tired and hungry.
After I beat the bridge at mile 20, I emotionally hit the wall. Then, after mile 21, I physically did too. Something in my ankle snapped, and it hurt to put too much weight on it. I would try running in one minute intervals, but even then the pain was too much. I kept thinking, "Why am I doing this? This won't bring Justin back. What is the point?" It was a long 5 miles. Dan pushed me to run up the hill, where after my medal I hobbled to the medic tent.
Running up Iwo Jima with soliders from the UK Army.
We finished in 6 hours and 33 minutes. A full hour slower than I had hoped. At this point Sandy started to kick in, and we met up with our cheerleaders and personal assistants Katie and Kathleen so that we could head back to the room to decompress and shower before the long ride with Sandy home. In New Jersey, Sandy has kept us busy enough that processing the marathon hasn't really been an option. We were lucky that our town was spared.
I had my final PT appointment today. While they were taking measurements, we hashed out the marathon and my ankle and everything else. I told them that I was glad that if I was going to do one marathon in my life, I'm so glad it was this one. While my time was disappointing, my training and race day was not. I've learned a lot about myself during this journey; I also never realized what a support system I had around me. People from all different parts of my life have cheered me on these past four months. It's been incredible every step of the way. As I was gushing about how great Dan has been since the first time I attempted Couch to 5K, they gave me the great news that I've met 90% of my goals and that I wouldn't need to come back!
309.58 miles. 68.15 hours (not counting cross training).12 PT visits. 6 states. $1,813 raised. It's been a long journey. Thank you to everyone that's followed it.