Wow. I can’t believe it is over. 26.2 miles.
I went with my mini-me on Saturday afternoon to pick up my race bib. Here is the pic she got of me. Marathon attempt #2
Here is a recap of race day!
I woke up around 5:30 and had a bagel with peanut butter and a large gatorade and some water. I wasn’t tired, but excited! I finally felt like today was going to be a great day!
My mom, aunt, and Sheryl (family friend) drove me to the race. My mom was obsessed with taking pics on her iPad. I am thankful for that!
The weather was simply gorgeous. About 42 at the start and about 59 by the time we finished. Nice and sunny, but not too sunny where you are dehydrating faster than you can run. I met so many NYers at the start line it was refreshing. I met people that literally lived a few blogs away from me! They were all sorts of awesome and everyone was pumped that the people of Harrisburg were so willing to welcome us. I started running with the 4 hour pace group and it was going really well. I met a woman named Joan who was really my savior. She had just run a different marathon 6 weeks before and was now going to straight dominate Harrisburg. Joan is older than me, and so much more inspirational! During the hard spots of the race she stuck with me and made sure that I was going to be okay. And I did the same with her.
I saw my first batch of family around mile 10. They had ONE job–to give me my gatorade–but what was my mom busy doing?! Taking pics on her iPad. Here is the one she caught of me saying “WHERE IS MY GATORADE!?”
We went on and felt great. I saw my grandparents and aunt around mile 15 and knew I would see them again around mile 20. I also saw another set of aunts and cousins at mile 16 and the turnaround of the course. Where we start to head back towards the finish! That made me extremely happy and thankful for such a dedicated family.
Remember that time that I was told that Harrisburg Marathon would be so amazing because it was going to be FLAT? Oh, hi, lies. We arrived at Wildwood Park section. HOLY. HILLS. This section of the park was down right brutal. It was probably a 3 mile stretch of straight up and down hills. I mean you look up and think “can I even walk up these?” Instead of walking, Joan and I opted for short quick strides and long, relaxed arms. After about 3 miles (and an almost mental breakdown) I made it out of the park, but SPENT! My light at the end of that dark, crowd-less, desolate park was my grammy, Jack, Aunt, and puppy. THANK goodness they were there and thank goodness it was mile 20!
Out of the Wildwood Park section we still had one killer hill to go and I started to fade back from Joan a little bit. After assuring her I would be okay she kept going at her nice 9:15-9:20ish pace and I kept steady at my 9:35ish pace. Then I saw my new friend (and weirdly, neighbor back in NYC) Meegan who had fallen back a little from the pace group. I stuck with Meegan for about 4 miles as her knees were bothering her and I could tell we were both in similar mental states. This course was way harder than anyone expected. I sang a little Call Me Maybe to Meegan and put much needed smiles on both our faces. I was thankful to see my family at mile 22 cheering me and Meegan on. Joan had told them to expect us soon!
I got pretty emotional at this mile marker because I realized I am not made of steel. My whole body was tight and achy and I was ready for mile 26. We kept trucking though. I knew Meegan was feeling pretty bad so I was so happy to see her husband a little up from my family. He was great! He ran the rest of the way with Meegan because he would not let her quit!! So awesome.
I started to branch out after a little ways from Meegan (and her husband, haha) and started to running with music the last 3 miles. Another group of family was waiting for me at 24 which was amazing. I am SO lucky my family lives in Harrisburg. I think more people turned out for Harrisburg than they would have for NYC!
Then I made my way to the finish! My mom, aunt Chris, and Sheryl were waiting for me to arrive! Woo hoo!! I was ready to use everything I had to sprint to the finish. I was pretty much on my own on the bridge so it felt really cool to have all eyes on me cheering me on to the finish! Thanks Harrisburg!!
I saw Joan at the finish-line waiting for her husband (and me) and gave her a huge hug! So awesome to meet someone who will hopefully be a running friend for life. She really encouraged me and helped me through. After meeting up with two amazing runners I know from NYC and saying hi, my mom, aunt, and Sheryl got back in the car with me and drove me home to meet up with my family for a well deserved meal.
Thank you to my whole family, all my friends, and my devoted followers for your never ending support through my first marathon journey. I know it can get annoying hearing about my running all the time, but you will never truly understand how much it means to me for you to care. Unless you start running, which is always encouraged, then you’ll understand 🙂
For now I am resting, hydrating, eating, and planning my next race!