Phase 3 | Miles 21 - 26.2
After seeing the cheering crowds at mile 20, it was a bit lonely to keep slugging along on our own. Especially considering miles 20 - 23.5 were all up hill and into the south wind (do i sound like your grandpa yet?). Miles 20 - 22 were again a bit of a blur of Kristen and I just jogging for awhile, then walking for awhile. It was uninteresting scenery and there weren't a lot of spectators around. However Ed was waiting for us at mile 22 with Milo (we had to bring him with us last minute, long story i'll explain in the post & pre-race-other-news-blog-post). I saw him and lost it, I was so tired, my legs were aching, we were running head into the hardcore evil wind, I was so over it. Ed had some sport beans and he and Milo jumped in the race and ran along with me for awhile. I was a slobbering, snot bubbled mess, literally, snot bubbles. Awesome Robinson, good work. I'm not a crier.... until I run... clearly. Kristen came up on the other side and said "we have this" and Ed told me I could do it and to keep going. He handed off my 'fuel' and slapped my a$$ (he is still male after all, he never passes up an opportunity to do this) and went back to the curb.
Honestly running those miles up hill and into the wind had to be one of the most difficult physical tasks I have ever faced. It was pure brutality. But we did it, and as we passed the mile 23 aid station (the aid stations were getting fancy at this point, really nice lounge chairs, lots of people, seemed very well stocked... i really wanted to go lay down in their oasis!) and finally headed out of the wind and into a neighborhood, I felt total and utter relief. So we kept running.
The only thing I remember about this was handing some guy in a race vest my sport beans because I was tired of holding them and I knew I wouldn't eat them, I was feeling too full from PowerAide. Around mile 24 I became ecstatic or delirious, and my energy and drive returned. However Kristen's knee was cramping up badly, she was hurting. So now it was my turn to return the favor, to encourage her to keep going. So I stuck with her, letting her know she needed to take it easy if her knee was hurting. We walked it out for awhile and before I knew it we were heading toward mile 25. At this point we started jogging again, and all the neighborhood residents were still out in full force cheering us on, more little kids hands to slap, I couldn't get enough of that. So sweet and adorable!
At mile 25 I saw the timer, 4:51:00. I turned to Kristen, slapped her and started yelling. MILE TWENTY-FIVE, WE DID THIS, WE HAVE IT. COME ON, WE CAN MAKE A FIVE HOUR MARATHON! Then I started whopping in the annoying knat-like fashion Kristen hearts so much..... chirp..... chirp..... I was getting stares from other runners. I didn't care. We only had to stop and walk one little stretch that last mile. Then we ran up a hill and someone yelled to us that it was the last hill and it was all downhill to the finish line. We kept going and before I knew it we were turning the corner, we could see the line... and the crowd. That my friends, had to be one of the highlights of my LIFE... don't judge, I have a lame life.
I knew Kristen was good, so I started to run as hard as I could, I never looked at my Garmin but I'm sure that was still a pretty slow pace, but I didn't care. I ripped my earbuds out to hear the cheering. Then I saw my family and it was my turn to go nutso. Interwebs, this is where the true inner uber dork on the run comes out.
I started leaping and waving at my family, the announcer called my name and he was so amped that I was amped he joined me in jumping all around, yelling and being all ridiculous with me, so I ran over to him and we jumped around together, high fiving. It was awesomeness on a stick. Then I composed myself and crossed the finish line like a proper runner, looking nice and calm and NORMAL. It was amazing to pass that line where there were still tons of volunteers saying congrats and cheering. They even used my name! The first volunteer at the finish was handing out medals, he said congrats and I said, that was number one... he told me I was an official marathoner. It took a few days for me to believe and accept that, but I suppose he was right.
And ThAt... was the BEST part of the race.
Post race euphoria and photos, plus pre-race photos and fun to come tomorrow. My mom has most of the pictures, and she is an amazing photographer, so I'm waiting for her to send them my way. Once I have them, I'll be posting more of me at the finish line and during the race!
For now I'll leave you with a photo of me post-race, Ed has excellent timing, and I have no shame, so I'll share...