So Jim the pace group leader leaves us at Mile 14. Boo. He said that he was in training for another race and didn't plan on running the whole time.
Lana (sp?) jumps in to replace Jim. She is a petite girl with a Russian (I think?) accent. Very sweet. Every couple of minutes, she would quietly say encouraging things to us as we continued along. At this point, we were still attached to her hip.
As we got back onto Hwy 101 around 16 or so (can't remember), I felt like I was hitting transition. Hahaha! (cracking up when she says in the video, "There's a lot of yelling... groaning...") Alright, so it wasn't that bad, but yeah... Mile 17 with a slight headwind... I was hurting. At this point, the chit chat was all but gone. In this picture (found and then purchased on totally random web search of Carlsbad Marathon!), looks like I actually started doing my own thing. Not feeling too social anymore. I don't think any of us are.
Check out the rinky dink pacer sign. Seriously?
Also, are there any steroids available at the next aid station? I forgot to shoot up this morning.
(What's up with my Miss Olympia-looking leg? That leg looks like it needs to be running 5:20 miles, not 8:20s.). I know what's going on with my mouth. Pretty sure I was licking off chocolate GU (for the entire race...)
Then came the U-Turn to head back, I saw a porta-potty at 18.5 and had a Pavlov's dog moment. I actually started peeing in my pants a little when I saw the potty, so I knew I had to stop and go. I couldn't take the discomfort anymore. Plus, I was wearing blue shorts. I couldn't pull off a pants pissing this time without being completely obvious.
Meanwhile, back in Yuma, my husband was tracking me and saw my pace drop into the high 9:00s. He said he was really bummed because he thought I had hit the wall. Nope. Just taking a whiz is all.
I got out of the porta-potty and saw the 3:40 group waaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of me now. Crap! I hauled ass to catch up. I looked at my Garmin and saw 7:34. Ouch. Going up another roller too.
And here's where the magic happens... I catch up with the group. We get to Mile 20.
Mile 20-8:05... My 2nd fastest mile of the marathon
There's no wall.
I DIDN'T HIT THE WALL!!!
Marathon #1-Hit wall at 18
Marathon #2-Hit wall at 20
Marathon #3-There's no wall!!!!!
Don't get me wrong. I'm not feeling fresh by any stretch of the imagination. Things are starting to hurt all over. My hammies are all twinge-y (and have been the entire race, actually). I can feel my calves. My Achilles are burning... I'm tired. Not to mention that now we're merging with the half marathon crowd, and I'm annoyed having to weave in and out of the crowd.
But I had it in me to pick up the pace. I could feel it. You can tell when you got it, and you can tell when it's gone.
I actually flipped off the Mile 20 sign.
But it felt so good!
And here's where my impromptu mantra started:
"There is no wall. There is no wall. There is no wall. There is no wall."
I was like a crazy person. Think Jack from The Shining.
I probably said it 150 times until I really BELIEVED it.
And then I took off on my own.
There was another guy from the pace group who came along too. We kept pulling each other the last 6 miles. He came alongside and said cheerily, "Hey, you pulled ahead of the group. You have a little bit of a cushion now." Of course what he said in his mind was:
"Oh hell no... I'm not getting chicked by this."
Mile 26-8:00.... Almost done! I think I may go into cardiac arrest if this doesn't wrap up soon!
Last .2 (actually .49 on my Garmin-GAH!).... 8:00 (Felt more like 5:30!)
The guy passed me right at the end, naturally.
Total emotional breakdown at the finish. Kind of still processing it. I'm not a crier or a terribly effusive person by nature, but yeah... Sort of sensory overload at that point. On the one hand it was a baby/toddler moment in that I was so physically tired that all of my coping skilled failed me. If you have kids, you know what I mean. We've all seen it when they are so tired that they literally MELT DOWN. After all, I had not slept in almost 28 hours. On the other hand, I was so stinkin' proud of myself and couldn't believe that I pulled it off. I was overwhelmed with pride. If someone would have told me 2 years ago that I would shave off nearly 40 minutes off a marathon time that I ran when I was 24 YEARS OLD, I would have responded with, "PFFFFFFFT!! You're high!!"
But I did it. Almost 12 years and 3 kids later... I DID IT.