Well, it's taken a week to get this one out. How can one day be both incredibly inspiring and uplifting and yet so incredibly difficult?
I cannot imagine how any race anywhere could be so uplifting. Not only do we have a wonderful cause - to FINISH breast cancer - but we have to have the most amazing spectator fans anywhere in the world!! I can't even see Boston beating out our crowds! For almost every foot of every mile we ran there were people everywhere! Cheering, dancing, playing music and basically having a 26 mile long block party! AND in 30 degree weather no less!!! Does it get any more amazing?? I thought for sure that the crowds would be minimal because of the freezing temperatures. Not so! In fact, I heard other runners saying they thought there were MORE people out this year than ever before! That is just incredible!
I loved seeing all of the people and all of the different ways they came out to celebrate us - the runners. The signs, the banners, the balloons - We had whole blocks at the beach that were nothing but a big party! I particularly loved the Bloody Mary table as we came off the sand and then coming back on Ocean, the large bottle of Skyy vodka on another. Yes, these were for the runners if we felt so inclined! People had oranges and bananas cut up for us, candy, Gatorade, water bottles - it was great! There was never a moment to be thirsty or hungry.
I would have to say the best part of all for me - and looking back, what really got me thru - was seeing those who mean the most to me, my friends and family, along the way. My "fans" standing out in the freezing cold for ME! The first friend I saw was Alison. She was standing all alone on the side of the road waiting for me and she was so excited to see me. And when I came back around ten miles later, there she was again, jumping up and down cheering for ME! Well if that doesn't get you thru, what will?? It was also a big boost to see my "coach" Dennis, who has been training me all of these months. Getting a hug and encouraging words at the halfway point when I was really starting to drop back kept me going for sure! I guess it's a good thing a lot of my friends live along the route out at the beach. It sure made all the difference to see them waving from balconies, waiting with their dogs or just standing there bundled like Eskimos waiting to see me!
I made a lot of training mistakes now that I look back. I didn't even come close to the 5 hour finish time that I wanted. It is because of two things that I even finished - my friends and others cheering me on all along the route and my stubborn competitiveness! I will train better. I will be more focused. I will not let this race beat me - it is too wonderful of an event to have any bad memories. I will get better, I will be better and I will be back to party my way thru 26.2 miles again!
I'll never have another "first marathon" again. I am so glad that this is the one I chose to be my first. It will not be my last! Thank you to my family and friends and to ALL of the people cheering me on last Sunday in the cold. Thank you to Donna Deegan for being such an inspiration and for creating this race to raise money for such a worthy cause. She told us yesterday before our celebration run that we have raised over $700,000 this year. More than any other year! Yes, we will FINISH IT!
If you want an amazing race in a beautiful beach community with the best fans/spectators anywhere - come join us here next year, February 17, 2013. See you on the roads!