Okay, it has been a week since I ran the marathon, now I'm ready to tell everyone what the actual race was like.
The Start: I got there at 6:00 for a 7:00 race, hung around with the other runners, and got myself ready to run. I stood in the 9 minute mile pack of people, so when we started to go, there was lots of "traffic" before the actual run started.
Mile 1: Ran really slow, due to the massive amount of people, we were all tripping over each other, and no one was really running the pace they were supposed to, so I had to skip up to some faster runners as soon as I got a chance. There was a woman on the road during this mile with a sign that said, "You are NOT almost there" it was funny.
Miles 2-8: These were really pleasant miles, I was free of all the slower runners and there was plenty of room to spread out, also, the rain hadn't really set in yet, I got to 8 miles without even feeling like I had done much work, that is when I knew that this marathon would actually happen.
Miles 9-13: There was this massively long incline, probably a mile long, and the rain really came down for a bit, this is when the reality of the magnitude really began to set in. some guy was complaining about the difficulty of the course, which makes no sense to me because it is a marathon, of course it is difficult.
Miles 14-16: This is where things really started to hurt, chafing wise, my ankles started to bleed a little bit, my left arm was rubbing against my shirt and burned and my inner thighs began to hurt. I never ran this far in the rain, so I was unprepared for any chafing. Also, this is where I got my first taste of a gel. It wasn't half bad.
Miles 17-20: The blisters on my feet started to become irritated and the one on my left foot popped, which was excruciating. I was keeping pace with lots of the other runners, and some people started slowly falling back at this point. I knew it was going to happen, and the psychology at 20 miles is, "Hey I've run 6 miles hundreds of times, this will be easy"
Miles 21-24: This is where they decided to hit us with the hardest steep hills I've ever run. I began thinking incredibly negative thoughts. All the people at the water stations and on the side of the road kept telling us we could do it, what did they know? I was so angry, I began thinking that this was the dumbest idea I ever had. We did get more gels at mile 23, which helped, kind of.
miles 25-Finish: Here is where I realize, I am actually about to finish a marathon. New positive thoughts came across my mind, and allowed me to push through any pain that I was experiencing. So exciting. I got to the home stretch and I almost broke down crying because it was all happening. There were more spectators here, a bar we ran past had set up a booth offering beer to the finishers, I declined, but it was funny. I got to the last half mile or so and I saw my dad standing there, I said hi, he handed me an umbrella, I ran for a little with an umbrella, it was funny. I put the umbrella on the ground after about 300 yards, and just started pushing my legs as hard as I could muster. I saw the finish, hundreds of people were gathered there, all I kept thinking was that my friends would be waiting for me at the end, I was so excited. Regardless, I knew I wouldn't have to run any more, I finished, sprinting over the end check point. some girl hands me a medal and I am completely delerious. I get some free food and water. I can't find my friends and I am all fenced in, I almost passed out. I started crying. I stopped crying, I have to find my way out of the fences. Walking has become almost too difficult, finally after about 15 minutes of walking in circles, I find my way out of the fences and go to the finish line to find my friends. They were across the way when I finally did find them and they had to walk around the fenced area to get to me, it was about another 15 minutes before they got there. I finally knew I did it, the race was over and I was exhausted, so I leaned my head on a parking meter and let go. Through a mix of tears and laughter, I knew that it was true. I couldn't even remember how I did it, only that it was done and I felt like a new man.