The hard part of the race came at mile 13, when the half marathoners finished and we had to keep running. The island itself is very small, so the course is essentially one lap around for the halfers and…you guessed it…two laps around for the full marathoners. It took every ounce of emotional strength I had to stay cool when I saw the finishing runners stop, get their medals, hug their loved ones, and cry/smile/shout with the sheer joy of accomplishment. I had another 13 miles to go before I could do any of those things…
I was not prepared for the last 6 miles. Since my training “long runs” had consisted of 16,18 and 20 miles, I did not have the experience to be able to feel strong on this bit of uncharted territory. I seriously had to have some mental talks with myself to keep going; my legs felt like they weighed 100 pounds each with the strength of rubber bands! Amanda and I were not chatting at this point, but we both knew we were “in it” together.
I finally saw the chute and just took off sprinting. Amanda and I finished together and our final time was 5:19:52. Since my goal was simply to finish, this was great news! Amanda beat her previous marathon time by almost 20 minutes, too. For these reasons (and the simple satisfaction of being able to STOP), we were both crying our eyes out as our crew greeted us with flowers, stuffed animals, and high fives.
Although the pain was more than anything I’ve ever experienced (yes, I’m counting the all 4 impacted wisdom teeth thing), running a marathon was VERY worthwhile. After all, I’m a “runner” now!