We'll start with the stats.
The weather at start time was 62 degrees F, 80% humidity, South wind mph.
There were 21 finishers in the Female 35-39 age group. I came in 7th in my age group and an overall gender finish of 44.
There were 363 finishers in the Marathon Division. My overall finish place was 188.
At the halfway mark, my time was 2 hours and 5 seconds, for a 9:10 pace. At mile 19 my time was 2:57 for a 9:19 pace. At the finish my time was 4:24:10 for an overall pace of 10:05/mile (do the math to figure out how much I slowed down in the last 7 miles. This will become important shortly.)
So much for the numbers. Now for the emotional rehash.
I have never, in my life, ever, come anywhere close to being in the sort of pain I was in today. Pain doesn't even begin to cover it. At mile 21 it was like someone grabbed the inside of my kneecaps with a vise and started twisting. Five times during the last 7 miles the pain got so bad I literally couldn't walk. I sat down on a curb for 10-15 seconds and gave my legs a rough massage then stood up and wobbled off.
I've been tired in marathons before but never felt like I couldn't walk it in. While I'm certainly disappointed in my time, I actually don't feel that bad about it because I was in serious doubt for the last 2 miles of the race if I'd actually be able to finish. My legs just stopped obeying my commands and wouldn't move and crumbled beneath me. I'd give a short shriek and kind of lurch to the ground, assuring the concerned runners passing me that "It's just a cramp. I'll be fine."
The course was hilly. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I'm assuming that's what did me in. I've run two twenty mile runs recently and been fine. When I finally crossed the finish line I grabbed a fence and knelt down and volunteers came over to tell me to keep walking to avoid cramps. I nodded and ignored them until a very nice (and very tall) police officer came over and gently lifted me and said, "Let's get you walking around a little, darling."
Friends were there to congratulate me but I was in a bit of a daze. I had Blair take me to a nearby bench where I sat and prayed for death. The bottoms of my feet were pounding, legs were still in a vise, lower back felt like I was giving birth. I finally hobbled into the medical tent and applied ice bags to my lower half. That did the trick. Within 10 minutes I felt if not good, at least human again.
This is my second worst marathon time ever and by far the worst I've ever felt during and after a race. So now I set my sights on Chicago for the elusive "3" in front of my marathon time.
I'm a little scared what I'm going to wake up feeling like tomorrow. Blair took a few race day pictures which I'll try to post tomorrow.
Any race you finish is a good race but... yech! I'll be glad to move this one to the history books.
Congrats to all fellow runners, a shout-out to the Blueliners who ran the Mile4/Mile 23 water tent, and to my running buddy Marshall... we'll get 'em next time. =)
Cheers (and ow ow ow),