I am going to break this bitch down in manageable sections; mainly because I dont feel like writing for hours and I am sure that alot of you would rather have it this way as well.
Let me preface this by saying that the conditions werent perfect, but it could have been worse. It was about 50deg and um....yeah, about 90% humidity as the leading edge of the arctic blast was upon us. Thankfully it never did rain the entire time but running through that soupy mess was tough, and that was apparent by seeing those around me and what it was doing to them, and then learning later on just how badly it affected some of my dearest friends.
I must also say that no matter how many times you run 18, 20 or 21 miles nothing really prepares you for a marathon and the feelings that envelope you from time to time throughout the course.
At the start I lined up in the second corral smack dab in the middle of the 5:00 and 5:30 pace groups. I figured the 5:30 folks would eventually catch up to me and I would settle in nicely with them.
So here we go with the big easy, otherwise known as miles 1 through 9. Where you think ha ha ha, this is so easy, and so much fun. Its so cool. How much fun am I having?
I was most sad that when we started over the Elysian Aquaduct bridge (the first 2 miles) that I wasnt able to see the sunrise I had read about from others in years past. However I have run that sucker a time or two and with so many people in front, behind and beside you, you really forget you are going uphill. Its hard to actually see the hill almost...Then once you hit the top and are on the way back down, you see a sea of people below you and everyone just bob, bob, bobbing along. I took a deep breath and took all of that in. I was a part of something that I had only dreamed of.
Then you see all the guys running off to the leading edge of the woods to PEE and dart back into the masses. Jealous. I wish I could do that!
As you come down the bridge on the other side you find yourself smack dab in the middle of the barrio. A place where you dont go at night, at least I sure wouldnt. It was funny to see this one run down house with about 5 guys yelling spanish and drinking Bud Light. Go figure.
One thing about being at the back of the pack so to speak is that you get the full advantage of the crowds as they wake up and make their way to the place on the race course where they are going to cheer people on. I cant remember a time where there wasnt a group of people yelling and screaming for everyone as they went by. Then there were those groups of people that I saw time and time again as I suspect whoever they were waiting for at several locations were somewhere close to me. Behind me obviously.
Once we got into the Heights area, around mile 4 I had to pee. Already? I never have to pee!! I ran past some porta potties and the lines were only like 3 deep so I made the decision to do it now. I didnt think I could wait for the next ones and it was uncomfortable. I probably lost 2 minutes there and I was already still trying to catch up on the pacers who were still calling 13 something and I was trying to get to the point where I was at 12:30...I cant remember when that actually happened but it was probably around mile 6 or so.
As we went through the mat at the 6.2 mark and went down a slight hill, the overpass had a bunch of people dressed up like chickens and held a big sign that read: If you were doing the Conoco Rodeo 10K Run You'd be done by now!
Oh and to the guys dressed up like desperate housewives in the Heights you were HILARIOUS!!
As I was into mile 7 I started thinking where is that 5:30 pacer? Then when I thought about it I figured since I was clipping along at 12:27/12:30 they were still a bit behind me. I was managing to keep Felix Lugo and his big ass American Flag he carries in my sight and that gave me something to hang onto.
We were of course still merged with the half marathoners and that made it ok cause there were still alot of people around and you didnt seem so alone.
It wasnt long before I saw the huge pylon that said Half Turnaround, and it was there, the first time that I thought to myself..."crap. I wish I was doing the Half Marathon."....
and as I passed that pylon on by, it was there also that I thought, well here we go....its all up to you now.
to be continued....