After our quick pit stop we got back to running, my family was waiting for us just around the bend - so we got to high five the kids again. We headed out and up the "smallish" hill to head to the River Pkwy.
At this point my legs were definitely feeling the first 13 miles but there was only one option - keep running cause we were finishing this thing!
The crowd support on the Mpls side was really great - there really was not a quiet spot the whole way. About mile 14 I saw a couple of our friends with their son - I was so focused on not stopping that I almost missed them! It's funny how hard it can be to really focus on anything other than forward motion!
We kept fueling and taking walk breaks through the aid stations. We were letting each other know how we were feeling and vowed to stick together. We had made it that far - there was no leaving each other at that point.
Mile 16 - out of the corner of my eye I saw these people jumping around on the side of the road. All of a sudden it dawned on me - it was my friend Ann and her husband Jay - dressed as ROBOTS! It was awesome - they had a boom box playing that song Gangam Style and dancing! Seriousl
y - best thing ever! We took a picture and then Ann dropped her costume and ran with us for a little bit. She is such a great friend and I can't wait to be able to jump in and run with her at her marathon some day!
We saw my kids and family again at mile 18. I can safely say this was a point where I was so tired and so ready to be done. But I really tried hard to be tough and positive, especially when we saw our cheerleaders!
We crossed the river over in to St. Paul. It was a relief and it made me dreadful all at the same time. If you have ever run a race on this part of the course you know that this is by far the "hilliest" part. I just kept telling myself to keep moving. We were still taking walk breaks through aid stations and listening to our bodies. Things hurt by the only option was to keep going and get up those final hills to the finish line.
We ran up the incline at 19-20, and then when the real beast of a hill came up at Mile 20-21 - right before you get up to Summit - we opted to walk, along with the rest of the runners that were with us at that point. When we got to the top we could hear and see the crowds and it motivated us to get going again. Now was the time for the real race to start. Those last 5.2 miles are serious. That trek up Summit Ave is no joke. I knew that, I have run it a few times, in races and in training runs. I don't
really think anything prepares you for the last 5.2 miles of a marathon - it becomes a mind game.
Again, the crowd support in St. Paul was amazing too. The entire way up Summit Ave was lined with spectators - it was really great. I spotted another friend around mile 23 - she had been there all day cheering on several of my other friends that were running. It was so great to see a friendly face and get encouragement to finish strong - thanks Amy! She even had signs with all of our names on them!
Mile 24 - walked through the aid station and spotted my friend Annie who was volunteering - again, so great to see a smiling, friendly face! And then there was the huge crowd at the TC Running Company's cheer zone. It was awesome to hear all of the partying and cheering coming from that crowd - and hearing Adam (the store owner and EP Grad) root on the runners!
It was at this point that my goal of finishing at the 5 hour mark was definitely not going to happen so we just decided to get moving - do whatever we could to get to the finish as soon after the 5 hour mark we could. Our friend Erin (who had run the 10 miler earlier that morning and had a great race) found us just after mile 24 and ran with us for a little while. It was great to be distracted from what we were actually doing and hear how her race went. She kept telling us how great we looked - I am going to suggest she get her vision checked! :) But, seriously, it was so nice to see a friend and get so much support.
The best part of the TC Marathon was coming up to the top of the hill by the Cathedral and seeing all of the people lined up along John Ireland Blvd waiting for the finishers to come down. There wasn't
much gas left in the tank and it took a little convincing of my legs but we made a strong push down the hill and in to the finish chute. First we saw Tracy's family and then a little bit further down the
finish area there were my kids and family (complete with my mom, sue, melissa, travis and lyla - who had been with Rob and the kids all day) - we ran by both groups and all we were focused on was the finish line. There really is no feeling like being that close to the finish and giving it everything you have to get there and finish strong.
I ended up crossing the finish line in 5:16:20. We finished, we made it to run another day! It was a great day - so many great moments and so many moments when I really questioned what in the world I was doing! It was so wonderful to run with one of my most treasured friends. To be there for each other - to support each other - to remind one another that we were definitely doing this!
I am not sure when I will run another marathon - pretty sure it won't be in 2013, but maybe Grandma's Marathon 2014 - a girl could get that crazy again! I guess I am just proud of myself for saying that I will actually do this again! Third times a charm, right?
There are other things I would like to talk about from the marathon but that will be for another post. There are so many people I want to thank but I would like to dedicate a whole post to that. I don't think there is enough gratitude and thankfulness in our daily lives so I want to be sure they get the credit they all deserve!
Thanks for sticking with me everyone! Live to run another day! Finish lines are for winners!