Thus, I decided to write about the last 6.2 miles of the Pasadena Marathon and leave these details out when I finally get around to writing a race report for it (you can read the details of the rest of the race in the other entry).
So this story begins at Mile 20, going down a lonnnngg straight path in the residential streets of Pasadena, watching the runners who were miles ahead of me running in the opposite direction on the other side of the road. It was cold, slightly windy, and slightly drizzling. I had my iPod on quietly, but at this point, it wasn't really helping. I had just finished my second Accel Gel and was hoping that I would be able to get through this last part of the race.
I've been running these 10k-type distances for nearly all of my weekday runs for the past few weeks, and they have gotten very do-able and fast. But these 6.2 miles seemed daunting. My legs were tired, my energy levels were low, clothes stuck to me, my skin swelled inside my soaked shoes/socks, and the side of my thigh and calf muscles started to cramp every time the wind blew.
"The Ukrainian" asked me how I was doing periodically. Sometimes, I said I was doing well, and the other times, I whined, grunted, or breathed loudly. He asked me for for my Garmin data once in a while (how far we've gone, time, pace, etc.). As the hills came, he grabbed my hand so that I would not start walking. I am really bad at hills, so this was extremely helpful. Miles 21-23 were rough, as there was a lonnng incline with the wind blowing against us. The roads were sloped, which made it hard to even find a level surface to run. I apologized for any cursing that came out of my mouth as I struggled to keep moving, telling him how difficult this is every single time at this stage of the marathon and why I keep putting myself through this.
We slowed down dramatically. At mile 23, I was too tired to eat more than a few jelly beans and was having a lot of trouble controlling my cramps, so I told "The Ukrainian" that I was going to walk and that he go on ahead of me. I was already riddled with guilt because he probably could have taken off miles ago, but he decided to stay with me until I told him to go on ahead. I walked/ran until mile 25. The wind was blowing straight against my path, making it excrutiating. People around me were walking.
At around mile 25, I think the gradual uphill stopped, even going slightly downhill. Somehow I was able to run without much cramping, and before I knew it (really!), I was at mile 26. I turned a corner and high-fived a young spectator. The cheering made me soooo happy because I realized that this was it. The finish line still looked so far away, but I actually had some strength to keep running and thought to myself that it was almost over. I crossed the finish line amid lots of cheers and an announcer reading off the names of others who finished around me. I even had the energy not to completely stop moving once I crossed that line. I believe those last 6 miles took a smidgen above an hour, which is not too bad for me!
So that is my attempt at a race report. With the rain involved, I'd say it was a true spring run! I chose and added this virtual award which best describes my run: