Definitely the hardest thing I've ever done.
My legs and feet have never hurt so bad in my life. BUT WE DID IT!
I'm still hurting though. From my toenails to my jaw and everywhere in between. Seriously.
But it feels so worth it to be able to check that off the Bucket List.
26.2 miles. Pshew.
I must give credit where credit is due though:
1. To the Lord. I've said this before, there is no way I could have even had the courage to start this thing without confidence and strength through Him alone.
2. Abby. My sweet, sweet friend and running partner. She was awesome. She encouraged and helped me the whole way. She is such a great friend and there is honestly no one I'd rather run my first marathon with. I woulda hopped on one of those medic carts for sure if she hadn't been with me.
3. My family. Whoa. Y'all don't even know what an awesome family I have. My dad and youngest brother got up and picked us up at 6:45 in the morning. That's early for a Sunday, Bloggies. My other brother drove allll the way from Chattanooga to cheer me on. My sister made TWO awesome signs. And my mom was the ultimate picture taker. My grandparents even came out to cheer and watch me finish. They all cheered and supported and loved me so much. "Thank you" just doesn't seem good like a good enough way to show what I'm feeling.
4. My sweet, sweet friends who came out to cheer specifically for Abby and me. They spent hours of their Sunday driving and running around Knoxville to cheer us on. As much as I say it they will never fully understand what their support meant to us. So BIG thank you specifically to Becca, Becca, Jamie, and Delaney. (Also, sorry the marathon is all we've talked about for the past 3 days. Thanks for not killing us)
5. All of our other awesome friends there cheering us on. Once again, I am so grateful for y'all. Unexpectedly hearing someone yelling our names was such a treat and a HUGE encouragement. Seriously, I hope I can repay each one of you one day.
6. ALL the other supporters and volunteers. Even though they didn't know our names, just hearing them yell "good job, girls!" or "you're looking great" or "you've come so far" did so much to keep us going. I cannot even explain it.
7. The other marathon runners. It felt like such a community while we were running. Encouraging one another to not give up and recognizing we were not in this alone brought tears to my eyes. So proud of all of us.
So just a little recap:
At the start the race coordinator said, "This day is a celebration. Today we are celebrating all the hard work you've done up to this point!"
So yesterday, we celebrated! Weirdest/most difficult/most accomplished day of celebration ever.
The first half of the marathon was so easy and great. Fun, energetic, crowded, full of cheering and music, and a total blast.
I had a couple of moments I teared up though. Out of thankfulness really. When I saw Drew. And when I read some signs people were holding. PEOPLE ARE SO ENCOURAGING!
My favorite part of this half (other than seeing my supporters, of course, was a sign at the bottom of Nolton- the infamous most dreaded hill in the whole course- that said "This hill is easy.... APRIL FOOLS! It made me laugh out loud. Then kick Nolton's butt)
As soon as we hit the split between the marathoners and the "halfers" it got so lonely. No people around running or cheering. Just Abby and me doing our thing.
Then came that oh so wonderful proverbial wall...
I slammed into it and I'm pretty sure it didn't move until we were finished.
It started hurting at about mile 17 and never really stopped.
(My friend, Tyler- "marathon pro" as I like to call him- called me yesterday and told me this, "Ya know, sometimes you hit the wall and it hurts then gets a little better. Then sometimes you hit it and it just never stops hurting until the end. But you know what? It always hurts." He's right. It hurt.)
The last 3 miles were absolutely terrible. The worst three miles I've ever run. Many more tears here.
But we made it.
We "finished at the 50."
We RAN A MARATHON!
So, will I ever run a marathon again? This has been a very popular question.
....hold on to your seats people.....
I actually think is yes.
Even though I still can't walk and avoid stairs at all costs, I actually do want to do another marathon. I think I could do better next time. And it was quite the experience. I heard it gets in your blood. Apparently it really does! Eek!
Some pictures of the big day: