My First Marathon - I did it!

I'm walking to the start line of my first marathon.  It's November 3rd in Savannah, time for the Rock N Roll Savannah Marathon.  The route is full of squares, green oases layered with history and shaded by ancient oaks.  A couple of tall thin runners pass by, jogging their warmup, speaking to each other in an unrecognizable language.  Ian walks with me, my support team of one.  The streets are suddenly full of people filling Bay Street and I'm looking for my corral.  Keep going, 16 is here.  Off to the side with Ian for one more kiss, a moment of two people amid many.  The race is about to start.  This corral is full.  Where's Katie?  I can't see her for all the people.

I look really excited before the running starts.

Get, Ready, Start!  Nope, not yet.  I'm in corral 16.  Twenty more minutes of starts...

Begin running.

The first bridge.  Optimism!  I'm going a little faster than goal.  Imagine, running a 4:30 when your goal is 4:50.  Woohoo!  Wait, this is what happens in every race.  Calm down.  Slow your roll.  Stay steady.

Going steady, but look all these people holding their hands out.  Slap them, steal their energy!  All the little child energy!  Say hello, good morning to all the nice black ladies on their porches.  Listen, that man is rocking Santana on the guitar!

Back into the shady squares and long avenues of live oaks.  I can see the other runners on the other side of the street.  How easy would it be?  To pretend to go off to the side, tired, then sneak.....  Ha, I'm no Kip Litton!  Ian is at 8 miles, can't wait to see him.  Why so many signs about poop?  Don't they know that's bad luck....

Blue-fisted yelling man, you are awesome and I steal your energy.  Almost to mile 8.  There he is!  Ian!  Hugs! Kiss!  See you at the end!  I knew poop signs were bad luck, it's time for a pit stop.  Run fast to mile 9, there it is, tucked around a corner, blue and beckoning.  Only one in line, but still slows me down.

I look so happy when I see Ian!  Who would know I have to poop?

Back on course, see the 2:30 half pace group.  "Elinor!"  Katie is behind me!  Good to see you!  We run together a few minutes.  Alright, she's got to fall back.  The split is coming.  Color-coded signs, hard to miss.  Last chance to change your mind.  No.  Gotta do it.  The. Full.  All those people, they were doing the half and they're going away.  Only the slugs are left, and I'm one of them.  Run/walking up the on ramp to the strangely deserted highway.  Elite runners ahead!  She's at 24 miles when I hit 12.  Damn!

Heart rate is up too high, walking again.  Too much walking.  Is this thing right?  If I ignore it, will I finish?  Or slam into THE WALL?  Take it easy, girl.

Why does it feel this bad, I'm only 16 miles in?  I've got ten more.

18 - What kind of gait is that guy using?  Speed shuffle?  Walk/run?  Can I pass him?

20 - Running on Savannah State track, cheering, dance team, sexy black men to high five on both sides.  I'm a superstar!  Yeah!  Leaving the track, slowing, balloon deflating.  This is hard, keep running, keep going, walk, run, come on.

21, 22, 23 a blur.  Walking at water stops, when tired.  It hurts to start running again.  It hurts to walk.  All of my legs are aching.

24  This waterstop, it just hurts too much to start running again.  Screw it, I'm going to run the rest.  No more audiobook.  Music.  Did I hit the German music playlist instead of running songs?  Himmel Auf, on repeat.  So. Close.  Highway, home stretch.  Keep going.  Picking up the pace, it'll be over sooner.  Fuck the heart rate monitor, I'm fucking running.  Passing a guy and his coach, "Some people are still running, look at that!"  Yeah, it hurts to walk so I'm running.  Get used to it.  I just might cry.  Close to tears.

Finish line!  I see it!  It's going to be over!  Just 100m more!  Is that blonde an Olympian?  High-five!  Crossed it!  Medal.  Ian.  Can't. Breathe.  "Damn, that... was tough!"  Gasp.  Walk.  Picture!  Grab food, drink, hand to Ian.  Everything hurts, legs, back, walking.  I did it!  5:30!

I swear I always look opposite how I feel.  When I have the most awesome half marathon, I look like crap.  When I feel like crap, I look great!  How does that work?


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