I did get up at 4:00 AM on Sunday to start my journey. I had coffee and breakfast, got dressed, and was out the door by 5:10 AM. The race started at 8:00 AM so I planned to take about 2 hours and 30-40 minutes, leaving me 10-20 minutes before the official start.
The run to the race was great. You can see my route here. It was quiet and peaceful, although it was very windy. The wind was out of the South so it was blowing in my face most of the time.
At one point I stopped at a McDonald's to refill my water bottle and use the restroom. I was wearing my race bib (number) at that time. As I ran through the McDonald's parking lot two women got out of their car. They were wearing half marathon bibs. You could tell they were totally confused to see someone running with a race bib about 8 miles from the actual race. It was funny.
I arrived at the race in plenty of time, stood around waiting for the start, then finally the starting gun fired and there was more waiting to actually get to and cross the starting line. I started the nice easy run/walk pattern (run 0.9 miles, walk 0.1 miles) that I had been using all morning. The race was going well until around mile 10, when I started feeling nauseous and full. My stomach felt tight and I didn't feel like eating or drinking. This is a consistent problem for me when I eat only sweet things (I was eating Power Gels, Jelly Belly Sports Beans and the new Power Bar Gel Blasts). I need to find an energy source I can carry that is not primarily sugar.
Anyway, after another couple of miles I needed to find a port-a-potty. I had to use the restroom and was really feeling nauseous. Not good! I asked a volunteer where the next port-a-potties were but she didn't know. Finally as I approached mile 11 or so I found some. As I ran to the potties there was a band playing, and this is what they were playing ("Where Did Our Love Go?" by The Supremes):
I've got this burning, burning
Yearning feelin' inside me
Ooh, deep inside me
And it hurts so bad.
Yep, that's about how I felt. I used the port-a-potty but couldn't throw up (and if a port-a-potty won't make you throw up I don't know what will). I started walking more and running less. This slowdown continued through the marathon halfway point (13.1 miles, which for me was mile 28). I had been hoping to finish the marathon in five hours but I was pretty sure that wouldn't happen.
Around mile 14 I ran into some women from one of my past Team in Training groups. They were following a 5:30 pace group (an experienced runner runs a preassigned pace and people who want to run that pace can run with the pacer). They were running five minutes and walking one minute. I started running with them and that worked well for a while, but I still didn't feel well and wasn't eating enough to maintain the effort. Finally around mile 18 (mile 33 for me) I dropped back and started walking more.
I walked most of the rest of the race with occasional bursts of running. I was really tired and still felt nauseous and a little dehydrated since I wasn't eating or drinking enough due to the nausea. It was discouraging to walk so much, but at least I was going to finish. However, I knew I would never have the energy to run home another 15 miles. I also felt what I thought were blisters on both feet (they turned out to be hot spots, so that was good). I finally got into downtown Dallas which meant I was within a couple of miles of being finished. I ran most of the last mile and ran across the finish line. Finally finished in a time of 5:48:41, my slowest marathon ever (1:26 slower than my fastest marathon and 52 minutes slower than my next slowest marathon). But I did run 15 miles before, so I wasn't too upset. Here is a map of my marathon race before the batteries in my watch died.
At the finish I ran into a lot of my friends from Team in Training and I hung out and cheered for some of the last finishers. Then I caught a ride home, ate a LOT and had a hot bath and a cold beer (both of which are supposed to be bad for you after running, but who cares!).
Total for the day: 41.1 miles, 8 hours, 27 minutes, 1 second, pace of 12:21 per mile. Pretty slow.
So I still didn't achieve my goal of 50 miles to keep me on track with my racing and fundraising. I may be able to make it up in February, but I'm not sure yet.
Finally, please look at this incredibly inspirational picture taken by the wife of a member of my running club, the North Texas Trail Runners.
That's one of the things I love about running. There are so many different types of people out there, each testing their own abilities and their own limits. These guys are dealing with challenges I can't even imagine, but they're out there giving it their all and pushing themselves. Such an inspirational image.
Thanks again to everyone who has supported me, both financially and with encouragement and support. You guys make my efforts worthwhile!