I started about 3 minutes after the gun went off, so as I crossed the starting line I was 3 min behind my 4:30 pace group. I ran kind of hard and caught up with them in about 2 miles (probably wasn’t a good idea). Once I was with the pace group I ran with them comfortably for a while. Around mile 5 (I think) started having this feeling that there was a rock in my shoe under the ball of my foot and my heel was starting to rub a little on one foot. I had worn cotton socks for all of my training runs but I was currently wearing my nicer running socks (probably wasn’t a good idea). Each hill even though small got me out of breath early on, I would recover about a minute later but each one after I had a little longer recovery time. Until our pace group hit a decent size hill and I never recovered while running with them. As we approached the half way mark it became clear to me that I wanted to finish a marathon and not run 4:30 and I let the pace group go (probably wasn’t a good idea).
I thought it would be easy to let them go but it was a huge physiological blow and a mile later my foot hurt 10 times worse and 2 miles after that I was walking. I had completely crashed by mile 16 and I wasn't sure how I would complete the final 10 miles. I walk/run 50% heading into Washington park where the family was waiting for me at mile 18. I stopped them and gave them all hugs and then went on threw the park. Not long after I saw them again at mile 20, those last 2 miles seemed like an eternity. Amber asked me if I was going to finish and I said "I don't think so". She convinced me that I was too close to quit and that I could make it, if she wasn't there I don't think I would had finished. I took some time at mile 20. I sat down on the curb and took off my shoes and made sure there wasn't a rock and then got up and continued the race. Thinking back on this I shouldn’t have sat down, I am lucky that I decided to get up. But I couldn't give up in front of my kids and I couldn't let my wife who was encouraging her crazy husband down either.
I knew I had to finish even if I had to walk those last 6 miles. Mile 20 was the worst, my feet felt as if I were walking across coals. I walked all of mile of 21 there were times that I thought I couldn't even walk another step. 22-24 I got back into the 50/50 walk jog and it really hurt but I was so happy when I saw mile 24 I knew I could make it now only 2 more to go. I was even happier when I saw mile 25, by now the temperature was about 80F and it felt hot. Not as hot as my burning up feet. My toes felt like they were going to pop off. Mile 25.5 the course went near the finish line (mean) we still had a few blocks out and back to finish. Mile 26 I ran into the shade of the buildings of downtown and it felt so good.
There was a slight downhill for a block and then a final turn. Around that corner I could see the finish line 2 blocks away and a pretty big crowd cheering runner into the finish. I floated those last two blocks not thinking about how much my feet hurt or how tired I was. Crossing the finish line was something special, I had done it I finish a marathon. I was pretty tired and my time was horrible but I finished a marathon. Instead of quitting back at mile 16 and going home a loser I finished and went home a hero.
Mistakes I will learn from (yes I am going to do another one, although I don’t know why)
Train harder – I only got up to 18 miles in training, I need a 20 (maybe 2 20’s).
Train harder part 2 (weekly mileage) – the weeks when I was running good I only put in 25-30 miles and more than half of that was on the long run.
Don’t run in socks you haven’t trained with – don’t know why I changed it up on race day.