Well, it didn't go exactly as planned. I was feeling great in every training runs, I had absolutely no issues while training and I even had my stomach problems under control, yet for some unknown reason, that was not the case during the race.
It started out great but right about the half way point I was already feeling my body starting to breakdown. My foot hurt, my knee was hurting and my hips were sore. None of these issues were too terrible so I hoped that they would just stay at that level of pain but they didn't. My hips and knee were not too bad but my foot was killing me. It was the same foot where I have a sore big toe but it wasn't the toe that hurt, it was under the foot, towards the outside of the foot. It kind of felt like the bone was breaking or splitting, which it obviously was not but that is the best way to explain the pain. The course was pretty hilly so it might have been the terrain that got me, but I was not doing well.
Then at about mile 16, the old familiar stomach cramps returned with a vengeance. I had to stop to use the porta potty 3 times, twice for emergency stomach evacuations. There are always lines at the porta potty's too so that probably took 20-30 minutes away from our time. Mike was great the entire time. He felt fantastic and had no problems, even though he had a problem every run when we were training (go figure). He was also very supportive and kept me from going completely over to the dark side but kept me positive.
At mile 24 my stomach issues magically went away and we ran a pretty fast and strong final 2.2 miles. At that point I was so close that I just ignored the foot pain and kept pushing. The crowds are great at that point too, everyone cheering for you, it really lifts your spirits. I crossed the line feeling pretty darn good and surprisingly I wasn't bothered by my lackluster performance. These things happen and I know I prepared for this race as best I could. Maybe it was the hills or maybe I just had an off day. I don't feel the 4 months of training were wasted though because those were 4 months that I had a blast running with Mike. I had a blast running the marathon too - for most of the way at least. Most importantly Mike had a great time. He ran the whole way with a grin on his face and loved every second of it. He never thought he could do it and he never thought he would attempt it and now he has so his mind is open to a whole new realm of possibilities. I am very proud of him.
We plan on running the half marathon in Fresno in the fall and another full marathon on Arizona in January.
My foot is still hurting but as soon as it feels better I can't wait to lace up my running shoes and get back out there soon!