Sunday morning we were up and at em at 5am. Actually, that's a bold faced lie. It was so cold in our hotel room, that no one would/could get out of bed. Finally Jenn was a soldier and braved out from underneath the covers to turn on the heat. Since we were about a mile from the race start, we planned to stay at our hotel as long as possible to utilize a bathroom with no lines. At about 6:30 we took off to the race. While walking to the race start I realized I had to pee....badly. And not just the... hmmm do I have to pee nerves. All lines were a gazillion people deep, and I was panicking. We decided we'd rather start in a later wave if necessary than stop during the race (bahahah, this is called foreshadowing people). We all got in and out in record time (after waiting 10 minutes PER PERSON who was in front of us, seriously people get in and get out, we got a race to run!) and made our way to our corral. Lucky us, we still managed to get back in our spots. PR in portapotties to start the day! WIN!
Once our wave was getting ready to start we all got super amped up that we were racing together and then we were off. The crowd was super congested for the first mile, and we all agreed it was probably best so that we didn't go out too fast. Before too long Jenn had decided she needed a bathroom, so began the quest of finding a port-a-potty. Soon after my bladder gave me a salute as well. So much for the emergency bathroom break before the race. We ran for at least 5 miles without finding a bathroom, and finally broke off the course and into an open Starbucks to use their facilities. I'm a gold card member, so I'm sure it's ok. ;)
Thank you SB, not only for providing me with my beloved PSLs, but also for not making me wet my tempo shorts.
The crowds were awesome. The race was still pretty packed, but it was fairly easy for us to bob and weave as a trio. We were all trying to keep our pace in the realm of 9:40-10 minutes, but we were really thrown off by the bathroom break time. We never discussed it, but it was pretty much decided that we wouldn't bother trying to "make up time" and would hopefully be able to do so during the final stretch of the race.
Shortly after this point was the "hard" part of the race. There were a couple of hills from miles 7-10 and we tackled them like champs. We stopped our chatty cathyness and just focused on going up up up. Once we got to the top, everyone around us all started cheering like we'd just won the marathon for dominating the hill. The racers were so much fun. :)
This is clearly my cutest angle.
Not too far after mile 7 I remembered that Neal was going to be at mile 7 on the left hand side of the road. I expressed my sadness that I had forgotten to look for him, and the conversation bubble was still floating above my head when I saw him! YAYZIES! Since I always do destination races for marathons, I never get to experience crowd support from people I know, so this was awesome and gave me a HUGE boost of spirits.
I was surprised that the half-full portion of the course didn't put a damper on my spirits. Usually I get a little hohum realizing that I'm not even halfway done, but we were still with a huge crowd of people. I noted our half split 2:15, and said that we were negative splitting this B!tc# which none of us have ever done in a marathon. For the rest of the race, we got to see everyone who was ahead of us hauling booty towards the end of the race. We cheered on the lead runners, and especially the super speedy chickies out front. I noted that while I didn't feel like I was going slightly downhill, it looked like they were heading uphill, and hoped it wouldn't feel like a mountain for the final few miles.
The best water stop was the Lululemon stop which had music BLARING. We all started singing and run-dancing (yeah, it's a thing) to Beyonce's Who Runs the World. We went across a bridge and down a hill and started doubling back. And I was confused...... no way this was the turn around of the race... (I knew it was essentially an out and back for the last half). Once we re-crossed the bridge we were back on our way away from the finish line. At various points during the 2nd half, each of us took our turn with feeling tired and feeling crazy strong. When Jenn's knees started hurting a bit, Megan was charging up the little rollers like the energizer bunny. We were definitely feeding off each other when we needed some extra energy.
From about mile 16 I started feeling really hungry. I was GUing every 4.5 miles, which was the plan, and drinking water at every station, but I just wanted food. I spotted a sign that said "BEER HERE" and my eyes must've lit up, because the person holding it shouted out, "Yeah JERI wants some beer!" and I did. My stomach had been a little rumbly and usually beer settles it, so I had a little shot glass of it. It was kind of amazing. Nice dark brew. MMMM. I was riding such a high, and told Megan and Jenn that when I started to hurt to remind me that, "duh, it's supposed to hurt. you're running a marathon!" I know I can be a whiny brat when I'm hurting, so I thought some pre-emptive attention would help me.
When we finally got to the turn around of the race, we were all pretty psyched. Less than a 10k to go, we can run 10ks in our sleep! We started digging in just a bit more until my stomach dropped. Uh oh. Luckily within about 30 seconds there was a CVS pharmacy along the route. Thanks for letting me sprint through your store and use your bano guys! Apparently Jenn and Megan had a little photo shoot outside while they were waiting. And we were back on track.
It had gotten pretty sunny, and we were now facing it head on. Luckily, the temps were fairly mild, and the humidity was nice and low. We all decided to put in our headphones finally at around miles 21 or 22 to help give us an extra boost. I kept doing math on how long we had left to run, because that keeps me from thinking about running. We were passing so many people. I was hoping the Philly site would have that neat-o graphic of how many people you passed during the last 5k/10k, because I don't remember one person going by us. Is that what happens when you run a negative split? Huh...interesting... :P
The last 5-6 miles I started snowballing on to the world's largest runner's high. I had been enjoying the race previously, and being my sparkle farts self exclaiming how much fun I was having, but in the back of my mind I was telling myself to enjoy it now, because it's standard for my body to fail me. Once we got to less than an hour of running I realized that even if I did endure some major pain, I could hopefully fight through it for that amount of time. And when I realized I wasn't going to get hurt you couldn't wipe the smile off of my face!
Which was evidenced by the photos that Neal managed to snag at mile 25. Seriously, you'd think we were just getting going on this race, not 4:20+ minutes in to it!
Megan's to the left, no worries!
extreme left foot placement due to blood blisters upon blood blisters on my left pinky toe. :/
Both Jenn and I had been doing our long runs with a fast finish and were itching to let loose, but we could tell Megan was hurting. At one point she yelled out that she thought her hip might fall off if we started to kick too soon. I told her not to worry, because I'd carry her hip if necessary. That's what friends are for, ya know? :) We kept making her chase us just a little bit, because we knew we were going to score her a MONSTER PR. "just keep swimming" was a mantra that I threw out repeatedly.
The final stretch was amazing. There were so many people lining the finishing stretch, and because our names were on our bibs, I heard my name over and over again and I was just beaming. I spotted a nice open spot a little bit in front of us and told Jenn and Megan that we needed to get THERE immediately because that would be optimal placement for our finishing photo.
We were hauling booty and grabbed hands and took the most obnoxious hands in the air, cheshire cat style smiling finisher photo.
According to my garmin, our average moving pace (meaning sans potty breaks) was 9:47, and our loose goal at the start was 9:40 pace, so I'd say that's a win. Because... you know... shit happens. :)