Kathrine was incredibly nice, warm, and just down right friendly. She signed my book, asked me questions, and posed for a ton of pictures. It was really cool. Here is a picture of us:
After the expo (second round), we all headed back to the hotel. There were over 20 of us for dinner, so we had an early dinner reservation. Ben and I were able to sneak down to the beach for a minute or two. The water was freezing! After dinner, I pretty much laid down and read and went to bed super early! After all, there was a 4 am wake-up call! Here we all are in the hotel at 4:25ish(AM!):
We got down to the start area pretty early, which was good because that also meant that we got awesome parking! I have never been to downtown Cocoa Beach before, and it was really cute and adorable. Here is a photo of my training partners and myself on the pier before the start:
Here we are on the starting line:
And before you knew it - we were off! I had been stalking the weather report for about one week before the race to see what sort of weather to expect on race day. We were "fortunate" enough to train in the rain, heat, rain, cold, and did I mention rain? And it was about 78 degrees at the starting line. As we ran along the route, it started to get a little windy and then the rain came. Which, of course, we were ready for. The first half of the marathon seemed to fly by! Here is a photo of me and Jen at the halfway point:
A little bit after this photo was taken, I started to slow down. Not sure if it was the heat or what was going on. I decided that I was going to start walking the water stops on the back half of the marathon. That seemed to help me mentally prepare for the last 13 miles. It was extremely hard to keep going towards the last few miles. My energy was great, but my legs were crapping pretty badly. I decided that I was just going to do the very best I could and walk when necessary and run whenever possible.
I got towards the end and saw Ben walking towards me. Most of y'all know that Ben is WAY faster than me, so to see him come back to "pick me up" is normal. Most times, it's comforting. Some times, it's frustrating. I was torn because I was excited to see him, but I didn't want to hear him say, "finish strong" like he normally does. (Sorry, honey! Still love ya!) But, he actually walked when necessary and helped me bring it home!
Final finish time was 4:39:29. 16 minutes faster than the last time I ran a marathon, and actually right where I wanted to be! Anytime between 4:30 and 4:45 was the goal, and I'm happy and proud to say that I accomplished my goal! :) After finishing, the post race party started!
Here is a photo of me and my awesome friend Vera who ran a 3:55 in her very first marathon! WOW!
Check out those medals!
Me and Mel afterwards. Not a whole lot of standing going on...
As a tribute to my friends, I made this little video to commemorate our journey. I had been working on it for a little bit, doing a little section at a time. And then I begged Ben to download his pictures as soon as we got home. And then promptly fell asleep before I could finish it. But I did get to it the very next morning.
It seems like the marathon was already so long ago and flew by. It was such a great time. I am already considering doing the Space Coast Half Marathon next year, and maybe the Chicago Marathon in 2012....