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The night before the marathon me and Kevin had tickets to the TNT inspiration dinner:

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They had a buffet style dinner waiting for us that included pasta, chicken, bread, vegetables, salad and of course lots of rolls. I was still pretty full from the deep dish pizza that we had from lunch so I didnt eat a ton but it was good 🙂 We also had cheesecake for dessert. They had cute little candy bags on the table for us:

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It was a wonderful dinner with awesome guest speakers. It was truly inspirational being surrounded by such amazing people and to hear how much money we raised…WOW! The flex team alone had raised over 150k!

After dinner we headed back to the room. I put together my playlist on my iPod shuffle for the marathon and called it a night. I wasn’t sure how much I was going to sleep but I was going to try my best. I luckily got a decent rest in! I woke up at 4:45 am and headed downstairs to pick up a bagel from the Einstein Bros shop that was in the hotel. I headed back upstairs and slathered some cream cheese on it and gobbled it down as I was getting ready. My race outfit was my lululemon running skirt, an under armour long sleeve tech shirt and then my TNT jersey on top of that. I also decided to use my compression socks, figuring they would keep me warm. Not the best idea considering I hadnt really worn them for any super long runs during training but I hoped I wouldnt come to regret it (I sort of did…i’ll explain soon).

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Kevin shouldve used the flash so I apologize for the darkness. Schibby is my nickname for him 😉

I also pulled on my throwaway clothes to keep warm…trackpants and a sweatshirt. I was looking pretty hot! I headed downstairs to meet up with my teammates at 5:30 am and we headed over to the start line together. It was in the low 40s when we walked outside but did not feel as cold as it was on Saturday, thankfully. It was still dark out but pretty cool because you could see many runners along the way also making their way over. I stuck close to a couple of girls I had chatting it up with over the weekend. We hung by the porta potties for a while and then finally went over into the charity corral section at 7:15. The nervousness started to hit me a little bit while we were standing there but I tried to push it out of my head. One of the girls in our group, Courtney, asked me what pace I was going for and I told her 10:00/mile. She asked if I wanted to stick together since that was her pace too so I happily agreed. Finally, at 7:30…we were off!!

I pulled off my pants first and threw them off. I decided to keep my sweatshirt on until I felt more warmed up. My legs were fine but my hands were FREEZING. I got a little worried about one of my fingers because it had no feeling and took a while before it finally warmed up…next time better gloves are a necessity 😉 After the 1st mile, I tossed off the sweatshirt…I was getting warmed up quickly. Let me tell you…the spectators absolutely made this race. There was hundreds of people on the streets cheering for us and giving us high fives…I loved it. I felt good and strong in the beginning. We were going out at a good pace and I didnt even turn on my music for the 1st hour…I just happily trotted alongside Courtney and we chitchatted for a while. Around mile 6 I finally decided to put it on.

There were aid stations at almost every mile on the course. We decided to adopt the strategy of having gatorade at one station and then the next station would be water. I get nauseous with too much Gatorade in my system so I hoped it would work out well..it did. I took my first dose of shot blocks at mile 8. We stopped for our first porta potty break at around mile 10 I believe…and they were absolutely gross. I will spare you the details of those. Lets just say one of the girls stumbled out of one of them and said to us that if we have a gag reflex we should probably stay out of them, lol!

The coaches from TNT were also strategically placed around the course so around mile 11, one of them checked in with us to make sure we were doing well. I was still feeling good around this point and definitely much better after the shot blocks at mile 8. Around mile 14 my confidence started to waiver though…this is where the compression socks started to make me regret my decision to wear them. They were great for keeping warm but they were making me develop some odd cramps in my feet. It wasnt stopping me from running but it was definitely making me feel a bit uncomfortable. I trooped through. I took my second dose of shot blocks at mile 14. We also had another bathroom break. Around mile 16 I was starting to feel how tired I really was…so was Courtney. But we kept on encouraging each other and pushing forward. Spectators at this point were on the sidelines holding bowls of orange slices, watermelons and fig newtons…I grabbed an orange and gobbled it down and it was the BEST orange i’ve ever had in my life. It gave me a better burst of energy then the shotblocks did! I just kept reinforcing myself in my head…ok…lets just make it to mile 18 and it will be ok…then lets just make it to mile 20 and it will be ok. I was so happy when we hit mile 20 but had no idea how I was going to go on for 6 more miles. I took my third dose of shotblocks at mile 20. I was feeling pretty beat down by this point but Courtney kept on encouraging me and I kept pushing forward. I kept telling myself just one more mile..just get to mile 21..then mile 22…etc etc. I started tearing up when I saw the sign for mile 25. I couldn’t believe I only had 1.2 miles to go!! The spectators were getting louder and louder as we kept pushing forward…they shouted encouraging words at us and I was getting really emotional. Finally when I saw the finish line in sight I was bursting inside…of course life is cruel and there was a hill to climb at the finish line but I tried to ignore how badly beaten my legs felt and kept going. I was overwhelmed with emotion when we crossed the finish line and me and Courtney hugged each other tightly right after. We both thanked each other profusely because we knew that we couldve never made it without each other. I was so tempted to start walking at so many points but her running alongside me gave me the strength to go on. I couldnt even wrap my head around the fact that I had just accomplished such an amazing goal. I was SOOO happy!! My official time was 4:43. I was hoping for 4:30 but that was great considering the two bathroom breaks we took! I grabbed one of the thermal wraps they were giving out and promptly wrapped it around myself since I was getting cold already. I had salt all over my face and Courtney was laughing but threw me a bag of chips so I could get some salt into my body! We grabbed our medals and just kept walking, talking about how awestruck we were at the moment. I got a text from Kevin that him and Nina were waiting for me at Charity Village. TNT had their own tent there that we had to check in with after the marathon and they also had food provided there. Another cruelty…Charity Village was a good 1.5 walk from the finish line! We hobbled as quickly as we could but thats not saying much at all 😉 I was ecstatic to see Kev and Nina over there when I finally made it!!

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Yep, thats the salt all over my face 😉 They bought me flowers too which was so sweet of them!! I was brain dead by this point but knew I needed something in my system. I couldnt stomach the thought of food at that moment so decided to chug down a chocolate milk instead. Perfection. We started making our way back to the hotel…well, I was hobbling slowly in my case. I was freezing though and told Kevin that if we could catch a cab i’d be so happy. It took us a bit but we finally found an available one. Thank gosh! I couldnt take anymore walking by that point! We got back to the hotel and I gobbled down one of the leftover slices of pizza from the day before Kevin started setting up the ice bath for me but I was tearing up at the thought of having to plunge into ice cold water when I was already freezing 😦 I sucked it up and did it anyways…I knew if I didnt I would completely regret it on Monday. Afterwards, I took a LONG HOT shower and it was literally the BEST shower i’ve ever taken in my life!!! I felt a lot better after that. I was floored by the beautiful messages I was receiving over facebook and through text, congratulating me on my accomplishment. SO sweet!! I was a big ball of emotion that day 🙂 After my shower we headed to a restaurant around the block so we could grab something to eat. I wasnt really hungry by that point so me and Nina shared a calamari dish and Kevin had a corned beef burger. You’d think I want to eat pounds of food after that race but not so much 😉 I did enjoy a nice ice cold Goose Island beer with my food though and it was delicious. The rest of the day was spent resting in bed and watching TV. I had no energy for any more sightseeing that day.

So how am I feeling now? I was sore yesterday and i’m still sore today but its getting a little better each day. I can’t fathom the thought of running for at least another couple of days. It hurts to walk but mostly hurts to go down stairs and to sit down. I did some light elliptical today and my legs are feeling better, slowly and surely. Yesterday was my birthday so I was excited for a lot of food and no exercise 😉 Our flight back was good and I had a GREAT birthday…I’m so lucky to have such phenomenal family and friends. I am so blessed in life right now.

I’m not sure when I’ll be signing up for another race…but I have a feeling this wont be my last marathon!