Well I have been trying to beat 4 hours in the marathon for about ten years. Why not today? Been training well and feel ready. Quiet evening at Mom and Dad's. Leave the house nice and early to find the crowd in the still dark downtown. Cool and nice with a little breeze.
Start - Line up just in front of the 4 hour pacer. Soon we are off, a walking, shuffling, finally jogging.
Mile 0.1 - Wow moment. Must be Chinatown or something. Drums pounding from both sides of the road, really dramatic and inspiring. I am almost overcome with emotion.
Mile 0.3 - Except that now 7,000 runners are having to skinny into one lane, then dodge a big puddle and go through a narrow fence opening. We negotiate that and continue on.
Mile 5 - Feeling good, going a little faster than I should. Cheerleaders and musicians throughtout the course. Also, spectators keep yelling my name. My name is printed on the bib so even strangers can encourage me.
Mile 9 - Long flat stretch. Too easy to go too fast. Not the best part of town, some kind of industrial area with lots of train tracks to skip over.
Mile 13.1 - 8:35 pace is really too fast, but I feel so good, maybe I can break 3:50?
Mile 16 - Starting up the one big hill.
Mile 17 - I made it up OK, but it took some energy out of me. High above the Willamette River on the St. John's Bridge.
Mile 18 - Starting to fade. It is all downhill from here, sort of, I just need to hang on.
Mile 20 - Upset stomache. Try to take a GU but it is horrible.
Mile 21 - Can not even drink water. Just dump it on my head
Mile 23 - Getting very hard to keep going, but still running. Mental Tenacity is needed now. I could run 10 minute miles and still beat 4 hours, and that is what I am doing.
Mile 25.5 - The last water stop. I have been walking a few steps at every aid station. Here is the last one. I almost cry as I get to the last kid in line with a cup and make myself run again.
Mile 26.2 - I really did not know if I could do it, and was so pleased to see 3:56 on the big clock. Great recovery area. Now that I am done running I know I need to drink something. I try water, but it does not appeal, I try some kind of "Tazoberry" drink and just can not take a second sip. Then I am offered a cup of orange juice. It is wonderful. I guzzle down three full cups to my sheer delight. Just what I needed. Walk to the car and drive 2 hours home.
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