The weather was cold - 30 degrees - and the first few miles were slick with ice. The first 8 miles went very well, with dad and I keeping a roughly nine-minute pace. Then, I got a surprise cramp throughout my left leg, which curbed me - literally - a few times to stretch and hammer out my quad. After a salt packet, I decided to run through it...well, I ended up running through it for about five miles, which was no fun. The pain dissapated and we picked up our pace again.
The hardest miles were 23-25, both because my body was completely drained and the closeness of the finish messed with my head. At mile 23, the cramping came back, which didn't make things better. At 25, I decided to kick it in, hoping to make up some time. A beer vendor was on the side and dad and I grabbed a couple glasses, toasted our efforts and finished it off with a nice Powerade chaser.
Coming around the last turn toward the finish line was a feeling I'll never forget. Months of training and injury, numerous evenings lost to getting in mid-week runs, and about three years of wanting to complete a marathon with my dad all set the stage for an emotional finish. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It hurt (and hurts today). But I would do it all over again tomorrow.
After experiencing a marathon firsthand, I have so much respect for people who have and train to run marathons. I'm now part of less than one percent of the world's population who runs 26.2 miles, and I'm proud of that accomplishment. Of additional note, my mom beat her last 1/2 marathon time significantly on Sunday, coming in at 3:14. She's amazing.
Pictures are being developed - I'll post when available.