I was kind of annoyed with the pre-race set-up. They had the American Airlines center available to stay warm and dry but it was a complete cluster f***. There was a huge line to get in because you had to go through metal detectors and have your bags searched. Then they only had one set of bathrooms open. Luckily those moved quickly. It was impossible to move around in there so it took nearly 25 to get in, use the facilities, and get out. As soon as I walked outside the rain started. But it was a steady rain not hard rain. So I pulled out the handy dandy New Orleans Bourbon Street poncho left over from friends wedding 3 1/2 years ago when Tropical Storm Matthew hit and walked to the starting line with 15 minutes to spare.
Before I got into line Jacob gave me a very serious look and reminded me to walk if I ever felt bad that there was no shame in walking. He told me to remember if I ever felt like I did in Chicago that I needed to stop immediately. I was like yeah yeah whatever I'm good :) I settled in between the 4:15 and 4:30 pacers not really knowing what to expect this time around. The weather was better for running this time around but then I started questioning my choice of only running in shorts, t-shirt, and gloves. Did I need a long sleeve? Would I be okay? Instead of obsessing I realized I would see Jacob at the halfway point and if I was miserable I would stop and pull my shirt out of my bag then. I realized standing there that there weren't many females running this race and not many people my age. Very interesting. I didn't talk to anyone rather just tried to get in the zone of doing this thing. My stomach was in knots and I was hoping it was only nerves and nothing GI related. It was difficult to hear what was happening up front so I just waited for everyone to start moving. Only took 2 1/2 minutes to get to the start line as compared to 15 in Chicago. I threw off my poncho and I was off. To top it off it had stopped raining! I went out at what felt like a slow pace trying to remember everyone's advice about if you feel slow in the beginning you are probably right where you should be. People started weaving in and out and I lost the pacers immediately. I started to get nervous. Then in my head a little voice said over and over "just run your own race you are in it for the long haul". I started to relax immediately and try to enjoy my surroundings. My first 5k took slightly longer than I wanted but I figured I could make it up in the middle and tried not to worry too much. I felt great I was happy and having fun. The 5k - mile 8 flew by. My left hip was aching but nothing I hadn't felt on every other training run so I wasn't worried yet. I smiled big for the cameras at mile 6 (can't wait to see those pics!). Best of all the rain was off an on but never for more than a few minutes at a time through the first 8. For the most part it wasn't raining or maybe I was just running so fast I missed the drops ;). The rain that did fall made the roadway slick and I nearly lost my footing at mile 7. After that I focused on my stride and looked ahead to seeing Jacob at White Rock Lake between mile 12-13. A huge chunk of the race occurred around this lake (must be why they call the race White Rock Marathon). Anyways, at around mile 8 you head downhill and curve around to reach the top corner of the lake at 9 miles. This is where I found orange slices. Oh mama - that was the best orange slice EVER! I felt like a soccer playing 4 year old who got an orange slice at halftime. Then the course took us around the lake for the next 10 miles.
The group had definitely thinned out by the time I arrived at White Rock Lake and I was always seeing new faces because of the corporate relay challenge so it was difficult to find a rabbit. I always like to focus my attention on one or two others and try to hang with them during the race. But then I found the girl I wanted to beat. Girlfriend was wearing a matching lycra running suit in silver and it was blatantly clear she was wearing a thong...to run a marathon...I was like no way is a silver suit thong wearing bouncy girl beating me. But more to come on that.
When I reached mile 11 and started looking around for Jacob. I wasn't seeing him so I started to get a bit bummed out then right after a water stop that I passed there he was hanging by himself. I gave him a thumbs up and big smile. I seriously felt so great here better than any training or race before. He came out and asked how I was feeling (because this is where I took a turn for worse at Chicago) and told me I was on track for a 4:02 marathon. I was surprised. I knew I was running good but that was better than I expected! Here I am smiling big for the camera. I'm such a cheeseball.I reached the halfway point a few minutes later and still was smiling and feeling really good. I got through 13.1 in around 2:01 and knew I could keep it up!!! Since it took me two attempts at my first marathon it is only fitting that I leave you at this point. I'll post part 2 later but right now I seriously have some work to catch up on!