Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Marathon Finisher

I am really a marathon finisher. It still seems pretty surreal. The entire adventure to Greece was quite overwhelming and emotional for me. I am so thankful I went. I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I have a hard time with travel anxiety, and of course then there was anxiety about running/completing my first marathon. I was so fortunate to have Bobby around since we had done all of our long training runs together. It was great to have so many friends around in Greece as well.
Marathon morning started very early. There were several of us who decided to take the "Power Walker" start. This meant that start time was 7 AM. Doesn't seem so bad right? Well in order to take the 7 AM start you had to be at the finish line by 5:30 to get on the bus to the start in Marathonas. Since the public transportation system in Athens didn't start until 5 AM we scheduled for taxis to meet us at 4:30 to make sure we had plenty of time. My marathon morning started at about 3:30 AM with the onset of a pretty nasty migraine (I think just stress induced). The bus ride up to the start was a little touch and go as migraines often make me very nauseous.

Once we arrived at Marathonas there was an awesome Olympic torch, some music playing, and of course some damp conditions. There was a chance of rain after all.

At 6:45 AM there was a nice clap of thunder and some lightning off in the distance and then yup...it rained. And rained. And rained. Those of us that took the "Power Walker" start got to run in the rain for about the first 3 hours of the run. Fortunately the outside temperature was about 20 degrees Celsius, so it wasn't too cold of a rain. I started the run using the Galloway 1/1 method. I had Bobby and Chrissy hanging with me so we were laughing at the rain and just taking it all in. At mile 9, Chrissy had to stop for a potty break and Bobby needed to fill up his water bottle. I figured they would both catch back up with me quickly. I didn't see Chrissy again until about the 24 kilometer marking and Bobby reappeared around the 34 kilometer mark. It was an extremely hilly course. I have preferred to use the term "mountainous" to hilly to describe the elevation changes along the route. The finish of the course however made the whole experience worth it. Getting to run into the original Olympic stadium with the Olympic rings and the great stands and the crowd...it was awe inspiring. It was so great to experience everything with Bobby and Chrissy. Our finish time was 6:31:08, but it wasn't about the time...it was about the finish, and the experience of a lifetime.

The day following the marathon, we took an awesome day cruise. It was awesome just to rest, relax, and enjoy the day.

What's next?

Well, I am signed up to do the Disney Marathon on January 10th, 2010. I am looking forward to it. I may attempt the Route 66 run (full or half). Then I think i will venture to Scotland in May for another overseas adventure.