Finally I am getitng this recap done! I should have done it sooner but I have had a crazy week with work! I picked up extra shifts and then had the holiday weekend so I have gotten behind! I am sure there are lots of things that I have already forgotten but here goes.....
We got to bed early the night before the race and it was a good thing we did because those early hours were the best (and almost the only) sleep we got. At about 2:20 AM there were several very loud people in the hallway of our hotel that woke us up. Then both of us were up several times because our stomachs were bothering us. I am not sure what the deal was- if we ate something that didn't agree with us or if it was nerves. I didn't feel nervous but who knows! We finally fell back asleep around 3:30 only to have our alarm go off at 4:30! It was a good thing that we had gotten a few good nights sleep prior to that night!
Once we were up and dressed we each grabbed breakfast- oatmeal for me and a bagel with peanut butter for Tim. Neither of us were very hungry and our stomachs were still a little off but we forced ourselves to eat what we were use to eating before our long runs. We loaded up to go and had to get a few pre-race pictures before heading off to Lambeau.
|Pre-race- ready to head to Lambeau|
We made the few minute trip to Lambeau Field and found a great parking spot not far from the finishers area- at the time we arrived there were tons of parking spaces still available. We made sure to use Body Glide one last time on our areas of concern and headed off to meet up with Julie and Steve. We found them inside the Lambeau Field Atrium and we spent a few minutes visiting and sat down to do a little stretching. It wasn't long and the guys decided to head back to the cars to get our camera for Steve (who was doing the half) to have for when we finished. At this point I decided to hit the port-a-potty line. They had a bunch of port-a-potties and the line didn't take too long. It was fun visiting with other runners around me to pass the time. By the time I was getting to the front the guys came back and Tim got into line too. I waited with Julie and Steve and as soon as he was done we headed to the start line!
|Julie and Steve|
I was feeling really good at the start line! I really didn't feel nervous- just excited to be there and to be doing the marathon! Tim and I agreed to take it easy, run smart, and to enjoy the race!
|Getting into place at the start line.|
|Looking towards the start line.|
|Looking behind us.|
In our packets for the race was a blue and yellow bracelet that said "WE RUN AS ONE" and "BOSTON 2013" on it. As we lined up and did the National Anthem we also did a 26 second moment of silence with our arm (wearing the bracelet) raised into the air. Seeing everyone united- with their arm raised- gave me chills! It was amazing to be apart of that moment and to think back to what happened and how runners everywhere have united to help the people affected by such a tragic event. It gave me a boost of energy to get the marathon done for those who weren't able to finish that day!
Shortly after the moment of silence the elite runners were off and the crowd of people slowly moved forward towards the start line. I was anxious to get going but was also trying to take it all in and just enjoy the moment. Tim and I planned to do the 4:1 run/walk but knew it would be tough to do in the beginning so we decided to start out running and take it easy until we felt like the crowd had thinned out enough to start our run/walk ratio.
|Coming up on the start line.|
We crossed that start line and we were off and running! It was really hard to hold back in the beginning and take it easy. We were eager to get going but we knew it was going to get hot and we had A LOT of miles ahead of us. I kept an eye on our pace and we had to back off a bit a few different times. We ran the first 2 miles and at that point there was enough space that we decided to move to the far side of the road and start the Gymboss timer to our 4:1 run/walk intervals. At this point we really didn't need to but we knew that it was the right way to go since it worked so well in our long training runs. It got a little tricky when our intervals didn't line up with the water stops though. We knew that we needed to start drinking right away at the first water stop so we just adjusted our intervals as we needed when we came to each water stop. We walked through each one and made sure to grab a cup of water and Gatorade each time.
About mile 5 we opened a pack of Honey Stinger Chews and each had a couple before the water stop so we could have the water to wash them down. In the early miles we were feeling really good and were just trying to enjoy the whole experience. The spectators along the course were amazing! We enjoyed reading all of the signs and had fun giving kids high fives. This part of the race was through the neighborhoods around Lambeau Field so there were lots of turns which was nice for us since we usually run in town. I felt like it really helped break it up and made it go fast.
|Around mile 7- if you look close, runners fill the street as far as you can see.|
Around mile 10 we each ate some more of the chews and we talked about how around there was where we saw Julie for the first time last year. There was a relay exchange in that area so there were lots of spectators and tons of energy there! We were still feeling really good and had done a great job of running smart! Shortly after that the half marathoners split from the full. We turned a corner and the road had arrows painted on it directing half marathoners to the left and full marathoners to the right. As we kept going there was caution tape dividing everyone. The half marathoners were making really encouraging comments to all of us on the right side of the tape. I can't even remember what they were saying, but I do remember the feeling it gave me- it gave me chills and made me feel so proud that I was doing this!! They admired us for what we were doing and it felt amazing to be the one they were looking up to at that moment!
At that point the crowd really thinned out. Tim and I still felt really good and were continuing to talk and enjoy everything about the race. Since we were doing the 4:1 run/walk we kept "leap-frogging" the same people over and over. We would pass them as we ran but then we would walk and they would pass us. At the mile 12 water stop we both needed to pee so we quickly used the port-a-potty and grabbed water and Gatorade and kept moving.
We passed the half-way point and were still feeling really good but it was starting to get hot! I honestly don't remember much through this stretch. As we crossed the bridge around mile 16 we had some more chews. After crossing the bridge we made our way onto the Fox River Trail- this stretch is where it started to feel really warm as the wind was now at our backs.
We made it to the mile 17 stop and I was feeling like my left underarm was starting to rub so we made a quick stop at the aid station for a little bit of Vaseline. I rubbed it on quick and we kept going. We discussed how this was the area where we were waiting for Julie last year and how she looked so good yet at that point. We also commented that we were still feeling pretty good.
|Along the Fox River Trail- beautiful course!|
As we closed in on the mile 19 stop I was feeling like my bra was starting to rub in the front and back so we once again made a quick stop at the aid station and had to ask for Vaseline. The volunteer got me a large q-tip with a bunch on it. I lifted my tank top up and didn't even care who was around or who was seeing me- all I cared about was Tim gooping the Vaseline on and getting back to running.
|Along the race course- Fox River Trail|
It wasn't long after that aid station when we came up to another water stop. At this water stop we got a surprise! Julie was there waiting to hand us water. She came around to give me a cup of water and said, "I'm done!" I was so confused and was thinking that it wasn't possible for her to have finished already and to have gotten back to that point. I knew we weren't THAT slow and I also knew that she wasn't THAT fast. That is when I realized what she was telling me and it almost broke my heart! I know I had tears in my eyes! She said again, "I am done. I can't go on." She walked with us as we drank our water and we talked a bit. She explained that she was struggling with a sore foot and she had been pushing it for a while already. She was suspecting a stress fracture and knew that she couldn't continue to push it. We all walked together as she used my cell phone to call her hubby (who had done the half) to come get her at the mile 20 stop. We talked a bit more and she gave us hugs and told us we were doing great and then we started running again. It was so hard to leave her! I can't even explain how hard it was to leave her behind! She was my inspiration for doing this marathon. I still get emotional just thinking about it- this was HER race, I was just here to be a part of it! We all came here so she could finish it and I had a hard time thinking that Tim and I were going to finish but she wouldn't. I think at this point there was no doubt in our minds- we were going to finish this race for ALL of us!
It wasn't long and we came to the Mile 20 WALL. We literally ran through an inflatable wall but I honestly have to say that we didn't "hit the wall" here. We were still feeling pretty good at this point. It was nice that there were so many people along this stretch of the trail though to help boost our energy.
|Mile 20 ahead- The WALL Party!|
At this point we were on our longest run ever! 6.2 miles left to go! Not long after this point we got of the trail and were back on city streets and for a stretch it got really hot and there was no air movement. Between miles 21 and 22 we walked a bit extra and ate some ice to help cool down. Everyone around us was waking at that point- it was HOT! We started to run again as we crossed another bridge and got back into more of a residential neighborhood. We started taking advantage of the sprinklers that residents had out and by about mile 23 it was getting harder and harder to start running again when we would walk. I got a side-ache at one point and we ended up walking through a run interval to help it to go away. Around mile 24 I was ready to just be done! At this point we ate the last of our chews to get ready for a strong finish. It wasn't long after that when Lambeau Field came into view and we knew that we had this! Seeing Lambeau gave me the boost of energy that I needed. As we got closer you could hear the spectators at the finish line and the energy there was amazing. Before we knew it we were entering Lambeu through the players tunnel. As we got into the tunnel it felt amazing- the air conditioning and the excitement combined! I am not really a Packer's fan and I can't even explain the feeling I got as we got on the track to go around the field. I started to choke up and got very emotional as we ran around the field. It was such an amazing place- we made sure to take it all in and enjoy every bit of that moment going around the field!
|inside Lambeau Field|
|Almost done with our first marathon!!|
|Julie and Steve having a little fun with our camera while they waited for us!|
We made it around the field and entered the players tunnel again and I could once again hear the crowd at the finish line. We knew that we were getting close so we picked up the pace! Before we knew it we could see the finish line. It came up faster than either of us thought it was going to and we took off to finish it!! I heard Steve yelling, "Go Wellendorfs" and then I saw him and Julie there cheering us on! At that point it got very hard for me to breath but not because I was running too fast- it was because I was choking back the tears!
|Here we come to the finish!|
It felt AMAZING as we crossed that finish line together! We collected our medals, grabbed some water and Gatorade and made our way to Julie and Steve. The first thing I had to do was take off my shoes! I couldn't wait any longer to get them off my feet. My feet were the only area bothering me- my legs still felt pretty good but my feet were killing me!
We made our way towards the food and grabbed some cookies, fruit, and chips and sat down on the concrete in the finisher's area.
|My amazing husband Tim the marathoner!|
|replacing some of my salt with chips..|
I don't normally like plain chips but these were amazing!
We didn't sit there long before we decided to head to our cars to get cleaned up and head to Golden Corral for some serious calorie replacement!
|We did it!!! We are marathoners!!!|
Once again we finished with the same time as each other- 4:52:07
It would have been really nice if there would have been showers somewhere for us since we had to check out of our hotel before the race. We did the best we could using "Fresh Bath" (The Body Wipe for Outdoor Activities) and baby wipes. We put blankets over windows and created a little changing room in the back of our van! It felt so good just to get out of all of our sweat soaked clothes and put on something dry.
After getting some much needed food at Golden Corral we had to take a few minutes to apply the 26.2 sticker to my van before we could part ways with Julie and Steve to head home. This was one part of the trip that I think we were all dreading- sitting for almost 4 hours in the car!
About half way home we stopped at a Kwik Trip to use the bathroom and to move around a little. The Kwik Trip we stopped at had a car wash with a wonderful strip of grass alongside of it. The grass was in the shade and made a great place to sit and stretch for a while. After spending about 20 minutes stretching in the grass we felt like new and were ready to make the rest of the trip home!
What an amazing adventure- this recap doesn't even begin to summarize how it felt to finish my first marathon! I have to admit that the last several miles were tough- I never thought about giving up or not finishing, but I was ready for it to be done. My feet hurt but I still felt strong and it felt amazing to push myself to finish. It was more emotional than I thought it would be! Looking back I think part of that comes from finishing the race when Julie wasn't able to! I think I was holding myself back at the end because I was having a tough time knowing that I was going to finish a race that she so badly wanted to finish. At the finish I swore that I would never do another and that the relay would be the way to go in the future! Just over a week later- I am ready to do it again! Maybe not soon but I know I will do another marathon in the future!
Looking back at how far I have come in the past few years amazes me and makes me so proud of all that I have been able to do! Just over three years ago it was an amazing accomplishment for me to run a full mile! Since then I have run several races- 5k, half marathon, and now a full marathon!
The year 2013 started off with me at one of my lowest points- full of fear and worry- having surgery to remove melanoma and not knowing what that would all mean for my future! Now 2013 has brought one of my proudest moments- I am a marathoner! I have shown my three boys that when you set your mind to do something, you take the time and do the work to get there, you can do anything!! With a little bit of determination.... anything is possible!