In the week approaching my first marathon I refused to check the weather. I overheard a few ramblings of a rainy weekend ahead but I didn't want to believe it. I became worried that I would have another race cancelled due to thunderstorms when I finally did log on to weather.com. I continued to be optimistic and began to plan for my friends and family coming into town for support.
After turning down invitations for dinner with friends on Friday night I stayed in with my younger sister Sarah and watched The Lucky One and What to Expect when You're Expecting. I was nervous to eat out due because I didn't want to upset my stomach for the race the next day. Sarah thought I was crazy to eat popcorn the night before the race but I assured her I always eat it before long runs. I slept okay the night before the race waking up a few times due to the thunder and logging onto my laptop quick to make sure the race wasn't cancelled. At 5:30am I woke up to get some breakfast 2 hours before race time. Sarah and Ryan weren't too thrilled to be woken up and forced out the door by 6:30! Due to the rain I left behind my ipod and garmin because I didn't want them to get soaked. I knew I would really miss both of these but I wasn't about to purchase two new ones. I was also nervous I would start out way too fast in the beginning without my watch.
As I lined up at the starting line I noticed a girl next to me wearing her garmin and asked her if she was worried it would get wet. She said she was going to cover it with her sleeve and hope for the best. We introduced ourselves and Gina turned out to be really sweet. I surprisingly stuck with her for the first 12 miles. Once we started she admitted she had finished multiple marathons including a 50k! She stated she wasn't going for a specific time in the Haunted Hustle. After the first 12 miles I fell back due to the hills but then caught up to her again. The hills in this race were overwhelming. I knew it would be a little hilly in the beginning but I noticed many runners walking up them. After catching up with Gina again we ran through the trails and we both admitted we were nervous about slipping on the wooden bridges. We chatted with a few other runners and it was really a great race despite the crummy weather. I wore a baseball cap in hopes of keeping the rain from my face a little but I ended up throwing it away because it was getting too hot on my head. When I approached mile 20 Gina sped away but I was happy with my pace.
I saw the finish ahead and sped forward. I could see the finish clock at 3:58 and was ecstatic I had no idea what my time would be. I knew I was in front of the 4:00 hour pacer but I figured they were right behind me. I am hooked for life and can't wait to run my next marathon.
5th in my age group 20-24