I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Waikiki finally writing about the race. Thank god for photos because I can barely remember it. Maybe running a marathon is like having a baby. If people remembered the pain, they'd never do it again.
I do remember it was freaking hot and humid. The first 2 hours before the sun came up were the fastest and easiest. I ran, slowly, for the first half. Combined running and walking after that. And pretty much walked the entire last 6 miles in the thick 85 degree heat. Each time I tried to run, I felt like passing out or throwing up.
Because of the sign on my back ("It's my 1st Marathon and my 42nd Birthday TODAY!!!") I had hundreds of friends along the way. So many "Happy Birthdays!" from people passing me (many of whom I passed later on!) A few of my "single-serving friends," as Tyler Durden would call them, ran along with me for part of the way and chatted. A grandfather from Pittsburgh whon looked like a character in "Easy Rider." A 20-something from Wisconsin whose parents had signed her up to take her mind off her imminent wedding. A guy with a 5:30 Goal sign on his back who, like me, was falling further and further behind his target pace.
I remember wanting to stop soooo bad at one point and also wanting to cry because there was no way I was going to stop. Ellen called me around the 22-mile point to find out my progress and all I could say was, "It hurts!"
Still, I noticed that no matter how much I hurt and wanted to quit, the smile never left my face! Talk about your cognitive dissonance. the 2 thoughts, "I hate this!" and "I'm doing it, oh yeah!" jostled together in my brain all the way to the finish.
Notice, I haven't said anything about Disney World itself. What's to say? It was Disney World. It was cheesier than I remembered. The last time I was there, I was seventeen and concerned with looking good for boys and not losing my retainer. This time, I'm 25 pounds heavier, red and sweaty and slathering on vaseline at every opportunity (there were vaseline stations all along the way to prevent "chub rub") and feeling sexier than I ever have in my life! Yeah Ellen, I AM bringing sexy back!
As I neared the finish line, I saw the spectators in the bleachers cheering, I forgot all about the pain and the heat. Adrenaline kicked in, and I took off, running toward the finish line and looking for my sisters. Such relief and excitement, if not actual joy, I have never felt before. As I crossed the finish line, I saw Ellen and Fran. They were crying and hugging each other and holding up their sign. It was a sister bonding moment like no other!