Conveniently, I have a GIVEAWAY going on RIGHT NOW for those sleeves here! After waking up at 3 and getting out of the hotel by 4:00AM, we made it to the finish line to take the shuttle to the start line.
I look tired! Check out those pretzels in my pocket! We drove up a mountain-ish road and were dropped off in this wide open area with heat lamps and bonfires. Say what?! Bonfires??? On a windy morning? (Side Note: The last time I had an asthma attack was in 2003 when the wildfires hit San Diego)
I wasn't thinking about all that as I was breathing in the ash and looking at the fireworks. I was checking out the cacti and thinking, "Photo Opp!"
Saw a ton more awesome friends too!
We then headed over to the start line and saw this morning sunrise view! Who knew AZ was so picturesque?!
And we were off! Let's take a look at that course again.
The first 4 miles were a gradual downhill. And then we were in for a rude awakening when the next mile and a half was a gradual UPHILL! Say what?! At this point, Jamye took off like the Energizer Bunny she is. Jenn, Thia and I stuck to our plan of stopping at every aid station walking 10-30 seconds each time. This whole time, there was wind. Strong wind! It seemed that every time the course would go uphill, the wind would smack us in the face. I trained for almost every condition but I didn't train for wind! UGH! Then we made it to the Halfway mark!
And that is where my troubles began. I stopped being able to breathe. I just couldn't do it. My lungs were hitting down and I knew this was how people die during these races. I couldn't decide if I should call my husband in San Diego and tell him I love him. It was that bad. My vision was blurred and my lungs burned. We walked almost all of Mile 14 and most of 15. Thankfully, Thia is a yoga expert (yogini?) and helped me breathe thru my difficulty.
Up until this point, we were well ahead of the 4:55 pacer and we (I) thought we had the sub 5 in the bag. But it is hard to run continuously when you can't figure out how to catch a full breath and having a mild asthma attack. At Mile 18, the pacer caught us and passed us. But I saw this friendly face.
My friend Lisa even came to meet us at the finish line. She rocks! So we kept on going. My body started to completely fail me. Even while my lungs were screaming for more air, my left foot started cramping.
I would be dishonest if I didn't say a few things about this course. The first four miles were amazing. Beautiful with tall cacti. Like a movie set. But once we got into town, it was endless stretches of road that never seemed to end. (Note to other PHX racers: How long was Brown Road and why weren't there ANY turns??)
But thanks to Jenn (amazing coach Jenn I might add) and Thia, we made it to that finish line.
Thank you Corine for this picture! You rock!
And we earned our medals. Let me tell you. Every minute. Every mile. Every darn breath.
This time, with Erica and Suz too!
I can tell you that I didn't fully regain breathing ability until Sunday evening on the drive back to San Diego. Imagine! My last asthma attack before this one was 2003! 12 years ago! But I earned this thing!
In the very near future, I have a post planned about what I learned doing / during my First Marathon and the answer to the question, Will I Do Another? I should also do a post on what I ate while in Phoenix and during the marathon.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! It means a lot. Thank you for taking the time to check on me and encourage me along every step of this marathon training process. Runners are incredible people. The kindest and most giving and most encouraging souls of anyone I know. So thank you. From the bottom of my heart because apparently, the bottom of my lungs is not enough!
As always, I wish you Happy Feet,