Anyway, I woke up on Sunday to my almost perfect running conditions. It was cloudy, cool, a hint a breeze, and possibly some showers. The one problem was that it was slightly humid, and I cannot run in humidity.
My mother kept telling me I wasn't giving myself enough time, wasn't considering traffic, etc etc etc. When we finally left the house, I realized with a very large pit in my stomach that she was right. There were almost 11,000 runners and they were all trying to get on the same 40 buses to Woods Hole. We sat in gridlock as the clock ticked closer and closer to 8:45, when they said the last bus would leave. I finally got out of the car around 8:30 and jogged up to the school. What I saw when I got there almost made my heart stop. The line of runners queuing up to get on the buses was probably a mile long. If the last bus really was leaving at 8:45 I was going to miss the race. I knew that they couldn't possibly leave thousands of runners stranded, but they were pretty emphatic that the buses stopped at 8:45.
But to keep a long story short (and a pretty boring one at that), I got on a bus and got dropped off at Woods Hole. It was pretty unorganized down there, but I did finally get to the street where my heat was gated. We heard the elite runners start... the grey heat... the orange heat... the green heat... and finally the blue heat. They announced our start, and it took me two minutes to actually get to the start. As soon as I hit the starting line, I was able to run.
Wait..... everyone told me I would walk the first two miles! I wasn't supposed to start at the very beginning of mile 1! Oh, but I did. That first mile and a half were brutal. Mentally and physically, I didn't think I was going to make it. But I kept pushing... it helped that other people were walking up the hills after the first mile and I was able to keep going. I'm not a very fast runner and I'm usually getting passed, so passing other people was a new experience for me.
Right after the first mile is Nobska Lighthouse, which is at the top of a pretty big hill. As we were struggling up it, I heard the Rocky theme song being played on repeat. It was hysterical.
At the first water station I threw water over my head, and I ran under every hose that was going - I'm told this isn't very common, but I wouldn't know if that's true or not - many of the homeowners along the route spray their hoses out into the street to help cool off the runners. There was not a hose along those 7.1 miles that I didn't run under. I was sopping wet by mile 6, and my socks were squishing in my shoes.
Around mile 2ish, I heard some guy say the next 1.5 miles were the worst, but after that you are back on the water and there are lot more people and you can practically see the finish. While I knew this, having traveled the route by car about 1.5 trillion times in my lifetime and running it twice, it kind of sunk in when I heard someone else say it. I could make it another 1.5 miles if it was going to get easy after that!
I kept going... The people were awesome, there were only a few stretches down in Woods Hole where there was nowhere to stand that I didn't hear people cheering for me. People were doing their own water stations in addition to the official water stations at the mile markers. I "low fived" about a million kids along the route.
I hit mile 5. This was where I started to get really nervous. I had never run more than 5 miles before. I was hot. I was soaking wet. I was exhausted. People all around me were walking at this point, but I kept going. Luckily this is in the heart of town and there were walls of people on the side of the roads screaming. There was a guy with a blow up Stanley Cup that people were slapping as they went by. There were bands set up on the side of the road playing live music, and people were well into their 3rd or 4th or 5th drink. It was pretty much a party that I was running through.
When I got to mile 6 and the 10K mark, I knew it was in the bag. I knew I was going to finish. I kept my eye out for my uncle and aunt who have a place on the Heights. I turned the corner for the last hill and actually started to laugh - I had just run almost 7 miles and I never stopped.
Running down the Heights to the finish (I'm the short chubby girl in the purple)