|I told Rich, during our run, I would remember 8 and 9 as the ones I passed when running with him |
because these are the only 2 pictures I took AFTER passing the sign.
|I caught Mile Marker 10 is where Rich had to leave me for a minute...|
|I took that moment to snap a quick picture of my excitement at being in the double digits! |
You may still be able to see Rich. Hahahahaha. Completely unintentional!
Rich did catch up with me at this point, but then he went ahead as we came to the absolute bottom of the hill and I needed water. I thought I might catch back up to him at some point, but I didn't see him again until the finish line, where he congratulated me and we exchanged Facebook information. What a cool guy! Rich, maybe I'll run with you again some day!
|The volunteers at this water stop were very concerned about me!|
While I am taking this picture they are yelling, "Miss? Miss?? Are you okay?!"
Hahahaha. I popped right back up and showed them the camera. Must've been quite a relief for them!
|These past couple miles were gorgeous. Beautiful scenery all around, peace and quiet.|
By the way, in case you didn't notice...we're going up again!
|This is what the "up" led to this time. Are you kidding me?!?|
|This is me "flying"! And realizing I have finally run 14 miles!|
|I came down the hill from the left and then a sharp curve led to the road on the right.|
It was pretty cool, and great views all along.
|At 15, I was a little bit nervous because I had heard "rumors" of a very steep incline at mile marker 17...|
No sign of it yet, though?
|There's the mile marker! Where's the hill?|
|See behind me? Yeah. Not an optical illusion. Just one HELL of a HILL.|
|I just came from the right...to run UP the left.|
Will it ever end?!
|I can still muster a smile! Hooray!|
|Wait, what? Seriously?!?! I have completed 20 miles???|
How did I use my personality to make it through this middle "hunk"? Well, I did engage in conversation with volunteers at the water stops. As long as I could still make people laugh, I felt like I must be ok. I realized at some point I hadn't eaten anything during the run, so I did munch on a couple of Gu Chomps, but I wasn't feeling hungry. Not really thirsty, either, but I took water and Gatorade every chance I got. I was by myself for some of this portion and I was okay with that. I had my ipod in the trusty fanny-pack, but never felt the need to use it. I did meet a really nice gentleman earlier in the run and we kept passing each other. He was on his 5th marathon, 3rd time doing the Blue Ridge. !!!! Really nice guy with a lot of great information, about the race as well as other "Adventure Races". I enjoyed our chats immensely. In fact, as I wrap up this portion of my recap, I believe I was hanging out with him.
At the top of the hill (mile 19) I really felt done. Like, really done. Even walking was beginning to hurt. The downhill wasn't encouraging me. I kept getting emotional, but if I allowed myself one full tear I knew I would be in full-blown panic attack mode. I couldn't allow my mind to think about the fact that I was truly on the finishing side of this accomplishment. If I started to think about how far I had already come, I would feel my chest tightening up and my eyes burning. So I pressed on. One sweet volunteer at this point must have seen how I was feeling. He was just sitting in a chair by the road...I wouldn't have known he was "working" if it weren't for the bright green shirt! He smiled at me, and I thought I smiled back. He didn't have anything...no water or gatorade or even a first-aid kit that I could see, but he asked me if he could get me "some water...or something?" True to my nature, I politely declined, but my voice caught. It is impossible to put into words, but something about the way he said, "You're doing great" was just different from the way all the others had been saying it. I will likely never know this guy's name, but he is the reason I kept going on.