So Friday night I carbed up with the family that I choose. All you can eat Italian buffets can be troublesome diet wise, but when you are loading they lose. Three trips, and I was stuffed.
Saturday morning, I woke up at 4:30 and gleefully got up. Shocking.
I arrived at the race site at 5:45 am, there's something to this thing about getting there early instead of 5 minutes before the start. I had sooo much time to relax, warm up,stretch and chat with Megan.
We lined up in the corrals 15 minutes before gun time and stuck ourselves to the end. Neither of us had any desire to run with a pace group, we just wanted to run. Run by feeling. I did not even wear my garmin.
Gun time finally came and went and I said to Megan "If at the half split I try to follow you, you yell at me! Unless of course my knee hurts too bad!" she agreed and within the first mile, it did hurt.
Attitude can go a long way. I told myself all week, all morning and throughout the first mile: you do this because you love it. PROVE IT. Prove that you love it. So I did, Megan and I rocked out mile after mile.
Everything seemed like I was learning from last year's mistakes, Everything seemed if I was finally giving myself the perfect marathon experience.
Megan unfortunately had to split off around mile eight, and I have to admit-she is the wind beneath my wings. Dear Megan, thank you. I love you. Sincerely, Julia. Our miles together were excellent, we had fun and were not in agony.
We said our goodbyes and I got a little teary eyed. It was emotional. I was doing it, I felt it, I was doing. Alone. There is a real sobering moment when you have to realize that the only thing you have to lean on is you. That only YOU will get you through this.
At mile 9, Logan was there waiting for me. I walked through the aid station, hugged him and walked until my water was gone, he wished me luck and said he'd see me again in about 9 miles. What a daunting thought: 9 Miles until a recognizable face.
I took off and breezed through the next few miles, of course my knee was still bothering, but I consciously reminded myself that attitude was everything, that positivity can go a long way-maybe 26.2 miles, and that the right song can make anything happen.
I went though the aid station at mile 11 all by myself, there weren't other runners for a minutes. I felt like a celebrity. The full in KC is VERY thin, so even with no one around I was still mid pack.
Right after the aid station, I expected a long-drawn out incline that I had planned on walking. As I walked up this mountain, a pace group caught my tail and asked me if I was ok. Strange? Why would they ask me that? It was at this point that I finally realized I was limping. They encouraged me to run with them and stick with a group. So I did.
That pace group was a two edged sword. It was super encouraging, but I also am not a fan of being with a group. They got me through the next few miles. A great bunch of people, and I know they all finished strong. We all passed the half way mark together, cheered and continued on.
The next mile is kind of blurry. All I remember is a lot of pain. All I remember is my knee hurting but my brain telling me to overcome it. I called Logan and said that I hurt, he said he was a few miles ahead. He asked if I could get there, and I thought I could.
I continued to try to put one foot in front of the other. Then my right leg started to cramp. I took some sodium shots and tried to wait for them to hit. The compensation my right leg was making to keep my left knee from buckling felt murderous.
Volunteers at the aid station at 14 yelled at me to stretch and to keep my chin up. I felt tears pour out of my eyes. I couldn't stop them, they jutted out without permission. I fought to make them stop.
It was kind of odd, I was sobbing and couldn't really explain why. It was my body reacting to the pain, I just wasn't denying it. I wanted this so bad, and I wasn't going to let it go.
Sometimes though, it's not up to you. As I crossed an intersection, an office who has sworn to serve and protect, protected me from injuring myself further. He instructed me to stop. He help out his hand like traffic. Like I was a speeding sedan. I stopped confused. He was mouthing something, and I took out my headphones as he said "...ambulence." For who? He repeated:
"I'm sorry, but if you stay on this course I am going to have to call you an ambulence."
So I walked off the course. I don't need a $500 ambulence bill, $100 ER copay and several hours of time to know that I shouldn't have been running. I called Logan and my friends in tears, gave them my cross streets and they rescued me.
I just really don't like people telling me I can't do things.