At mile 8.5 Jared jumped in and ran up the climb at mile 9 with me. I told him I how I was feeling some pain in my legs so soon. I slowed down the pace to compensate and kept going. Jared went to the car and I turned down the road that was about 8.5 miles out and 8.5 back before the finish. It was a flat road but I could feel a very slight incline. My legs could feel it when I stepped on a single blade of grass at this point. Soon Jared was back with me and we were running alone on the road together. One girl came up and passed me as I stopped to stretch. I was getting really bad cramps in my quads and hips. That was kind of demoralizing because ultimately I was in great shape; but the hills just destroyed me. I said maybe I should stop and just run my 26 next week but Jared told me to just go up another mile and that this was a rough patch.
On the way to the turnaround I was able to see the lead runners coming in. I counted the girls and I was 9th female. That was enough to keep me going at this point. Soon enough I was at the turnaround point (mile 18.5) as I turned I saw how close the other girls were – about a minute behind me. By this point my legs were not even legs, they were more like bricks of lead and they were killing me. I wasn't going to stop but I needed to find a way to loosen up. So I would run and then have to squat down to loosen up the quads and hips - yea, that paints a nice mental picture, imagine seeing it! I ended up passing one girl and settled in 8th place. I was implementing the run and squat, haha, and doing ok. The pain was terrible but not getting worse and if you excluded the cramping I was in decent shape. I saw another girl in front of me and passed her. A girl coming up the road told me that I was in 7th place. By that time I decided to just get this done with. I was at mile 23 when I started to see another girl up ahead and she was doing the whole "walk/run thing". I knew I had a bit to go and didn't want to start going for her yet. At mile 24 I was about 1 minute behind her when a guy ran up behind her and obviously told her I was coming up but I was cramping ( I heard he is running the Bear Mountain 50k, cannot wait to see him and thank him for that, grrr). She turned and started to run. I kept the pace even but I knew I wasn't going to try for her. I had to remember that this was not my goal race, this was training, and if I used it all up on this I would be mad. I finished my last two miles at a good speed (good considering my last two marathons) and came in 1 minute behind 6th place female (who also took 2nd in the age group). I placed 7th female and 3rd in my age group. I am pretty proud of that regardless if it was a small group of women/small marathon. I PR'd in the double digits in only 4 months from my last marathon and I didn't even taper. My endurance was much stronger and I was able to pace myself. As far as "hitting the wall" at only mile 14.5, I call bologna. That downhill hurt like hell and I didn't expect that. I kept going and didn't lose too much time.
Thank God for Jared. He ran in black nike pants and a flannel…A FLANNEL…in 50 degree weather! He knew I was having a hard time not focusing on the cramping and I was all alone running the race. You couldn't ask for a better, more supportive boyfriend.