so when 2:30 a.m.rolled around and i was laying in bed, fully aware that i would not be falling back asleep, my main concerns were:
1. what to wear
2. if the sushi was still sitting right in my stomach
3. the fact that 6 hours of sleep would have been much better than 3
when we arrived to the starting line, it was raining and cold. thankfully, my running jacket doubles as a running rain jacket. still, i went out slow for the first couple of miles, feeling my leg out. it hurt.
at mile 3, with some tears streaming down my face, i considered dropping out. but i couldn't. i just. kept. going.
a friend was working the water stop at mile 5, so the 'go, jessi!' kept me, well, going.
i didn't realize that i should relax and ENJOY what i was doing until around mile 7. 5 when we were nearing the center of the plaza. so i took in the scenery, the way the city seemed so alive with the sound of so many feet pounding, pounding, pounding. i saw someone else i knew and waved.
miles 8 and 9 were my toughest. lots of steep inclines. lots of self-doubt. lots of under-the-breath cussing. lots of popping in my hip joint.
at mile 10, i remembered that the last 3.1 miles of the race were mostly flat to downhill. and i checked my time. somehow, in my exhausted stuper, i calculated that if i sped up, and ran the next three miles at an 8-minute pace or faster, i could break 2 hours. and so, i did.
the last mile i was in a dead sprint. (a dead sprint for me, by the way, is like a 7-minute mile.) at least it FELT like a dead sprint after 12.1 miles of a moderate pace. as i neared the finish, i saw my dad and B to my left, yelling for me to "go!" and taking pictures. so, hip popping and body screaming, i finished strong. my official time was 1:55:50. that is UNDER a 9-minute mile pace, which was my goal.
i'd packed a bag for B to bring me the night before. an organic Clif sports drink, some muscle rub and a dry sweatshirt. i was so cold i forgot to stretch. and the walk back to the car was hell. the rest of the night, i had to use my arms to lift my right leg whenever i needed it to move. i woke up in screaming pain in the middle of the night and took four advil. this morning started off slow. but i'm walking. and i took a shower and managed to even look cute. my leg feels better than yesterday. and i mostly just feel really lucky to have been able to train so hard and so well and to have had two of the three most important men in my life waiting for me at the finish. (my brother lives in israel, so he had a good excuse.)