But photos, a worn out race bib, a medal, and results pages don't lie. It happened.
I already reported that I ran the marathon in 3:57:24, but I didn't share how the rest of my teammates fared. Needless to say, the Navy Team posse did great.
Lauren and Mark, my fellow Marathon Virgins, finished together and both scored sub-4's, a 3:58:19 and 3:58:18.
Greg finished in 4:05:50, shattering last year's time of 4:13:11.
Giles also smoked his 2012 performance. He finished in 3:57:52... taking off more than 25 minutes!
Kit, who ran the Marathon Corps Marathon a mere 3 weeks before Richmond, finished in 4:03:44.
Teresa, who also did Marine Corps and then had the bad luck to be sick with the stomach flu in the week leading up to Richmond, powered to a 4:04:21.
Finally, our Iron Woman, Allison, finished in 4:24:41. Considering she swam, biked, and ran 140 miles in October, I'd say she's not just iron, but also a super woman.
I can't express how very proud and happy I am of and for this group of people. And how very thankful I am to have had their company during this journey. I know for a fact without these amazing athletes, I wouldn't have had such a great first marathon.
As for myself, I finally took a closer look at my results and splits a few days after the marathon. More for my own edification than yours, here they are:
10k - 57:55
Half - 2:00:25
20 Mile - 3:02:43
Clock Time - 3:59:52
Chip - 3:57:24
Overall Place: 1,424/4,834 (top 30%... barely)
Gender Place: 436/2,342 (top 18%... whoa)
Division Place: 61 (Women 30-34)
I managed negative splits, which is exactly what I wanted to do. It was a bit scary to run slower at the beginning and then watch my half time be one of the longest halves I've ever done, but as my coaches and teammates promised, starting out slow was the way to go because I managed to have enough gas left in the tank during the last 6.2 to run 5 out of those 6 miles at a sub-9:00 pace.
But more important to me than the final time, splits, or placement is the fact that I can now call myself a marathoner.
Barely one year ago, on November 12, 2012, I went for my very first post-injury run after being completely benched for two solid months. That outing could hardly be called a run, as per my instruction from BFF Steve, my 25 minutes on the vita course consisted one minute walking/running intervals and I covered just 1.75 miles.
Coming back from basically nothing, I cautiously but doggedly pursued a heavy spring race season and ended up with results better than I could have dreamed.
On June 1, the start of my marathon journey began with my first MTT run, at which I made a first impression I thought I'd never live down.
Luckily, I think I was able to shake my notoriety the pavement-surfing girl and ended up developing some amazing friendships over the next 6 months and hundreds of miles of running that ensued.
In the end, I ran 561.8 miles during the marathon training period using my crazy frankenstein plan that combined the 24-week MTT training schedule with the 16-week Run Less, Run Faster model.
That's 228 whole miles less than the folks who followed MTT's recommendations to a T ran. My extra miles were picked up in biking - about 145 miles before I called it quits on the bike in September - and swimming (around 25 miles).
All of that got me to November 16, 2013 and fulfilling a dream that started many moons ago. In the end, although I wouldn't ever want to go through the incident-that-shall-not-be-named again, I'm glad that it happened. If it hadn't, I would have run my first marathon without having had the experience of the Marathon Training Team and I know that it would not have been as wonderful as it was.
Now, I'm looking to the future. After all of this hard work, it seems silly to wait a whole year before running another marathon. So I may have kinda sorta signed up for the spring marathon training team organized by the Richmond Road Runners Club. It is a smaller and more informal group than SportsBackers MTT, but I am looking forward to maintaining my chops, logging more miles with friends old and new, and focusing on another marathon. Right now, it's looking like the Raleigh Rock N Roll is my next big goal.
Until then, I'm still basking in Richmond. Some day I'll try to stop writing about it. I promise.