We made our way to the corrals and waited for our turn to cross the start line. Steph ran with her crew as their goal was to run it in 4:00. Dan and another Stephanie (who I met this weekend and is from Athens, GA and was also running the full) ran with me. We took it easy, tackling every hill and giving each other high-5s as we conquered each one. Those hills were no joke!! I want to say that was worse than San Fran. But who knows - I told someone it was like giving birth to a child. You tend to forget the pain and the process. In Austin, you couldn't even enjoy the downhill because your sights were already set on the next upcoming hill. They were right there just teasing you. I was proud that I didn't walk up one hill. I ran up each and every one. Stephanie's a trip and had great energy! Once Dan separated from us at mile 11 to complete his half, it was Stephanie and I all the way to the finish. The spectators were wonderful! They all had signs and chanted us on. Our names were on our bibs so it was nice to hear volunteers call us by name. It gave us that extra push! Residents came out blaring "Eye of the Tiger" (I can't tell you how many times I heard that song during the race) and passing out food from orange slices to Oreos to Twizzlers. There were parties in front yards with signs that read "Cocktails for Quitters" and around mile 21, there was a table passing out Jaeger shots. Ha! They were really supportive and so were law enforcement who came out to control traffic. They were very encouraging as we ran past them. It's so nice to see the city come together.
I felt great. I didn't hit that "wall" that everyone talks about and I was so nervous that I would. I repeated mantras in my head to push me along and just soaked in the chants of "You guys look great!" "You look really strong!" "Check out that smile!" "Go Cecilia!" from the spectators and volunteers. At around mile 22, I realized that I had run this entire time without stopping to walk. At mile 24, crazy emotions happened and I started tearing up. In my head I kept thinking - I can't believe I'm almost done. I can't believe I feel this great. I can't believe I ran every hill! I can't believe I'm going to finish another marathon!
At mile 25.5, we had to tackle not one, but three more hills. It was evil. There were 2 photographers perched at the crest of each one. The man running next to me stopped dead in his tracks and screamed, "F*%% that!" I wanted to scream too. Are you kidding me? I had run this entire time, my legs had started to lock up at mile 25, and now this - right before the finish? I took a deep breath and just...ran. Stephanie and I motivated each other saying "We got this!!" and conquered those last 3 hills! We both said once we turned the corner and saw the finish line, we would sprint to the finish and we did! It was awesome to see Dan waiting to cheer us on at the final stretch. It gave me the push to really PUSH it. I ran with all the gusto that I had left in me and crossed that finish line. Then all of a sudden, my eyes swelled up with tears and I couldn't stop. I had completed my second marathon, but not only that, I ran the entire time without stopping. I had set my watch to 25 min run/5 min walk intervals and ignored the alerts on my run. For me, I just dominated this race!! I felt like Super Woman! My Garmin clocked me in at 26.5 miles at 4:47:35. A huge PR considering I completed San Fran in 5:30. I looked over at Stephanie and she had tears in her eyes too. It was the greatest feeling ever. Those tears were me in total bliss and awe of the human spirit and triumph. I can't even begin to describe those emotions, but I crave that high again. I'm really hoping that I get in for Big Sur next year. Also, why do I keep signing up for these hilly marathons?! Once again, it's like childbirth, you forget the pain and relish in the glory.
This weekend I also got to reunite with my old Bay Street Theatre crew who moved from Savannah to Texas within the past year - Lea, Mike, and Sean. It really was nice to catch up with all of them! Here's a picture of the crew at Baby Acapulco's. It was definitely a perfect ending to this wonderful weekend!
What's up next? My legs and body are still sore, but we are on to the Historic Savannah Foundation 10K this Saturday!