There was a long down hill piece after the "Orange" hill. Running downhill is as difficult as running uphill. Gravity is working just as hard against your body on the downhill. It's just that instead of fighting gravity to go up; you fight against gravity from pulling you down ...too fast! It pounds your body hard.
The weather was getting colder and it was now sprinkling. The first elite runner just past us. She, of course, was FLYING!
At the bottom of the hill was the 10 mile rest stop. My legs were already feeling tight. Not fatigued. But I really needed to stretch. So Cindy and I decided to take our first significant break. We re-filled our water belts, stretched thoroughly and ate a salt packet. (Or as we call it; did a tequila shooter without the tequila). Yuck!
Then we were off again! My legs were not happy and we weren't even to the half way point yet!We were running through Golden Gate park by this time. I knew there were pro runners up ahead to cheer us amateurs on. But I got distracted from them.
Right at the corner up ahead was a gigantic video monitor. The sick race organizers set up a camera so you could see yourself running up the route, bigger than life. I watched it as I approached looking for my image. To my great dismay as soon as I saw myself I thought, "Oh my God! I'm a beach ball! Look at that; I'm huge!!"
What???!!! The second thought was [pardon the harsh language] "What the FUCK was that!?" I am running my first ever marathon. I've trained consistently HARD for months. I am more fit than I have ever been. I was completing a feat that less than 1% of humans will ever attempt and the first thought is I'm fat????!! That is just wrong! And it hurt!
How could I think that about a body that has never let me down. That keeps meeting every challenge I throw at it and does more than I ever thought it could, all while I don't always treat it as nice as I should. I should NOT be talking smack about that body!!! It just drove home how the bullshit you are fed all your life from society, family, 'friends', school mates, work acquaintances and everyone else gets ingrained in your psyche. You must actively reject those comments and messages otherwise it will fester in your dark places to spring out and take you down in your fragile moments.
I felt whipped and beaten down. That is the last damn thing I needed when I already felt discouraged because I was more tired at the 11 mile mark on this run than I ever was on any of the training runs. I needed encouragement and thoughts of "you are doing great!" "You have this in the bag!" Not this 'Oh look how fat you look!' bullshit!
Then I saw Kris.
He was standing on the left side of the trail smiling from ear to ear. When our eyes met he threw up his arms and yelled, "Yeah Jill!!!" And clapped his hands. I ran right to him and got a big hug just when I needed it.
"How you doing?" He asked.
"I'm real tired already. But I'll do it. I think if I can stick to the 9:1 ratio I'll make it in fine. But I'm TIRED already!"
"Well you look great! You seem strong!"
I can not tell you how much I love my husband!
I continued on through the park. Looking back, it seemed like we were in the park FOREVER! They run you from one side to the other and back! It was really hard running back along the route you just covered. You feel like you aren't really getting anywhere. But I kept telling myself every step was getting closer to 26.2. Doesn't matter if you're running in circles. You're still covering the miles.
Cindy and I kept at it. It started full-on raining rather than just sprinkles. All of a sudden, there was a big stream of runners joining us from the right off another trail. We figured out it was the half marathoners joining the main route after being diverted to a short cut. The split occurred around the 11 mile mark. They set up two separate lanes and the halfers go down one lane and the fulls in the other. I had mistakenly got in the wrong lane. But realized my mistake and quickly jumped back to the correct lane.
Kris told me later he saw me coming down the route in the half marathon lane and wondered what in the world made me change my mind about running the full. Then he said he could tell by my face when I realized my mistake and he saw me jump back into the full lane. I bet I looked pretty silly!
So the halfers were joining us now and I think Cindy and I both harbored a little jealousy toward them at that point in the race. We were feeling pretty rough by then and we were past the 15 mile mark at this point and still had more than 11 miles to go. These halfers were coming in looking fresh and happy with less than a mile left in their race. Bitches.