They weren't kidding about the cold. With all the people crowded together at the start though, it wasn't too bad. It took me at least two or three minutes just to get to the starting line, a situation that would have caused me more frustration if I'd been closer to my wishful-thinking pace. Here's the news footage of everyone taking off. The beginning, at least for us middle-of-the-pack folks, is a pretty amazing collective sea of humanity experience. Then the honeymoon thrill of togetherness wears off and everybody has to go meet his or her own giant, some giants being more friendly than others, but still giants.
Yes, I managed to thwart the obvious efforts of the sport photography folks trying to prevent surreptitious downloading of the proofs of their pictures. Sorry about that. But now their watermark can enjoy free advertising on my blog, so that should be worth a little something. When you care enough to make your race photos outrageously expensive, I recommend them.
Views of the finish. I had a good sprint up that stretch of Capitol Ave to the finish line, never mind that maybe 800 yards before that I was walking. Walking as briskly as I could. An old Jennifer Stone saying came to mind - "Go easy, and if you can't go easy, go as easy as you can." This was a 'running theme' of my marathon though I didn't really plan it to be. I held back in the first half, which is probably why I got all the way into the low 20's before things got really, really hard and I started saying things like "Hey, I never have to do this again, so just enjoy this while it lasts. Don't be in such a rush to get it over with!" and also a 'thank you, thank you' mantra. Meaning thank you for my life, thank you for being able to run (and walk). Thank you thank you thank you.
So during and immediately after the marathon, and as recently as yesterday, I was indeed thinking how nice it will be to get back on my bike, do less painful kinds of exercise, etc. And I will. I need time to recover and regroup, and time for my feet to forgive me. I don't know if the marathon is really 'my distance,' as much as I may wish it to be, or if it was just that my training was too thin, or that I've still got the dregs of a cold, or all of the above. But I'm already feeling less averse to the idea of more running than I felt on Sunday when I could barely walk and pretty much just sat on H's sofa moaning for advil and cookies.
p.s. - I think my Nike+ wristband thing has been telling me sweet little lies about how far and how fast I've been running. Either that or I actually managed to run a marathon that was two miles longer than everyone elses on the same course. Time to recalibrate.