I had told E-speed and A-train that I should have had a shirt to race in that said -- "I am a bomb and I am about to go off!!" in case things went bad on the course. Truer words were never spoken.
We ran along the art museum never turning right to make a 180 turn around a construction barrel like we did in 08. I was kind of bummed as it meant less time with the screaming and cheering crowds. I soldiered onward though. The parkway was the same as it had always been windy and flat. I started looking for the leaders on the left hoping to get a boost of energy as I headed out. Somewhere around 15.5 I saw the leader coming back. The time was about 2:08. He would go on to finish in 2:18 (I think). He had a fairly large lead on 2nd place when I saw him that would actually be cut down to only seconds at the line (Quite impressive).
After 16, I could feel my calves getting tight and my left foot started aching a lot. I ignored it and just kept running. I saw e-speed coming back somewhere at this point. In my opinion she looked like she was fighting to keep going. I hoped that was a good sign she was still on pace for that sub-3. I yelled something at her to try and boost her up a little. She waved and kept running hard. I had a feeling she was having a good day, even if she was a wee bit tired. Turns out after repeating "I'M A BOSS!!" for a large part of the race she did indeed run a sub-3, going 2:51:59.
We made a right hand turn and ran across a bridge and down a hill (this was new on the course). I did not like it at all and when we made the turn to come back up, my left foot and ankle were screaming bloody murder at me. "Great!! Just F*cking Great!!" I still had over an hour of running and my foot decided to take a sh*T on me now -- Damn!!! I kept running hoping the pain wouldn't get any worse. I crossed the 30k mats and knew I had a small chance of PRing if I could hold the pace and throw myself at the finish line.
When I started this race, I crossed the starting line with every intention of trying for a PR in the marathon and even if I didn't get it I was still gonna run as hard as I could. I sincerely believe if you want to win big, you have to go big sometimes. I hadn't killed myself at work and run at all hours of the night and day just to finish another marathon, I was gonna go kamikazee all over this one.
The pain in my left foot continued to grow as I ran through Manyuck. The roaring of the fans helped diminish the roaring in my foot a little and then I saw the beer stand I had passed up a few years ago. I don't know what got into me but I grabbed a cup of Yuengling and downed it. Some guy next to me yelled at his buddy "Look at this crazy fucking girl, drinking beer!!" I turned to him and said, "Look buddy, I am in a lot of pain right now and it ain't gonna get any better. I might as well try and numb the pain at this point!" He laughed as I pulled away (yeah I was moving faster than him).
I finally hit the turnaround, after what seemed like a lifetime and I still wasn't at the 20 mile marker. Mile 20 was still up ahead a little. This too was different from '08. I was saddened that the course wasn't the same. The magic of '08 just wasn't there. It was almost like an entirely new marathon course today.
I struggled back through Manyuck. I ended up running with a guy who was pacing a girl. He was awesome. He kept pep talking her and she kept running. He even inspired a few runners-gone-walker to start running again with us. I even got a few guys to run with me, telling them nothing would help this pain right now, except a morphine PCA, and definitely not walking.
I crossed back into the parkway around 22 and there was loud music and cheering fans, pumping up the walking dead, that was most of us. I was so done with this race. I tried to push the pace and kept telling myself 30 minutes of hard running and then you could trot in. I fought my way to mile 23 and then the pain in my left foot became excruciating. I felt sharp pains shooting up the heel of my foot into my lower leg. I wanted to walk so bad, but I couldn't fathom the idea fo finishing over 4 hours and I refused to DNF. I could feel the panic rising. I started putting a lot of weight on my right foot and trying to just tip toe with my left. I was really pissed at this poin in the race that my foot hurt so freakin' bad and for not being able to run faster. I even started crying a little. The miles dragged on for what seemed like forever. I figured I was moving about 10 mins/mile through that last 4.2 miles. I kept telling myself to quit and give up, that I wasn't gonna make it, that I wasn't strong enough, but I kept going. I was so mad and pissed off. I refused to walk. I wasn't gonna give up, but dammit did it hurt. I finally made it to the art museum, hobbling along for the last few miles and glad it was over, but it wasn't. The finish didn't have us turn right and pop out in front of the stairs. We had to run back to the start, which was now the finish, a few hundred feet farther. I would end up with 26.5 on Adam's Timex. As I crossed the finish, I threw up my arm. It wasn't lost on me that although I had blown up and destroyed my left foot I completed my 6th marathon. It sucked and hurt so bad (I think I had mentioned that already, but just in case). Some people asked if I needed medical attention or at least to sit down, but I declined and limped through the shoot. A-train found me a few minutes later and hugged me while I cried for a minute. The shooting pain continued every time my heel touched down and it throbbed as I leaned against him, no weight on it. It was over. I had tried and failed in 3:46:18.