There is a lot I can do in 37 minutes. I can run almost five miles. Commute 30 miles to work. Watch nearly an entire episode of LOST on DVD. Eat a meal. Pretend to nap. Write several blog posts.
On Sunday I took 37 minutes by the balls and smoked my best marathon time with it.
Very much to my surprise, and very much beyond my goal, I ran a 4:10:53 marathon, 37 minutes faster than my previous best time (peanut butter, remember?).
I CANNOT EVEN BELIEVE IT.
In Chicago, my very first marathon back in the glory days of 2005, AJ and I ran a 4:48. It worked for us! Hell, we just hoped to not die. Two years later, in San Francisco, I ran a 4:49. One minute slower, of course, because why not? Stupid San Franciscan hills.
I was pretty positive my dream of ever running a 4:30 was out the window. And that was my goal on Sunday. Until halfway through when I was well on my way to beating a 4:15. Four hours and fifteen minutes! Holy crap.
And then I finished in just under 4:11. YAY. Happy day!
Other than my finishing time, of course, the best part of that race was mile 21. I knew my parents were coming to the race, but none of us were sure at what point they'd track me down along the course.
So I spent 21 very long miles searching. Every corner, every group of people, every mile, and nothing. Twenty-one miles is a long way to go when you don't see a familiar face. I was just finishing up the few miles that looped through the arboretum when I saw them.
Best sight for sore eyes ever. I don't remember the last time I was that excited. I was so exhausted and so ready to be done, but out of nowhere I squealed with the little bit of energy I had and ran to see them with a doofus grin on my face.
It was enough to get me through another mile or so. By that point, I was just trying to make it from point A to point B. Water station to water station. Somehow I survived my breaking point, which is usually mile 18. I was still truckin' along, but dammit I was ready to be done.
And then there they were again at mile 23! YAY. I had more silly grins and another boost of energy just in time to run into Erin, Chief of Stuff, XT4 and Newt and Leonard! The group was stationed outside their house, waiting to cheer me on.
I could've died right then and there, not just from the 23 miles I had just ran, but because of how excited I was. I don't know the last time - if ever - I had this many people rooting for me. And then there were more.
Jessie, Kaitlin, Sarah, Michelle and Katy hauled themselves out of bed, made some signs and stood dutifully at mile 25. That was the biggest surprise yet.
And of course all of the above, including my sister (AND MAGGIE!), were waiting for me at the finish. Best finish ever. I was too excited to realize I had just finished 26.2 miles.
The race will go down as one of my favorites. Not just because I smashed my goal, but because of all of the support I had out on the course. Signs! I had signs! With my name on them! And my parents were so proud. it was, like, pouring out of them. And that was good. Very good.
So I did it. And I'm excited. And thanks to everyone who gave me even the teeniest bit of luck. Now it's time to look ahead to Marathon No. 4 in October...