I did it.  I ran 26.2 miles inexactly 4 hours & 50 minutes.  The goal in my head was 4:45, so only 5 minutes longer!  The weather ended up being perfect, and Margie was a lifesaver on the 2nd half.  Couldn't have done it without you!  I was going to post this once the race photos were posted, but that's just taking way too long.

Here's a recap of the race:

Dudley drops me off at the starting line at 7:40am.  I try to find Jesse and some other friends, but I am short and can't see anyone in this huge crowd, so I just make my way to the corral and take it all in.  People watching is one of my favorite things, so I look around at people getting ready and chatting and some Elvis tunes are playing on the loudspeaker.  They released each corral 2 minutes apart, so I crossed the starting line as the official clock said 19 something minutes.  Off I went.  I had some foot problems the last couple of weeks, so I was anxious to see how it would hold up with the biofreeze I put on it.  Doing/feeling great!  I had one headphone in so I could hear all the excitement, bands, yelling, etc.  I tried not to let my adrenaline allow me to run faster than a 10min pace so I could keep steady for more than 4 hours.

First people I saw cheering for me around mile 4-5 that I knew was T's dad, sister (Katy--St. Jude Survivor!), and brother, Austin.  Thanks guys, I was so happy to see your faces!  They were right at the entrance to the St. Jude Campus.  Running through the campus was the best part of the day.  Seeing the parents of those kids thanking you and cheering for you made it (pain) all worth it.  Saw Jesse's hubby Nick on his bike right outside the St. Jude campus.

Next we get on N. Pkway, and my next people should be around mile 7.  T, Margie, Audrey & Ross.  Still feeling great and excited!  I spotted them, so happy to see them and Audrey had made the best sign ever, which I actually didn't read until I saw them at mile 10ish.  Thanks for supporting me and cheering for me--I loved seeing all of you!  Along N. Pkway I saw some other familiar faces-- Leslie Poe and her cute family, and the Davis'! Thanks for being there guys!

best sign ever.

hey guys! I'm running a marathon!

The next turn was into Overton Park, which was my LEAST favorite part when I ran the half in '08.  This time, it wasn't so bad!  There were people cheering and I used Jesse's technique and sang all the words to ice ice baby (in my head).  Next thing I knew I was at the Brooks museum and stopped for some water and gu (mmmm).  It was now time to truck it up Poplar on the nice rolling hills that comes with that.  Saw Ross & Audrey & T's fam again along the stretch, and this point the inside of my ankle started aggravating me.  Of course this was not the part of my foot I was worried about that I had biofreezed.  Hmph. Awesome.  Kept up a steady pace and got to the UT Med School area and looked for my big bro Johnny--there he was!  He ran a little ways with me (then he went back to studying).

It was time for the split off--the half-marathoners run to finish, and the marathoners keep straight.  I kept straight and was ready to see Margie!  There was T and Margie (she was stretching) waiting and off we went.  
I need biofreeze.

off we went!

Margie had another pack of biofreeze to put on the aggravating ankle, but it never really kicked in... oh well.  She was loving the sights and got to see Beale, pretty midtown houses, cooper young area, Rhodes, St. Jude & AutoZone.  I was so glad to have a buddy at this point, I got to see T again at mile 15, and I was still on the look-out for Mom, Dad & Leslie.  I'm telling you, the support from family & friends was AMAZING!

hi hubby.

I finally saw the three stooges on their bikes, and Uncle Gary was along with them!  They came running towards us yelling and screaming and so excited! "The green vest, the green vest!!!!"  Leslie ran a little bit and said, "see you down at Grace St. Lukes.  After that point, not as many hills."  Still feeling great (not loving the hills), but still feeling great!  It was amazing that there was water/powerade at every mile. (wish I had a pic of the 3 stooges with their bikes & helmets on!)

We kept on trucking up Peabody (away from the finish line might I add), and saw the three stooges & uncle gary again yelling and cheering, among lots of others!  The excitement that the bystanders brought was just so great and I don't think we went more than half a mile without bystanders.  Finally got to Cooper Young area and saw Grant & Mandi & Ms Cindi (on her bike), thanks guys!  Got some water and kept on going to make the turn to E Pkway.  I was getting hungry, but knew I would see T at 19 with my granola bar.  There he was with the Turmans cheering and I stopped for a brief second to get the granola bar and they all asked me how I was doing.  I still felt great!  The rest of E Pkway we had to run on the slant of the road (which I STRONGLY dislike), and very close to cars.  We made a few friends, and then saw Ross & Audrey again!  I'm telling you people, if you ever run a marathon, you will want your friends to come cheer you on--it was amazing!

Ok, this is just added in because it was one of the best parts of the day, and happened throughout the run--not at a particular time on the timeline.  There was a man (or 5) wearing a green t-shirt with the grinch's face on it.  We saw him AT LEAST 10 times on the 2nd half, and I saw him a couple on the first, too.  I promise we saw the same man everytime, but he was everywhere!  Probably every few miles we would see him again.  Best part is we saw him as I was sprinting to the finish and Margie said, "you're everywhere and it's been amazing!"  Well it was.  Gave us a high-five every time, and then we even saw him at the finish line!  I wish I had a photo of the grinch-man (as we called him)...

Finally mile 20 on N Pkway and headed back downtown!!! I could start to feel my pace was slowing down, so I stopped for my 3rd gu and water.  Mile 21 hit, and from here on is further than all my training.  I saw the 3 stooges again, and Leslie comes running out and starts sobbing--she's so proud, I look so great, and I'm doing so well.  Of course tears well up in my eyes, but we kept on going and Leslie said, "see you down in a few miles, sorry I cried!"  Thanks sister.  We saw Ross again along the stretch, maybe mile 23, and I was saying in my head, "only 3 more miles," but that seemed like forever.  There we were at 24 by St. Jude, saw the 3 stooges again and dad said, "just around this corner and then you'll be done!"  2 more miles!  I can do this (I told myself), and Margie said, "yes, you can do this!"  Those last 2 miles felt SO long and I couldn't tell how fast my legs were moving anymore.  I was just ready to be done.  I had to grab Margie's hand at one point so I could make myself run. 

We FINALLY got to Union, could hear the excitement in the stadium, and had to run up this nice ramp to see the 26 mile sign (BAHHHH, a ramp, really?????).  Margie said, "go Martha, run ahead of me to the finish line."  I tried to make myself sprint it out at the end, but I can't remember any of that, only crossing the finish line with my hands up and SO EXCITED THAT I FINISHED 26.2 MILES!!!!!  I ran the marathon.  I did it, and I was so happy & proud of myself.  Margie was right behind me, we embraced (I'm starting to get emotional as I type this), and I told her I couldn't have done it without her.  I couldn't have.  Thank you friend, I will remember this moment forever.  It was awesome!  I saw T and my parents and Leslie (the three stooges) & J and Meredith in the stands all cheering.

couldn't have done it without you!

T-- I couldn't have done any of this without your support.  You were there for me in all the training runs and the best encourager.  Thank you for making this journey with me!  I did it, and couldn't have without you right there.  Love!

Running a half marathon is one thing, running a marathon is a totally different beast, and I didn't understand that until I was there doing it.  It was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, and I'm so thankful for all my friends & family who came to support me--I couldn't have done it without you!


december brings glad tidings

I'm so excited about this month, a lot is happening, and I'm ready/excited for it --

1. marathon
2. cookie exchange
3. holiday parties
4. friends & family time
5. fires
6. giving gifts
7. bundling up
8. remembering the importance of christmas
9. the end to a great 2010
10. the start to a new year

Wish me luck as I take on the marathon this weekend--I'm ready for it!  I hope you are all still wanting/enjoying these desktops... happy December!