Mile -7: Wake up at 4:30 am. Get dressed. Eat Oatmeal. Take lots of Advil.
Mile -5: Pick up Nikki and Eric and rock the pump up music.
Mile -3: Hit lots of car traffic. Bitch about the metro opening at 6 am and the poor guidance of traffic to the stadium.
Mile -2: Runners start to abandon their cars and make their way to the start line on foot. Should we do the same?
Mile -1.1: Nikki, Eric, and I abandon Josh in the car to run/walk to the start line. We have 30 minutes till start time.
Mile 0: We get to the stadium with 15 minutes to spare. We check our bags, go pee, and head to the hoards of people. We get to the starting line just before 7 and start on time.
Mile .5: Nikki and I split from Eric. We both keep thinking we see him run up beside us for the rest of the race.
Mile 1: Done!
Mile 2: Was that really two miles? It felt more like two minutes. Smooth sailing!
Mile 2.5: Run by Josh, cheering and acting as our personal photographer.
Mile 2.8: Josh bikes by us calling our names and cheering.
Mile 3: We see a clock. We're on track to run this in under two hours. We discuss how awesome it would be if we could do that.
Mile 4: I abandon my gloves. What a beautiful morning this has turned out to be!
Mile 4.8: We aren't running by Nikki's building :( But we can kind of see it from afar :)
Mile 5: Water re-fuel tastes very good as we run uphill on eighteenth street.
Mile 6: Run under Dupont Circle. So cool. Nikki and I hoot and holler in the tunnel but are a little disappointed at the lack of response. There's Josh again, standing over the rail above the tunnel taking our picture! And there's Ben, as we come out of the tunnel, cheering out front of Cosi!
Mile 6.1: Steepest hill of the day. Done!
Mile 6.5: TONS of madness and cheering in Adams Morgan. Signs for "Naked Cheerleaders Ahead".
Mile 6.7: I get a really bad stomach cramp. I DON'T STOP running.
Mile 7: Run by Nikki's apartment! Have we really run 7 miles?! No problem.
Mile 7.2: Betsy and Sandy cheering at the corner of 16th and Harvard :)
Mile 7.4: Two guys handing out cups of beer. We each take a swig.
Mile 7.43: My cramp is back. Shouldn't have drunk beer. Still, i DON'T STOP running.
Mile 8: Steep hill. Also really pretty part of town that I don't know.
Mile 8.5: Howard University. Cute kids playing music and cheering on the side of the road.
Mile 9.1: Turn south onto North Capitol Street. Long downhill view of the Capital Building. Still smooth sailing.
Mile 10.4: Turn east onto K street. We're no longer running downhill. I realize that I had gotten used to the downhill and running is suddenly so much harder than it has been the last 10 miles.
Mile 10.6: Run under a Marc train just behind Union Station. I tell Nikki that I don't think I can do it under two. My goal was to finish without walking and if I push myself too hard, that may not be possible. I don't want to hold her back so she should go ahead.
Mile 10.8: Nikki and I split up. Run Nikki Run!!
Mile 10.9: I see Josh for the fourth time! He's taking pictures and cheering me on. It is a huge pick me up but I know I'm struggling big time.
Mile 11: Running on H Street. It's really cool and the sun is beaming. People are passing me. I am so worn. But I won't walk. One foot in front of the other. Over and over and over. For two more miles. Just keep running. DON'T STOP.
Mile 11.5: I think about how I should have trained better. Every step I take, I'm running further than I ever have before. It's a cool idea but it's no fun at the moment.
Mile 12: My legs have been burning for a few hundred yards. That has never happened to me while running before. It's like I'm running on stubs, I can't really feel my feet. The slightest uphill really gets to me. Physically, I'm beat but I know how mental it is. There was a mental hurdle before this all started and now that it's happening, my mind must be strong. I will not walk. I will keep running. But oh my god this sucks right now. It's so pretty in these Northeast DC neighborhoods but I don't care about anything else. Just DON'T STOP running Carrie.
Mile 12.5: I can see the stadium. That keeps me going.
Mile 12.7: I pass 17th street and I know that I'm running to 22nd. That is five blocks and I know I will make it. I hope I will make it. I WILL make it.
Mile 13: So close I can see the finish line. But it's uphill and around a curve. I'm not sure if I'm going to cry or how I'm going to feel when I stop running. There are so many people lining the fences on either side of me but I don't even feel like turning my head to look for Josh or my mom or Nikki.
Mile 13.1: My headphones are blaring and I'm looking at the finish line as I approach. I cross it and slow to a stop. It has been 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 46 seconds since I started running. I am wheezing and I wonder how long I have been breathing that way. I pass the people handing out medals because I don't know they're there. I see Nikki and she hands me a water bottle then goes to the fences to see Eric cross the finish line. I see my mom and sneak out a fence to talk to her. I have already finished the water bottle. I shouldn't have snuck out the fence because I miss the food tent. I am able to go back for a medal but not for food. I get my medal and then I see Josh. He missed me at the finish line somehow. He had biked there and gotten mixed up and maybe been a few seconds too late. We finally find Nikki and Erik and get all my checked stuff. It feels twenty degrees colder than it did while we were running. I am so jealous of everyone's arm-loads of bagels, bars, bananas, yogurt, smoothies, etc. Next year, I will not miss that food tent. We stand by the giant sign and take pictures. What a weird sense of exhaustion and elation. We ran through history. We ran 13.1 miles.