"It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse."
Notice the hat at the end there. I ran the entire 26.2 miles with that horseshoe haircut, so I wasn't showing it off a second longer than I had to after the race! You probably can't tell too much of a difference between the before and after besides the hair, but I was absolutely exhausted after the race.
The first 13 miles went swimmingly - aside from the bowel movements at mile 5 :) - then between 13 and 18 I was just trying to keep my mile time under 10 minutes. Once I hit mile 22 I felt like death was coming for me....no, not really, but I was hurting. I was essentially waddling at mile 24, no lies. Then just before mile 25 I got a burst of motivation (not energy - motivation), and took off, running an 8.30 pace for about the last mile and a half. My time ended up being 4.20, while my goal was 3.40. But after the race I didn't give a damn what my time was - I was just glad I had finished!
The ending was incredibly inspirational - running about a quarter of a mile with people cheering you on from all sides (even if you did have a bad haircut). The journey to the end was just as inspirational as the finish, though, with more than 30 people donating to autism research, raising a total of $1,074.82. Our own group within the Organization for Autism Research raised more than $10,000, the best out of any OAR group in the marathon. Woot!
Thank you to everyone who donated, and everyone who offered moral support throughout my training and fundraising. It was very neat to see the outpouring of support via Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, text messaging, and at the marathon, itself. People offered advice when they had no vested interest in my marathon, whatsoever, and for that I thank them.
But most of all, a big thanks to my sister Jessie. While she initially tried to dissuade me from doing the full marathon, she and my dad were the initial catalysts that got me into training and helped motivate me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. If she wouldn't have formed our OAR group and essentially ordered me to come to the first meeting, I probably never would have helped raise more than $10,000 for autism research, nor run a full marathon. So thanks sis!
And once again, a big thank you to everyone who helped me along the way. Without your support, there never would have been a young, dumb 22-year-old running his first race longer than a 5K with a horseshoe haircut.