Freezing, down pour, windy, awesome!!  Three days off the plane I didn't expect much from this race.  A couple of people I was coaching were doing this run as there first marathon so my goal was to make sure they started and finished.  I tried to do a short run two days before and couldn't even do 3 miles.  My lungs felt strained from my asthma attack at Worlds.  I decided I would listen to my body, even if that meant not finishing.  It's been a long, successful season.  I started slow and kept an easy pace since miles 14-22 were all hills through antietam battlefield ( the bloodiest battle in civil war history).  The temperature dropped about this time and the heavy rain continued to fall  steadily.  I felt good but kept slowing down, expecting my body to breakdown at any moment.  I break my marathons into 10Ks, this one was: warm up, pace/fuel, hills, home.  I was so surprised to find myself through the hills and on the way home.  I felt great ?!?!  My last 10K+ was my fastest.  People kept asking me how I looked so fresh and full of energy.  I just smiled since I didn't know myself.  I hit mile 25 feeling great.  I looked down at my watch ( which I had not been paying attention to since I wasn't 'racing') and saw 3:30.....a time I had only heard of  "runners" doing but never thought possible for me.  I was so excited I sprinted the last 1.3 miles into the stadium smiling the whole way and laughing at the questioning faces of the crowd as I sped by them.  I was way to happy on the last mile of this cold and rainy marathon.  My watch said 3:3638!!!!  SWEET!!  Of course then I thought, well I should have sped up sooner and came in under 3:30.  Oh well, I was in one piece with no unusual pain in a marathon I thought I wouldn't even finish.  I grabbed my medal and headed out for my friend/client, it was her first marathon and I wanted to make sure she was alright.....after all the last mile was up hill :)  Two miles later (28.3m total for me) I found her still running and smiling.  As I coach I was thrilled and proud.  She finished under four hours and without injury.  All my students finished with no unusual aches or pains and memories they will hold dear to their hearts forever. I ended up with 3rd place!!  I had never even thought to wish to hope to ever place in a marathon, especially this one!  I was/am sooo excited, I still can't believe it.  SInce I wasn't even trying to race I am excited to see what I can do on my next one.  Don't put limits on yourself, dare to try, and believe in your dreams.  After all, I couldn't even run one mile in gym class as a kid and now I just placed in only my 2nd marathon ever.  :)

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