There was a major snafu on the way to the start line. P-Funk and I got separated. Or actually we were logistically challenged. I thought she was going to meet me at the BRA tent, she thought I was going to meet her at the car. And with less than 10 minutes to go, I had no choice but to hit the start line.

I had a last minute dilemma on where to go. Do I start with the 4:30, 4:20, or 4:15 pace group? As I stood there struggling on where to go, a thought occurred to me. F@ck it. I’ll go with the 4:15 and see what happens. I’ll just hold on until I can’t hold on no more.

The pacer lady seemed friendly enough, as did the group and before I knew it we were off. I stayed with the pace group until about mile 5 but they seemed to be going too fast. They would speed up and then slow down and I’m sure it was due to the crowds. I was too nervous to stay with them and let them get ahead. It was at about this time that I saw my dear sister and her fiance with a sign that said “Go Beth!” My sister just so happens to live on the race route and was in her big, blue terry cloth robe. It was hysterical.

As I continued on, I was sad about not being with my beloved P-Funk and hoped everyone was having a good race. Miles 5-10 were pretty much just me in my head trying to work out a comfortable pace. At mile 6 or 7 (I think) I heard some BRA members cheering for me and I saw a friend at mile 8-ish.

Pretty sure this is from that mile. This is where you all get a first look at my outfit. I chose yellow for W.W.B.K.D? As in Beatrix Kiddo, the Bride, from Kill Bill. What would she do? Kick ass.

By mile 11 I had somehow caught back up with the 4:15 pace group. I joined them and said to myself, “I’ll just stay here until the end.” But then something happened. I got bored. I was just about to hit mile 12 and I felt like they were going too slow. Hmmm. To speed up and risk killing myself in the end or to stay with them?

You all know where this is going.

I pushed on and left the 4:15 group behind. Unsure as to if this was a terrible idea and that I would seal my fate in defeat by mile 22.

Alas, this did not happen. I just kept on keeping on. I got a pretty awesome surprise at mile 15 when my long lost Caribbean Steve jumped in with me. I haven’t seen him in a while and I almost cried when he jumped in. He told me that 4 of the members in van 2 from Ragnar team Half Nuts (me, P-Funk, and Red) was out here today and there was no way he was going to miss them. I heart him. Seriously. One of the best people I’ve ever met.

Anyway, as we ran we came to my mom and the Rough Riders. They cheered us on and it was pretty flippin’ sweet. C. Steve departed and I was headed to the most dreaded portion of the race.

This back section of the race just sucks. There are almost no spectators and you run around a big lake. It’s no man’s land and it coincides with the dreaded start of the 20’s. Mind you, my first two marathons had things fall apart at mile 18 and they just got worse after that. Fortunately, this race was different. The weather was AMAZING and I had a little angel help me at mile 18. This little angel came in the form of a petite Filipino gay man. His name, Don Patricio. (He exists, I already googled him AND he knows a few of my friends in Orlando!)
Don bounced up next to me and said, “Hello! Do you mind if I run with you for this part? It’s terrible back here. The wind is bad and this park has no spectators.” I instantly fell in love with Don. We exchanged names and he told me how he was running the marathon relay and had the 8 mile leg. He ran a killer 15K the day before and thus didn’t want to push it. He was going to help me get through these tough back miles.
Miles 18 through 20 flew by as Don and I chatted. He pushed the pace and I hung with him. Part of the time I was thinking I hope we get to his exchange soon because I am running way too fast. At about mile 20 I needed a pit stop and he waited for me a little ahead. At 20 he met his relay group and I continued on.
From 20 to 23 I was good. I think C. Steve reappeared and then left again to find Nora. At 24 or so (I honestly cannot remember what mile was what) I saw Coach EK a bit ahead of me. It got a tad windy here and Coach EK provided a block against the wind which was awesome. We got closer to the finish and my legs were finally starting to hurt at this part. Coach EK told me to give it all I had and I did. I sprinted like a maniac and actually caught up to my little angel Don and his relay team.

Don is the dark haired gentleman to my right. Love him.
My final time: 4:08:06. W.W.B.K.D indeed. What if indeed, Coach EK?
My Cinderella marathon finally happened.

Post race awesomeness!

Red, Me, P-Funk and Hollster. All four of us PR’d and Hollster BQ’d.

Me and my Boo Bear, the one and only, Redhead. Who, by the way, told me so.
Unlike my other marathons, not one time did I want to quit. Not one time did I think “I’m never doing this ish again.” I honestly felt pretty good the entire race. I’m still astounded by this. I really didn’t think it was going to happen. I feel a little bit like Cinderella. Except, I don’t need no stinking Prince Charming or a glass slipper. I got running shoes, and my horse drawn pumpkin came in the form of my own two legs.
Special thanks to Coach EK, My Boo Red, P-Funk, and Hollster – training would not have been the same with out you guys. Thanks to the BRA who are just simply the BEST running group out there. And to my Mom, Sister, BIL to be, and Stepmom, thanks for coming out in support you guys rock! AND last but not least, thanks bloggy friends and readers. You guys are my inspiration.