The morning of the marathon started with hitch (of course). My arm sleeves that I had planned to wear were no-where to be found. No worries, I thought I would just wear a light weight long sleeve, although I wanted to wear my Rogue tee. Out into the 4:30am darkness I stepped and was instantly warm, so I knew the Rogue tee without sleeves, would be fine. Upon arriving at Rogue we chatted with Coach Kim, who had already done his 10-mile run (Wow-someone gets up earlier than we do)! He got our bib numbers to track our progress. The next, almost snafu at the start line, was being in the restroom while the National Anthem played. No worries, I thought, MY race doesn’t start until I cross the start line. Off goes the gun and the slow parade of thousands of runners start toward the starting line. It didn’t even pick up to a jog until right before the first timing mat, but I was off and running my 6thmarathon. The runners were jammed tightly together as we begin and I was not able to get into my pace or a rhythm until after the first water stop. Having been to the Friday night course discussion by Coach Chris, I had my pace times broken into 6 categories and vowed to follow them….slow through the first 6 miles, faster on the downhill from 6 to 9, then slowing again as I hit the big hills. Which (I had forgotten) go on FOREVER! Oh sure, there is the occasional flat or even a few down hills, but it’s mostly up and up. By mile 16, I was dragging a bit. Geez, I’m never going to make it, I thought, but then remembered, I was due a shot of gel, which I did and instantly felt better…for a while. By mile 18 (how boring is Shoal Creek, White Rock, Great Northern – and it’s is slight uphill, ugh?!), I was again dragging, but saw friends on the course and they cheered me on giving me a boost on the flat, rough road of Foster Lane. Two more miles to “half way”, I thought…still on pace, I got this. I plowed on. I did have a little nagging voice inside my head questioning if I would be able to pick it back up to MGP at mile 22, but I kept pushing it down and sticking with the plan. Mile 20 came – Yeah, half way!…OK a little more, but hey ONLY 6 more miles (uh oh…don’t EVER say that at mile 20)! And, No, Anand and Carl, I did NOT remember to do the circle dance at mile 20 either (did you?) Darnit! The sun was now quite warm now and I felt my arms starting to burn…oops forgot sunscreen again…glad I switched to the white vs the black hat…I plowed on. By this time, I am seeing many people walking, limping, and looking defeated. The crowd tries to cheer us on, but we are numb, hot, hurting – just wanting to be done—or at least I was. I plowed on, dreading that STUPID hill at mile 22 (there are actually 2, I think). I walk for the first time half way up the first hill—Drats!—didn’t want to walk, but before I get to the top, I start running again and the crowd goes wild (was that just in my head?, maybe, but I smiled) and kept running up and over the next hill. Pick it up to MGP. HA!–I think to myself…and I start remembering my marathon mantra…”Don’t fall, don’t puke and don’t stop”…I plowed on. I take my last gel and walk through the last water stop…just to finish the full cup of water, catch my breath to get the energy to run through the last couple of cruel, cruel hills on San Jacinto. I see the first hill looming in front of me, daring me to walk, telling me I’m defeated…I walk a few steps and but then start running again (Take that you stupid hill!),. I’m see the “800 meters to go” sign, the “600 meters to go” sign. I see and hear Coach Kim and others cheering me on, I hear the announcer as I turn the corner onto Congress. Home stretch, I know, I’ve done it, I see the clock ticking away at 4:00 hours…I know I started about 5 minutes back. I cross the finish line, knowing that I have PR’d and meet my goal time of 3:55. I feel great! Epilogue: Three days later, I am sore as hell, ecstatic that I finished 5th in my age group, loving the extra sleep time, and starting to think about my next marathon. I feel great! Thanks, Rogue!!