I started running the marathon at a good 10-11 minute pace and felt great but I started to get a really bad lower abdominal cramp at mile 2. But I prayed my way through mile 2 and 3 and it went away, thank God! By mile 10, I started to feel a little weak and almost like I wanted to faint. I knew that if I continued at the same pace, I was either going to faint and would have to be taken out of the race by EMS or I was going to have to slow down. I decided to keep drinking lots of water and started eating my baked potato, I splashed some water on my face and neck to cool me down. I began to feel better. By mile 11 my feet were in pain and my quads were in pain. My ankles began to hurt a bit too. At mile 14 my hubby met me with a banana and water. He was going to meet me at mile 18 with another water and banana so that kept me going. After mile 18 I knew I wouldn't see him again until mile 26.2 at the finish line. Those were the hardest miles to go through! I was hurting everywhere by that point! My upper back and neck, my waist, my calves, but especially my feet! I felt like I had the cardio strength to keep going but my legs and feet could not keep up and were giving up on me! After mile 20, I kept telling myself, "If I can just get to one more mile, then I'll just have 5 more to go", at mile 21 I said, "If I can just do one more mile, I can get to mile 22 and then I'll just have 4 more to go!" By the time I saw mile 23 I was jumping for joy thinking "Yay, it's just a 5k from here!" but those last 3 miles were the toughest miles of my life! I was going so slow at this point trying to get my feet to just go, go, go but I was in so much pain and they were just getting weaker and would not cooperate! After seeing mile 23, I felt like each mile was becoming more like 3 miles! Each mile was just taking so long to end! At one point my mind was playing tricks on me and I thought I had just seen the sign that I had passed mile 23 but as I came to the next sign, I saw MILE 23 again! I told myself, "maybe I took a wrong turn", but that was not possible, ha ha! So I kept going until I remember a cop saying "just up the hill!". So up the hill I ran and that cop lied to me, because I still had to run a little further!!!! I finally started hearing the announcer's voice and I knew I was just around the corner! I got to the finish line and I was beyond happy! Saw my husband there and my USA FIT Austin crew! AHHH! I did it!!!!!!! When I was done, I didn't feel very good. I actually was not hungry and had no appetite at all! I had to force myself to eat something and I felt so nauseous. We went home and called it a day and yes, I still call all of this an amazing experience! It is kind of like having a baby~~it hurt so bad but it was worth it!

For friends like Cassandra Manor Medrano and Linda Brown from USA FIT Austin, who would take time to do makeup runs on Sundays with me and kept giving me only positive words to keep me going! For Cassandra who would always tell us "We Got This Guys" on our training runs (I heard it all throughout the marathon in my head! LOL) and for the time she held my hand on one of those Saturday long runs when I thought I wouldn't make it and ran with me all the way to the finishing point - I will never forget that moment and how awesome it felt!

Sylvia Salas-Hinojosa, USA FIT Austin, TX