The evening before the marathon, James's cousin Rick (who was also running the marathon - his 5th one) and his family came over to share a pasta dinner. We had a lot of fun with them, and I think it helped James relax a bit - though it didn't last long. Rick spent the night and the two of them woke up very early in the morning to get on the bus that would take them way way way up the canyon where the race would start. They had to be up at 3 for a race that started at 6 - can you believe it? James had a really rough night, too nervous to sleep, poor guy.
Anyway, since there was no way I was getting up at 3, I expressed my support after James had gone to bed by putting signs in strategic places where I thought they would see them - "You're awesome!" and "You can do it" on the bathroom mirrors, "26.2" on the door, "Have a great run" by the dining room table. James said that made him feel pretty good as he prepared to leave.
Interesting note - part of the preparations for the race included rubbing Vaseline in various places to avoid chafing - between the toes, the insides of the arms (where they hit the body), the chest, and the insides of the thighs. I don't know, for some reason I found that really funny, but James did actually get much fewer blisters running his marathon than he did running the half last year, so I guess it worked!
Anyway, James accomplished his goal - he finished! He wasn't trying for a great time, but I think he did pretty well, coming in at 5 hours and about 30 minutes. He actually improved his pace from when he did the half, so I think that's something to be proud of. He had some issues with cramping - his legs just seized up and he had to run-walk for a lot of the end of the race. He ran the last little way once he got into the "chute" where all the people are watching the finishers and cheering - when they're cheering you it's hard not to run. But poor guy was so shot and in so much pain! He said that as he ran that last bit to the finish line he was planning just to lie down and sob, but then he realized he probably wouldn't be able to get up again, so he decided against it. If you want more details of his agony, you'll have to ask James, but let's just say he's not eager to do it again.
Here are some of the pictures from the event:
Here's Rick greeting his family after he finished. I showed up at the finish line just in time to catch them. They had to leave before James finished, but they kindly lent me their oldest child to help with Isaac. So nice!