On January 1, 2015 I made my first attempt at running 26.2 miles on these old aching feet. I don’t know if i can express the awesomeness of the whole experience. From the beginning of training until i laid my head down on my pillow that night.
I am usually so excited about a race the night before that i can’t go to sleep and then when i do i am very restless and wake up every few minutes scared i have over slept. But i took naps the weekend before my race, i went to bed early the 3 days prior to the night before the race and got well rested up. So then night before we had a short run in memory of a running friend it was just enough to relax the pre race jitters, i was in bed by 9:30or so and asleep by 10pm. Woke up at about 2:30 and heard the sound i had been praying i would not hear the day of the long awaited race, the sound of rain drops outside. I have to admit i almost started to panic. I just told myself go back to sleep and figure it out when you get to Kingwood. Then i woke up at 3:45 am to get ready to head out and meet my sole sistas that were also running the marathon.
I also want to add in about the training runs. My friend and coach Cindy knew a couple other girls that were training for this marathon so she arranged for us all to meet on saturday mornings and do our training runs together. I can’t explain how glad i am that she did this. Marathon training requires alot of training runs and i couldn’t have done it alone. We met on saturdays from November to december getting our training runs completed together. We formed unbreakable bonds by running together. If your spouse or someone close to you runs, please understand the love & friendship that forms between them and their running friends. The running community is a family. Some where in the middle of November i was finally matched with my buddy. I signed up to be matched with a person who couldn’t run because of illness, disabilities and other reasons that kept them from running. Her name is Giula, she is from Italy and has CP. She is a strong willed, fiesty young lady that i couldn’t have hand picked myself to be matched for. It gave me inspiration and encouragement to keep running. we are able to keep in contact and i post for her and we message each other etc.
So we arrive at the race site, i am good still not nervous..COLD but not nervous. I couldn’t believe the day was here.. the day i had trained for the day i had planned out the day i had prayed about the day i would run a marathon. it was cold and actually not raining when we arrived but as soon as we started to get our race gear on it started raining. It sprinkled/drizzled the whole day closer to the end maybe our last 3 miles it actually rained harder.
As i ran i will never forget the faces i saw as i passed them. My most memorable experience of the race was seeing so many people from different walks of life. Older people, younger people, over weight people, people from other countries, people with disabilities. Everybody was there with the same goal, finishing, in the best time that they could. Nobody ridicules others for being slower. There were even couples well in their 70’s walking the marathon holding hands!
During the run i would try to look at scenery and people and not focus so much on the distance i was having to conquer. After the second loop i put my music, jacket and long sleeve tshirt in my bag and just enjoyed the run. I normally use heavy metal christian music to keep me going and distracted. But as i ran i wanted to be able to explain the beauty of the route after i was finished to Giula my I run 4 buddy. I wanted to be able to explain the beauty Lake Houston, the beauty of the bridges that we wet and shiney (Luckily not slippery) and the beautiful houses that lined it. I wanted to be able to share that moment with each runner i passed or that passed me.. We thanked the volunteers and police that blocked traffic, poured gatorade and made the YUMMY pnut butta and jelly sandwiches. There were spectators with signs and people walking their dogs saying happy new year.. great job, looking good as we ran by them.
I feel that people will see the medal as me gloating or rubbing it in their face… but that medal holds memories of training runs with great people, a huge goal that was thought of trained for and met.. blood sweat and tears!!! It’s almost unexplainable what this journey truly meant. As i started my training runs i had already completed 2 half marathons thinking 26.2 is IMPOSSIBLE but i was going to attempt it and give it my all!
Well i can now say that 26.2 is NOT IMPOSSIBLE.. i feel like a wimp because leading up to the race i was whinning about the cold and rainy weather then i get there and see all the people with disabilities and true excuses to not run there made me really stop and realize that ANY thing is possible… I wanted my marathon to be a good experience not one with horrible pain or freezing weather or pulled muscle or twisted ankle etc… I had a great experience. I felt like a ran strong maybe not the fastest but i ran the whole thing! Somebody even commented that i even finished with a smile on my face!
I feel like the first 34 years or so of my life were a lot of mistakes, bad choices and kind of like a huge trash pile. During the marathon i almost felt like i was climbing that huge pile of mistake, bad choices and mess and poking a victory flag in it.. finally realizing that all that is behind me now…
One of my favorite parts of the race was the turn around spot.. We had to do four loops of almost 7 miles or so.. at the turn around spot was an aid station that had snacks.. peanut butter and jelly never tasted sooo good.. and i found M&M’s there too.. so when i was in the last stretch of each loop i would sing pnut butta jelly time.. and think of the m&m’s!! yes i like food that much esp chocolate. One pass through their i took off eating another PB &J sandwhich saying pnut butta and jelly has never tasted sooo good. I had gotten hungry at that point.. well lets say that i looked forward to the snack table in the first 3 loops the end of the 4th loop my right foot was hurting so bad i wanted to cry… but i promised myself i WOULD NOT let my coach/friend cindy see me cry..LOL no seriously is hurt pretty bad the last 3 miles or so but that last 3/4th of a mile were TOUGH due to the foot pain. It was like something was saying how bad do you want this… how tough are you!! well i am marathon tough!! 🙂