After taking a few days to internalize the whole thing, I think I am ready to write about it now. I'll start with...I Finished! That was always the ultimate goal, just to cross the finish line. And I did that. I feel completely ambivalent about it today. Apparently, there is something called post marathon depression. I believe I may be suffering from a touch of it. Who knew? Don't get me wrong, finishing a marathon is an accomplishment a lot of people wouldn't even attempt and I am thrilled that I can be counted among those that have completed it. I got a thrill out of putting that 26.2 sticker on the back of my car after the race and it was truly wonderful that so many people supported me by either text message, facebook posts or standing in the rain to give me an up close cheer. The volunteers for the race were amazing. Truly dedicated individuals who stood for hours, directing us, cheering us on and holding motivating signs. The experience was amazing.
Now let me get to the part that wasn't so amazing. It rained. It started raining as the National Anthem was sung and it did not stop raining until right before I crossed the finish line. It was the most miserable 5 hours and 23 minutes of my life! I hate running in the rain. I don't mind snow, cold or even a little wind but I really hate rain! At first I wasn't bothered by the rain because my adrenaline was pumping and there were so many supporters in that first leg of the race.
There was so much to focus on that I didn't really notice the rain. But then the crowds thinned out as people found their pace, we made our way out of the heavily populated areas and the half-marathoners broke off. Then it was you and whoever was in front of you that you decided to place your mental focus on. That's it. Nothing but you, the rain, and then the pain. I was going strong, in spite of the rain. things were going well. I lost some time for a few port-a-john stops but that was okay, I wasn't running this thing to be fast. Because a fast runner I have never been. At mile 16 I even thought "this isn't so bad, I got 10 more miles in me." Then I got to mile 19ish and my left knee seized up. My right knee is the one I had the problem with during training. That pain was all but gone and the brace was keeping my right IT Band securely in place. So I stopped and switched the brace form my right knee to my left. Okay a little better but the damage had already been done. Those next few miles were rough ones but by 22-23 I was about ready to quit and I was definitely ready to cry. This is where it all went to hell. I walked most of the last 3-4 miles. I walked more then I ran because I just couldn't get me legs to go. I had already given up on my hoped for 5hour time. I probably would have really contemplated quitting but my husband was texting me and Mark's sister and her husband met me along the course at different places in the last leg to cheer me on to the finish. When I got to the 25 mile mark and knew it was almost over I started to get really overwhelmed with emotion. I was going to do it. I was really going to finish a marathon (before the course closed). And then when I saw the finish line the tears started to come. The moment my foot touched the strip to signal my time to stop I wept like a baby. I had done it. I was overcome with relief, pain, excitement, satisfaction and exhaustion. My husband was in the stands watching me cross the finish line and when he came down on to the field I fell against him and collapsed.
This is one of the most significant moments of my life. I have never been an athlete. I almost died 6 years ago and until 4 years ago I was an overweight chain smoker. Today, I am a marathon finisher. If I can do it, anyone can finish whatever seemingly impossible goal they set for themselves. Do not sell yourself short! If you want it bad enough, you can achieve it. It might not look graceful and pretty like you might see on TV but you CAN get there from here. Make your dreams a reality. If you don't at least try, you will never know what you are truly capable of.
I did a marathon and through that I realized a lot of things about myself and about my life. I will now go back to half-marathons and 10K's (where I am more comfortable) and I will always know that I pushed myself to MY ultimate limit. Living with the satisfaction that I did not give up. Even when I thought I wouldn't be able to finish it. Even through the injuries during my training. Even through the horrible cold and wind of this past winter. Even through the menacing rain on race day.
If you have been following my blog since November, I hope that the one thing you take away from this is that anything is possible. Never say I can't You can and you will. All you have to do is try, take one day at a time and surround yourself with people who believe in you more then you believe in yourself.
There are so many people I would like to thank for being a part of this with me. First and foremost my husband, Mark. He put up with so much from me over these months and always took things with a grain of salt. I love you, babe. You are still my lobster.
Also my awesome trainer, Lindsay. She spent 10 weeks strength training with me. I would not have been able to do what I did without her help. She pushed me in ways I would have never pushed myself.
All the people in my life and at my gym who supported me:
Marvella, Clara, Wanda, Val, Erin, Vince, James, Tina, Tami, Christine, Sheri, Vicki, Ivy, Heather, Beth, Carolyn, Hortense, Clare, Sallie, the other Heather, Andrea, Sarah, Kim, Kristen, John, Deb, Mary, JoAnne, Jerry, Alice, Bernadette, Julie E, Julie M, the other Julie E, Gina, Tracie, Traci, Rachel, Tracy, Britainee, Dawn, Erika, the other Erin, Tater, Amanda, Fungirl, McKenzie, Ray, Victoria, Marcy.
There are so many that I can't think of them all now but please know that your support means the world to me. Thank you all, God Bless and I love you!
Michellevsthemarathon....I stared it down and conquered it like a dragon fighter.
Thank you and goodnight!