I’m tired said my body. I can’t said my mind. But I still haven’t made it said my heart. So I kept going”.
The race is finally run and I live to tell the tale.
My one man cheering squad and I set off for Richmond on Friday to check out the expo and explore Richmond. I collected my bib and my t-shirt with trepidation and questioning myself if I should just switch to a half marathon.
There is no explaining how terrified I was race day morning, but me with some determination and words of encouragement and support from my friends made it to the start line.
I stood around heart racing in the cold crisp morning at the start line. Finally the runners were waved off and I hit start on my music and my GPS and I go. Around mile 4 my confidence picks up and I tell myself that I feel great and I would possibly do it all over again. Mile after mile I keep pounding away, waving at the people cheering us on and listening to my music and content that I was keeping up with my pace group.
Around mile 12 my stomach starts to rumble and all I could think of was how badly I wanted food. The fact that we were running past various restaurants where the smell of food was wafting through the air was not helping my hunger pangs. But I kept chewing on pretzels and energy gels and water and kept going trying not to think of food. But food was all I could think of. All the food I will eat, the big margarita I will have when I am done and all I calories I can consume with no guilt.
It is hard to say if I had any cohesive thoughts the entire time, my mind kept jumping from one thing to another in order to not think that I was only half way and mostly trying to enjoy the scenic route that we were on.
After running for 4 hours and 15 minutes, I reached mile 20, something snapped in me. My mind and my body refused to continue. All I could think of was that I wanted to quit…. but I did not want to give up. I had heard so much about moments like this and I knew I had hit the wall and this was no ordinary wall either, it was a concrete wall. I had to find a way to break through that barrier and keep going. Giving up at mile 20 was not an option.
Every random happy thought I was trying to have besides running, was stinging my eyes with tears and I was struggling to keep going. I desperately wanted to quit, I just wanted to limp my weary self over to a corner and lick my wounded pride and say I give up. However, all the words of encouragement and support was ringing in my ears along with the words ‘keep going, you can do this’, being shouted at by strangers makes it hard to quit.
I turn the music on louder and try to get my mind back on track and force myself to put one foot in front of the other and not think of every ache and pain I could feel. My determination to finish was bigger than the pain I was feeling at that moment.
At mile 24 my one man cheering squad runs into the street and I just fall into his arms in exhaustion. He offers to come with me the rest of the way, while I want him besides me, I give him a feeble smile and nod and pick myself up and start running again.
There in the distance I finally see mile 26 and I start to smile, because I know I made it.
Unfortunately I did not make it in the 5 hours I had planned, but the most important thing is I did make it immaterial of the time. I did run 26.2 miles and I am now a marathoner and belong to the 5% of the population that complete a marathon.
While I still beat myself up over having stopped, having hit the wall, having slowed down in the last 6 miles, as my friends say, this was my first marathon and I just need to bask in the moment of having completed it.
While every part of my body hurt and I limped around for the rest of the weekend, it was worth every minute and every ache and pain I felt.
So now I can say that I have one thing ticked off my bucket list.
Will I run another marathon ? Despite all the hurt and pain I would say hell yeah !