WOW…26.2 miles have been run, the medal is in hand and the soreness abounds.
I couldn’t sleep the night before the race and to be honest it didn’t even seem real that I was going to run a marathon. I’ve been training for months putting in early mornings and long hours for this. Yet, it still felt like a dream. Even today, one day after the marathon it still feels a bit like a dream. Then I try to walk normally and I realize it was not a dream.🙂
I knew what I was getting into but I had no idea how each mile would be run and what obstacles I would have to overcome.
At the beginning of the race I could not find any of my group to run with. I really wanted to stick with my friend, Rene, because she would keep me at a good pace and we would have a lot of fun out on the course together. Once I got up to the starting line (16 min after the race started) I spotted my friend, Mendy, and we ran the first four miles together. We passed so many people out on the streets cheering, playing music and having a great time. I saw lots of signs that were very entertaining. Here’s a few that made me laugh: “You can do this random stranger”, “May the course be with you”, “This is the worst parade ever” and “Please hurry my arms are really tired”!
It was in those first four miles that I knew I would not find Rene and I made the decision to run my own race. I did my best to keep a slow and steady pace. I had 26.2 miles to run; I did not need to get caught up in passing as many people as possible. So I kept coaching myself to slow down and take it easy. By mile 13 I was feeling really strong and increased my speed a little bit. I slowed it back down around mile 16 knowing I still had 10 more miles to go. One of the things that encouraged me throughout the race were the shirts and signs that all had Philippians 4:13 written out.
By mile 20 I had hit a wall. A major wall. Even in all my half marathons I had never hit a wall like this before. My legs were burning and tired and I really wanted to start walking. But I didn’t, I kept going, pushing through the burn and the pain and mentally encouraging myself to keep going. I had to press on. I had a goal and that goal was to finish this race and finish well.
Mile 24 came and I started to feel nauseous. I slowed down and even walked for a minute to make sure I was not going to throw up on the course. That would not happen. I was even more determined to finish. I saw my friend, Mendy, right at the beginning of mile 25 yelling and encouraging me to finish strong. She was much needed encouragement. The rest of mile 25 was upon me and things really started to crumble. The nausea came back with a vengeance and I started to go to the side to throw up. Again, I didn’t throw up. I kept thinking “I’m less than a mile away from the finish line, I CAN do this.” I started to go very slow, almost a walk and then I saw the finish line. I was going to finish!
Despite the nausea, the soreness and the tiredness I felt at that moment, I was going to finish my first marathon! I started to get very emotional and could not hold back the tears for over an hour after my finish. I had accomplished a huge goal and I wanted to soak it in. After crossing the finish line I thought I was going to throw up, again! I tried to get out of the fray going on around me but it took me a while to wind my way through the photos and volunteers making sure I had water.
I finally found my mom through the crowd of people and wandered with her to a park bench. I think I was in shock that I actually finished a marathon. I was exhausted.
I’m so glad I started running four years ago and that I found the running group that I’m a part of! I would not be where I am today with my running without the group that I run with. God knew what he was doing when he orchestrated this part of my life. Through many early mornings, injuries, friendships made and a genuine running family, I have seen God prove faithful to me and my faith has grown deeper through this journey of running.
Thank you all for your encouragement! I am one blessed young lady!