Sunday, December 16, 2012

26.2 Miles? Check!

 Once upon a less than a year ago I ran my very first 5K.  I did it for health reasons, here's a little about that journey.   I had walked many a 5K, but I wanted to run one....one turned into....hey, I bet I could run a half.  I did.  Twice.  In March, I ran the Rock and Roll Dallas and I thought I died.  I didn't.  So, this September I ran the Plano Balloon Festival Half and I just kept going from there.    Somehow those halves turned into-if I can do a half, surely I could do a marathon.  The best thing I ever did was tell people I was going to attempt 'the' marathon or I would have quit 15 times over.  Daily.  The first half was just about what I could make myself do if I pushed myself, the full marathon was about how much more I could do with the support and prayer of friends and family.  I know everyone says this, I'm never doing this again, and at mile 8 I was having a good ol time, but by mile 20 I remember I said this-never again-and meant it-I will not be running any more full marathons.  The training takes an incredible amount of time.  I had blisters that could have passed as additional toes.  I was hungry.  All.  The.  Time.  I'm not sure my friends remember my name.  There is entirely too much alone time which equals entirely too much thinking time and I just shouldn't be left unsupervised for these length of times.  Plus, I'm pretty sure the body isn't supposed to run 26.2 miles.  The guy the marathon was named after, Phidippides, ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens, hence the name Marathon.  He was a herald sent to share the story of a Greek victory...and I'm pretty sure the story goes-he died after running that distance.  And now we do this on purpose?  It's just that 'thing' on my bucket list I've now done.  I'll still run halves as long as my body will hold out, but fulls....I'll show up with a sign for others from now on, so if this is my one and only, this is how that chapter ends.... 
So, my one (and only) marathon started on an unseasonably warm day.  It was 69 degrees at the start and pretty muggy, which is OK with me!  I know 'runners' like it to be cooler, and even the Kenyan's struggled up there at the front.   Gasp.  My whole goal was to run the whole thing, and finish before they closed the finish line.  True story.  Since it was my first race, as long as I finished, I would PR.  Win.  Win.  The only person I was racing for or against was myself. 
The Dallas marathon has been going on for over 40 years, but they changed the route this year so that we started downtown (the old Red Court House)...
 We ran to West Dallas and then back across the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. 
...back downtown through the design district...
 ....on to Highland Park where the half marathoners went back towards the finish.  It was hard to watch them leave, but I prepared for this....
 My friend Amber and her husband, Josh met me at mile 9 with a Gatorade and a power snack and words of encouragement.  My pal, Heather met me at 14 with a sign that has been my motto for this race.  I wrote about it here.  Her sign said Christy 14, Mountain 0.  I hearted it.  She gave me my dried fruit and cold frap drink.  It took me months to figure out what fuels would get me through.  I had a few gu, a few honey wafers, dried mangoes (for the sugar rush), a frap for the caffeine before and halfway through the race (energy drinks scare me)...and lots of Gatorade. 
 My pal, Melanie met me at mile 15 and she ran me to 18.  She has run a marathon before and she told me that the mental knowledge of having less than 10 left if she could just get me there would be a boost....and it was.....Gretchen  met me at 21 with oreos and ran me in....  At mile 11, I started taking a poll of every body part that hurt, and it included one of every body part, but talking through most of the last 8 really helped.  I never found that 'wall' because I took it slow, finishing was the goal.  I broke each part into chunks-make it across the bridge, make it to Highland Park, make it to White Rock, next up-Swiss Ave....friend here, text from friends there....step by step.  Enjoying it was a bonus.  I started getting a little emotional during a portion called the Dolly Parton Hills, insert your own meaning there, but they had written the reason some of the runners gave for running on the ground and my tear ducts started opening up, and I told myself to snap out of it and eat a dried mango.  Check.  And then....
Legs hurt.  Toe nails were questionable for a few days, there were a few moments I felt like passing out the night after, a few times I sat very close to the bathroom in fear of throwing up.  Getting up and sitting down required the 'old person' noise all week after the marathon (Dec 9th), but my phone is full of well wishes.  I have amazing gifts, cards and encouragement at home from awesome friends.  From bath salt and fuzzy socks, snacks, and magazines from Sarah and Fran to all sorts of fat filled goodies and faith filled cards (thank you, Nicole).   Friends that came to cheer me on, or run me through, and told me every step of the way they believed I could do it.   It was definitely a hug to let me know I can do it, but it's because my life is full of amazing friends who want me to reach whatever my goal is...the thing this gave me, other than sore muscles and a funny series of veins in my left legs that may forever be a little more 'present' than they should is the knowledge that I used to say I'd never be a runner, and now I can say I once ran a marathon.  It's fun to see what you can do if you just allow yourself to dream a little dream, run a little run and allow people to support you and pray for you if you are willing to share whatever the current goal/dream/crazy idea is in your life.  Next?  I'm not really sure....it won't involve running goals, but I'm sure it'll be something on the bucket list.....it just requires walking to my night stand where I keep that bucket list, and right now....I don't really want to walk anywhere.  ;o) 

2 comments:

Lori said...

Your a MARATHONER! Please put a 26.2 sticker on your car. Melissa kept me informed all day long about how you were doing! So proud of you.

Junky Jen said...

Love your story!! Awesome!! Congratulations!!