This post is long. Sorry...
I feel like sometimes I forget why we are really putting ourselves through this. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the miles and muscle aches. But it’s not about that. At all.
4 months ago someone from my Mom’s Group suggested that we attend a Team In Training informational meeting. I had heard of Team In Training but didn’t really know what it was. Our intention was to sign up as relay teams for the White Rock Marathon. Run 6 miles at the most. I was terrified to even think about running 6 miles. And I really didn’t think I would commit to it. But I went to the meeting anyway.
Monique Yarbrough got up to talk. I will never forget her speech. She told us the story of her son Griffin. Griffin was 2 when he was diagnosed with cancer. Neuroblastoma. He was 6 when he lost his battle with cancer. But he battled. And his parents battled. And he battled some more. This story, Mo’s story, Griffin’s story, made me commit. But I didn’t commit to the relay team. No, I committed to the half marathon. All I could think about was Grant and Maggie. Would I be this brave? Could I do marathon after marathon? Could I get up in front of a crowd of people I didn’t know and talk about the child I lost? I don’t know. But Mo could. And for that, I signed up.
When I got home I had a bit of buyers remorse. Ohh what had I gotten myself into? I had to raise how much money? I absolutely can not do this. But then the training began. And I learned more and more about LLS. Adine, Mo, and so many others shared their stories of cancer and it’s effect on their lives. I had no more remorse. My coaches. My mentors. They were all so wonderful. I was in this and I was going to do it.
And I did.
I don’t really even know where to start. There is so much to tell. I think it took me 4 hours to pack for an overnight stay. Seriously. Shorts. Pants. Shirt. Sports Bra. Fuel Belt. Gel. Water Bottles. Ibuprofen. Socks. Shoes. Gloves. Headband. And that’s just for the race!!! What about everything else? And the kids stuff? And Jeff’s stuff? AGHHHHHHHH! I got it all together and we headed to the convention center to pick up my packet, then to the hotel. That made it real. There was no turning back. Not that I would.
My alarm went off at 5:00am race day. I felt surprisingly rested and calm. I had placed all my gear and clothes out the night before so dressing was not a problem. I had a cup of coffee. Still calm. Stretched. Still calm. Went downstairs to catch the shuttle to the start. Still calm.
It took us 40 minutes to get to the start at American Airlines Center from our hotel. I was not quite as calm as I was before. It was 0.8 miles away. Yes, it took 40 minutes. In a shuttle that had no air. Or only heat. Was the driver playing a cruel joke? Did he just not know how to get there? I am not sure but we made it either way. Now it is about 7:00am. Race time in 1 hour. Getting calmer.
7:45am. Time to line up. I was in Group D. That’s pretty far back. Group A is the Elite Runners and the relay teams. Since most of my TNT buddies were signed up for relay, they all got to be apart of the start. I was so far back, I didn’t even hear the gun go off at 8:00am. Oh well. Still calm. 10 minutes later Dad and I crossed the starting line and we were off! And I was still calm.
It was so crowded. So so so crowded. 20,000 runners. I guess I never really thought about how crowded it was going to be. It was a little unnerving. Still calm though.
I felt great but everything else was starting to bother me. My fuel belt was driving me nuts. Why? I wear that belt every run and it never bothers me. My iPod (which I didn’t even have turned on) was making me crazy clipped to my shirt. I don’t know. I guess I was just super sensitive. It was weird. But still calm.
BUT I felt great. There were a lot of hills in the beginning but I still felt great. Nothing could stop me. Except the water stations maybe. They were so crowded. You couldn’t get to the water without a fight. It was crazy. And annoying. And unnerving. Like I said, I just wasn’t prepared for the crowd. I’m used to seeing my dad run in these races and he is never stuck in the crowd. Why? Because he is in Group A not Group D. Group A is fast. The crowds can’t catch them. They fly through the water stations with no problems. I don’t know, I just wasn’t ready for the crowds. Not quite as calm.
I took some gel at mile 6. I was getting tired and needed a boost. Plus the hills were catching up with me. I also thought I was going to see Jeff, Mom, and the kids then. They didn’t make it in time. I knew they were probably just stuck in traffic but I really needed to see someone I knew. THEN I saw Aunt D. She didn’t even see me! I saw her and SCREAMED…AUNT D!!!! I gave her a quick high five as I ran by. Then around the corner, there she was again. Ohhh I needed that! I was good for another couple of miles for sure.
By this time, I was no longer fighting the crowds at the water stops. I would keep running and Dad would get us water. He could easily catch back up with me. Hmmmm. That’s a bit unnerving in itself. Mile 9.5. Not feeling too bad. Just a little tired. THEN I see Jeff, Mom, and the kids!!!!! YAY!!!!!!! Jeff started running next to me! Ohhhhh it made me so happy. How many miles are left? 4? Yea, I got this.
Mile 11 – What was I thinking? I don’t have this at all. The course had taken us onto Katy Trail. Those of you from the area know that Katy Trail is narrow. And the crowds!!!! Have I complained about the crowds too much? Whatever. It sucked. I was tired. And there were people everywhere. Footsteps everywhere. At this point, I was honestly thinking I would never put myself through this again. And why did I do it in the first place? I was miserable.
Dad was still with me and that is what made me continue. I couldn’t let him down. Or myself.
I saw the 12 mile marker ahead. 12 miles! Oh thank God. I can do this. I picked up my pace. Only 1.1 miles to go. I can do this. And is that American Airlines Center up ahead? Hallelujah! It is.
When I crossed that finish line, ohhhh I have never been so happy. I did it. In 2 hours 21 minutes and 35 seconds. I wanted to break 2:15 but oh well. Next time.
I finally found my way back to the Team In Training tent. It was harder than you would think. First, the finish on Katy Trail was horrible (I wish White Rock would go back to it’s old course). The actual finish line was so small. And the crowds of runners were huge. I bet I lost 20 or more seconds just for that (and that’s not counting what time I probably lost because of the crowds on the course). And the spectators were not allowed anywhere near the finish. What’s up with that? And they split the men and women off to get their medals and finishers shirt so I lost Dad for a while. But other than that, IT WAS AWESOME!
The Day After
Ohhhh the day after. I actually woke up feeling pretty good. I had 2 toes (one on each foot) that were throbbing and black but that was nothing I hadn’t experienced before. I will probably loose them but they will grow back…eventually. My muscles seemed fine. Just a little sore. Yay me!
I went to work. 2 hours late but I made it. Still felt good. After about an hour of sitting at the computer, I wasn’t feeling so good anymore. I pretty much just sat there. I couldn’t get up. Every move hurt. And the bathroom! Sitting on the toilet was not an easy task. It’s so far down. So I just stopped drinking anything.
At about 8:00pm I was done. I couldn’t move at all. I asked myself again…WHY? Why did you put yourself through this? Are you a crazy women? Yes. Yes I am. But Running is for Crazy People, isn’t it?