So as the full marathoners started our jog across the lake I looked to Heaven and said out loud "okay, Mom you and I for the next 2 miles." I needed her memory and strength to get me across this bridge, the same bridge that she had dominated so many times, so many years ago during Danskin., (tears starting as typing). She was the one who gave Katie and I the ability to see what was possible for women, to push beyond our comfort zone and to find the possible in impossible. So as the wind blew at my face, hard on the bridge, I got to the end and turned around and headed for the tunnel with full confidence that she was watching.
I saw Mel (tall mom) on the bridge, and called out "You go Tall Mom!" She looked right at me and smiled and yelled! I loved it! Thanks Mel for the boost. Got into the tunnel and realized how loud the music was. I couldn't hear my own earphones over the booming music. But as I got closer I realized it was a DJ, not a band, which was a nice change. He was smiling and going crazy! It made me smile, too.
I took a water at the end of the bride and looked up. What did I see but the 13 mile sign. We were half way, and although my stomach was still giving me problems I felt as though my stride was strong. I checked my watch and realized I had run a really slow half, at 2 hours 10 minutes. I haven't run that slow in over a year, but I tried not to let it bug me. I was in this for the long haul, plus I wouldn't have given up for the world stopping to see my support crew and giving all of the American Flag guys a high five. No way, jose, I was going to get the full experience.
As we came off I-90 I knew I would see AA and the crew soon. I kept my eyes alert and sure enough that crimson stuck out in Seattle, as it always does. I veered right to take a GU and water, recharge time! I saw Nathan and Jerry as well, my in-laws! They had come from Mt. Vernon, made signs and everything. I thought to myself, where is Linda Lou (my mother in law)? But sure enough after GU I heard someone yelling my name and there was Linda to greet me for a sweaty sweaty hug. How sweet to have people who love you, rooting you on.
The marathoners and halfers split again, and I knew that the few of us that had decided to do the whole thing were on our own now. I remembered someone once said, you might be alone but you are not by yourself. I prayed again, like I had so many times that day, to keep me strong, to give me His strength and power. You I said out loud, "let's go to work". After another tunnel I knew what was coming. The same road AA and I take to church every Sunday, that we really didn't notice was so uphill, was uphill and waiting for us. It was the first time when I decided I needed to give my stomach and back a break. I walked just for a little but and then ran again. I continued with that for the rest of the way, walking just short little bit, and running far. I thought that I might have taken too much water so I skipped a couple of water stations, to see if that would make me feel better, but it didn't. I realize now I could have run more, but I was so scared I wasn't going to cross the finish strong (Next post..what I learned!).
Finally the top of the hill came and the bridge was upon us, and what did I see at the bottom but crimson jackets! YAY! There they were, as the four of them have always been, there. I needed them, but I didn't know what I needed other then just to see them. As I turned the corner and heard their cheers I looked straight at all four of them as said "this is a really long way." I must have looked horrible because I came to find out that that made Katie cry. Oh she was worried about me! Love her! AA ran with me for a 100 yards or so giving me words of encouragement and all I could say back was..."don't worry about missing me at the finish, I am going so slow, there is no way!" I was sad I couldn't go faster but there was nothing I could do. I was angry to because my legs felt strong, it was just my middle that was killing.
Back up the hill, back down the hill, which by the way doesn't feel good when you are 19 miles in. Back through the tunnel and on top of 99. I could see Qwest, but knew we had to go past quest 1.5 miles and back. When we got to mile 23 you could hear the finish and see the people sprinting the last 100 yards. It hurt, knowing (tears) that I was so close, but so much more work to do. There was a pack of about 6 of us that kept trading for the lead. One would slow and one of us our speed up, ect. This happened all the way until mile 25.5. When I made the turn I knew it was the home stretch, 1.5 miles left, that was it. I saw Jill on the way back and started to cry. I wanted a friend and she was the only one I "knew" out there. I pointed to Qwest for both of us to know we were almost part of the marathon club. For a mile I ran behind a guy with a shirt that read "Phil 4:13" WOW! Thank you Jesus! You are good!
As I got to mile 25.5 and started to make the turn down the on ramp I wanted to sprint and I started to, but oh no. My back screamed at me to stop, so I slowed and smiled at the couple next to me. We all knew were were almost there.
The minute we came off the on ramp there were a bazillion people. I made sure I kept my eyes open to look for crimson. I ran faster, the Lord granting me strength for the last .2 miles. I turned the corner and saw the finish. There it was, the one dumb line I had been chasing for 5 months. One line, that for a lot of my life I never thought I would reach. Something that was impossible, the Lord gave me the ability to make possible. I heard extra screaming and looked to the right, and there they were. The people who had also helped me make this possible, inspired me and told me from the very beginning I could do it. I looked at them and wanted to cry, and I think I was, just no tears were coming. Weird, huh?
I kept running, with my eye on the prize. As I approached the line I raised my arms and stepped across the finish line. (tears now...). I thanked the Lord, clicked my watch and smiled. There it was, finished. I couldn't believe it. I think it has taken me until today or so to actually make it a real thing in my brain.
I bent over, because I was so sick of standing up. I don't think the medical people at the finish liked to see the Jolly Green Giant bend in a half, as they rushed over and asked if I was okay. I was better then okay, but I didn't have the energy to say it so I just smiled and nodded. I made my way through the food, only grabbing oranges to stuff my face with. I saw my aunt Patty and Grandma who had come over on the ferry to see me. They are great!
I thought once I saw AA and everyone I would bawl, but I didn't. I just smiled and laughed and chatted it up. I was energetic, almost giddy. It was so weird for me and everyone else, them asking a lot "are you sure your okay?"
I was more then okay! I had just finished a marathon! Something that 99.7% of people think is impossible and don't try. I was in shock. And happy. And knew this would not be my last. This marathon cemented, that the Lord willing, was going to be a lifelong adventure. Marathon running...who knew!? :)
Here I come off the on ramp...finish here I come!
In the chutes!
There I am...finishing my first marathon!!
Tomorrow....post marathon thoughts and lessons learned!