Friday, October 23, 2009

Marathon!

Wow, it's been forever since I posted on here! Since my last post John and I had a lovely trip to San Diego complete with an encouraging three days at the Huddle, lots and lots and lots of Yogurt World - sorry M&M - it's my fav, and tons of fabulous fun with all of our good friends in San Diego. And, I have to add, we had the best rolled tacos EVER, at the Roberto's near Torry Pines. Yum! Seriously, my mouth is watering as I type this!
Now, you might be asking what all that has to do with a marathon. The Friday we left for San Diego, John and I woke up early to squeeze in our long run before our flight out. For those of you who don't know, John jumped in to join me during marathon training week #12, Sept. 4th, just 1 month and 2 weeks prior to the race. This was an 18 mile run.

The training schedule was a bit jumbled because we were scheduled to do a triathlon Sept. 12th. We ran our 18 miles on the 4th and did our triathlon on the 12th. Due to horrible weather though, it became a duathlon about 5 min prior to the start. So instead of swimming 1/2 mile we ran 2 miles, biked 23 and ran 4. It was FREEZING!

So, back to my main story. On Friday the 18th, we ran to church. Yep, that's what I said. To CHURCH! 18.7 miles by car, 21.2 by 470 bike path. It was insane! My GPS watch and mapmyrun on my phone weren't working so I kind of lost my motivation because I couldn't tell how fast or slow I was going or how much further I had to go. I'm guessing at about mile 19 I completely lost it. Now, for those who've never done crazy long runs, you might not get this but there is something intensely emotional with long runs. When I say I lost it, I mean I was sobbing, literally, on the side of the trail. Since John was ahead of me and probably already at the church, I called my mom. She prayed for me and calmed me down enough to realize I could make it to church. I ran the rest of the way there! I also decided, this marathon thing wasn't for me. I was done. Plus, that solved my training problem for while we were in San Diego! My time was 4:50 for 21 miles and I knew that meant I most likely wouldn't be able to make it to the finish in the 6 hours they allowed. We came home, ate lunch with the kiddos, shipped them off to Danny & Terah's, showered, packed and head out for DIA. John, my mom and others encouraged me that I could run the marathon so we ran a little bit in San Diego but not much. I still wasn't convinced. John wasn't even fully decided yet if he was going to run it. We decided to wait until Oct. 13th, the last possible date online, to avoid losing our money in the case of a blizzard or something crazy! See, we learned from our triathlon experience!
Three weeks before the marathon we had one more long run. I thought we'd shoot for 18 again to give me a good idea of whether or not I could really do this. I bonked, hard! The night before I had forgotten to have carbs! So, I called Jess to come get me at about mile 13, John was at about 14 and also felt zapped. Well, that didn't help with encouragement!
We waited for the 13th to arrive and inspected the forecast one more time. Almost to my disappointment, the weather looked nice and we signed up to run the Denver Marathon! Oh my! I immediately got butterflies in my stomach and I don't think they left 'till after the first 2 miles of the race! John had been having knee pain so he was a little nervous but as is typical for our marriage, I was doing most of the worrying! I had the verses of running the race with endurance, Heb 12:1, and doing all things through His strength, Phil 4:13, in the forefront of my mind, from the moment I signed up until I crossed that finish line!
Our brother-in-law, Kenny from Colorado Springs, had also decided to run this marathon with us. He drove up Sat. and we all went to pick up our packets and drive the course. I don't know if that helped or not! I think it took us about an hour just to drive it! We stopped at Wahoo's for some carbs, I mean fish tacos, and headed home. You can ask Kenny, I was really nervous now!
The following morning we were all up by 4:45am to eat breakfast, we had oatmeal - yuck!, and head out! We found a great parking spot not far from the start/finish.

It was a little chilly but not too bad. We waited as long as we could to drop of our gear bags because that meant time to strip off the warm clothes. I decided to keep my jacket with me and hand it off to my mom and the kiddo's once we saw them. We tried to use the bathroom one more time but the line had to have at least 100 people waiting. Kenny and I lined up, behind the pace groups we wanted to be with because it was just too packed, and waited for the start. John went to find another bathroom and joined us just before the start.

We were so far back we didn't even hear the gunshot, I think that's how they signaled the start at least. We could just tell by the tide of people finally moving forward. It took about 5 min. to cross the start and be able to start running. John and Kenny shot off and I just tried to keep my steady pace. I had recalibrated my watch to be a little short so I would always know I was running faster than it said. I tried to start the mapmyrun app on my phone but it wasn't working. "oh well", I thought. It's just you and me God!
The start of the race was great! No leg pain like I'd had on past cold mornings and everything seemed wonderful! About mile 6 I could feel some blisters forming but they weren't bad enough that I couldn't keep going. About mile 8 John and Kenny both started feeling some knee pain but both kept on runnin'. About mile 10-11 the 1/2 marathoners break off from the full marathoners, John and I were both tempted when we passed by to switch to the 1/2. It seemed so far in May but compared... You know how it is, all things in perspective... So, we kept going. There were a couple parts where the course would double back so about mile 15 for John and 13 for me we passed each other. We stopped for a quick, "this is awful" and kiss and were off again. The kids must have just missed John because at mile 15 I finally saw mom, David and the kids! I handed off my jacket and loaded up on band aids. I had called mom and asked her to bring some.

When I finally came across a bathroom with no line, I stopped. I stretched and then inspected my blisters. They hurt but I could still run. I applied the band aids and kept on going.
Here's a pic of the blisters on the drive home from the race.

We learned later that it was a tied record that day for heat. And boy could I feel it! Kenny finished at 4:17

and John at 5:07.

At mile 19 I was thinking it'd be nice to call someone to come pick me up, this hurt! But, I knew if I did that I'd have to retrain and do this again so I could finish someday. I decided pushing through and just getting it over with was better. Just after mile 23 my greatest fear for the race came to pass. The "end of the line" patrol cars caught up with me and a group of about 15 others and told us over the loud speaker that it was time to move to the sidewalk, the course was closed. I was bummed for about 30 sec and then I thought, "who cares!" I knew I couldn't cross the finish or get the medal but I could at least finish the distance! And, I knew at this point that John had finished and I was pretty sure he'd "share" his medal with me. It's not like we are going to frame it on the wall or anything!
I really felt the Lord's comfort and His gentle reminder that He loved me regardless. I also realized how cool it was that He requires us to finish the race but without a 6 hour time limit! Yea God! I ran/walked the next mile and a woman named Mariah who was pacing another woman ahead of us caught up to me. She encouraged me to run with her until we caught the group ahead of us. It felt like forever but we finally caught them and then walked some more. I was hurting so bad I thought I'd just walk to the finish area. At mile 25 a guy caught up to me and pointed out that they let you cross the finish up until 7 hours after the start! I was bummed to be getting this info 2 miles later but excited that I could cross the finish, AND get my own medal!
I ran most of the way to the finish! I caught a guy and went the wrong way for a tenth or two but then we realized we were going the wrong way. Mom, Beth and the kids caught me about .2 from the finish. They ran with me aside from the one spot where all of us but mom stopped and she almost got hit by a bus, that wouldn't have been good! All the kids but Leah ran with me over the finish line.

Even with a sprint to the end, thanks to Jessi's challenge, er encouragement! I finished at 6:17. Whew! I actually held it together this time, no crying! Well, until I could see that John was "tearing up", then I might have conjured up a sympathy tear or two!



It was a great feeling to finish and accomplish a goal that we set out to do but I can't help but notice the difference in completing a personal goal and completing something for His kingdom. The difference is, well, eternity!
Neither of us feels compelled to better our time and try this marathon thing again, at least not for now. As for shorter races, maybe even another 1/2 marathon, we are both open to it. We will keep you posted!