Fox Valley Marathon
I will start this post with the fact that I have the most amazing family. Well. Ever.
My folks drove all the way from Minnesota to see my race, as well as my sister driving over an hour this morning just to spectate me running. My oldest daughter’s birthday is TODAY, but she gave me the blessing to sign up, in turn I said it was totally ok for her to sleep in this morning and miss the race. LOL.
I spent last night chatting with my husband and folks while getting my gear ready. They understood that I needed to get to bed early, so after several hugs and kisses, I turned in by 10 pm last night, with a wake up of 5 am set.
My alarm went off, and I had my ‘assembly line’ set from the night before. Pee…Vaseline toes, put on sox, biofreeze knee, put on calf sleeves and knee brace, dress, and wash face and brush teeth. It’s almost like clockwork now it seems…I donned my visor and glasses, and grabbed my bag and set it by the door. I had just enough time to drink 2 bottles of water, eat my granola bar and peanut butter just before Janel arrived.
We piled into Katy’s SUV, and hit the road to Dick Pond to park and use the facilities. We got to the gear check with 20 minutes to spare, and saw my dear friend Andrea. Hugs, near tears, and laughter ensued. What an awesome morning with near perfect weather.
We decided before the start, that we would each run our own race, while trying to stay together as long as we could. The first few miles, Melissa, Janel, Amy, Carina, and Katy stuck together. We started to spread out, but we knew this would happen eventually and were all ok with that fact.
I saw my family at several stops…and my sister was at the Fabyan Forest preserve which just totally made my morning, as I nearly clocked her in the face with high fives and hugs. It seemed as soon as I needed them, there they were…and I got teary each time I saw them.
By mile 7 there was quite a spread between us, but I was still able to see everyone, and Janel was still with me. We stopped to pee around the 9 mile mark, and again around the 12 mile mark to fuel. And then, well, magic happened.
The elite runners were headed back, so we were forced to run nearly single file. I found myself alone, yet knowing my friends were near. They were in my heart, every single one of them, and I took the greatest advice of all, and ran with my heart.
I started running a bit faster…not a ton, but was holding steady at a pace I knew I couldn’t ‘talk’ at…and it was just me, the trail, and my music. For the first time in so very long I felt at one with the trail, the run, the race.
High fives to many of my fellow runners along the turn back, each with a high five in which I found myself being stronger, faster, more at ease. I settled in to a 9:30-10:00 pace, and I found myself just running.
Not looking at my Garmin, not messing with my crap….just running.
I was smart, and fueled at each water station, having beans every 4 or so miles.
I ran ¾ of this RACE solo. I raced…ran, and found myself flying more miles than I can count. I caveat this with the fact I have been spoiled in my training and previous long distance races to have my friends and sister running with me.
Yet here I was…with over half a marathon to run, and I was solo running, and was able to run the strongest run of my life.
I may have been running solo…yet an Angel drove up beside me on her bike around mile 23…telling I looked strong. This was NO Chicago Marathon dammit. I was not shuffling, stumbling, or crying tears of pain.
I hurt. Yes…the balls of my feet felt as if they were on fire. My right IT band was literally screaming at me to stop.
I said NO WAY. I only had 3 miles to go.
I wasn’t stopping now. So I did what I could…I ran with my heart. And I finished with my youngest daughter in tow, and my heart and eyes filled with joy and tears.
I sobbed at the finish line.
Tears of joy, happiness, and partial pain/release.
I took my sub 5 hour goal, and smashed it to pieces.
So now, as I listen to my favorite music coupled with a nice glass of wine, I am beyond words.
My eyes are full of tears, because just three weeks ago I had doubts I would finish.
I am a broken runner.
I said it…but I am a woman that has learned that the only limitations in my life are the ones I give myself.
I will not falter…and no, I will not fail.
Mile times are as follows:
10:24, 954, 10:06, 10:05, 10:03, 10:52, 10:01, 10:15, 10:51, 10:17, 9:48, 11:07 (pee), 9:45, 9:28, 9:43, 9:23, 9:30, 9:53, 9:51, 10:13, 9:32, 10:29, 10:18, 10:31, 9:37 respectively.