i can only remember one thing about this portion of the race. somewhere after mile 14 i got just warm enough to toss my $3 sweatshirt (all abandoned clothing along the course was gathered and donated to the homeless). it ONLY took me 14 miles to get slightly warm enough to lose one layer. it was still probably in the low 30’s.
these were, by far, the worst 3 miles of the race. shortly into mile 17, my ankle started hurting. bad. really bad. i stopped, took a few steps, stopped, stretched it, rubbed it, and started running again. none of that helped. it still hurt. tears filled my eyes.
-no. no. no. this can’t happen. this CAN’T be happen!
for a few minutes i really thought i was going to have to quit. it hurt so bad.
-just keep going. no regrets. oh brother. how corny. whatever. no regrets!!
i have no idea how, but i managed to keep running for the next two miles. i was definitely fighting tears and praying the whole time. finally, at mile 18, i got to a first aid station.
-do you have ibuprofen?!
-yes, but you have to fill out a form first.
-what? really? ok. i don’t think i can write though. my hands are too cold.
-i’ll fill it out for you.
i took the ibuprofen and i ran another mile. i tried my darnedest to ignore the pain. finally, at the end of mile 19, i felt some relief. the pain never fully went away, but it lessened enough for me to endure it and keep moving!
right after mile 20, i got really excited. 6.2 miles left…a 10K.
-you can totally do a 10K! you’ve run that distance a hundred times!
i was telling myself these things obviously trying to ignore the fact that i had just run 20 miles and that my ankle hurt and that i was getting pretty exhausted.
i saw my friend/co-worker, jazmine, right after mile 20. she cheered for me and gave me a high five! it was really encouraging to see her! miles 21 and 22 were through the pretty area again so that was nice.
upon completing mile 22, i got really nervous.
the most i ran in my training was 22.2 miles. any distance beyond that my body had never experienced.
-will my feet be able to carry me?
-will my legs be strong enough to keep going?
-can my back continue to hold me upright?
-can my body handle this? how’s my heart? how are my lungs? how are my organs? am i drinking enough water? am i consuming enough calories?
-am i mentally capable of doing this?
i was pushing myself farther than i ever have in my life…literally pushing myself to the limit; to the extreme. it was scary and exhilarating.
when i finished mile 24 and realized i only had 2.2 miles left, it finally dawned on me that i was RUNNING A MARATHON!
up until that point, i had tried not to think about it or get my hopes up too much due to my fear of failure.
but finally, somewhere during mile 25, i let go of that fear and accepted that i WAS, in fact, going to finish. so, with the worry, fear, and doubt gone, i felt less burdened. i felt confident and relaxed. i felt happy. i felt proud.
-oh my gosh, 1 mile left!
the last mile was a blur! my thoughts were:
–i’m SO close to being done!
-i just need to keep moving!
-i’m so excited!
i was even able to go a little faster!
-I’M DOING IT!!!
i saw casey, matt, and laura right after i finished mile 26. they were screaming and yelling just for me and i felt so special to have some of my favorite people there supporting me! it was EXACTLY what i needed to finish the last 0.2!
i rounded the last turn…
-there it is! right in front of me! the FINISH line!!!
and before i knew it, i was done and had my finisher medal around my neck!
crossing the finish line, i felt two predominate emotions: an incredible sense of relief and an amazing sense of accomplishment!
-whoa. i just ran a marathon.