Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WND Top Ten - Accomplishment

What Now?
Number 6 on my WND top ten post list of all time is my favorite post because it talks about the single biggest accomplishment I have ever achieved personally. It also marks a real turning point in my life and how I now go about every day and how I feel about myself. Someone said that if you can run a mile you can run a marathon...and I am living proof!

The Story Of My First Marathon

This story starts off with a beautiful day, perfect for running. I was excited, nervous and really ready to get this thing started. At 7am the gun goes off and away I go with 300 fellow nut jobs. I felt strong and determined..today was going to be my day. I made sure to stop at every drink station, I mixed in a little walking, but not as much as I did during training. Things were going great. After 10 miles I was at a sub 10-minute mile pace. WOW. I felt like I could back it up a bit and still make my time goal, sub five hours. Miles 11 to 15 went slower. The major hill was during this stretch, I walked a little more and at the turn around I grabbed some cookies and took an extended walk. I was still in great shape for my time goal, all I had to do was bring it home. It was just past mile 15 that it hit me…the hamstring cramp…OH SHIT! I had the same thing happen after my 10 miler a couple of weeks ago. This was no ordinary cramp…this felt like a sniper had shot me in the back of the leg. Damn….what now. I stopped, because I could not move forward anymore. I straightened out my leg, because to bend it would only increase the pain. There I stretched it and rested. After the same thing happened during training I was able to loosen it up enough to walk for about a half mile or so. I would not stop here. I started to walk, stopping every few feet to straighten and stretch. After a bit I was back in the race. Walking for a good while then able to start running again. I was off my pace, but still able to get under that 5 hour mark if there were no more delays. At the 20 mile mark I had another delay. The cramp was back, and worse. This was bad. 20 miles was the longest I had ever run during training, and my body seemed to be telling me it was not going any further than that. Again I stopped, straighten my leg and stretched. This time it was closer to 10 minuets before I could start walking again. It was about this time that B came riding up to me on her bike…my guardian angel. She herself ran the 1/2 marathon with her sister, my sister and a good friend from high school. She wanted to make sure I was doing OK, I told her I was not. She rode with me while I walked and tried to run more. After a few strides of running I could feel the hamstring tighten up. Stop, walk. Now the chance to get under 5 hours was out the window unless things changed dramatically with my leg. I drank more fluid. B got me some salt tablets. I stopped to stretch more. Mile 21 and 22 pass and no sign of my leg getting better. Time to switch to goal B…just finish. I told myself before the run I wanted to get under 5 hours, but if that was not going to happen then finishing would be good enough and there would be no disappointment. Well, at this point in the race I am disappointed, but only with my leg. My wind felt great, I was feeling strong mentally. There was nothing that would have slowed me down except my damn leg. This was something out of my control and I just had to suck it up and keep moving forward, even at fast walk pace. With about 3 miles left the rest of my support crew was there cheering me on. My kids, my parents, B’s family…wow. I was excited to see them all, but was not expecting the emotion I felt. I gave some high fives and kept going….not saying a word for fear of opening up the flood gates. Pretty soon I could see the finish, it was about a mile or so away, but I could see it. I was past the 5 hour mark by now, but it didn’t matter…the finish was in sight. With about a 1/4 of a mile left I started to run again….everyone has to cross the finish line running right? Wrong. My leg quickly reminded me that it had given up at mile 20, and that my mind was not going to make it do anything it didn’t want to. Stop, straighten and stretch. The finish line was a stones throw away and I was not moving another step until my leg was ready. That is when it hit me…emotion so strong that I could not hold it back. Tears started to flow. My family was cheering me on, urging me to cross that line, and I was a mess, both physically and emotionally. B was at the finish line waiting for me. My sister was next to me telling me I could do it. Finally, after what seemed like forever, I stood up and started walking No longer able to run. My body would not allow that. I walked across that finish line with my head up and a true feeling of accomplishment inside. I did it. I finished a marathon. Something only 10 months ago I would have never even considered. A volunteer handed me my medal, the announcer read off my name..I did it. I really did it. B was there with a big hug..god I love that woman. I can’t imagine what those last 6 miles would have been like without her there. My parents, sister, nephews, nieces, in-laws and friends were there with congratulations and you did it and way to go. Wow. I was able to compose myself enough to thank them all, and to soak up the moment. Until yesterday the longest running race I had ever done was 7 miles. Until just over a year ago the longest running workout I would even consider was no more than a mile or two, my legs hurt too much to do much more. Now I can say I am a marathon runner. Now I can say there is really nothing I can’t accomplish if I really set my mind to it. Now things are different and will never be the same. As I write this my legs hurt like they have never hurt before. I am looking forward to taking some time off from training and just resting. Then, after a little rest and a little reflection it’s time to choose my next goal….stay tuned!


1 comment:

  1. No wonder you love this post. Your sense of accomplishment and of family support comes shining through. You overcame some tough obstacles to complete this race. You had/have every reason to be proud of yourself.