I Did It! I Finished!
Don’t ask me if I will do it again, at least not today, maybe in a couple of months J I am not going to lie my legs hurt after the race, they were like lead weights.
The first half was really awesome. There were over 12,000 participants in Lincoln for the race on Sunday. A sea of runners, ready for the challenge of the day. The energy was truly amazing. The community of Lincoln really comes out to support the race so there were plenty of cheering crowds along the way, it’s like a big old-school parade, with people lining the streets in lawn chairs, passing out jelly beans, orange slices and Kleenex to runners passing by, just taking in the activities of the day. I was running at my usual pace for the first 13 with solid 10 minute miles and I felt really good.
Then came the second half…….which was a totally different experience. I have heard from other experienced marathoners that the second half of the marathon in Lincoln goes to No-Man’s- Land…………..and they were not kidding! No cheering crowds, the 12,000+ runners had dwindled to less than 1500 marathoners, and the parade atmosphere gave way empty stretches between the water stations every 2 miles and the occasional group of supporters which were mostly family/ friends of the marathoners that remained. My knee started to flare up in the second half and it became difficult to keep going. I did the occasional walk, but found that it was more difficult to start running again after walking thus it was almost better to just keep going, so I did. My pace was less than stellar in the second half which I somewhat expected due to my less than optimal training, but it was worse than I imagined (avg. 12:53). I may have to do this again just to improve my time!
My cousin and I had passed e-mails the day prior and I just kept thinking about what Mark had said in his note;
“What you're doing tomorrow is extraordinary and something that few people will ever do in their lifetime. When you get to mile 20 and beyond tomorrow it will be similar to what I experienced, in that it's uncharted territory. It's at this point which you rely on others for strength to get you through the most difficult times.”
I can’t tell you how much those words stuck with me in the final stretch.
My husband was there waiting for me at mile 16, 18, 22, and 24. I was looking for him, he was my anchor and I really needed him. I thought about all of your words of encouragement, your excitement for me and my commitment to all of you. All I could think was I can do this, this is difficult, but I know how far I have to go, I know that at mile 22, that I have 4.2 miles left, that’s just a daily jog around the lake, I can do that.
It occurred to me at this moment, that I knew the outcome of my race, I knew that I could make it to the finish line because I knew where the finish line was. What would it be like to not know where your finish line is, to not know how far you have to go to get to the finish of your race, whatever you race may be. Mark didn’t know when he was going through his treatment if it was going to work, he didn’t know the outcome of the race, but he kept going, he relied on others to get him through his race, he had faith and he did it. So hats off to all those who have fought a battle and won, to all of the finishers, the winners of “their” race, whatever their race may be.
What I learned from this experience is that the human spirit is very important in all that we do. Running a marathon is not only a physical journey, but more importantly a journey of mental fortitude, a test of the human spirit.
Thank you again for all of your well wishes, your generosity and support. Could not have done this without you!