Last December (the 12th to be exact) I started the Thunder Road marathon with the intent to qualify for Boston. However, somewhere along that 26.2 mile journey, my dreams were torn into. As I got sick along the course and could not even break 4 hours. I pulled out a 4:05 and signed up to run Myrtle Beach. The weekend of the marathon came, February 13th, but snow was in the forecast. It snowed, and in great southern form, everything shut down.... Including the Myrtle Beach Marathon. Boston was not in the in my future at this point in time.
Fast forward to summer of 2010..... My daughter started cross country with her school.... her assistant coach was none other than Michelle Larson. Michelle made the fatal mistake of asking me to come run with her group. There I met the UCRRs!
The Bible talks about a friend sticking closer than a brother. This team surrounded me, trained me, and on occasion (Dee, Holly, and Michelle) even dressed me. =-) Without the support of this group, I don't think I could have even made it to the starting line. Michelle and I did every long run together. She pushed me when I wanted to give up. I saw a strength in her that made me become a better runner.
My Church also had a group representing the half marathon... this included my sister and husband. They stayed till the bitter end (after finishing the half) and supported me. Thanks guys!
As we lined up at the starting line, Michelle reminded me that I was hers until mile 21...then I could do whatever I want. Ed was one of the UCRR members we had roped into pacing us. The engines sounded then we were off. The first few miles were a blur and I noticed they were ticking off quickly. This course had always beasted me in the past, but this time, with my running friends running with me and screaming for us, it was almost easy.
Mile 9, Michelle and I are still having fun. My brother-in-law snapped this picture of us. We ran on.... I remember thinking, wow, this is easy! The half marathon people turned off.... this is normally when I am done, but not today. We hit mile 13.1 around 1:52... feeling good! Mile 14, 15, 16...I look at Michelle and say, "Only 10 more miles!"
Around mile 17, Ed asks how I am doing. I am surprised to say fine. Now I'm not going to lie, I am tired, but doing pretty good. Then mile 18...it starts getting hard...mile 19 I am starting to be over this.....mile 20! I am so happy to see mile 20 but now I know the marathon begins. This is make or break time! Hit mile 21 at 3:00 and we see Holly and Dee. Dee starts running with us but then I notice I am all alone. Michelle is yelling for me to go on. She had been feeling sick for a few miles...not that I could tell. She is a solid runner and I can never tell when she is hurting. But she stops. She tells me to keep Ed in sight. I am now on my own and start to have a pity party for myself. I have been running a long time, I deserve to walk and rest, I can't do this by myself. This lasted from mile 21 to mile 22... then the song "The Climb" came on. It starts out by saying:
I can almost see it,
that dream I'm dreaming.
But there's a voice inside my head that says,
you'll never reach it.
Every step I'm taking,
every move I make feels lost with no direction.
My faith is shake'n. But I, I gotta keep try'n.
Gotta keep my head held high.
Then it hit me.... I have no choice but to do this. Michelle has introduced me to too many people as a Boston Qualifier, My friends and family are at the finish line waiting to see me cross at 3:45, I have run too far to give up, and I really don't want to start this journey over. So I get real serious with God.... I ask Him to help me "man up" and run this in.... and he does. I pick up my fallen pace and start to run. It hurts...oh, it hurts...but I can see myself going across that line and reaching my goal.
I get to where mile 25 is supposed to be and there is NO marker. But I know this course. I put in what little kick I have left. I cross the bridge on Central and see the city. My favorite part! I turn on 7th and hear Jonathan's words of wisdom in running down hills. I turn onto McDowell and run....I see the turn up MLK! And I see my husband... he yells for me to run! I do! I see the clock, hear people yelling for me, but I cannot take the energy to look at anything but that clock counting up....up...up! I cross over the line at 3:45.48 clock time, 3:45.22 chip time.
I did it! I cannot even put the thoughts together...
Hey y'all look at me, I Boston qualified....right after I finished.
Me, Hubby, Bree (who I ran my 1st marathon with), and Leigh! - I'm the Evil Queen of this group! They loved seeing Michelle telling me what to do... =-)
My real sis! Me and Matt (my hubby) They both PRed today at the half!