I AM A MARATHONER.
I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to say that I ran a marathon. I am part of 1% of the population. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything. Crazy! Here’s the best I can do with a recap.
For those of you who don’t know, I ran the MCM with the MDA’s Team Momentum. My team, Harry’s Heroes, is named after my son Harry who has Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy. We have since become our own entity, recently being awarded 501c3 tax exemption! My team and I have been training for months for the MCM, and all the while raising money for the MDA. Our total was right around $14,000 for the year! We have been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time.
The entire weekend went by in a blur. We came in on Saturday and went directly to the expo. This year it was held in the convention center. Parking was atrocious, and we had to trek to the convention center with Harry in his stroller. They originally wouldn’t let us down to the floor with the stroller, but I told each person who stopped us that he was a disabled child and they let us through. Some woman on the floor lamented about us being let down with our stroller, and I almost said it to her too. Getting my bib and shirt was easy and painless, but shopping and checking out anywhere else was pretty rough. The aisles were too narrow, and the whole place was too crowded. We did a few things then high-tailed it out of there.
Our hotel was in Crystal City – the Westin. It was gorgeous, the staff was wonderful, and the beds were insanely comfortable. It was easy to get on the Metro and close to many restaurants. I would highly recommend it. Down the road was the Hyatt, the official hotel for the MDA where they held our dinner on Saturday night. We didn’t have much time to relax before the dinner, and some of our friends didn’t even make it to dinner because of traffic and the general chaos of the day. We made it, albeit a little late, but about half of our team was there. It appeared that many people didn’t make it as well. We spent the evening listening to people speak (myself included) and move us to tears, motivate us, and inspire us. There were families, runners, those with muscular dystrophy, and MDA people there. We ate, we freaked out a bit, we hugged and took a few pictures, and then left. Everyone was nervous and tense about Sunday, and needed some sleep! Later on in the week I’ll tell you more about the dinner.
I ended up in bed somewhere between 10 and 11, and slept really well that night. In the morning, we hopped on the metro and headed to our tent. Some of our members got lost, but ultimately we all made it to the start line. We were a little late as security was held up, so we missed some of the incredible opening parts. I did get to see the parachuters, and the flyover of these hybrid plane/helicopter things rattled in my chest. So cool.
So, the race. It was a tough one, I struggled from the beginning. Some runs are good and others aren’t, for no good reason. This was just not my day. Some how I managed to stay around 11 min/mile for most of the race, but it was tough. Miles 1-4 are HILLY. I mean, it’s no joke. By mile 5 I was tired. In retrospect maybe I should have slowed down for the hills, but I felt okay maintaining my pace – until I was done with the hills. At mile 7 I saw a team mate struggling and tried to help as much as I could. At 8 I saw a friend from grammar school – that was so cool! At 10 I could have poked my eyes out with a rusty spoon, and thankfully I saw a team mate who wasn’t running but cheering, Adam. His wife Alison became a good friend and was running. He also saved me at mile 6 and mile 16, where I promptly broke down crying and he walked me a bit and gave me some encouragement.
THE WALL. Mile 18 it punched me in the face. I was feeling lightheaded, having palpitations, and mentally I was defeated. I sat down on a curb and a woman came over and told me to keep on fighting, so I ran another 1/4 of a mile then laid down in the dirt, propped my feet up on a bench, and bawled my eyes out. I called my husband, who was worried but encouraged me to do it. A cop came over and offered me TP for my tears. To this moment I don’t know how I got back up, but somehow I did. I pushed through, and it changed me. I met up with more folks from our team later – our coach Cherie, Alison and Adam again, and more. It kept me going. I beat the bridge with plenty or time to spare, and met my husband and Harry at mile 2 for some love and a fresh pair of shoes. I was reborn.
Mile 23 to the finish went by slowly and I had to walk here and there, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t absolutely sprint up that last hill. That one is a KILLER, but you can’t walk up it. Everything hurts either way, so why not run? I finished with a clock time of 5:50, an hour slower than I wanted but I finished. My watch says 5:34 but who cares. I have a medal and a mission accomplished and sore muscles and pride and love and all these things.
After the race I hobbled back to the tent (FYI marathon runners, there is a lot of walking to and from the start and finish, be prepared!) and hung out with my new friends. It was hard to really talk to anyone before the race, as I mentioned, or after because we were all deliriously tired. I wish I had taken more pictures. I wish I had talked to more people. I wish I had a better race day. Either way, I frickin did it. I am still riding the high, and still waddling might I add. I will talk about this forever, and I’ll blog more later. Now, I sleep!