After dinner Saturday night, my nerves really reached a climax when I realized that the bad weather wasn't going to pass; the clouds were not going to part and the birds were not going to sing. Dallas was experiencing an unseasonable cold snap (~43 degrees), and there was an 80-90% chance of ran all day Sunday. Ponchos and warm clothes were not just an option but a necessity.
I'll have to do another post on the unbelievable bad luck that comes with being a Still. It's remarkable, really.
Anyways, Sunday morning, bright and early, I donned my bottom layer.
|This was my first time wearing these last-minute-purchase arm warmers. Everything else about this ensem is what I've been training in for months and months.|
|Excited, nervous, both of knowing this was not the way our first marathons were supposed to start.|
|Being at the back leaves a lot of time to take pictures and do some last minute |
|That yellow sign 30 minutes down the way was our starting point.|
|We discovered wearing our hats over the poncho hood would keep us a little drier...|
|...and add a little panache to our overall ensembles.|
It was really cold. There was wind. And the rain wasn't gentle or indecisive. After all my training, even just getting to five miles felt a lot harder than it should. I paced to conserve energy, but my body was working so hard just to keep me warm that my energy plummeted what seemed like way too early.
Still, I kept reminding myself that this was my first, and that if nothing else, I wanted to enjoy it and soak it all in. We fell in with the 5-hour-finisher group, and I stuck with them until mile 18.
|I told myself that the balloons on that 5-hour-finisher sign meant we were at a party, we were having fun. I CHOSE to do this (even if I didn't choose the climate).|
At mile 18, I had to start taking walk breaks. My spirit was broken and my knees, ankles, toes and balls of my feet hurt so bad. My arm was spasming - something that definitely never happened in training. I called my parents and told them to meet me at mile 20. This gave me a surge of energy that actually backfired because I made it to mile 20 before my parents could get there.
Mile 21, still no parents. I wanted to quit.
Mile 22, still nothing. I really, really just wanted to stop and hold a hot cup of something.
I don't know what compelled spectators to come out in weather like what we were experiencing, but every single time someone yelled, "Way to go, Amy!" or "Looking great, Amy!" or anything of that sort, my eyes welled up. It made me want to start going to races to cheer others on. It was huge.
Coming up on 23, I made out what looked to be the shape of my parents. I lifted a soaking, sleeved hand and waved, and my dad waved back. I started crying and used the remainder of my running energy to shuffle over to them. I cried harder. More than anything, I was just so cold. So, so cold and drenched. Those sleeves were so wet that they were making me colder by the minute. My parents were both talking at once and hugging me and I was totally disoriented. Finally my dad ripped off my water-logged running hat and pulled his huge, warm, dry hat all the way over my head. I could barely see, but I held up three frozen fingers: three more miles. They rotated me in the direction I needed to go, and off I went.
I straight-up speed walked those last three miles. My entire lower body hurt so bad that I tried to walk 10 steps, run 20, but even that didn't work. I knew I wanted to cross the finish line running anyway I could, so I power-walked and just prayed for it to be over.
After what seemed like an eternity, I passed the 26 mile marker. I mustered the last of my energy, fueled by what little pride I had left, and I trotted towards the finish line, keeping my eyes peeled for my parents. Right before the end, I heard my dad yell "Amy! Amy!" I looked over, beamed and pointed at him. I crossed, let a cute boy wrap me in a blanket and made my way to my parents.
I was so weary, delirious, cold and emotional that I walked away without my medal. Damn. But I still don't really even care. The medal is nothing compared to this feeling in my head and heart (plus I'm going to have the medal shipped to me, haha).
|2011 Dallas White Rock Marathon-from-Hell Finisher!!|
|So much pain but so much satisfaction. :)|
|The big warm hat was my saving grace. I'm pretty sure I would have died if I hadn't seen my parents at mile 23.|
|My heroes! They saved me!|
My cheerleading squad was really glad the whole thing was over. It was apparently a very exhausting responsibility.
|Cheerleading. Not for the faint of heart.|