Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I ran 26.2!

6/3/09 - I ran 26.2!
I made it! What an amazing journey this has been! Thank you so much for all the support, donations and words of encouragement! I could not have done it without you!

San Diego was beautiful, it was overcast most of the time we were there and stayed at a fairly nice 60-70 degrees temperature, really ideal for running. On race day I got up at 4:00 am, got dressed, ate a bagel and rolled my legs on the foam roller. We took the Team in Training shuttle to the starting line and met up with thousands of other Team in Training runners, dropped off the gear bag and then waited. And waited, and waited.

As Ginny and I were waiting, we realized that neither of us brought a watch! This normally would not be a problem for the average runner but since I run intervals, meaning, I run 5 minutes and then walk 1 minute, this was a bit of an issue. I decided however, there are thousands of other TNT runners so we can either just piggy back off their times or we can just run until we want to stop and then walk. No biggie...

We get in our corral and wait for the start. And...we are off! Of course we are walking because we are so far back but whatever...we started. As we get closer the announcers tell us to cheer and put our hands in the air. "Wave! You are on camera!"

Around mile 2 I tossed my trash bag and throw away sweatshirt and could feel the sweat already starting to bubble up, I knew then it was going to be a long day. Miles 9 and 10 were rough, the road was angled really bad and lots of it was up hill. Mile 13.1 had all the TNT half marathoners off to the side, they were all laughing and cheering, it looked like such a great party...I so wanted to stop at that point! Ginny kindly reminded me we are not halfers so I kept going. The TNT people were great, coaches and cheer groups seemed to be all at the right places to help you get past the pain. Mile 22 Coach Colby walked with me, I think we must have walked almost the whole mile. He didn't care, all he wanted me to do was run or in my case, walk "my race." And that I did. As I walked up the hill I slowly forced my legs to manage what I will call running. About mile 23, some of the best moments started to be the sight of the next mile marker, they seemed to get farther and farther apart.

At this point my arches hurt, the tops of my feet hurt from my shoes, my knees hurt in all directions, I'm pretty sure my shins were plotting against me and my abs felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. I'm not sure how I managed to make it the last few miles...walked most of it, tried to run some but it felt like running was just as fast as some peoples walk.

I made it to about 25.5 at saw Coach Joe, my coach for the last 4 months. I almost cried. He walked with me to 26. As we were walking, he asked me how I felt. I said I hurt, all over. But as I thought about how I was feeling, it truly was nothing compared to those that have cancer. The pain I felt goes away, it heals itself and in a day or two I am back to my normal life. It was an overwhelming feeling to walk with Joe and realize what I was doing and who I was doing it for. The run was not just for me, it was for all those that couldn't run too.

As I reflect on the race weekend and the 4 months of training, I can honestly say I am glad I challenged myself to run a marathon and I am especially glad I ran my first one with Team in Training. What a great group of people! Thank you to Coach Joe, Mentor Susan and all the Team in Training staff, I could not have done it without you!

If you are thinking of challenging yourself or just wanting to give to a great cause, may I suggest Team in Training? The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society provides resources for vital research and patient services. Each donation helps accelerate finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. More than 823,000 Americans are battling these blood cancers.

On behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thank you all so much for your support!
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