This weeks blog brings me great pride. On Sunday I completed my first marathon in San Antonio, Texas. The day was a perfect day for running, the temperature was about 55 degrees and cloudy. There was an anxious crowd on hand of approximately 30,000 runners. With this many runners they start you in stables of 1,000 runners. My stable was 24, each stable starts approximately 2 minutes apart. That meant it took me roughly 45 minutes to make it to the starting line, which meant my anticipation continually built. Finally the moment came and it was my opportunity to start. I took off like I was shot out of a cannon which was probably not the best way to begin a 26 mile journey but I couldn't be contained. People had told me the key is to run the first two miles the slowest and get into the race, but in my excitement I completely ignored all advice and forged ahead. The race took me all over San Antonio, I briefly saw the Alamo, I saw several historic Spanish missions but I was focused in on the destination so many of the sites were missed.
Everyone hears stories about people hitting the wall in marathons this is definitely true. About 17 miles in I was mentally prepared for GU packets which are basically pure energy packets and didn't receive them at that mile mark, the course took me on a long one mile uphill which beat me up mentally and physically. The key is to remain strong in your belief, I did walk for about half a mile in this stretch before giving myself a tongue lashing and forging on. At mile 23 I began cramping up a bit which was a new experience for me, I had been taking an average of two waters and two cytomax (gatorade substance) at every station after 8 miles into the race, but it apparently wasn't enough. So at the last three stations I took on three of each which carried me through.
Mile 25 finally rolled through and I knew I was almost done, the last mile was lined with tons of people cheering you on which was very important to helping complete the course. At mile 26 the course took a turn at the Alamodome and went straight up a giant hill. My friend Jen who had run the half earlier came back to the end to watch me finish. This is when the greatest and funniest part of my marathon experience began. Jen saw me turning for home and getting ready to climb this final mountain. She jumped the fence, ran toward me and started yelling at me to get up that hill, not to quit on the race at that point. She yelled "you make this hill turn for home and have 100 yard left, smile damn it!! This is your marathon this is your finish" I had my own Jillian Michaels on the course motivating me to drag my tired woosy legs across the finish line. There it was, it was over just like that. I was so excited and so overcome with emotion that I didn't want to take my finisher medal. I told Jen that is not my medal, mine is Red like my race bib. She just laughed and said "No that is your medal, as she forced me to take it and look at it. After taking some water I realized she was correct and it clearly said Marathon Finisher on it. Thanks friend!
Next week I will talk about the emotions and the feelings that one experiences when running 26.2 miles, it is truly an amazing feeling. I wanted to send a special thanks to Jen, Jeremy and Troy for making the journey down and being a part of the experience. I wanted to thank all my friends and family who have been a part of my marathon journey, who received the text updates on how I was doing, who have continually pushed me to stretch my goals in life. You are all so special to me and this glorious moment in my life would not have been possible without all of you. I leave you this week with my favorite quote, life is short live it hard. Take each day and truly make the most of it.