I can't believe I did it! I can't believe I did it...it just keeps playing in my head. But I really, really did it! I ran a marathon!
We drove the three hours to Fargo on Friday afternoon. I had packed and repacked and checked my list for the tenth time. I had carb-loaded and stayed hydrated. I had stuck to my training plan. I had my running clothes, shoes, fuel...I was ready!
Fun at the Expo.
We checked into our motel and then drove to the Fargo Dome. There was an Expo so we picked up our bib packet and shirt and then walked around. It was fun to see all the runners and their families. There was lots of fun merchandise to buy and some free stuff too. Since my daughter Lacie and I were both running we got our picture taken together in front of a cool racing backdrop.
Lacie decided to run/walk the 5K Friday night. I wasn't taking any chances so I chose to watch and cheer for her. While we waited for her to get to the Finish line, we looked over the course route and tried to find places for Jerry to wait for us so he could cheer for Lacie and me. Many streets were blocked off and we didn't know Fargo so that was a bit of a challenge.
I actually slept quite well Friday night. I had brought along Lavender Essential Oil so I used that to help relax. I did wake up during the night when I heard it thunder but it was still dark out so I went back to sleep. When I got up at 6 to eat breakfast it was raining hard. I wasn't worried though because I had prayed really hard all week and I knew that God was going to take of us runners. Sure enough, by the time we got to the Fargo Dome at 7:45 it was overcast but no rain!!! (My brother-in-law and niece ran the half-marathon before us and they started in the rain.)
Someone sang the National Anthem and then we lined up to take off. I don't even know if it was a shot-gun start or not--I was too excited to notice. I just knew the runners ahead of me started moving. The first mile went by really fast. There were a couple of bands along the way and spectators cheering. The next mile and a half went by fast too. I did expect water around mile 2 but there wasn't any until around mile 3.
The next miles are a little fuzzy. I know we ran through downtown Fargo. A band had just started playing "Pretty Woman" when I ran by. Further down the way were more bands. We were routed down a bike path for a few miles that wasn't too fun. It was narrow and runners were going both ways. It was also beveled so that made it hard to pass anyone without having to run off the side and onto the grass. By this time the sun had come out and it was getting hot and humid. (My daughter told me later she saw a runner look at water bottles on the ground for some water--there just wasn't enough water on the course I don't think.)
I was feeling pretty good as I got to the half way mark. The bands were few and far between and not as many spectators so the miles went by a little slower. My legs were starting to cramp a little so I was happy to see Jerry at mile 14. He had some magnesium for me and powerade. That helped get me to about mile 20 before the real cramping started. (Jerry saw a runner notice a water bottle under a spectators chair and asked if they had any more. They did and put out extra water bottles on a little table.)
By this time it was really hot and humid. The runners around me had slowed down and we drank every drop of water and powerade that was handed to us. We took orange slices and treats that were given to us by spectators. We were SO grateful for spectators who set up their sprinklers for us to run through. I could have kissed the fellow who had ice cubes in a paper cup for us. I used those to cool off my face and then to suck on. Some had Kleenex for us but I would rather have had some baby wipes...but beggars can't be choosy! I felt sorry for the runner who was carrying a very large American flag the whole way.
I was really disappointed that my legs and toes cramped so bad. The last few miles were spent running until the cramping became unbearable. Then I walked it off and ran a bit again. Over and over. Most people around me were walking. After 4 hours my phone battery died and my GPS watch mileage was different than the course miles. (at the end it said I ran 26.54 miles--probably from sometimes running across streets as we rounded corners?) Every new mile marker was a blessing!
As I was finishing mile 26 Lacie (who had already crossed the finish line) came out and ran the last .2 miles with me and crossed the FINISH line with me. I was totally overwhelmed by it all and finished crying-- not with my arms in the air "victorious" like I had envisioned. It was so meaningful to have Lacie there with me since she's been my inspiration and coach! (She doesn't look like she had to work at all!)
My time was slower than I would have liked (4:47:05). Partly because of the cramping and partly because I stopped to high five every kid that had their hand out. If they were going to stand and cheer for us, I was certainly going to slap their hand!! I also slowed down at every water stop and drank all of the liquid in the cup! I didn't want to spill any of it trying to drink and run!
On Sunday my legs were stiff and sore but I expected that. Lots of icing and stick rolling and Gathered From The Garden's Runner's Relief Oil helped. (So did a nap!) Lacie and I decided to wear our marathon shirts to church but we left our medals at home. We were two pretty proud runners!
My list of prayer warriors.
I couldn't have reached that goal without the support of all my family and friends and especially Lacie and Jerry. Before the race my best friend gave me flowers and so did my daughter Rana and her hubby. The week before I ran I sent out an email and asked if family and friends would each take a mile. If they would pray for me during that mile, I would pray for them. This really helped get me through the miles--especially the hard ones at the end. (Jesus and my guardian angel were there running beside me too for sure.)
Would I do it again? Well...not for a long while that's for sure. It was fun but it was hard too. It was incredible for me to realize that I could actually run 26.2 miles, that I had set a goal and reached it. Someone told me only 1% will ever complete a marathon. That makes me smile and so does the 26.2 magnet that is now on my car!