I am grateful to have done this thing. I used to have another blog for my running adventures, and that would be the perfect venue for writing about all the details of this race. There were some really special moments, but I don't want to bore you all to death.
But I will say a couple of things... right from the get-go, my back started cramping. Usually it will stop after a couple of miles. But it just got progressively worse for 26.2 miles. It hurt really, really bad. And after eating a seemingly innocuous orange slice at mile 11, I suffered from terrible intestinal difficulty (if you get my meaning) and had to stop at every porta-potty for maybe 7 or 8 miles!
There were some folks who were struggling like I was and we were pretty much together for the last 10 miles. I followed a woman with a beautiful french braid for most of the race. Sometimes I passed her, sometimes she passed me. She ended up ahead of me. We ran through California State University at Long Beach and there were many students there to greet us. One young man saw my name on my bib and said "Hey Mary, I'm gonna run with you for a while!" and he did. It was really touching. At 20 miles, there was a couple sitting on the curb yelling out to everyone. The man saw my name and said "Go Mary, Hey! Marathon Mary! You are 6 miles away from being a marathoner!" Believe it or not, things like that are very motivating. After I crossed the finish line a man came over and put his hand on my shoulder and thanked me. He said he had been behind me for many miles and he was hurting and he could see that I was hurting, but that I just kept going and he knew he could too. That was a very special moment. I did manage to cross the finish line with my arms raised high over my head in a victory salute. I did not cry as I thought I would. I was too tired and too hurt to cry. I think I knew if I started I might not stop, and I still had to get another mile (uphill) to my hotel!
I am grateful that I am heading home to my own home, my own life, and getting back to a reality that will not be so obsessively self-centered as a training life is - of necessity. I am grateful that my own home and my own life is sunny with low humidity. I haven't seen the sunshine in 2 days now and I miss it. Ironically, I have quite the sunburn from being out so long yesterday.
I didn't intend to share all these details, but what the heck, I have shared all the training details... why not the race details?
I could tell you how this relates to sobriety, but I think it would be overstating the obvious. Oh well, I guess I will do that too!
- It doesn't have to feel good, you just have to do it
- It doesn't have to look good, you just have to do it
- When you want to quit, don't
- God will help you when you ask him
- The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts (all those individual miles - or individual 24 hours of sobriety)
That's it out of me.
Next time I will be back home and my brain & body will be back to the dry and sunny climate they are acclimated to.
Thank you God.