Some of Team "Go Lucy Go" before the races began
Laura and me
Anyway, I couldn't shake the feeling that it was now or never! Nothing I would endure for 26.2 miles would be anything like what our sweet friend Lucy has endured in her battle with brain cancer. Or what any of the children that St. Jude treats have endured.
I was so incredibly thankful to have my friend, Anna, to run the first half with me. It makes the time pass faster to have someone to talk to and run beside. When she told me she was turning at mile 12.5 to finish the half marathon, I tossed her my long sleeved shirt, took the rest of her "fruit chews", and I kept going! On my own for the next 13+ miles...
There's something about running long distances by yourself that helps put a lot of things in perspective...at least for me. I think and pray about so many things. Saturday, I thought about my kids, my husband, my parents, my job, my friends, what I needed to get done after the run and in the next few days (you know, that "Mom's To-Do List"), what I am going to EAT at the end. (Don't judge, whatever motivates me. haha) I read messages on the t-shirts of other runners. I admired the sights as I passed houses and people holding funny, yet encouraging signs. One particular sign's message "spoke" to me. (I spotted this one before I hit the 12.5 distance.) It said, "13.1 because you are only HALF crazy!" Then the FULL ON CRAZY feeling hit home.:)
Here I was, attempting something only 1% of the world's population accomplishes! 26. 2 miles!!
The last 4-5 miles were hard for me due to my side hurting and my FEET! Oh, my feet!:) I tried not to think about it...Walking didn't hurt my feet as badly, so I walked as fast as I could. A male runner ran up beside me and said, "That's sad, you are walking as fast as I am running." We both laughed, and kept right on going. I met a girl my age who was also doing her first marathon. She said her husband was somewhere behind her, and I wished that Jan was with me. I went through 2 wet towels and the last of my energy gels. The last mile, I found myself LONGING more than ever to see the turn to the finish. I was just about "spent", mentally and physically.
I had told myself that I wanted to complete my 1st marathon in 5:00:00, but it took me 5:12:11. I am not at all disappointed, though. I gave it all I had without killing myself. (I kept reminding myself at the end when I had to slow my pace down and walk some, that I had 3 kids to take care of, I had to sing at church the next morning, and go to work on Monday. See, I can be sensible!)
I started crying as I crossed the finish and heard my mother scream from the stands, "Way to go, Nicole!" I placed my medal around my neck, and tried not to look too desperate as I GRABBED the banana some lady was holding up.:) Then, along with the other marathoners, I found my way up the stairs from the field and then, finally, found my mom. I laid my head on her shoulder and cried again. She wasted no time in getting me to the food tables.:)
I cannot describe how I felt afterwards. Surprisingly, I have not been as sore as I thought I might be. 48 hours later, and I can't really complain about anything hurting. God is good! No doubt, He carried me through it. Can't say if I'll ever do a marathon again right now. But, maybe, just maybe...I'll do it for St. Jude again next year! Feels good to say, "I did it!"