It was brutal.
The marathon that is.
First there was the heat. The need for water, for the love of all that is good and holy more WATER! Down my neck, over my head (watch out for the FitBit) and down into my shoes. Oh and ICE thank You Jesus ICE. Ice on my wrists. Ice in my hat (please just dump that cup right into it thanks). A breeze – yes alleluia maybe I can actually do this thing if this breeze lasts. And the wisps of cool humid air off Lake Superior – oh my sweet hope above hopes that cool air.
Then the smells – we did not smell pretty. Neither did the port-a-potties. Oh dear even 10 hours later I could still remember and experience the feeling of my breakfast rising in the back of my throat as I passed the biffies.
For the strangest reason, these dehydrated folks were still able to expel something from their lower extremities and fill those potties with horrific substances which cooked for over 4 hours in the heat. It was brutal to breathe in that smell when you just wanted to get a fresh breath.
Then the frustrations of 6 months of training going down the toilet (see what I did there?). In the span of 5 hours, I lost 6 months of training towards a goal that I really hadn’t had set in stone until I was honest with myself.
My plan was that I was going to work out hard and furious as I normally do M-Th and then add the long runs in on Fridays while the kids were all 3 in school. The family barely felt the push of my training since all I did was walk about 30 minutes Sat/Sun.
But after 13.1 and my 9:30 pace quickly slowing down, I knew I wasn’t going to make my sub-4 much less sub-4:15. After the moderate risk flags gave way to the extremely high risk you’re gonna die unless you slow down right now and don’t kid yourself it’s hot out here flags, I quickly decided I would pay attention. I slurped down some lemonade mix straight from AdvoCare’s ‘no you’re not gonna die’ mix that my friend Curt gave me. I decided to run to my family at mile 19 and then see what happens.
Well after I saw mile 17 the thoughts of quitting, lying on the concrete and having to tell my 88-year old father that he was right, this is ridiculous starting to overtake me. I knew I had to just give way to the walking. I hate walking a race. I didn’t pay this money to go for a walk. I didn’t train with 25, 30 and 35 lb weights with Anna McGee for 6 months for a walk. I didn’t buy this new hat which says “RUN HAPPY” TO WALK!
But it was brutal. So I walked.
(This blog is going to be about as long as the marathon was so strap in folks. Even if only 3 of you read it, strap in. It’s going to be a long one.)
Then I got to the bridge where Brian was and I couldn’t find him. Thank God Amy and Susan were there, got me ice and a banana and kept me together until I heard “MOM!” Strawberries. Admitted I was miserable. Then I had to keep going.
Thankfully I met a guy from New Prague who was about 2 feet taller than I and twice as tired. We chatted as we walked a bit and then I saw Lemon Drop Hill. There I decided I would have two new goals: I would run the 2 hills left and I would finish running the last 2-3 miles.
I left Mr New Prague and then saw Maribeth. I told her I was getting sad, thinking about losing baby Isaac, the hard times my friends have gone through lately, my friends who have conquered or dealing with cancer and all the disappointment of the day. She told me to just finish and time didn’t matter.
So I ran. I ran up the hills, thanking God for dead lift squats, that lemonade goo, Jesus never letting me feel alone even when I felt alone and for the will to keep going.
Then I saw Ann. She took a video of me and for the love of Jesus and forgive my pride: I was so glad I was actually running when she videoed me!
Then I ran up behind SuperOne. I ran it people and a fierce, gorgeous Pacific Islander man go down right next to me. He grabbed his leg and yelled I NEED HELP. Wow.
Then I saw Chrissa. On a bike. Then JoHanna on a scooter since she had surgery (or something) and she had… She had the best thing ever. ICE. I hadn’t had any for way to long.
Then my family again and then, I realized I wasn’t going to stop running. Or at least moving my feet in the way they normally moved when I ran. Pictures show me barely lifting my feet.
And with my family, my sweet friends who just had their 4th baby.
I couldn’t hardly look at them but I heard Nate say “there she is!” with such pride in his voice and endearment that I choked up. I couldn’t stop I told them. For many reasons, but suffice to say, it was just brutal.
It was so hot people were quitting their volunteer positions b/c they couldn’t handle the heat. Yet here were my parents, my family (my hubs who took care of them all plus pushing my dad in the wheelchair – who incidentally just fixed the sink in the hotel where we are staying — he is AMAZING) and my sweet friends with their 4 kids cheering as if it were 50 degrees and lovely.
It was so hot. So hot. Brutally hot.
And then I finished. I ran across the finish line. And all I wanted to do was go home.
I have never walked so much (FitBit makes me think it was about 27 minutes). I have never not wanted to run so badly in my life. I have never felt so unmotivated and ready to quit. I have never felt so done before being done in my life.
You don’t quit until you’re done. That’s like a motto for us at the Y and in our family.
And I wanted to quit. Oh boy did I.
And no shame to those who did. I get it.
But I didn’t want to.
Because the Gardners didn’t give up when they lost their baby. Carrie didn’t when she had breast cancer. Our church didn’t when they faced yet another challenge and another pastoral search. Matt Damon didn’t when stranded on Mars.
I kept thinking Jesus hung on the Cross and endured such suffering for such a purpose. And yet here I was running a race for less than 5 hours for what?
Well I did it because I finish what I start. I like having goals. Because time alone to reflect is best for me when I am active. I work stuff out there on the streets and roads. I get energy by exhausting my body.
I did it because my two kids want to run a 5K now in July with us. Because they knew I could finish.
The day before they got to run too. It was so sweet.
They had a blast and did so well all day. Proud of them.
It was brutal finally because it was so humiliating. I had so many people telling me “You got this!” and “you’re ready” and “you might even beat your goal!” that I just am so disappointed in how it all turned out.
But ironically, Sunday morning came, I walked into church and heard Philippians 2 preached:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourself. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
This happened Saturday. None of us cared how fast we went. We just wanted to look out for each other and make sure everyone was safe.
It was brutal.
It is over. The brutal-est day ever is over. And I’m so glad.