Andrew had to leave to catch his shuttle at 6:15, so dad and him were up and gone.
My partner just left me. For the last several weeks we have trained at least one day together. We shared our long runs together helping to keep each other sane on those long, painful and mentally challenging runs.
But now we were separated by the race but not by the run. I would not see Andy take off at the starting line of his half marathon but I would be looking forward to passing him on the course. The Marathoners and Half Marathoners pass one another on the course.
Dad came back to pick up the rest of us, mom, me and the boys and drop me off at my starting line. Casually we all strolled out the hotel and into the car. I had no prerace jitters and I even forced a half of a banana and a Luna bar down. "Danielle" (my running partner) gave me a Luna bar and some coffee in a care package and I had been waiting to enjoy them on my race. I wanted to have a little piece of her with me.
Dad dropped me off about 6:45. All morning long Andy had been saying my race was at 7:30. So thinking I had plenty of time I decided to get into the port-a-potty line and try to squeeze out one last little bit of whatever I had in me! I had been in line for about 5 minutes and things just didn't feel right. I just suddenly got out of line.I have no idea why I just did. The National Anthem came on. I stopped in my tracks put my hand over my heart but now I was really thinking...This is not sung till 5 minutes before starting. I started following the crowds to the school track area where I assumed the starting line was. I noticed people were dancing around, looking at their watches, appearing nervous. I asked someone when the race started and they said any minute!!! Ohh crap. Instant guilt filled me as I quickly looked for my place in the corrals, I just told a guy 10 minutes ago the race didn't start till 7:30. I felt terrible. I didn't even have enough time to think about anything other than getting my Garmin on and with satellite. Too late, the gun was off. "COME ON..get satellite, come on come on..." I crossed the starting mats and was running no signal....
As I ran with my head down I got to a tenth of a mile and had a signal, it was time to focus on my training and my pace. I thought of different people who helped me with my journey the last few months. I said a prayer for Andy and Katie at they were running the Half. I thought of "Danielle" and how the last marathon I ran was Boston and I literally ran into "Danielle" on the course. (A schoolmate from 20 years ago who has sense become a weekly running partner and dear friend.) Then I thought of "Melissa" she had just posted words of wisdom on Facebook and it really spoke volumes to me. "Run your own race...."
I am saturated by the race. I absorb all the elements of the moment. I feel the crisp air across my bare arms and legs, I listen to the runners talk about their goals and training,Lilacs everywhere, they are so fragrant. Then I look out over the clear sky and think ...24 miles to GO!!! I need music!! I gotta get into my groove. I turn on my iPod and Calvin Harris sings into my ears.
I feel so close to you right now
It's a force field I wear my heart upon my sleeve, like a big deal Your love pours down on me, surrounds me like a waterfall
And there's no stopping us right now I feel so close to you right now
Oh No! Here is comes..The lump..The Tears..The words to the song...Yes, Gratitude, gratefulness to God for all these elements, for this experience, for the abilities I have been given. "Right Now..God I feel Soo Close to YOU, There is NO stopping us RIGHT now!!"
I felt so strong, I felt powerful and elite. I can not explain the emotion I was overcome with but it came with tears and humility.
Right now, today, I was going to put my body through a living hell, I was going to do something that less than 1% of people ever do, I was going to keep my head up, and rely on my training and God to pull me through the next 24 miles and Love every minute of it. I was going to love the fight, the scenery, the runners, the crazy voices in my head, and even love the pain.
I had to break up the marathon in my mind to have mini goals to look forward to.
- SEE ANDY roughly Mile 8 or 9
- Double digits..Mile 10..duh!
- Half way mark..Mile 13
- See Katie ...between mile 14 and 15
- Mile 20..Its where you assess yourself mentally and physically!
|I LOVE this PIC...Mom with open Arms!!|
I see this tall guy reach his hand out coming towards me. He is screaming and pointing at me..."Oh my" I thought..."Thats Andy!" He looks amazing as he cheerfully shouts "HOW YOU DOING NITA?" I am chuckling as I respond "Good, I am GOOD!!!"
And just that quick he is gone!
That was at mile 8.5.
I was loving having all these runners coming at me. I screamed "GREAT Job", "Today is Your Day", "Looking Good" and whatever else I could come up with to cheer them on. It was like a endorphin boost.
So quickly I was past mile 10 and could see our turn around, Mile 13 already, WOW!
Half way mark. I feel pretty good. I had been following this woman with pink shorts for several miles now. At mile 6 she was massaging her hips and I said a prayer for her, it must have helped because as we took this turn around she sped up her pace.
|Ran unto the course to greet Katie, her last half mile!!|
I had not even gotten to mile 14 when I saw "Katie. I actually did a double take. She was cruising to be that close behind me. I was concerned she had taken that first half way to fast. I was so happy to see her though. We worked so hard the last few weeks together. I had been helping to train her for the last 16 weeks. She was not only working, going to school full time but also was training for her first marathon with me. It got me all choked up like a mother to see her doing so good. I loved seeing her 13 miles to victory!
I was getting a little warm. But everything was in working order. It is amazing what we are capable of doing when we work hard. I wish everyone would set a goal and just do everything it took to achieve it. It is the most amazing feeling in the world. No excuses, no procrastinations, set up a plan and work hard to achieve it. We have all gotten so used to having what we want, there is no work involved, we don;t push our self to the next level, we do not try to excel. WHY?? There is so much LIFE out there just waiting for you to come and get it, to see it, to feel it...to earn it.
IT GETS A LITTLE WEIRD HERE: Part 2At mile 15 ish this guy comes up to me and says "I have been following you almost the whole time, you are a good pacer." I say "Thank you" and then he asks my name. When I ask him his name he says this "JAY, Jay Cramer from Evansville Indiana, this is my 6th marathon....". I am thinking in my mind "NO STINKING WAY!" I QUICKLY interrupt him "Jay, did you eat last night at the Blue tractor?" He responds "AHH Yes...." Totally freaked out now I finish saying, "You were in the bathroom with my kids and my dad..." Then he interrupts me "YOU guys were sitting in front of me and my family, you have 2 boys..." Ha ha, we are yelling and laughing at this like we have lost our marbles-which is a normal occurrence about this part of the marathon anyway! I say to him.."Yup You are Jay Cramer who has a new baby and is doing the marathon in every state thing, you are like 33 aren't you?" My father and kids were so impressed by his story in the bathroom I remembered everything they told me. Jay was cracking up.
We chatted and ran together for the next few miles. We shared our goals which were only about 8 minutes apart. But his goal was sooner than mine so we said our good lucks and promised to get a picture for the kids at the finish line. As he pulled ahead he shouted "Phil 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." And I belted forward as Loud and Proud as I could Jere33:3 "Call unto me and I will show you great and mighty things which thou knowest not."
I had told Jay before he left that the girl in pink shorts was really good at pacing because we had been beside each other the whole time also. I decided to say "Hi".
From that point I learned everything about her also. "Sarah" Age 43, 61 marathons. 16 at Bayshore and this was quite possibly her last. She talked and smiled the whole time. She never stopped for water, to take a GU and refused to look at her pace or time. Every time I looked at my garmin we were running a 7:45-8 minute pace. I fearfully decided I could not carry this and had to "Run my own Race" So I told her I was going to walk through the water stations to go ahead.
The entire race I was very disciplined in drinking at every water station and taking a Chomp every 2-3 miles. I accredit this to why I still felt amazing at mile 18.
But I decided to walk through to get my water, Jay was doing this and it has been said it can be more helpful to you to do it this way. And each time I did this I still caught back up to Sarah.
At mile 23 I was feeling it. I was next to "Sarah" who was not even sweating. It was the last water station. I grabbed my last water and walked and drank. "Sarah" looked untouchable. I felt ok. I put my head up high and focused on her pink shorts and strong legs. It felt personal to catch up to her. I dug deep and picked my pace up reach her. Slowly I was closing the gap. I felt a connection with "Sarah". I caught up to her at mile 25. It was as if she was waiting for me. She welcomed me back and suddenly there was Andy and Austin joining us on the course. I was tapped. They were cheering me on and encouraging me. Austin took my right side and Andy took my left. "Save some for the finish hunny" I could barely respond, "I am trying, I am trying." My lungs were so heavy, I felt like I was going to puke. "I think I am going to puke." I cry. "Sarah" now joins in, "You got it, You are almost there, Less than a mile." Andy and Austin are still running next to me. It was incredible. "Anita, there is the track, you are almost there, save yourself for the track" and that was it, they separated.
My feet touched the track with "Sarah" in front of me. I didn't know if I could pull it in that last 200 meters. This was it. "Shut up and run Anita" The stands were full, people were everywhere. This is victory...I crossed the finish line with all my heart. God carried me not only across the line, he carried me the whole race directing people in my path to encourage me and support me. From new faces to family faces every detail was orchestrated perfectly.
WHY IT IS CREEPY????
Because if you read my blog a couple days agoThere is no Anita???bayshore Marathon....You will see my bib never worked. It never registered. My story was just that a story. There was no proof I ever ran because I was not on the results!!!
I had to email the timing company every bit of information I had. For some reason I remembered "Jay Cramer" And Finished with "Sarah" age 43!!!
It was THAT information that lead them to FIND ME!!!!!
God just wanted me to TRUST HIM! SEE People have Glitches...But God doesnt!!!
By the way
Anita Harless. 9th in my age group.
8:03 pace, 1:45:26 SPLIT
Total 3:30:52 Chip time.
That is not only a PR..but also a BQ!!!
I was encouraged by others, by my mom and dad, husband & children who sacrificed for me and love me even if I am a bit whacked wanted to endeavor 26.2 miles, They do not get it but they get me. I am also encouraged by other runneres, "Katie" and "Danielle" who are the best partners a girl could ask for, so committed and dedicated, all those December and January runs they were always at Indian Springs with smiles, rain, shine, snow, and sweat.
But ANDY..He is my Partner in Life. This was our 16th wedding anniversary Gift! I love sharing the same passions as HIM..I couldn't do it with out him...Or God.
|KATIE AND I!|