|Outside Our Hotel..BTW..was OVERBOOKED and had a lot of ANGRY guests!|
I first ran the Detroit Freepress Marathon in 2012. Last year, I paced Andy in the half marathon. I was recovering from my Ultra and preparing for Ing NYC Marathon. I used the half marathon as a training run.
This year was a whole new marathon experience. The Marathon doesn't change, we do. Yes, marathons themselves are different from one another, the distance remains the same though. This year, I have been struggling with injury. I was lacking training, therefore: I was lacking confidence.
The Freepress Marathon is like part of my framework. I have ran it for years now. We have a little "Thing" going together.
KEEPING UP WITH TRADITION!
I am a traditional gal.
|The Morning AFTER THE NIGHT BEORE!...UGH!|
- Always stay the night down in Detroit. (Grateful to Rachel D. for making this happen for me)
- Eat a Pizza Papalis..to much, and all the wrong stuff
- Walk next door and get ridiculous amounts of dessert from Astoria.
- Get back to the hotel later than I should and eating everyone's dessert
- Go to bed in a food coma with a 6 month looking food belly!
I was hoping she might let me join her in this first time epic experience.
We were both downtown picking up our bibs in different directions but doing the same stuff. I kept in contact with her, giving her tips on different things she was doing the night before the race.
Mom and dad arrived at our hotel at 5 am for the marathon. I was so happy to see them. Mom is a great encourager. I always feel so calm when she arrives. Mom, brought me a banana and safety pins for my bib. Which I later found in my bib bag, I got so nervous I never saw them.
I texted Lacey after I got settled in with mom and dad. I was curious to see if she responded. I still didn't know if she would want me beside her running.
"Good Morning" I bated her.
She quickly replied "Super excited"
We met Lacey and her hubby in the lobby of the Marriot. After just a little bit of conversation with Lacey, mom whispers in my ear, "She is just like you!"
It was a cold morning, 32 degrees. With a half a cup of coffee in me, we headed to the race about 6:15am. We followed the herd of runners into the darkness.
I laughed to myself, as I heard mom coughing. They left their house at 4am. My brother in law Matt and Andy always mess with each other calling each other "The Favorite". Matt was teasing Andy earlier about dragging his mom out to watch me race being sick and coming at the butt crack of dawn. She coughed again, then I see dad as he favors his bad knee gimping behind us. They are my number one fans. I am so grateful to them for being here for me. They know that I wouldn't be upset if they couldn't come. I know they would be upset if they didn't come. I am so happy they are beside me, Team Harless.
The corrals were packed by the time we arrived at 6:40. We all grabbed hands and gathered in prayer. This is one of my favorite parts. Humbly asking God to protect and provide for us.
It was time for Lacey and I to get into our corral. I was in C, we were by M but we needed to get to E for our pacer. Lacey went to go into the corral. I grabbed her hand, I said "Follow me." Both of us about the size of Smurfs, maneuvered our way through the sidewalks toward our Corral. I could tell Lacey didn't know how we were going to get over the gate. When we arrived, I very delicately slid my body through the angled gates. People were looking at me and saying "I thought you were going to get stuck." Directly behind me Lacey did the same.
WE were IN.
The emotions always collide together for me. I could feel the tears coming. Lacey was there too!
We were OFF. With hundreds of people touching you from all sides we all headed to the Starting mats. Our pacer was ahead of us to the left.
Running with a Pacer:
We were with the 3:55 pace team.
The bridge is always the first to run over. The bridge was so calm. No wind. The sky was perfect. We had no problem getting over the Ambassador bridge. We stayed with our pace team.
The next milestone was the Tunnel. I love the Tunnel. It is normally really rowdy in the tunnel, I think the runners were still sleeping as they ran through. I shouted a few times but when no one responded I gave up.
Our pace was not real consistent. I could tell it was messing with Lacey. We were off at times up to 40 seconds. I heard people saying they were going veer off from the pace team.
We thought we should too.
On Our Own:
We left our pacer after mile 6. Our last mile we had ran a 8:10. It was the inconsistency that we were struggling with. Ultimately, the race is YOUR responsibility, not a pacers. You have to know your training and what works for you. There are not many things I am good at but God has given me a good pacing ability. If you let me lead, I might get us lost but we will have a even pace!
Coming up to mile 8, I saw my family. I was so excited. I felt great. I ran to Andy and really wanted to jump into his arms but didn't want to risk either of us getting injured! I saw mom and dad. Family support is so amazing. I have ran many races but mom and dad never quit cheering for me. My sister in law Leeanne is the same way. She may live in Florida but she is always cheering for me, encouraging me and wishing the best. I love to see her support like I love when my family comes out to support me.
Getting to the Half Way Mark:
I kept checking on Lacey. I knew she was doing well because she was not only engaging in conversation she was initiating it. She was laughing and enjoying the miles. We both had to pee. So we tried not to laugh too hard.
I asked Lacey "How are you feeling?"
She told me if I wanted to go ahead I could.
I replied "Lacey, I have had my share of great races, this is not that time." I finished my comment reminding her I was not in any condition to race this year. I would have more fun helping her have Victory in her first marathon. I knew I could run faster. My body felt remarkably well. But lets not get stuck on stupid. In the moment we can let emotion trump reality. And the reality is I want to get over this injury so I can run more.
"Lets get to the half way mark, then we will access how we are feeling and see what we need to do." I commented.
NO Turning Back!
The Half Marathoners separated from us. "Well, we missed our turn, No Turning Back now!" several of us joked.
We were doing good. We were maintain a average 8:47-8:52 pace. I had remembered something Lacey had said to me the night before, "I picked up a 8:45 pace band...." I was going to let her lead and hope I could then push her close to that dream pace. I was one step behind Lacey. I was letting her lead. Every once in a while I noticed we would be in the 8:30's and I would say "Bring it down."
It was the crowds. The crowds were awesome. It just took a few High Fives and you would lose your pace in the excitement.
HITTING the WALL
The wall came at mile 17! Only it wasn't the mental wall that you might be thinking. Some volunteers created their own "WALL" for you to run through. This was great. Laughing, I said "Come ON Lacey, Lets RUN through!"
We had not mentally hit the wall. Running through this wall broke up the miles with some laughter and fun to keep up energized.
We also took some time to pray. We prayed for those running, for our running , those struggling and gave Thanks to God for a incredible day to Run A MARATHON!
The Zombies Are Coming!
Everywhere you ran the signs were great. One sign said "Hey, Where is Everyone Running?"
Laughing at their sign I yelled "The Zombies are coming!! The Zombies are coming, you better RUN TOO!"
We hit about every other water station. We took a few seconds to walk and drink. "Try to stretch out Lacey as you walk" She was doing really good staying hydrated, you need to stay hydrated to run from zombies!
Entering Belle Isle:
This is where the REAL wall came. I hadn't heard much from Lacey. I could tell she was struggling. "Lacey, get your music out, you are going to need everything you have." She fumbled for her Ipod. Our fingers were frozen. "Lacey, EVERYTHING should hurt right now. Right now you are going to need God to get you through." told her. I knew Lacey was going to finish, but I also knew Lacey was capable of more than just finishing, she was capable of finishing beyond her average goal of 3:55. I had slowly moved her pace up. We had been running in the 3:40's for a while now. I had to be careful not to push her too hard. I wanted her to finish well.
We came to a lady passing oranges out. I reached over and grabbed one. Lacey wasn't paying attention. I stuck the orange slice all in my mouth with the big orange rind outside my mouth. With the biggest grin I turned my head close to Laceys, staring at her, I waited for her to look at me. She turned to me just inches from my face, she started laughing at my big Ole Orange Smile. I too was trying anything to get her through. If just that small moment of laughter gave her another half a mile it was worth it.
STRONG MIND STRONG BODY:
We had just finished mile 21 when I said, 21 is my niece Ariel's mile. My voice began to quiver as I worked very hard at not crying.
We were almost to mile 22. I was really speaking to Lacey now. "STRONG MIND, STRONG BODY!" "Come on Lacey, Today is your day!"
I was so proud of her. I knew she was hurting. I could see her face. She wanted to hate me but she didn't. She knew I believed in her and I was not going to let her not finish this.
"Stay with me Lacey, Come on."
As we came out of Belle Isle I said "We are almost there."
We were actually passing people. A lot of people. Each one I encouraged. It isn't easy being passed at this point in the race.
"I'm not leaving you Lacey" I said to her a couple feet ahead of her.
I somehow missed mile 23.
I was now about 5 feet in front of Lacey. I kept turning my head yelling at her. I was not going to leave her. She had asked earlier how I felt. Truth is I felt great, But I wouldn't have felt great if I left her. I felt great because I was watching her dream come true. It then became my dream for her too.
We had a small hill that seemed like a mountain. "Look at the TOP, Keep your Eyes UP". I was still about 5 feet in front of her. "Stay with me" I didn't have the heart to tell Lacey that there was actually a really bad hill around the corner.
She stayed close. The hill must have looked like Hell to Her. I felt so bad. She had about a half a mile left.
"That's it, Lacey! Your there, You got this!"
When I knew she could see the finish I began to break away. I saw my family on my left. I heard Andy yell, "GO, PICK it UP ANITA!"
My body was confused for a second, before it realized I was trying to make it go faster and harder than it had in weeks. It was like driving a granny car trying to get it to move like a sports car.
I focused on the FINISH banner. With everything I had, my arms in the air and a BIG smile across my face I crossed over the mats!
I quickly turned by body to see Lacey cross right behind me. I reached my arms out and held her little body up. I was so proud of that girl. I just held her.
She looked at me and very simply said "Have I told you how much I LOVE YOU?"
I wouldn't change ONE thing about that Marathon. This was one of my favorite marathons. To be part of someone else's Victory and dream is the greatest.
There are so many races to run. There are so many medals and PR's. But for me, Running isn't just about the PR or placing. I have done all that. I love giving my love of running to others. To cheer someone else on is the best gift. I love being LOVED. I also LOVE to Love others.
Great Race to all. I am so Thankful for God giving me this opportunity. For keeping my body strong and healthy.