"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? ... So use every part of your body to give glory back to God..." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cleveland Marathon Recap.

This Last Week was been CRAZY.

Tuesday, I worked until 3. I rushed to school to sign out the kids I coach for the CC meet in Brighton. Quickly, I left the meet at 6:10 to head home to PACK for Washington DC. I was one of the chaperones for the 8th grade trip. We were on a coach bus leaving at 10pm, driving through the night.

The 3 nights in DC we visited, Arlington Cemetery, Mt. Vernon, the Changing of the Guards, The Capital Building and the White House and the Smithsonian's. We also visited several memorials, to name a few, the Lincoln Memorial, the MLK Memorial, WW2 Memorial, the Pentagon Memorial and we finished our trip off on a dinner dancing cruise that would take us up and down the Potomac.
Needless to say, I was exhausted.  We had walked over 25 miles in 3 days.  I had to ride that bus back home with all the smelly teenagers for 10 hours, in a single seat through the night.  

Yeah, I didn't sleep. It was terrible. We arrived back to the school at 8:15AM.
That gave me 4 hours to try and sleep and pack another bag for my marathon. I had to be over Laceys to pick her up by 12:30 for another 3 hour drive to Ohio.

I was wiped out and living on adrenaline.

We made great time and didn't get a ticket in Ohio, BONUS!

OUR HOTEL. The Hyatt Regency. The main hotel for the Marathon. It was BEAUTIFUL! It was also 3 blocks from the marathon and a 5 minute walk to the expo.

THE EXPO. It was very organized. Not to big that you were overwhelmed. The set up was a little confusing but then I am easily confused.

We settled in for the night about 7:30pm.

39' at the starting line. Sunshine at 8am, with a high of 48.

We couldn't figure out what we should wear. Total girl thing! Between the two of us, we had enough clothes for a cross country team. Weeks earlier, I had actually bought these super cute shorts from Patagonia with a matching hat to wear for the marathon. The tags stayed on the shorts!
We had shorts, compression socks, hats, jackets, vests, regular socks, tank tops and even arm bands. I chickened out with my capris and borrowed Laceys running pants. I wore a hat in case it rained along with one long sleeve shirt, a lightweight pullover and a windbreaker vest.

I was tired and sore. I was not starting out with "Fresh Legs". My shin splints were not an issue. My butt was angry though, my Piriformis had been a real struggle for a few weeks. I stretched, rolled and KT taped my injured areas.  We signed up for a 3:40 pacing group, the butterfies in my stomach were spasming.

We woke up at 5:30am. Coffee, stretching, rolling and a lot of praying.

I loved the way we just had a 5 minute walk to the starting line. This was so nice!

Lacey and I knew that this marathon was going to hurt Really Bad. We knew we were capable of our 3:40 marathon time, only we also knew we were going to need to focus and run no matter what our body was saying. I was scared.

The pavement was wet and large pools of water covered the roads. We were excited to see that it had rained, with hopes the skies would open up and the sun would keep us in good spirits.

Over 12,000 runners came together, both marathoners, half marathoners and 10K runners.

We arrived 10 minutes before the start, with no problems locating out 3:40 pacer.

All smiles we snapped a couple pictures and prayed. I was more like begging and praying.

I hit the START button on my new Garmin Forerunner Andy got me for Mothers Day and run into a small world of HELL.

Lacey and I stayed close to the pacer. Lacey had the pacer band on. For the first few miles she kept looking at her watch, confused. I tried to convince her "Let him do the work, just trust him." Then at about mile 7 she says "We just need to let him do the work, he is right on!"
I wanted to chuckle, even laugh, I wanted to at least smile, and I may have, but I wasn't feeling it.
I felt fatigued from the chute. "Get me to mile 10." I said to Lacey.
Finally, I got a break at mile 9. My body was no longer fighting it. I was back in the saddle, footloose and fancy. That lasted 2 WHOLE MILES!

The sun never came out! The weather was blasting us with all kinds of ugly. From mile 6, the sleet started. Winds attacked us with cold pellets to the face. Mother nature took a change of heart and decided to give us mercy with RAIN! We just couldn't catch a break.
Close to the pacers, I would catch my breath and try to relax. My mind was a battlefield.

MY body really turned inside out at mile 14. I have no clue what happened. I suddenly couldn't focus on anything. I got very dizzy and disoriented. I whispered to Lacey, "Lacey, I am really dizzy." Her eyes got as big as saucers. I didn't want to panic her but I was panicking. My body felt like it was going to collapse, I wanted to stop in fear I would pass out.
"Nita, do you need to stop or slow down?" Lacey asked with concern.
Trying to calm down I replied "No, I just need to get to 20, then I will figure things out."
I just started praying. "Dear God, I know I am a knot head, I know I ask more from you for stupid things like running, but GOD, PLEASE, PLEASE supply me with what I am lacking, which is everything right now!"
Around mile 15-16, OPHELIA came on through my earbuds. Austin my 16 year old and I both love this song. I thought of him, his strength, his commitment, his dedication to basketball. I thought of how much he is always putting in. I laughed as I thought how this song came on around the same mile of his age. I was inspired by my 16 year old to keep my feet on the ground and keep moving forward.
I quit drinking water and drank Gatorade at every station.
I saved my energy and didn't talk much. I ran with one earbud in trying to get motivated by music.
Mother Nature continued to saturate us with hail, sleet and rain. The winds were in our faces. We were looking forward to the turn around in hopes the wind would push us.

I was walking right next to him staring at the water tower "City of Cleveland."

The miles didn't get easier. My hands were clinched in tight balls trying to stay warm. Determination was dwindling. Pain was the screaming conversation in my head. My Piriformis was triggered as I tried to adjust my run.
One of our pacers was talking about her 100 mile ultra. I so badly tried to listen, but straining to hear seemed to deplete precious energy. I was with the crowd but feeling like an island. Alone, isolated by fatigue and discouraged.
I saw the 20 mile marker. "Lacey, GO, meet me at the finish, I cant hold this."
Generously Lacey replied "No, I will stay with you."
I knew she was being nice, I would never ask her to stay with me. She was running so well. This was my 3rd marathon this year. I was initially using this as part of my training for my ultra. This was Lacey big marathon, she was trying to qualify for Boston. I had 5 minutes more to qualify.
"Lacey, Run, Run your own race, Meet me at the end." And peacefully I fell back.

The Last Six miles of SUCK. SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP.
"Anita, 6 miles, relax, pace yourself" I talked to myself. I tried to control my thoughts with positivity. Except, the only thing I was positive about was the fact that my body hated me with a guttural passion.  
I knew even if I stopped, the pain would not stop, therefore I had to keep running. I told myself water station to water station. I would walk through the stations, grab a drink, take a few steps and go again.
I came too far to stop. I could actually see Laceys blue compression socks about 2/10 of a mile in front of me.
"Keep your eyes on her socks."
I made it to 22, I could still see Lacey.
I made it 23 and I could still see Lacey.
Then 24 came like a lion. It was the dreaded overpass Kris and Rachel had warned me about. It was a high way ramp. A slow dreadful incline. I saw so many runners walking. I couldn't see Lacey anymore. I looked at my watch and wanted to cry. I wasn't going to make 3:45 at this rate. This was my Boston Qualifying time. I wanted to just throw in the towel.
I ran as far as my legs would take me. When I couldn't go any more I walked and counted. "10 seconds Nita, then get up and go." I needed to have an organized plan of suck.
Suddenly this girl came out of no where. She was like a beast as she yelled "COME ON, LETS GO, 2 MILES!" I was stunned as she barked it with such power. As she ran pass me like a Gladiator I was shocked again. "Miss tough as nails" had an accident all down the back of her shorts, dripping down her legs and I didn't have the strength to catch her. I then thought, she is rocking this out, I don't think she cares. Good for her.
The higher I ran up the ramp the worse the weather got. The wind knocked my body around like a rag doll. I looked drunk trying to run. Discouragement brought friends. I glanced up only to see I still had to run over the BRIDGE.
I had a mile left. I looked back at my watch. I looked again, confused I tried to focus on the numbers.
I got excited. I must have read it wrong. I had a mile to go and according to my time it was 3:33. I was not that far behind the 3:40 goal time I had originally planned.
I prayed again. "Lord, I know I can do this, with you, Please give me the strength to fight through."
"I can do this, I can do this" I whispered. I took a deep breath and tried to get control of my broken body. "You are what you think you are."
The last half mile was DOWN the bridge. Turn em' over. I could hear the crowds. Then I could see the finish. I NEVER took my eyes off the finish line. I had no family waiting for me. But I had me. I HAD to Finish for me, I dug deep and pulled out a smile. I smiled with gratitude, "THANK YOU JESUS, I AM FINISHED!"

Lacey was waiting for me with a big hug. I was so glad to see her. She looked amazing. Not like she had just ran 26.2 miles in rain, sleet and hail, winds that sucked the life out of you and an incline that ripped your the muscles out of your legs without remorse.

The Results.

The Bling.

The Last Words.
At mile 14, I wanted to quit. I had 2 miles out of 26.2 miles that I had my rhythm.  I fought a good fight. And by the Grace of God Qualified for Boston. The weather was the WORST I have ever ran in.
Just minutes behind Lacey, we discovered that our pacer had actually banked time to help us with the bridge. This is why I was able to stay so close. They slowed down the last 5 miles.

I wish more people would step out of their comfort zone and experience things that never thought they were capable of. The is where the magic happens. I reminded myself I am stronger than I realize. It is in the mind. You are what you think you are.

Jer 33:3
"Call unto me and I will shew you GREAT and MIGHTY things thou knowest not."


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