"Anita, I don't understand WHY you have so much fear running this morning?" Andy asked.
"Seriously, you have done this how many times?" he added.
"I just do, before my goals and dreams were MINE. I was in control. I only let myself down, but I don't want to let Lacey down, I want that DREAM of hers." (To run Boston 2019, together, finishing holding hands across the finish line) I explained.
I helped train Lacey for her very first marathon. I KNEW she could run Boston and I planted that seed 4 years ago.
My sleepless night presented itself surprisingly well. I had lots of energy in the morning I was just a emotional mess.
Alec and Andy had to get up at 5:30am, that made me emotional with thankfulness for Team Harless coming out together for me.
Praying together before I headed into my corral made me emotional with humility.
Rereading all my texts made me emotional. It amazed me the love and support from so many. This wasn't my first rodeo. I often feel like I have burnt people out on my running, but the support and sentiments were so fresh and encouraging.
Then when I finally got my eyes drying, I saw a running friend of mine, MaryAnn from Michigan!
Glass City Marathon.
Weather: 39' Sunny
Attire: My butterfly skirt Lacey bought me, my nickname is Whiny Butterfly. Compression socks, a long sleeve lightweight shirt, moisture wicking and loose. A black vest in hopes that the sun would warm me. A buff, a hat, light mittens and my pink Goodr's.
The Goal: 3:50. I need a 3:55 to BQ, however, you need at least 3 minutes to bank to get your spot. Each qualifying time only allows so many runners in, the faster ones get in first.
Nutrition: gum and Honey Stingers w/caffeine
The Start: 7:02
I have always been very confident when running a marathon.
Last year was the first time I had ever missed all 3 of the goals I set. With that being said several other things were set in my mind, mainly FEAR. The Mack Daddy of them All. Because Fear never comes alone, he brings friends.
As I waited to cross the starting line I really had NO IDEA the outcome of this marathon.
THE FIRST 10K
Andy said they would be at the 10K mark. That was my original Goal. Seem My family with smiles.
I was a little concerned starting out. My bladder was flirting with the idea of needing to go again. I had just gone in the car, I found a empty Tim Hortons cup, I know so nasty, but I didn't have time to wait in the porta johns, improvise like a camper!
And we were off. They did not have a pacer for my time. I had to rely on my Garmin and myself. I needed to keep a 8:46min/mi.
I was in LOVE with how well my body was responding. I was hoping I could just feel like this the WHOLE time. A girl can DREAM...
AT MILE 4ISH...I look to my left and hear these girls SCREAMING and jumping. This was insane how much energy they had so early. I had to take a DOUBLE take. It was KRIS and RACHEL! These are my trail running buddies. SHOCKED I could feel myself tearing up. I had NO idea they would travel out so early to visit me!
Rachel knows the drill, they both cheered me on but she pushed me off, "GO GO!"
I took that energy with me and headed to the 10K mark.
GET TO 10MILES
I never saw Andy or Alec at the 10K mark.
I saw the girls AGAIN with just as much infectious energy. I could tell they were making friends! I was entering into the Wildwood Preserve Metropark.
And just shortly after that I saw Team Harless. I was soo excited.
My pace was averaging about a 8:37.
I was banking time very conservatively. My body was not fighting me on this. I told myself the next goal with to get to mile 15.
I saw the girls AGAIN! I saw them twice in the park! I thought for sure they had found a teleport machine. They were EVERYWHERE and I was soo giddy.
I had a few moments of questionable voices. The chatter questioning "WHY" I was doing this. That was followed by "Could I maintain this?"
But I had a great play list in my ears and my mind reclaimed itself within a few minutes.
GETTING TO 15.
I am not sure why I chose 15. It was only a couple miles away. I think it was me trying to go one mile at a time clawing for my pace. My splits had been very close. I kept telling myself to hold on with everything I had.
Next stop The BIG 20.
|This is the gal I tucked in behind and let her pace me. Until she told me to go and I had to put my big girl pants on!|
15-20 was starting to tug on me.
I was so happy to see both Team Harless at the 18 mile mark and the girls AGAIN, I'm pretty sure I saw them at least! My brain was getting foggy trying to maintain my pace to 20. I would have 2 minutes banked at this point. Not a lot but enough that I was fairly confident I was going to need.
I had tucked in behind this gal about my age. After several miles behind her I told her thank you for helping me.
She looked great, much better than she was feeling. "I'm nursing an injury, I am about to drop back, you better GO!" she informs me.
I went into panic.
I had already peed my pants, had 1- 20 second walk break and really needed her...so I thought. I needed HIM more. As I passed her on the freeway I prayed harder.
20-miles to FINISH.
|Kris took this picture...I was still smiling!|
I had enough time banked that I was able to maintain a 9min/mi.
I didn't want to claim that pace, if at all possible I was still aiming for a sub 9min/mi.
"A 10K Anita" I said about a million times to myself. My quads were burning. My back, where I had my iPhone was soo sore that I kept trying to move around.
I reminded myself, felt so much better at this point than I did last year at this point.
I was running alongside the phone lines, counting them down trying to trick my mind.
I heard the ambulance and police very loud from all directions. It was just a few minutes when I saw a younger lady laying on her belly passed out. The medical workers taking care of her, I ran passed her with deep prayers.
I slowed up to give myself a 10 second walk break. The flood gates opened again. It was horrific. I had drank and ate very religiously at almost every station. By suddenly, without warning my bladder failed me. So much so that my spandex actually had a bladder. I had a bulge in my shorts as more liquid continued to surge out of me. I got scared because I couldn't understand how I had soo much. I felt it now saturating the back of my skirt, running down my legs and soaking my compression socks. This had never happened this bad before, I was scared to look because it wouldn't stop. I thought my bladder itself had fallen out. I was embarrassed knowing that all those behind me could see. I just kept running and was relieved to see it was nothing to be concerned for. Running a marathon is not for the weak of heart. Your body goes through such crisis.
I was surprised to see the girls again along the power lines. I was doing everything I could to count the number, adding, replacing and trying soo hard to not lose my position. I was still on pace for a 3:50 marathon. But it was going to be tight. Rachel jumped unto the paved trail to encourage me. But I could barely talk. She ran alongside me and could see my struggle.
I just had to make it a little over 2 miles.
It was going to be tight.
I added more numbers thinking I had more time banked than I added. I took another 10 second walk break.
I couldn't get my pace below a 9:20min/mi.
The sun was starting to bake me. I had to hold on. Victory was soo close.
My mouth was dry despite my drinking. My lips were chapping and I could tell that if I stopped too much more my calves were going to start seizing up.
Less than a mile to go. I was good. I could run a 10 minute mile and be FINE....
I went to take another walk break and a girl in purple shorts passed me. We had passed each other a couple times. This time however, she turned around, looked at me and motioned me to RUN. "COME on" she whispered.
I fought everything to not stop. I counted the minutes. I counted the tenth of a mile, I looked so hard for that turn into the stadium. My stomach was beginning to turn.
I looked at my watch with a half a mile to go and realized I forgot to calculate the .2 of the 26.2. That's another 2 minutes. I was NOT going to be able to run a 10min/mi. . It was going to be so close. But my legs wouldn't turn over! I heard shouting to my right, it was MaryAnn, Ken and Andy J. I attempted to hand clap them but my aim was way off.
More shouting, it was Kris and Rachel AGAIN! I mustered a smile and swallowed hard. I thought I was going to puke.
Coming into the stadium I could see Andy and Alec looking for me. I heard my name across the stadium, "ANITA HARLESS.." Andy yelled "PICK IT UP"
I was glad I was still upright. I saw the clock, I felt bile surfacing. Get to the finish Line.
|Team Harless. My Loves.|
No one would hand me my thermal blanket or my medal because I was retching so bad. My stomach felt like it was turning inside out. Sharp pains came in waves and I bent over waiting to vomit on everyone.
Thankfully it never came. I collected my medal that weighed as much as me and my cover.
The gang gathered around me.
I DID it! I DID it!
My Tribe, Kris and Rachel teleported themselves all over the course.
"Strength in the Journey"
"Two are better than one"
The dream is Alive. Now Lacey has to qualify. She will do it. Boston 2019 here WE come.
A big shout out to all the prayers, all the love, encouragement I have received.
I am sooo Glad this is OVER, Time to get back on the trails with Team Squishy Toes!
Mohican 50M, June.