Every one of us has goals and things we are striving to accomplish. One of my goals came in the form of 26.2 miles to be exact. I wish I could tell you it was easy but it wasn’t. I wish I had some epic finish of doves being released as crossed the finish line but I didn’t. In the hours before I stepped foot over that line my body and mind had been tested in every way possible. By the time I made my way across the finish line, 6 hours after I started, the only crowd to greet me consisted of my amazing husband and children, 2 fellow runners and a small group of race volunteers who had already begun to break down the course. Before I get wrapped up in the finish let me take you back to the start and what it took for me to make it to the end.
With a start time of 8:02 am I decided to get an early start and wake up at 5:00 am and ease into the morning. I made my way downstairs and whipped up 2 packets of oatmeal and a cup of coffee I barely had 2 sips of. I had meticulously planned and laid out my running outfit and gear the night before. A task that included a well thought out plan of where all my energy chews and snacks would be placed in my running pack; as well as, anything needed to be put in one of the 2 pockets in my running tights. I had left no stone unturned and felt as prepared as I could be.
In what felt like record time the morning went smooth and we had successfully piled the entire family into the van at 6:05 am and set off to
the site of the BBSC Hoover Dam Marathon. It was an hour drive and my nerves were visible. My concentration had been reduced to that of a box of rocks and any decent conversation my husband kept trying to have with me sounded like French. All I could focus on were the miles ahead and if I was ready. We pulled up around 7:10 and Thank God for my husband, who without knowing, kept me together. The minutes went by in what felt like seconds and with just a few minutes to spare I made one last trip to the bathroom and made my way to the starting line. It had begun!!! With the sound of the Horn and cheers of supporters on the sidelines we were off. I was in a crowd of many but all I could hear was the sound of my heart pounding. I made my way up the first hill and entered the slow and steady rise of the first mile. Around mile 3 is where I could feel my body start to settle into its familiar stride. The weather was perfect and the buzz of excitement still lingered. The scenery of the mountains and lake were breathtaking as I made my way to the first turnaround on top of the Hoover Dam Parking Garage. I was making good time and continued my journey. As I came into miles 10 I could see the faster runners already making their way past me in the opposite direction towards the second part of the run. The mental head games my mind tried to play on me started to get real. I had to remind myself that “I had not come this far to Only come this far”. It would be these words that would carry me through the still long journey ahead.
A great surprise came at mile 12 when I came around the bend only to see my family at the sidelines waiting to cheer me
on. I could hear the screams of encouragement as I made my way towards them and see the joy on their faces as I received all those glorious high fives one by one. It gave me the little extra boost I needed and completed my first 13.1 in record time. As I made my way past the Finish Area to start the second 13.1 mile loop of the course I felt the sudden heaviness of my body along with the realization that I was about to do it all over again. The Joy of the scenery was not as noticeable this time a round and the focus had become to just keep moving. I finished my 2nd pack of energy chews at mile 14 as I inched my way into the miles of the unknown. Passing mile 16 started the slowing of my run pace and mile 17 was met with the unforgivable urge to run to the bathroom. The UNWELCOMED stop and sudden loss of the only run buddy I’d met was a cruel reminder of how tired my body was becoming. Regaining the lost momentum and sight of other runners ahead was brutal. I tried to do a few lunges to help with the tightness but after almost falling over I decided to stick with the original plan which was to just keep moving.
Making my decent into the Hoover Dam area towards the turnaround point was more daunting with each step. Its one thing to be in a race against others but being in a race against yourself is a completely different beast. Mile 20 was met with joy and sorrow all at the same time. Fatigue was starting to settle in and I was feeling the affects of each step taken. Its in those dark lonely miles where I found out who I really was and what I was capable of doing. I kept telling myself I had more left and despite my now slow trot I was making it. I was nearing mile 24 when I got a call from my husband letting me know they were once again waiting for me at the bend. I kept calm for fear he would hear to tiredness in my voice. I saw them in the distance and wanting my children not to worry I dug up every last ounce of energy I had to run past them with a smile.
Those last 2 miles of the course I promise were the longest miles of my life. My body was on autopilot at this point but as My husband drove along side me it was a reminder of who was watching me. My children would be there to witness one of the greatest challenges of my life. They wouldn’t remember how tired I looked or how slow I was moving. All they would know is that I didn’t give up!!! With mile 26 in sight the excitement started to build up. I was about to be able to call myself a marathon runner and that was enough to help me run all the way in. My kids ran along side that last stretch but were graciously called to the sidelines to allow me the Honor of running across alone. It was a moment and day Ill never forget. It was the first time since I had started my journey that I felt worthy enough to be called a runner let alone an athlete. Every obstacle that I had to overcome suddenly didn’t matter and with that beautiful shiny medal placed over my head I realized I had conquered the day. I was stronger then I thought possible and had completed something with great determination and will forever be a Marathon Runner!!!