Well, folks. I did it! Yesterday, Oct. 16, 2005 my sister and I successfully completed the 26th running of the Columbus Marathon. We were two of 6200 participants which included wheelchair racers, walkers, 2- and 3-person relay teams and runners. After 4 hours and 25 minutes of pounding the pavement, we sprinted down the hill, through the chute hand-in-hand and got the finisher's medal put around our necks. It was something else. I can't even describe the exhileration, the relief that we finally got to stop, and all the emotions after training for months and months. It's all finally over, and I AM SO GLAD!
We drove to Columbus on Saturday and spent the afternoon at the runner's expo. The goodie bag did not disappoint! All kinds of good stuff – great samples, discount coupons for my favorite Mizuno shoes in which I am currently running (I'll take advantage of that and get myself another pair at a much reduced price for when these wear out) and the shirt is fantastic – long sleeved running shirt made of the CoolMax fabric. No cheap cotton t-shirt here. Stephies husband, Tim, browsed a very cool used record store and found a ton of good, inexpensive music. Columbus is one cool town. The downtown is big, but not in an overwhelming kind of way. It's clean and hip and on Saturday was full of red shirts because Ohio State played that day. The mood was very festive because they won and everyone was riding on the red wave of excitement, including us. We had a great day that was topped off by a pasta dinner at a very nice restaurant next to our hotel.
We woke up very early the next morning (5 am), ate and showered and got downtown for the start of the race. There were SO MANY PEOPLE! It was all very exciting. The weather was perfect!. It was a little cold starting out, but we had long-sleeved shirts on, and once we got started, it warmed up quickly. It sure did feel great to cross that starting line! The first half of the race went by so quickly. There was great neighborhood participation – people lined the streets and cheered on the runners. There were bands playing, people outsisde with their guitars, saxophones – instruments of all sorts. There was one guy who was sitting at the end of his driveway playing Irish tunes on his piccolo – very cool. Terry and John drove down to support us, and we periodically would see them along the course during the first half. At one point, we took off our long-sleeved shirts and gave them to Terry after the weather warmed up some.
At the halfway point, we saw Tim again and we were still feeling GREAT! Those first two hours just flew by – we were having so much fun. At this point, Terry jumped in and ran the rest of the race with us. I am so grateful that he was there – he was really a great encouragement when the going got tough. At around mile 17, I started having some problems. My hips started to ache pretty badly. By mile 18, I was in agony. Finishing the race wasn't the question – I knew I was going to finish. At this point I was wondering if I would finish in an upright position. It was such a strange feeling – my hips never hurt like this through all the training runs, but man did it hurt. I was just trying to breathe through it and the pain was so bad it took my breath away. I almost broke down in tears, but I held it together and Terry and my sister were right there with their encouragement and support. By mile 22, I was feeling better (I was numb by now) and my sis was getting bad. But at the end we both pulled it out, and picked up the pace for the last two miles. We were passing people left and right! When we turned that last bend and saw the finish line, it was like getting new life in us. It was a nice downhill to the finish and crossing was the best feeling ever. We even got interviewed! We got our picture taken, got a blanket, got some food and SAT DOWN! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
All in all, it was a wonderful experience. The high at the end is one I'm sure I'll never be able to re-create. It was an awesome day, and an awesome accomplishment and a feeling that I just can't describe. I am so glad I did it and am grateful to my Lord that He gave me the strength – not only on the day of the run, but in general. Strength, health and all good things in my life.
I'M NEVER DOING IT AGAIN. (My sister thinks she can convice me otherwise, but she does not know the steeliness of my resolve)