Yes, I finished a marathon in a respectable time, although it was a far cry from my planned time.
I flew. I flew without much effort being fully supported by all the wonderful spectators (most notably my fan club). Something happened, physically, while approaching mile 16: my quads seemed to turn to stone. With another mile in the books, my feet started to cramp, balling up in my shoes like fists. I was toast. I tried my hardest to think myself above the physical pain; it didn't help. I made peace with my goal slipping away. I also decided to quit and cash in my DNF status (Did Not Finish).
My husband, an angel in disguise, talked me through not quitting. I pressed on to cross the finish line while swallowing my pride.
After lunch, we returned to my car where I finally had a moment to think. Tears rolled down my face.
I missed it. All the planning, training, sacrifices and I watched it slip away.
I've had so many people point out the silver lining; I ran a marathon. That's an amazing feat that stands alone. But, I did that last year. This time was supposed to be different. This time was pushing it to the next level. I pushed, but I came up short.
President Obama once told a group of schoolchildren to not let failure define them. I'm working on owning this. I cannot let this race define me as an athlete. I will not quit until I do exactly what it is I set out to do. Like the phoenix, I will rise above these ashes. For now, I need a mental and physical break, but I'll be back on the road soon — maybe Saturday. :)
"She believed she could, so she did."
-R.S. Grey, Scoring Wilder