Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Swallows of Pride

I'll spare you the details of how I prepared for months to race this marathon.  You read most of those posts along the way.  I'll refrain from describing the nervous excitement that itched the back of my brain when all things went silent.  I will pause from laying out how beautiful the first half of the course was for me; with each step I moved closer to my goal.

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.

This picture will lead you to believe that I was happy with the end result.  A picture can tell a thousand words (notice my right balled up foot), but this one isn't speaking the full story.  The hoopla and fanfare at the finish didn't allow everything to sink in.  I spent some time in the medical tent icing my legs and getting stretched.

The Girls
It's not easy to run by your biggest fans without stopping for hugs.  By the end, I just wanted to hold my kids.  That was cooler than any race medal.

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