I still can’t believe it, but I did it! On Sunday morning, I woke up at 3:30 to start getting ready to take on one of the biggest personal challenges in recent memory. After waking the kids and having a very early morning birthday gift opening for my baby’s 4th birthday, we headed out the door before 5 a.m.
We stood outside in the runner’s village for 2 hours waiting for the race to start. By the time the race was about to start, I had a headache from clenching my teeth for 2 hours and my toes were frozen. I wasn’t even nervous anymore, I just wanted to get moving and warm up!
I will tell you from the bottom of my heart that all I wanted of myself on Sunday was to have fun and cross the finish line smiling, and I did both. Although, my smile may have looked a bit more like a grimace – it was painful! I had so much fun though. At mile 3 as I ran up and over a bridge lined with cheering fans and music playing, I got choked up. I was really out there doing it. Nothing mattered then except just keeping going.
My devoted cheering squad stood in the cold watching 10,000 runners go by in hopes of catching a short glimpse of me. It made me feel pretty special. My 6 year old daughter made a bright pink sign that said “GO MOM” on it. At mile 8, I saw her standing at that corner yelling my name, I threw my arms in the air in happiness and stopped to give that special girl a big hug. My 4 year old also made sure to get a hug too, then I went on my way.
I felt great for the first 10 miles (believe me, that’s not a sentence I ever thought I’d say) and the last 3 were tough. I kept thinking of a quote I’d heard a few days earlier: “Run the first third of the race with your legs, the second third with your mind and the last third with your heart”. I had to do just that, as my legs and mind were ready to give up.
I was running in the only marathon and half marathon dedicated solely to breast cancer research. I thought of all the women who have battled, are battling or have lost the battle and just kept going. The crowd support was amazing. Women standing on the side of the road with signs saying “Thank You” as we all passed by. Kids cheering for parents, passing out high fives to anyone who would give them. I remembered to keep smiling.
I made it to the finish, and I ran faster than I imagined I’d be able to the whole way. 2 hours, 10 minutes on the nose. It was the first time I’d ever run 13 miles in my life and I felt so good when I was done. I had really done it. I hauled myself to that starting line and I put one foot in front of the other for 13 miles. I kept going when I thought I couldn’t do it.