WOW! Was this an AWESOME experience!!
I didn’t get to sleep until about 1:30am the morning of. I know it’s normal to not be able to sleep, but I wasn’t nervous..really..I just wasn’t tired. I have this weird quirk about going to sleep. I sleep with a ‘wind tunnel’ fan blowing in my face every night. It’s the wind and the sound that makes me sleep. It was around 12:00 and my brother-in-law was nice enough to be creative and create the effects of a fan by opening a window and turning on his sprinkler system. LOL Next thing I know I was asleep..for 10 minutes! Great! I eventually fell asleep around 1:30am and woke up at 3:30 or so. Got ready! Stomach was just a flipping. But I was EXCITED!! I was going over my running plan in my head. Run for 7 minutes..walk for 1 minute, eat a GU every 30 minutes, keep the water my water bottle on reserve.
We jump in the car and get to the airport authority parking and get on a shuttle to the start line. The bus is already running when we get on, we find a seat, and then the lights go out in the bus. Next thing we hear is the bus driver trying to restart the bus. He tried 3 times. He finally said, “Folks, we’re gonna have to have you transfer to another bus.” Thank goodness!! I wouldn’t have wanted to push the thing halfway to the start line.
We get to the start line and I hadn’t eaten so I went to the ‘bagel table’ and they handed me this MINI wheat bagel. Yuck! I force myself to heat half and then when I was in the port-a-pottie threw the other half away. It had become one with what it tasted like 😉 After some time we wished each other luck and went to our corrals. I was still a little hungry so I dug in my fanny pack and pulled out my protein ‘chocolate/peanut butter/carmel..yes I said CARMEL..bar that I had so ingeniously cut into little pieces. Needless to say, they were no longer in little pieces they had become one GIANT piece. I picked a few apart and ate them. I had to eat something. Then I downed a Strawberry/Banana GU. I was doing some stressing..I mean stretching and I heard someone say “Darla”, I turned around it was Sharey..Ms. LuluOrange. I’d been trying to meet up with her since Nike+ back in August. It was so nice to see her. We stretched and chatted for a bit, and then it was getting close to start time. We wished each other luck and she went to her corral.
The announcer started talking and all I could think was “LET’S JUST GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!”. Once it started, we took a few steps forward after the wheelchair people started, jogged for a bit and then started running. I kept telling myself to stay with ‘my own pace’ don’t over do it or the knee is gonna kick your butt in a couple miles. I maintained a 10:40 pace even an 11:00. I was doing good. Knee was fine. Once I passed mile 3 and no real knee pain I was so excited. I said to myself “You can do this! Just keep an easy pace.” Around 4.8 I rounded the corner and these people were handing out these tongue depressors with this GOOon them. People were running by grabbing them, and I remember thinking ‘Should I grab one? No I have plenty of GU of my own in my fanny pack. I’ll pass.” I realized much later it was VASELINE!!!
About .2 miles later it just hit me..my knee! It was hurting so bad. I kept thinking ‘crap I have to bail! This really stinks!’. But then I go a text from my son (who was waiting for me at the FINISH LINE) “Mom I’m proud of you go go go” I started to tear up (as I am now of course) and I thought “I CAN’T quit now!”. I also thought about my brother-in-law’s ‘story’ about having RA so bad that he couldn’t even walk, and the words on my jersey that said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and I just RAN! These races show you just what kind of person you are inside and how far you are willing to push your body. EVERY step was painful, but I just kept running. At mile 8, I finally had to go to the bathroom. While in the port-a-pottie, I heard my watch beep. (Keep in mind my GPS dropped at 4.3) all of a sudden my watch says that I am running a 6.26 pace. I started laughing. I thought ‘I’m sitting on the can..yet I’m running the fastest pace I’ve ever ran. Damn I’m good!!!
When I got out my knee didn’t hurt anymore. So I continued to run. I was good for a couple of miles. I was even keeping up with the 5:30 pace team..UNTIL..we hit the 163! It was uphill and slanted. Something my knee couldn’t handle. Well it could’ve, but I wanted to save it for the remainder of the course. So I had to walk it. Up and Down. I wasn’t a happy camper. I didn’t want to walk that much. It was a lot of time lost. Finally got down it after 2-3 miles. At about mile 12 the bottom of my left foot started hurting so I pulled over to the side sat down and took off my shoe (now it was going thru my head everything I heard about how it’s a NO NO to run ANY marathon let alone your FIRST in BRAND NEW shoes). Well, it wasn’t the shoe. I had worn brand new SOCKS and the logo that was embroidered on the sock was wearing a blister in the pad of my foot. I busted out my Finding Nemo bandaids and doctored myself up. And started out again. I was doing fine until the next mile 14, when the tip of my index toe on my right foot started to sting. Had to pull myself over again and check things out. My wonderfully new socks had started to rub a blister on my toe. Here comes Nemo to the rescue again, and I headed out.
All along the way I was receiving the following text messages from my boy ~
Keep goin your doin good
Go mama go
Good nice job
Good keep goin luv u
Dont stop u can do it
Run fast u can do it
He laughed. We are thinking about you. Keep going rock star momma! (This one was from my friend Erin in response to the pic she sent me of my brother-in-law after he crossed the finish line. I called him Capt. Rockstar. He’s Capt cuz he completed his first ‘solo’ flight toward his private pilot’s license)
My sister-in-law, Jeanne (my supervisor at my new job), Richelle (my co-worker at my new job. Who was also handing out sunscreen at mile 17) were also texting me along the way with encouraging words! It was so amazing the support I was getting!
Next thing I know I get a text that my brother-in-law came in. I was still at mile 20. I started to feel bad that I was taking forever to get to the finish line. People were waiting on me. They had other things to do today. It felt like it was 6 o’clock at nite. Then I thought..Hey, I’m at mile 20 and I don’t need an EMT!!! (This is the area I was told that a lot of times people are collapsed from exhaustion). I just kept tredging along. At this point it was ALL MIND OVER BODY! Something I brought along with me from training. My knee was hurting so bad, and somewhere along the way my left hip muscle started to hurt real bad. So I had wonderful pain with every step. But I had reached the 20’s and this is where most people hit their WALL. Well, my WALL was at mile 5 and I wasn’t about to stop now. I figured out that if I walked for about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, it would heal my knee enough to run. If I seen the mile marker sooner that was my mental cue to start running and don’t stop no matter how bad it hurt until I get to the marker. Right before mile 24, I was in a zone because I saw the mile marker like 1/2 mile away and saw this person running towards me from the side. When I looked it was a friend from work she started yelling “Darla!!! I am so proud of you!! Yeah!!” . I wanted to hug her but I knew if I stopped my knee wouldn’t let me run again, but she ran with me to the 24 mile marker. Then said good-bye. I just kept this up the rest of the way.
I was walking down the home stretch and had just past mile 25, when I heard “DAR!!! Yeah!! I’m so proud of you! You did it!” and a bunch of other encouraging words that I don’t remember, because I got overwhelmed and started tearing up. I choked it back. As I got closer to them, I said “how far to the finish line?” They said, “It’s only a 1/2 a mile” So I started running. I was feeling good. I remember thinking in amazement.. “I’m gonna RUN across the freaking finish line. I did it!” As I turned into the base I hear one of the marines say “Way to go guys. You only have a 1/2 a mile to go” I was like. “WHAT!! I was told that a 1/4 of a mile ago. I got jipped!” LOL (I basically RAN the last mile. Which was the only MILE I fully ran! And what a mile to run.)
I remember seeing the finish line and thinking WOW I did it! I really did it! I completed a MARATHON! I felt myself pick up the pace and started passing people thinking “you’re not going to take MY time!” As I was running I saw my son and my nephew with their arms outstretched to give me ‘high 5’. I again choked back tearing up and slapped their hands as I ran by hearing my son say “Yeah Mom you did it!”
I crossed the finish line with both hands above my head! Feeling the most satisfaction I have every felt in my life!!!
I walked through to get my medal, yet another choking point. Wow, that medal is heavy! Then I got my picture taken, and proceeded to the medical tent to get ice on my knee. The girls there took a baggy of water and ice and saran wrapped it to my knee like I was left-over dinner. LOL Got a banana and saw my son come barging throught to hug me. I was so focused on him, that I didn’t see the ‘space blankets’. I really wanted one of those things. Oh well. I was greeted by my sister-in-law. The first words outta her mouth were..”So..do you still wanna do Vega??!!” I said, “HECK YA!!”.
We made out way to the shuttle, and then the car. On the way, I laughed that my brother-in-law and I ran a MARATHON and were still awake, but my son was passed out in the back seat. LOL. After I dropped off my brother-in-law I HAD to go to In & Out and get a burger. My order number was 26!! Can you believe that? I thought it was SO funny. About a mile from my house EVERYTHING hit me! I started to fall asleep while I was exiting. I actually fell asleep at the light and my son had to wake me up. When I got home I took a shower and passed out for a couple hours. While I was sleeping I received a call at 6:15, I was so tired I thought it was 6:15 the next morning. I got plenty of sleep that night.
I feel great!! Just a little soreness. Other than the past couple of mornings I woke up and my knee is swollen out about a 1/4 of an inch. But it works its way out through the day. Yesterday, at out graduation, my supervisor announced to everybody that I ran in the Rock-n-Roll Marathon. I was one of the greatest feelings.
With all that said..Vegas here I come!!