I have said this before, and I will say it again, I think running a marathon is much like having a baby. The training is like the 9 months of being pregnant, the actual race is your labor, and crossing that finish line is the delivery!
We started our training like every woman starts their pregnancy....excited but also nervous. Since we had done this before, we knew it wasn't going to be easy, we were going to have good runs and bad runs, but we were determined to do this for our "family". Since we all have already blogged about most of our "pregnancy", I will move forward to the "labor".
When we arrived at the hospital "Chicago", we were all very impressed! The people, I think, we're just as excited that we were there as we were to be there. We had well-wisher’s and people that had ran this marathon before that would give us tips on the race. On the way to the expo, which was AWESOME, I asked Mitzi if she was okay with this being our last marathon. She didn't hesitate before saying "yes", but thought we would have trouble talking Stormie in to saying yes to that. So I turned to Stormie and asked for her pinking. She gave it to me reluctantly, and asked why. When I told her we were pinking swearing to no more marathons she yanked it away from me. Mitzi was right!! UGH!!!! The thing about this family is that when one person decides to do something, although there may be hesitation and even some resistance from the others, it doesn't take long for us all to get on board and support the other by doing things as a team! So I knew that if just one person wasn't quite ready to be finished with these silly races, there was a good chance I wasn't finished either.
Race day was finally here, the day we had spent 18 weeks training for. I, personally, was soooo ready for this to just be over with. Training, like pregnancy, is not my cup of tea. It is just the necessary evil that you must go through to get to your goal. I was ready for the sound of that horn so we could get this thing started. Interestingly enough, I wasn't really nervous, just ready. FINALLY, we are off!! It was so exciting! I can't even begin to describe the amount of people that were running along with us. Everywhere you looked there were thousands of people. At some points along the race, we would be a little higher than the runners ahead of us, and for as far as you could see it was just a river of people. It really kind of freaked me out, so I spent the rest of the race by mostly looking down at the street directly ahead of me.
I felt extremely good for the first 16 miles, but then Mother Nature called. I knew I couldn't wait until I was finished, so I let the girls know I had to stop and that I would catch up to them. Lisa was struggling with a side ache so she had already slipped behind the rest of us. After my bathroom stop I think I caught the others in about a half mile, but at mile 18 I crashed. JB and Mitzi told me to "sprinkle" some faster paces in, and although my mind was telling my body to go faster it wasn't listening! I knew at that point I would do nothing but hold them back so I told them to go on without me. This was the first sign of hard labor! It was time to focus and remember why I was doing this. I ran the next few miles by myself....I'm not sure what mile I was on, but I felt a tap on my shoulder. I thought it must be Lisa catching up to me, because I knew I must have been running turtle slow. I was so surprised to see it was Stormie! She had hit her wall and was also struggling. Although we couldn't speak a lot, it was good to have one of my partners alongside me. When I wanted to walk, she pushed me, and when she wanted to, I pushed her. I think it was either mile 23 or 24, I saw Stormie's hand reach over to me with her pinky sticking up. I reached over and grabbed it, and we both new without a word what we had just promised! We told each other that we loved them, and treaded on. At that point all I could think about was all of the people back home cheering us on, and I couldn't let them down. This would be my last Marathon, and I was going to give it my all. Stormie and I would stay together the rest of the race and cross the finish line hand in hand! We did it! My legs hurt like they have never hurt before, but it didn't matter because we had just finished our second Marathon. It was like just going through excruciating labor that miraculously disappeared because you were staring down at that beautiful baby you just delivered. Every single bit of pain you went through to get to this point, suddenly became worth it.
Although we all made that promise that we would never again subject ourselves to this thing called a Marathon again, I must tell you that about 10 seconds after crossing the finish line I thought to myself......" I will do this again"! Now to talk the rest of the family in to it!!!