Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Getting To The Finish Line.

Let's just start this journal entry with the best and most true tip I heard while preparing for a full marathon: "A marathon's half way point is not 13.1, it is mile 20."

Mile 22-23 was BY FAR, THE MOST DIFFICULT. I don't think we "hit the wall," because I never once doubted we would ultimately cross the finish line. But with the excitement of seeing our family at mile 21, all that was ahead of us for the next hour was hot pavement.

I started getting chills and feeling a tiny bit nauseous, so we stopped in at a medical tent to grab a bag of ice. We decided to walk briskly for about 3/4 of a mile keeping the bag of ice on our head, around our neck or under our arms trying to cool down our core body temperature after four STRAIGHT hours of running. It worked, so with in a few minutes, when we saw the 23 mile marker, we felt motivated again to run knowing we were about 30 minutes away.

We didn't know at that point, we had not one, BUT 2 more surprises waiting for us to give us the perfect amount of motivation to pick up the pace. Just before getting back into downtown, I looked up and saw my good girlfriend Cindy Sebek and her boyfriend Dirk, waiting for us, cheering us on! Wow... talk about unexpected lift at mile 23.5!!!
Then about a mile later at 24.5, I heard a familiar voice and up ahead cheering on the runners in front of us was my good friend of 7 years, Dr. Stephen Ramirez. He had been the one that had come through for me just 24 hours earlier, giving me the tools to be able to heal my body and be able to even attempt to run this race. And there he was, surprising me and standing at the perfect point in the race, cheering both Blake and I on to the finish, which was just down the street. For him not to even know what pace we had trained at or what time we had started, was amazing. Blake and I both had a great burst of energy after seeing him. I was ready, at mile 25 to pick up the pace. Blake, on the other hand, was hurting.

Let me remind everyone, before I move on with the story, Blake trained literally 50% of what I did. He hardly ran the last 4-5 weeks except maybe one medium size run a week. He told me he was having some back pain at that point but he was keeping up. I told him, "This is it, everything that we have worked for within 15 minutes of here... can you pick up the pace because we will never have to run again if we don't want to." He said he needed to get in the zone, he did and for about a third of the mile he was sprinting up ahead of me but then he stopped to a walk and I knew he was in severe pain. But I also knew, how close we were. I felt really torn. I knew how close we were and how strong and competitive my husband is. 

We did run and at about the 25.5 mile marker, I felt like I knew him well enough, if I ran up a little ahead of him, he would catch up! So we turned north on the access road of Interstate 35, along side the Alamo Dome and I kicked it up to a fast run and kept looking back to see what he was doing. Blake was trying to keep up and was nearby. I kept it up and turned right to go along the north part of the Alamo Dome, down a nice hill, shaded by a bridge, at mile marker 26, I was in a full sprint and Blake was trying to. I will always remember Blake had nearly caught up to me after 26 and yelled a at that point, "WHAT THE HECK.... where is it??? (referring to the finish line.) The finish line was no where in direct sight and that had to be one of the most demotivating moments in the entire race. Not only was the finish line around another corner of the Alamo Dome (on the east side) it was up a BIG HILL (the steapest of the entire race.) I remember people along the sides, yelling my name and I was searching the crowd for our family and friends. I kept looking at people who were yelling "Megan" and remembered, I had my name on my shorts. (Several people had told me to do that for the finish line because you will have people cheering you on!) It worked but I was SO confused... too funny.

I kept looking back at Blake who was sliding a little farther back. Once we had the finish line in sight, I took a chance again and put it back in to high gear with a sprint hoping that Blake would do the same as he had done before, now that he could see that it really was the end this time. Poor guy was in a ton of pain.
Our group patiently waiting for us just past the finish line.
Megan crossing the finish line...
Blake just a few seconds behind...
Getting my medal.

Our fans at the finish!!!! Love each one of them SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!

My mom helping me cool down with ice!

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