9:39 on Saturday and I am sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee, cheers! Weird. I remember February 11th; it was the day of the Seroogy’s 15K Valentine’s Day run. I remember thinking after that run that I will be running, and running far, every Saturday morning until May 19th. Through the 15 weeks of training I often times envisioned crossing the finish line hearing my name announced with the music blaring and people lining the finish outside of Lambeau Field. I also envisioned there being a slight chill in the air, as typically in May the mornings still are cool. This moment kept me motivated when I was tired and pushed me through the last few miles of some very tiring runs.
Had I known that moment I dreamed of would actually be me dodging cones to cross the finish line, with a time that would not count, in 90 degree heat with only my family in the stands, no music and no announcer I might not have been so motivated during those tough times. This is a case where ignorance is bliss. I would have struggled to wake up at 6:15 on Saturdays and 4:30am on weekdays to train had I known the exact weather conditions we all faced last Sunday. Had I known I would be sweating before I even started the race at 6:55 and had I known the course was going to be closed, I would not have changed a thing. I still would have registered, I still would have trained and I still would have started the race. What about you?
Green Bay has been buzzing the last week about the Cellcom Marathon and the decision to close the course. Everyone you talk to seems to know someone who ran the marathon and it is clear that the heat affected everyone. I have never heard so many different stories after a marathon. Some people kept going, some people stopped, and some people switched to the half; I mean these stories were interesting! Usually everyone just tells you his or her time, but this year was interesting. I can honestly say it was a new experience.
My story goes like this. Kristy and I started the race together, we knew it was hot and we held back in the beginning.
We kept each other in check, if one of us was surging the other was there to pull it back. We joked about the heat and enjoyed each other’s company, my favorite first 18 miles of a marathon, ever. Mile 18 seemed like it was going to be like every other water station we had passed, grab some water and go, but it was different. ‘Course is closed, shuttles will pick you up right over there’ they said. I was confused, Kristy was mad. She threw her cup on the ground and said ‘I’m finishing this is my first one! Let’s go!’ I said the course is closed we have to get on the shuttle and she said okay well I’m going good luck! So off she went. I cried, walked slow and actually never saw the shuttle they talked about. I finally got so sick of walking that I tried running, it felt all right, so I kept going. Then I see my brother, who ran the half, running towards me waving his arms. He said the family was at mile 20 and they were worried so he came back to look for me.
Eric said ‘let’s finish this, I’ll run with you! You are at mile 19 anyways!’ And we did. Eric and I ran those last six miles tortoise style, slow and steady. We thanked volunteers cheered other finishers on and we had a great time. It was the best last six miles of a marathon I have ever ran. The volunteers were absolute soldiers out there, standing their post handing water and ice to every runner still going. A million thanks would not be enough to give the volunteers and my brother Eric.
Oh and let’s not forget about Kristy, she finished too, she killed it. Way to go friend! So when I break it down this cannot be considered the best marathon of my life. It was my favorite first 18 and the best last six, but those two miles between mile 18 and 20 were miserable. Thank goodness I prepped myself to enjoy the run and take in the experience, because that is exactly what I did.
Whatever your experience be proud of what you did and try to draw on the positives and forget about the negatives. I was lucky and never felt faint or dizzy or sick, so I kept going. The best thing anyone could do was listen to their bodies and I hope you listened to yours. Do not be too hard on yourself if things did not go your way, 90-degrees and sun are not ideal running conditions. The memories will live in your be with you forever, so try to remember the good things! The fact that we all decided to register, train and start the race already show a lot about our character. We all have a lot to be proud of!
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