“I’m sorry, my eyeliner smeared! It’s everywhere! I can’t stop crying! I’m sorry,” is what I was telling my boyfriend as he tried to hug me after I finished. He responded, “It’s okay. You were amazing. You did it! I’m so proud of you.” It was definitely one of the major highlights of my year, of my life.
When I made the statement that I was running a marathon there was usually one of two responses:
- That’s awesome! You can do it. (Sometimes followed with, ‘I remember my first marathon.’)
- What? You’re crazy. How many miles! I would never do that. That’s absurd.
I loved the people that were supportive. It was difficult to be kind to the people who scoffed at the idea of running (irony at its finest). Thankfully I had MDA Team Momentum to fall back on, along with We Run Big D. They were my support system. (If anyone ever asks why you need a support system, they clearly aren’t from the south, or so I’ve decided).
As I was going through training, one of the best pieces of advice I had received from a fellow tribe member was, “Don’t skip your long runs.” And I stuck with that. I missed plenty of short runs, and part of me KIND OF regrets it. But I didn’t miss my long runs. That’s what helped the most when it came to preparing my body.
In the middle of my training plan I ran a half-marathon. I learned that College Station, TX is way more hilly than I originally remember. I learned from another runner that it is 100% okay to walk the up-hills. I stuck with that.
Back to the training. I missed a lot of short runs because I could not find the motivation. As great as the team was, and as much as I set my mind to complete this, there were days where I could not bring myself to go run. I used to loathe running. Then a miracle happened. (If you don’t believe in them, that’s your prerogative, but I’ve witnessed and heard of too many not to believe).
I was at ACL talking with some of the people at the booths. There was a man signing people up to be bone marrow donors. “YIKES,” is what I thought to myself. “I don’t think I can do it,” is what I told him, “sorry.”
…So now I’m a bone marrow donor. (A year ago I laughed at the idea of ever running a marathon).
What does that have to do with the marathon? Oh yeah, I told the man that I was running with MDA and he decided to donate! Five dollars is five dollars. I pulled up the app and let him do his thing and then back into my backpack my phone went.
The Monday after ACL I was going through my emails and I saw that I had one from MDA. It said something about me meeting my goal ($1,400). Before the man I was at like a couple hundred. I thought to myself, “That can’t be right. Maybe it sent as a mistake?” So I checked the app. It also said that I hit my goal. “No way. I saw the man gave $5.” So I went to the website to see what happened…
Now there are some people you meet and you can tell right away that he/she is a wonderful human being. There are some people you meet and you can tell right away that he/she is a good, solid person. Sometimes there are people who surprise you, and are infinitely more caring and thoughtful than you ever imagined. You’re truly blessed to have those people in your life. I had met one of those people.
The bone marrow man had given me $5. But another person donated the rest. Now this person has asked to be kept anonymous. And I fully respect that. So I will not give any information about this person. I will say, that it was more than enough motivation to carry through with training. Also with the race.
Every time I started to feel defeated during the race, I thought about the people I was helping. I was running for those who can’t. Running for children who will never be able to walk. For children who want to run and play with their friends, but can’t go too fast. For adults who used to love running, but can no longer. For adults who never got out of a wheelchair. And for everything in between.
I thought about my friends who were there supporting me. I thought about the other Team Momentum members. I thought about those who were negative. I especially thought about that generous person. The one who believed in what I was doing, and in me enough to give so much. And I truly appreciated that.
So when I was at mile 16 thinking that I had 10 more miles, I would remember. (I was also looking forward to the 3 Musketeers I was promised. It was delicious).
At mile 20-ish when I asked if we were there yet. And where I took a shot of beer. Thanks, kind strangers! (I had two AMAZING friends who ran with me for the hardest miles).
At mile 23 when I asked to no one in particular why I was doing this.
At mile 24 when I wanted to cry because everything hurt.
At mile 25 when I saw people walking back with their finisher’s medals and I said, “Fuck you.” And how when people would cheer, “You’re almost there!” I cried, “Fuck you too.”
…Then I got to the last .2 miles and my friends gracefully exited to let me have my moment. My emotions were all over the place. I started sprinting for the end. As soon as I crossed the finish line the tears started flowing.
I thought about all that hard work and dedication. How God gave me the ability to even do this. How I have such wonderful friends who were there to support me and an amazing boyfriend who was there waiting for me (who also bought me food afterward). And I thought about all of those who would reap the benefits of my efforts. The money going toward well-deserving people. The blood, sweat, pain, and tears… A lot of tears, it was all worth it.