Thursday, December 17, 2009

Texas Marathon - Miles 21 - Finish

Mile 21 -- Kent & Gail Mortensen

I had acheived my major goal of the race of making it to the mile 20 cupcake! I told myself I'd worry about the last 6.2 miles when the time came. Well, that time had come- and still on my cupcake high, I felt fantastic!! (Looking back at the race course elevation map now, I can see that I might also be able to attribute that feeling to being on a big downhill- but I don't think I processed that at the time). I just knew I felt great. I glanced down at my Garmin (aka- fancy running watch for you non-runners out there) and began to calculate where I was in terms of possible finishing time. Huh-- you know, I actually might be able to break 5 hours. I picked up my pace...

Mom & Dad- Thank you isn't enough to express gratitude for all of the support you've given me- not only for this crazy, running adventure I've been following, but in all aspects of my life. I don't think it's any coincidence that for all three of my marathons thus far you have been my mile 21 (aka- 'the wall') sponsors. You've stood by me through some of the best, and some of the most challenging times in my life and I'll always be grateful for your support.
Mile 22 -- Mark Olateju

I was 'flying' (disclaimer: sub-10 minute miles is flying for me for this distance) down the race course passing runners right and left. I'd never felt so good-- particularly at mile 22!! I was elated!! I didn't see any reason why I wouldn't be able to maintain this pace the few remaining miles to the finish. I was invincible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark- To the Superman of the Dallas running world-- I attribute the (albeit brief) feeling of invincibility I felt you to you sponsoring this mile. How could I have felt any other way? Particularly when my mile 22 sponsor ran his FIRST full marathon at White Rock and easily pulled off a Boston Marathon qualifying time. You are AMAZING!!! Congratulations!! You bring much more to DRC than talent and speed; your caring and friendly nature are appreciated by all!

Mile 23 -- Rob Bever

Ouch, ouch, ouch!! Unfortunately I managed to lose my invincibility just before hitting the mile 23 banner. RATS!! Now I felt less fantastic and just more pain. Just my feet and lower legs really. Well, every teeny, tiny muscle and tendon in my feet and legs was SCREAMING!! I kept reminding myself that these last few miles made up the infamous 'marathon wall' and that getting through the wall intact was largely a product of mentally staying positive. So I tried hard to stick out my running pace, but it was clearly slowing to a crawl. I continued to check my Garmin and calculate finish-time possibilities. Maybe I could still get in a sub-5 hour finish-- although to do that I'd have to be strategic. By this point my legs and feet had become so stiff that I figured out my walking pace was going to be much faster than the only running pace I could muster right now. So at this glorious mile I bust out the ever-so-cool race walking form.

Rob- my cuz-- this last year has been overwhelming, hasn't it? Our family has definitely been through a lot together. I'm so glad I was able to be so close to each of my cousins growing up. Many times it felt more like we were all siblings than cousins. Losing one of us this year has without question made me appreciate each of you more than ever. Thank you for always being there and being one of the most caring and generous people I know!

Mile 24 -- Rob Bever

Several of my running friends have commented (or complained) at different points that my walking pace was their jogging pace. (Thank you, Dad, for the long legs I suppose). Unfortunately I'd lost James to muscle cramps not too far back-- so I tried to continue my speedy walking abilities and take advantage of them as much as I could. Also at this point I had arrived at the Dolly Parton's--- the famous nickname for one stretch of road in Dallas that is mainly flat except for 2 big hills. (No further explanation needed on the name I suppose). It turns out the hills also provided some comic relief in that the water station at this point was very well staffed with a bunch of guys in dresses-- complete with Dolly Parton-like 'enhancements'. This definitely gave me a laugh and had I not been so wiped out I would have stopped to get a picture.

Mile 25 -- Pat Metcalf

Walk on! Walk on! The street is still lined with supporters shouting encouragement to keep going, and giving the good news that the rest of the race was all down hill from here (literally thank goodness!). For me, it always feels defeating to have to walk a race course in front of spectators (or approaching water stations, camera men, etc.), but physically at this point I had no other options. I just had to finish-- and this was the only way I could do it.

Pat- I'm so sad I missed the human Christmas tree at the finish line-- but having it captured on photo makes up for it! :) Your pace group (as are all of your pace groups) for this half-marathon was so lucky to have you. How could you NOT have fun running 13 miles with a human Christmas tree. One of my main motivations for working on picking up my pace this year is to be able to run with your group someday! Thank you for being such a great friend this past year. Your sincere caring nature and enthusiasm makes this world a better place every day!
Mile 26 -- Roxanne Olvera & Greg Hall
(From Roxanne & Greg): It was a grand adventure, now it's time to reflect on the greatness you have accomplished. You have honored your cause. From above the spirits are proud. We are all proud of you Anna!

Another Garmin check: Okay-- breaking the 5 hour mark may not quite be reasonable for this race, but I thought I still had a good chance of coming away with a PR (personal record) time.

Roxanne & Greg- here we are again. Thank you again so much for being a huge part of my Dallas family. Sponsoring miles 13 AND 26 was so appropriate for both of you- as you've never been 'fair weather friends', but friends who are always there at all points in my life journey. Thanks so much for all of your care, concern and support- particularly while I was quarentined with H1N1 for much of the season. You guys are the best! :-)

Mile .2 - Finish -- James Alfred

I kept telling myself that if I was smart about keeping my walking pace, I could probably save enough ability to at least run for the finish line when it came into view. Once I turned the last corner and saw the finish line ahead, my first thought was, "Holy Crap, that is REALLY far away!!". Seriously, all the way down the road still. I attempted a running pace, but it became clear that if I really wanted to be bull-headed enough to maintain it to the finish that I'd cross the finish line and subsequently pass out. Well geez, as a slower than slow recreational marathoner there was certainly no need for that sort of drama--lol. I figured as long as I had control of my situation I'd leave the medical staff open for runners who unfortunately had less of a choice in the matter. I had a choice- and I wanted to maintain consciousness, so I did my best to put my ego to the side and kept walking to the finish. Once I finally got within a few hundred yards I busted out the 'let's get this over with' pace (which, according to my Garmin is around 8:35), and exhausted (but conscious), happily crossed the finish line.
James- I know we've talked about it again and again in the last few days-- but thank you SO MUCH for making my Texas Marathon experience what it was! I have no doubt I would not have enjoyed the experience nearly as much had I not had you by my side for 20 plus miles. You told me when you sponsored this two-tenths of a mile that you were all about finishing!! Well, you did it!! Finished a first marathon in Oklahoma under horrible conditions, finished the Chicago marathon in better (yet awfully chilly) conditions, and then set at personal record at White Rock!! Go get 'em, James!! Our runs together are not ending anytime soon! :)

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