Then I'd see something like this:
|Jerry from Team Awesome w/ my training partner, Jake|
|Master Tedd put little signs up like this all over the course|
|Team Neon was everywhere|
I covered 26.2 miles on my feet yesterday, not all of it running, but I did it, and I got a big monkey off my back in the process. I've made it pretty public on twitter and facebook that my training was going well, and I felt pretty confident that I could check this challenge off my bucket list. I might have even looked a little past this race, thinking of newer challenges, or at least a relaxing month of November.
I should have known...
The first 10 miles of this race went according to plan. I felt great. The weather was perfect, and I was running with a good group of people. Then it all fell apart. I felt a bonk coming on, and, despite my best efforts, I couldn't keep it at bay. No matter what I tried, my body kept rebelling on me, with the added fun of the dreaded upset stomach that you can get when you mix nerves, water, gatorade, electrolytes, and energy gels. Long story short, the fun part of my race was done well before the halfway point. I hit the wall, hard, and my legs lost their power. From that point on, it was a matter of survival.
Which brings me back to motivation. This race was personal for me, for a lot of reasons that I won't belabor here. I did almost all of my training alone, with the exception of a few runs with friends and short/medium training runs with my dog Jake. I took a plan that Jeni made for me, and I did my best to get ready, trying to rely only on myself . I figured if I could bang out the training on my own, then the race would be a relative breeze, and the training went well. REALLY well. I had some points where I suffered, but I managed through it, and I felt confident. The last three weeks were kind of weird, but I chalked it up to nerves and a little bit of fatigue. I settled into my taper, and felt like I was going to have a fast race. When that all came crashing down, I needed something else to keep me going.
Those people up above are what did it. I cannot express, in words or in pictures, the level of love and support I received out on that course yesterday. Not 2 miles ever passed without me seeing various members of the Team Neon phalanx out on the course with signs, cowbells, chants, and encouragement. At one point, Legz Hernando, who had snuck up from Miami, pushed me up a tough hill. Unbelievable. At several points along the way, when the ignominy of quitting seemed the better option, there they would be, like a beacon (literally... see how bright those shirts are?) pushing me on, no matter how awful I must have looked. It's because of them that I found each new reason to keep going and push through to the end.
Speaking of the end...
The final mile of the course was a sadistic climb to the baseball stadium, and, by that point, the most I could do was shuffle, and I was having trouble breathing (I now know what it's like to have an asthma attack. It is not awesome). As I rounded the corner, they were all there, bringing me home:
|There were about 20 more up ahead|
I am now a marathoner. I trained alone, and I ran for very personal reasons and some friends who know who they are, but I finished because of an army of people lifted me up and collectively willed bib #123 to the line.
|Done... with Dots...|
I'm a lucky fool to have you all.