It’s been a crazy few days around here. I’ve been running around since coming back in town Monday afternoon, attending classes, working, and getting back into the swing of things. I’m finally able to have a moment to write this post.
My mom is officially a marathoner. She finished the Walt Disney World Marathon and while it took her longer than expected, she still finished. And really, that’s all that matters.
I have a post in the works about my spectator experience, because there was a lot of good and a lot of bad that happened during the day. But let’s focus on my mom for today.
It was an early day for my mom, my brother, and I. We left the hotel by 3am in order to arrive at the race site on time. With 17,500+ racers, we knew travel to the race would get pretty heavy closer to 5am, when racers had to be in their corrals. We arrived before 3:30am and basically shivered our butts off while waiting. My mom left us around 4:15am to head over to the corral start and my brother and I got to wait in the freezing cold for the next 2 hours. It was awful. I was dressed in yoga pants, a long-sleeved tech tee, a short-sleeved cotton tee, and a sweatshirt but it was not warm enough at all. My toes were icicles by 5am. I tried sitting down on the ground and reading, but I was just too cold to ever get comfortable.
The race started at 5:30am with the wheelchair racers and then the rest of the runners. While I was supposed to get updates via my phone on my mom, I never got an update of when she started so luckily, Cecelia was able to hop on her computer and help me out! I didn’t get to see my mom at the start because she was on the other side of the street (plus, it was packed with all the runners!) but they circled around at Mile 4 and I got to see her then. She was in pretty good spirits, so it calmed me down somewhat. (I was an emotional wreck the entire day.)
I was able to see my mom at Mile 9 and Mile 12.5, but that was it until the end. I wish I could’ve seen her further in the race because I think it would’ve helped both of us. And since she gave me her cell phone, I didn’t have any way to know where she was or how she was doing. That part sucked so much. I was so worried about her and didn’t know if she had been pulled out or what. She had never ran or walked farther than 13 miles before, so this was a totally new experience for her. I just wanted to see her, make sure she was OK, and give her a pep talk if she needed it.
Around Mile 20, the race organizers started harping on the runners to keep with a 16:00-minute mile pace. My mom had to stay ahead of a girl because if she got behind her, she would get pulled out. So, on a foot with a huge blister on the bottom, my mom had to run. She would run ahead of the girl until she was pretty far ahead then walk until she got close again. It couldn’t have been easy and she said she wanted to give up so badly. But she kept pressing on. When she got to Mile 24, she was able to stay with her own pace because the race organizers said she was good until the end and would get her medal. I couldn’t imagine what those 4 miles were like, though. Nervous of getting pulled out, part of you wanting to be pulled out, but knowing you are so close to the end.
When I saw her turn the corner to the finish line, I was overly emotional. No matter if it takes you 3 hours or 7 hours, finishing a marathon is a huge accomplishment. And she did it! Even with all that was working against her, she kept pressing on, kept training, and finished a marathon.
She was hit by a car on August 13. From September – January 9, she ran a total of 94.9 miles in just races alone. She ran three 5K’s, one 10K, two half-marathons, and a full marathon. That’s crazy. Her legs feel fine and she wasn’t even too sore from the marathon. Her biggest problem is the blister at the bottom of her foot.
But there you have it. My mom ran a marathon. The one who used to say her best exercise was the short .25 mile walk to Wendy’s, who was morbidly obese four years ago, and whose journey to this point all started in 1999 when she left my father…she did it. She ran a marathon. 26.2 miles. Amazing.
(Oh, and while she said on Sunday that she would never, ever run a marathon again. By Monday, she was leaning the other way. I truly believe she will run another one where she can train better.)