It took one whole year of training. It’s pretty amazing. All of the training, all of the effort led up to the most amazing moment, crossing the finish line! Yes, I did. I finished. Step by step, moment by moment, I moved in awe of the runners who could run those 13.1 miles practically in their sleep. While that wasn’t necessarily me this year, I managed to step over the finish line.
Funny, the marathon was a week ago and the pain is gone. (Oh, I’ll talk about the pain soon), but it’s still sinking in. What I remember the most about that day was being afraid. What was I afraid of? What was the worst that could have happened? Not finishing? Putting everything in perspective, however, once I stepped up to the start line I had already won.
Self-doubt at mile one? During one of his sessions at the expo, Jeff Galloway talked about the three stages of a half marathon. Run the first five miles with your head; the next five miles with your legs and the last miles with your passion. I have to admit, by the third mile, I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to be using. Was it my head? My heart?
Mile ten, oh the legs. I remember at mile nine, feeling a small twinge in my right calf. By mile ten, however, the twinge had turned into full blown cramps in the calf muscles on both legs. Oh no! To get so far and have to quit? Bio-freeze, two stowed-away Tylonel, sipping on PowerAde, I did whatever I needed to do…all in an effort to get back to the safe zone of Epcot. What kept me going? The slim half mile lead I had on the balloon ladies was quickly dwindling. Seeing those balloons bobbing at the bottom of the ramp spurred me on.
The finish…I would like to say that I raced over the line with my arms raised in triumph. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was until a full five minutes after the race that I realized – I finished! I had a medal in hand. My time was not great, but technically it was still a personal record. When I think back to the fact that I finished my first half marathon, with double leg cramps – I have to say, this grandma did it. Next year… here I come!