There I go, about to finish the longest 4 and a half hours of my life. Amazement, exhaustion, desperation, and gratitude are some of the feelings that flood my heart in these final moments. I have never felt so strong and so weak at the same time… not since the early days of my recovery at least.
We set our alarm for 4:15am, which I think we may have done only 3 other times before. In just a few short hours we would be running farther that we have ever gone… How would we do? Would I be able to keep up with Drew and my Dad? Would my knees be able to take it? Despite the many concerns, my heart knew one thing – we were going to make it across that finish line.
We had no intentions of running a marathon until my Dad, a wonderful-crazy man and 4-time marathon runner, presented us with the challenge/opportunity. I tried to wiggle my way out and say that I would do the Half, but after realizing the gift of being able to run my first marathon with the 2 most important men in my life, I was in. With only 3 weeks to train, we signed up.
Ideally we would have had a bit more time to prepare, but being that we already live a pretty active lifestyle, we were able to amp up our game just enough. Having run 4 Half-Marathons prior, I knew a fraction of what to expect, but this would be Drew’s first big running event. We made sure to squeeze in a 22-mile run 2 weeks before the big day and got some compression socks, Superfeet and knee bands to help our cause – luckily it all came in handy and helped us finish strong… and stylish!:
The trail for the marathon was thankfully very flat. With just a few bridges to overcome, our runs in the Hollywood Hills had us more than prepared. Once the gun fired for our heat to take off, we knew our feet wouldn’t stop moving until we crossed that finished line.
The 2nd coldest Miami Marathon on record, we were loving the 53 degree breeze on our faces, and as the sun rose to light up the epic day ahead, we couldn’t help but welcome it with a smile.
As we passed mile 8, 10, 15, 18 the sound of the sneakers pounding the pavement grew louder and softer at the same time. Our hearts were feeling strong, but our muscles were starting to fade; banana here, Gatorade there, we grabbed whatever we could to keep our bodies going:
Trying to think of anything except for the fact that everything was becoming more and more difficult, I was able to enter a space of nothingness in my mind and before I knew it we had made it to mile 25… holy smokes, how did we make it here!? So tired and so alive at the same time. I could see Drew and my Dad ahead of me by just a hundred feet or so. Check out their grand Finish Line moment below:
I had to keep going, I had to go faster! The sooner I got to the finish line, the sooner freedom would be mine! And then it hit me… I was running to honor my recovery and celebrate all those who were choosing to fight the hard fight. I could almost taste the strength that was flowing through my veins, a sort of strength that could only be granted by God himself.
The harder I pushed, the more I could feel this overwhelming sensation filling my entire body, all the way up to my eyes! And that was it, I was crying. But I couldn’t stop running! Crying and running, running and crying, one foot in front of the other, until… PURE BLISS. No more trying. No more pushing. Just peace, gratitude, strength and well, a few more tears:
And the icing on top of the cake? This incredible, spinning medallion!:
Oh, and this guy too 😉
So, would we do it again? I think we need to wait a few more weeks until we ask Drew, but me? I think you already know that answer…