click here for part I
We all know that it really doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get across the start line in a race because the final results go by chip time anyway, right? Well, mostly.
The problem is that if you start fifteen minutes late, then you automatically are surrounded by runners who are in an entirely different pace group than you are. And most of the time not only runners who are slower, but also walkers. Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge level of admiration for anyone who can walk an entire half marathon, but it’s just a little frustrating when you’re trying to set a good pace and every ten feet you find yourself dodging people or having to stop entirely so as not to run over someone. Such was the first about 5 miles of our race, no kidding. Once we finally got going, I just wanted to go. Despite the freezing cold rain, I was feeling pretty positive and so excited to finally be on our way. My competitive side was definitely rising to the occasion, and I wanted so badly to set ourselves up to PR.
Other than dodging people and puddles, the first nine or ten miles were pretty uneventful. The first time we ran this race, I wasn’t as familiar with OKC, so I didn’t really know where we were on the path at any point in time. Which was probably good considering we did the full and I probably would have died had I known how far we were really running. But this time it was kind of nice to be able to take in all the neighborhoods, restaurants and streets that we’ve been exploring since making OKC our new home. We even ran down the exact same intersection where we got rear ended just a few short weeks ago. It was actually at that point that I remember looking sideways at this husband and saying “this is so fun!” haha. I’m pretty sure he gave me the evil eye in response. I was seriously having the time of my life, though. There were tons of spectators out, especially considering the weather…and it was so exciting. Moments like those are why I run races. There’s just nothing that compares.
I had known for awhile that the husband wasn’t having his best race day. You know how it is. Sometimes you’re on. And sometimes you’re just not. For whatever reason, the husband was just not “on,” and the freezing cold rain and wind definitely wasn’t helping. Around mile ten I started feeling a little sluggish and my legs were getting tired. But overall I was still in the game to keep pushing forward. We stopped at an aid station about that time and grabbed some orange slices, which I thought would give us just the right boost of energy to finish strong. But unfortunately it started causing the husband stomach cramps, and for him things just continued to go downhill.
It was getting colder by the minute, and by this point we were completely soaked through with rain. Every time we’d run under a tree, the wind would blow and dump a huge load of rainwater right on top of us. Honestly, the weather was so ridiculous that I couldn’t help but chuckle. It was just plain crazy to be out there, especially around mile 10-11 when it started lightening again. All I kept thinking about was how sorry I felt for the full marathoners (including my little cousin) who were for the most part barely at the halfway point.
Around mile 11 or so, the husband really started to be in pain. Poor guy. I felt so bad. He tried to get me to go on and leave him behind, but that was never an option in my mind. There may be a day where I set out to train for and run a race on my own, but so far in our running lives, the husband and I have stuck together. He’s my partner in everything, and as bad as I wanted us to PR, there was no part of me that wanted to finish that race without him by my side. It’s just like in life…everything (at least for the most part:) is better when we’re doing it together. So, I just tried to encourage him as much as possible; he was getting so frustrated with the situation, and I just kept reminding him that it was just a race. And in fact, it wasn’t even really a race for us…it was a run. All I wanted him to do was to be able to relax and enjoy the rest of it as much as possible. Otherwise, what’s the point in running?
I was so proud of the way he finished. Between miles 11 and 13.1 we had to walk for various short spurts, but he always started back up even when it was painful and not easy. When we got about a half mile from the finish line, we both laid it all out on the line, and we killed it. It was exhilirating. As we sailed toward the end, waiving to my mom and step-dad, I had flashbacks and visions of so many things – our first half marathon, our full marathon two years ago, our year in Thailand, our house, all the challenges we’ve faced in our five years of being married, and I felt so happy and complete.
These last ten weeks have been really tough. I honestly didn’t realize how tough they were going to be. So much in our life has changed and this transition of living out of my mom’s extra bedroom, starting new jobs, commuting, missing Olive, dealing with health issues, building a house…it is such a replica of the passion and dedication it took to train for and run that race. We were hesitant and a little bit fearful when we started out. We’ve had some major highs. And some serious lows. We’ve helped carry each other through – mentally and physically – when things have gotten really tough and seemed impossible.
And we’ll continue to press on, hand in hand, until the very end. We’ll be better individuals…stronger. And we’ll know each other more deeply and be able to support and love each even better. I’m so glad we ran this race. Even though it didn’t go anything like we expected, it was worth it a million times over.
After the race, we grabbed some bagels and water and headed back to find my family. Both of my little cousins were still out, one doing the half and one the full, and I really wanted to watch them come in. After we stopped running though, we just got colder and colder (it even started to hail before the full was over). I think the temperature was in the upper 30’s by this point, and it was still pouring rain. I couldn’t feel anything from my knees down, my hands were throbbing, my face hurt….we waited around for about a half hour or so before we realized we might die if we didn’t get back to our hotel and get out of wet clothes. The walk back to our hotel was by far the most miserable part of the morning…I can’t even describe it. As soon as we got back, we had a quick photo shoot together since nobody had a camera at the finish, and then took the longest, hottest shower in the history of showers. I seriously never wanted to get out! No better way to end such a crazy, epic race:)