We got to the start and went into the school gym. I was organizing my stuff when Holly said we should go potty. There were REAL bathrooms! Yipee! When we came back, Heather was going to check a bag, so Mike took mine and went with her. I found out that the race people had the right number for me, so I got that number and pinned it on. We took some pictures as a group and then put our hands in a circle and yelled Cure JM! I also used the stick roller on my leg.
We walked to the start line, and I wasn't even anxious. I took 4 Advil at 5:30. My knee was still hurting. Hmmm...oh well....I guess I will just walk the half if my knee is hurting. No big deal. I can do another marathon another time.
We line up and there is a man dressed as a gingerbread man. Cute. Morgan and Rachel cheer us on as we start. The first mile, Travis and I jogged a minute, walked a minute, jogged a minute, walked a minute, etc. The ortho told me to do that to warm up slowly. It was COLD outside and I wasn't warming. I thought Travis might have a heart attack when he saw that it took us 15 minutes to go the first mile. I reassured him that we walked a lot. My knee was hurting. Not a good sign. By mile 2, my knee felt some better. Hmmm... what does this mean? By mile 3, it was hurting pretty badly and we passed the start line again. About this point, there was a group of women who were "beepers" according to some other guy who ran for a while with us. The beepers are interval run/walkers like us, but they had short intervals. Also, their beep was LOUD! I was very confused as there were way too many beeps! We talked to a few people, and this one guy said that he didn't want to do a marathon because it takes months to recover! Travis didn't like that. However, the guy also said that it takes a week and a half before he can walk normally after a half. Hmmm...I haven't ever had THAT before either.
We get to mile 5 and we are off of the main road. We did pass a Hooters where I really wanted to stop for a beer. We see Courtney who passes and says, "sub 2!" It takes me a minute to realize that she means she will finish the half in less than 2 hours! We did the loop around miles 6 - 8.This is the stretch where I am continuously telling Travis that we need to do the half. We should not do the full. I am injured. My knee hurts. We haven't trained enough. We could be done soon. Any other thing you can think of, I probably said it! He was not hearing any of it. He said, "I didn't come all the way to Jacksonville to do a half." "If we are doing the half, you better speed up a lot because this is our marathon pace." "We are not going to be a red finishing with the blues!!" (the red on the tag meant you were a full marathoner and the blue meant half). About this point, Travis is talking about all of his body parts that have no feeling. It is pretty cold. However, my chest is pretty warm. My toes are very cold though. I am thinking there is no way I can do the full with my knee, so about mile 7 I popped 4 more Advil. We see Stacey and Aleida somewhere around 8. I tell them that we are going for the full. Oh man, only a short distance to change his mind! By mile 8, where you had to decide where to go, the Advil was helping and somehow I let Travis convince me to go straight for the marathon route instead of turning.
About mile 9 or so, I had to pee soooo bad (and more but I will spare you the details). I have never gone to the bathroom under the interstate (the porta potty was directly underneath it). It was interesting. When I stepped out of the porta potty, my knee completely locked up. I couldn't even walk on it. OMG it was mean. I had to hold onto Travis to try to even walk. It finally started to loosen up. WOW. Pain. I kept thinking of Chris and his stories about people who say, "Why is my knee paining?" Yes, paining is not good. About a quarter of a mile later, there is a motorcycle cop next to us. He says, "are you two doing the full marathon?" We say yes. He says, "you are going the wrong way." REALLY??????? No way....We had to turn around and go back. Of course, we ran RIGHT PAST this cop when we went the wrong way, and I so wish he would have said something THEN. This put us .56 off course. It may not sound like a lot, but adding on distance to 26.2 miles that you aren't really ready for is not fun. Also, it was just mentally brutal. We would see on the garmin that we hit a mile marker, like mile 11. But, then the road marker for 11 would be in over a half mile from that point. It was really hard to mentally keep swallowing each and every mile. Somewhere around here, I tell Travis that I am not very happy with him. He says, "I have not been happy with you for weeks since you got me into this mess. So get in line and you have a few weeks before you catch up!" Too funny. At about mile 12, there is a police car behind us. We are the end of the marathoners. Man...Travis is not dealing with this well, but I could care less. I didn't even plan on doing this today. I was injured. I was fine with the half. Why are we doing the full? Travis, are you nuts? I must have asked that a million times, but then I keep reminding myself that I went along with it so I am just as nuts. Around mile 10, there was a cool cop who Travis asked which way we should go for Waffle House. He pointed in the race direction and laughed. I looked forward to seeing him again and used it as a reference point as we ran. At mile 13, I am seriously wondering if we can make it. We see Dana around this point and she yells to us. WOO HOO! She is looking awesome and inspires me.
At this point, we are passing lots of people who are on their way back. I am so jealous. There are a LOT of people who cheer for us. Doing great they said. Way to go! they said. Keep it up you can do it! They said. Then, this one person (i can't remember for some reason if it was a male or female, but she/he said, "Good work. It takes a lot of guts to be out here that long." Travis says that someone should just cut off his penis now. I thought I was going to choke I started laughing so hard. I had to remind him AGAIN that he was running slowly for ME and to support ME and not because he was a slow runner. He said that I needed to keep telling him that.
Around mile 14, we shortened our run interval to 4 minutes instead of 5. We also took some extra walks here and there. The houses were beautiful. Around this point, we have no more people passing on the other side. It is just us, and the police car behind us. Travis says that the lights are starting to make him nauseated. Uh oh. I remind him that we could be finished if he hadn't pushed us this way. He says that Trevor was the one who made the decision to keep going (his alter ego is Trevor like mine is Trixie). I laugh. We are struggling. I am not sure if we are struggling more because of where we are or because we know how far we have to go. Also, at every single mile, I have to say, we have run 15. but the real 15 is another half mile. We have run 16, but the real 16 is another half mile. That is maddening. How could we possibly make it longer??????
At mile 16, we have crossed Travis' longest run ever. Humbling. He keeps saying, "perhaps we didn't train enough." He does NOT like being the last people. At ALL. I really don't care. I just want to do this thing. I keep telling him that we are giving Morgan hope and showing her that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. We are raising money for a great cause. We are inspiring others. We are doing something I never thought I could do. I started thinking about how 3 and a half years ago I was a hard core smoker. A year and a half ago, I couldn't run a minute without my heart rate going above 180 and feeling like I might die. The body can do a lot. The mind can do a lot. I have grown a lot and I am proud. Even though my knee is really paining. We settle into 3 and a half minute run intervals with 2 minute walk intervals. This worked for us. it took a minute for me to stop cussing at my knee and to stop thinking about how much it hurt. By then, I only had 2 and a half more minutes to run. Around mile 17, the cop says that we will stop having road support at some point. He was really nice. The water stations are starting to be abandoned. Uh oh. We are all alone. Around this time, we came across another runner. We were right near him for about 3 miles, He would pass and then we would pass. He would pass and then we would pass. It was nice to know that there was someone else near us. We saw a few others who were still out there too. Somewhere along here, the police asks if we want to finish or if we want someone to come get us. I am mortified. We are finishing this now! We have come way too far to stop now.
We hit mile 18. This was the longest I had run. 8.2 more miles to go. I think that we only have 3 more miles to where the Waffle House cop was. We pass a water stop that has people. They fill up a water bottle for us. Nice. We keep going. We start picking out landmarks. Run to that mailbox. Run to that stop sign. I turn on music at some point, and that really helps. I start singing which I am sure was annoying to Travis.
Around mile 20, we are in awe. 20 miles. Of course, we are really at mile 20.56...grrrrr...My shoe comes untied. I can't tie it. I stick my foot on a mailbox and Travis ties it. His hands are shaking. It was funny except it wasn't. We keep going. We are sticking to our 3.5 minute runs. Almost exactly each time. I am proud of us. Travis pushes us to 4 a few times. I start to worry that we won't make it before the finish line closes. As we get in between 21 and 22, we come across the turn where the half marathon/full marathon split. There is no sign. Which way do we go? No police. No people. No sign. It is very depressing. We start going and I am calling Mike. He doesn't answer but calls me back. He asks someone and they say that we go the same way as the people who did the half. We turn around. Then, we see our buddy the ambulance. Forgot to say that there was an ambulance following us like the police car (the police has long since left us but the ambulance was close).The ambulance tells us that we are going the wrong way - AGAIN! It is NOT the same way as the half. UGH. We keep going. Only we could make it this much longer. Really. Unbelievable. I am mad at this point. It has only been 5 hours. Why would they not have signs? This is not nice. Travis tells me to save my energy. I tell him that the anger is fueling me right now and to be quiet. :) Ok, Trixie might be out now. Then, for the 20th time, I had to say that we COULD be done and drinking beer by now if he had let me turn at mile 8. LOL. I think this is also the point where I started texting Holly and Jenn to tell them to remind me to never do this again. :)
I was so happy to see mile 22. Ok, I think to myself. We can do this! Morgan is texting me and asking me to tell her when we hit mile 24. At mile 22, we can see the light to turn back on the main road. WOO HOO! We turn on the main road (there was a nice cop there who asked about the people behind us and wanted to know if that guy we were with earlier was still there. We say yes). Soon, we see Courtney. She came back for us. :) I lost my rhythm of run/walk at this point. I needed that to stay focused. I am falling apart. I just keep having to walk. I am struggling. My knee is really hurting. But, I am so close. How much farther is it? I was so confused with our stupid .8 or so extra that I kept getting confused on where we were. I know it seems simple to subtract .8, but it really wasn't that simple at the time. :) At mile 24, I text Morgan as she wanted me to do. At mile 25.5, I fall. There was this weird ramp-like curb, and then there was an acorn thing my foot went over. DOWN. I tried to catch myself, but it was too late. Almost slow motion...I fell. FLAT on my knee. The hurt one. The one I am trying to keep. :( I hit my hand. My phone went flying. I am down. And it hurts. OWWWWWWWWWW. Courtney gets her phone out to call someone. I tell them that I have to get up. They lift me up - one on each side. I never would have gotten up without them. It hurts like a mother. I keep saying that we need to hurry and that Travis should go ahead. He says he won't leave me. I tell him that I want to be sure his at least counts. He says he is not leaving me and that if it doesn't count, then it doesn't count. I am pretty sure that this is the definition of friendship. Travis and I have been through a lot together with the whole work thing, and this was a bonding experience on top of that. I am not sure I can make it the mile we have left. And, we are running out of time. I so want it to count after all of that. We push, but I keep having to walk. It hurts. My balance is off. I keep stumbling on those dumb acorns. I keep looking at my watch and counting down until the time limit. Courtney tells me to stop looking at my watch. I almost snap (maybe I did even) but I was thinking if I didn't say it, "Listen, I am going to look at my ******* watch if I want to." I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO very happy when I see some man pointing to where we turn in. Courtney says that it isn't much of the track you have to run and then we are done. She tells us to save our strength so we can run the track. I realize then that the man is DOUG! I thought it was a worker but it was DOUG with MORGAN and RACHEL! WOOO HOOOO!!!! The field was a bit uneven and gravel-covered. I don't want to fall again. I keep looking at my bleeding hand from my fall. Ouch....ET phone home. :) Carmen and Stacey appear too. I have quite the entourage running me in. I love my daughter, her friend, my RBFF Carmen, and my training partner Stacey! I love Doug. I love everyone who is associated with the finish line at that moment. THEN, I see that it is a LONG way around the track. More than half. Ugh. I just wanted to cut across the field like Morgan did. :) I start screaming at Carmen and Stacey - I hate ****** track! It was pretty funny and I even giggled after I said it. Travis said, let's finish together. So we grabbed hands and ran it in together. I was so happy to be done. AND IT COUNTED!!!!!! I got my medal and the piece of pizza that the group saved for us. I got lots of hugs and pictures. It was awesome.
Here is the finish line video courtesy of Morgan. It meant SO much to have her there with me at the end.
THANK YOU TRAVIS! Thanks for making me do it. :) Thanks for being such a great running partner. Thanks for believing in me when I didn't. Even though it was horribly long, cold, and difficult, I had fun during a lot of it thanks to you.
Thanks so much to Holly and Jenn and my whole Tri group for always being there and for pushing me. You are both good cops in my book. :) Jennifer, you are a rock! I can't believe you ran that thing with your back hurting!! What an inspiration you are!
Thanks RBFF Carmen for always being so cheerful and supportive, and thanks Stacey for being there so consistently all this time.
Thanks so much to all of the people who donated to Cure JM on our behalf. I am humbled to have raised over $8000 for Cure JM. Maybe this will help find a cure. Thanks Cure JM for giving us hope.
Mike, I know you have thought I am crazy doing all of these races, but I am so happy you did this one with me! CONGRATS on your first half!!! You rock! :) I am so proud of you!
Also, congrats to the other first timers - Mark, Lisa, and Lydia on their first half marathons! Way to go!!! You rock! Congrats to Dana and Julie on their first full marathon! Congrats to Carmen on her personal record!!!
Last but not least, thanks to Morgan. I never would have even dreamed of this if it hadn't been for you believing in me. When I said I was going to do the half because I didn't think the full was in my cards, you said, "But you can do anything because you're my Mommy." My heart melted. I didn't want to let you down. I wanted you to believe that you really can do anything if you put your mind to it. I wanted you to believe in hope for a cure. So, here is to you Morgan. We will find a cure and beat this Dermatomyositis., You are so strong and brave and the light that keeps me going. Together, we will beat this!!!
Thanks for all of the support!!!
Morgan and Chelsea (both have Dermatomyositis) with Holly and Jennifer who gave them their medals after running in their honor. How very kind of you two to do that! Morgan really appreciated it and loves her medal. I am sure Chelsea does too!
Some pictures from the finish....
Morgan, Rachel, Dana
Amy and Travis
Ok, one more...Julie wasn't able to run with us, but she did her own race last weekend in Charlotte sporting the Cure JM Morgan's Team shirt. Thanks Julie!