Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Christie's 26.2 Story

Is it bad that as I start to type this I already have tears in my eyes? 

Thank you, Sarah, for covering the day-before details, as I already know this will be the longest post ever, and if I had to go through all of that, no one would ever stick around for the end. :)  I apologize in advance for the length.  I'm not sure if anyone else cares about all of the random details, but I never want to forget them as long as I live.

The day before the race was so much fun.  I distinctly remember driving around the city going from the airport to the expo to dinner, etc. and feeling exactly like I did the morning of my wedding.  To everyone else, I was just another person out and about on a Saturday morning.  I wished I could roll down my window and shout "I'm running a MARATHON tomorrow!!!!"  (I restrained).  I slept pretty good that night...although much too short.  It's almost impossible to get enough sleep when you have to wake up at 4:30 am.  Before I knew it, Sunday morning had arrived.  When the alarm went off, I rolled out of bed, took a quick shower, and headed downstairs for coffee and peanut butter toast with Sarah.  We had a great time talking about how stupid we were and hearing Pat's pumped-up "pre-game" speech. :) We got our race clothes on, took some photos, gathered our gear and headed out.

I have such happy memories of that drive downtown, blasting our music in the dark, wondering if everyone else on the road was doing the same thing we were.  "Tonight, tonight" by Hot Chelle Rae (a song I had never heard until the day before) had somehow become our theme song.  Maybe because of the part that said "I don't know if I'll make it, but watch how good I'll fake it." :)  We rocked out to the song with all of our early-morning might. We found parking easily downtown, took a potty break at Starbucks, prayed with Pat, and split off to our corral.  That waiting time went really fast to me.  It was all so surreal...I just couldn't believe this was it.  Sarah and I prayed one more time before they started moving our herd toward the start line.  We walked around a few blocks as we were led to the start, and when we turned a corner and saw those balloons, the butterflies were out of control.  There were thousands of people in front of us and behind us, and when we got to that line there was nothing to do but run.

I had no idea what to expect from my leg/knee.  I had run 2 miles the day before, and it had felt pretty good.  I was supposed to jog for a few miles to loosen it up, so it worked out perfectly that we had planned to start slow to reserve our energy.  Those first few miles were SO much fun.  So many people on the streets, so many bands playing music, so much excitement in the air.  I didn't even listen to my music...there was just so much else to hear and see, and I didn't want to miss a moment.  At every mile marker we bit off a piece of candy from our candy bracelets (which we had prepped the night before so they would have 27 "charms"...one for each of the 26 miles and one for the final .2).  We stayed right near the 5 hour pace marker, and beating that in the end became our ideal goal. 

When we had previously imagined how long we might be able to stay together, we had said if we could make it an hour, we'd be overjoyed.  Somewhere in mile 5 we realized that we had made it to that hour.  We could hardly believe it.  WE WERE DOING THIS!!!!  We didn't want to get too excited, as we knew at any moment I could have to stop.  Ironically, that moment came just minutes later.  My knee started to tighten, and knowing I still had over 20 miles to go, I didn't feel like it was the time to push through.  I looked at Sarah and she just knew the time had come.  We stopped running and gave each other a huge hug.  With tears in our eyes I told her to go get it...to leave it all on the pavement...that I loved her so much and that I would see her at the finish line.  Then she was off.  I watched her run ahead and continued to jog slowly behind.  I watched her pink and yellow hair ribbons get further and further away.  I was SO excited for her and SO SO SO proud.  I had no idea what the next 4+ hours would hold, but I knew I could only take it one step at a time.  Neither of us could have ever imagined the turns this race was about to take.

Somewhere a few minutes into mile 6, my knee started to loosen again.  Actually, it started to feel good.  Good as in normal!  I couldn't believe it.  I didn't want to jinx it, but I slowly started picking up the pace.  I could still see Sarah's ribbons and just kept chasing after them.  My pace got faster and faster, and it felt really, really good!  Sarah was getting closer and closer, and just before mile 7, she pulled off to the side of the road to stretch.  We were both shocked when I came up behind her!  10 minutes earlier we had this emotional goodbye moment, and here we were back together again.  Who knew how long it would last, but for this moment, we were reunited!  We stretched for a bit and got back in the race. 

Miles 7-9 are down one side of a main street, and just before mile 9 you turn around and run back down the other side.  This meant that while we were heading to that turn-around, all of those who had already been there were running right past us as they went further down the course.  Like Sarah said, I had SO much fun during this leg.  I couldn't shut up with the encouragement!  I LOVED cheering on the people on the other side, high-fiving them as they ran by, reminding them to enjoy every minute!  Every one of those 15,000 people were out there doing this thing.  They all had a story, and this was a big deal for every single one of them.  It was so cool to think about, and I couldn't help but get pumped up!! 

As we zig-zagged through downtown, I knew my friends and/or Josh and the kids had to be near, as we were about to get into a long stretch of industrial area that was less than ideal for onlookers.  Somewhere around mile 11 we turned a corner and I saw Jinger and Wendy holding their big pink sign.  They were taking pictures and video and jumped in to join us for a few blocks.  It was so much fun to see my dear friends!!!  They were such a great source of encouragement and joy!

As Sarah said, it was shortly after this that we started having exactly the opposite experiences from what we had envisioned and planned for.  Miraculously, I was feeling great.  My knee didn't hurt at all...and this was almost halfway in!  Just the thought that I had already done what both my chiropractor and orthopedic doctor said I probably wouldn't be able to do filled me with crazy adrenaline.  But poor Sarah had started to have horrible, unbearable cramping in her upper hamstring.  We frequently pulled off to the side of the road to stretch (which worked well for both of us).  I wish everyone could have seen her run through these miles.  She gave it her all.  She ran every second she could.  She channeled her inner-doula to remind herself that it might be hard but it would be worth every ounce of effort in the end.  I so clearly remember looking over at her multiple times and seeing the determination and passion in her eyes.  I could tell she was in great pain, but her eyes were fixed straight ahead, and I beamed with pride just looking at her.

As we approached the St. John bridge, I began to have some inner turmoil.  I was feeling so much better than I was ever supposed to feel.  I'm a tad bit goal oriented, and even though we couldn't see the 5 hour pacer anymore, I knew that we could still catch it if the rest of the run went great.  I wasn't supposed to have a time goal.  I was supposed to just want to finish and be proud that I did.  But I couldn't shut off my brain from imagining the possibility of beating the odds.  Here I was, on the Portland marathon course, crossing the St. John bridge, looking back at the foggy downtown skyline, running mile 17 with my best friend, and thoughts of chasing that goal were taking away the fun.  Something had to change.  I had to let this go.

I got what I wished for less than a mile later as we turned a corner and saw a significant uphill.  That was completely slanted.  The worst possible combination for an IT band injury.  I tried to zig-zag up it to help with the slanted slope, but it was too late.  The damage had been done.  Sarah's leg was starting to feel great again, and mine was all downhill from here.  Our roles had switched once again.  From then on she held back for me, walked every time I needed to, stretched every time I wanted to, and encouraged me every step of the way. 

Somewhere in mile 19 I realized I hadn't seen Josh or the kids at all yet.  I was actually feeling really disappointed about this, knowing that we only had 6 or 7 miles to go.  During one stretch of walking, I looked far up ahead and saw 2 girls holding a familiar pink sign.  I saw a man (a really good-looking one at that) and the 2 most adorable children in the world.  I consider all 5 of these people to be family, and they showed up at just the right time.  I ran toward them and scooped Noah up into my arms.  I couldn't stop hugging and kissing him or smiling at his sign that read "Go super mommy, GO!".  Josh arrived by my side with Natalie and I did the same to her.  They had never looked more beautiful to me in their lives. 

We continued on, alternating walking and running when needed.  I began to realize that my knee hurt the worst every time I moved from a walk back into a run.  For the first 2 minutes I would wince in pain.  It would then start to loosen up and I would feel OK for a little while until I would be forced to walk and the cycle would continue.  Somewhere in the early 20's, Sarah's knee started to hurt as well.  We were falling apart at the seams! :)  And for the most part, our "treatment plans" were completely off course.  She would need to walk just when my knee had started to loosen up from running.  She would be ready to run just when I was hoping I'd never have to run through the pain again.  These miles were tough.

Every time I had to stop, I felt horrible.  I knew exactly how she was feeling earlier on when she was worried she was holding me back.  And she knew exactly how I was feeling then too...that even if she could have gone ahead, she never in a million years would have.  We were in this race together.  Finishing the race was never going to be impossible for us.  We both knew we would do it, in our own way, in our own time.  Finishing the race together, side-by-side had seemed impossible, yet here we were, somewhere in mile 21 or 22, with less than an hour to go.  We were together.  We were doing the impossible.  Sarah looked at me at one point with tears in her eyes and said "Do you realize what this means?  That we might actually do this?" At first I thought she meant finish the race.  I nodded with joy.  But then I realized she meant so much more.  She hadn't wanted to say it any earlier, but at this point, we had stood by each other through all the ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns of this race.  We had cheered with the cheerleaders.  Whooped to the worship band.  High-fived our fellow runners.  Laughed at the strangers' signs.  We were just realizing the we were actually going to finish this thing...together.  Just writing about that moment brings back the tears all over again.

Somewhere not long after this, things got really fun.  The pressure of a time-goal was completely gone...and let me tell you, I needed that.  Looking back now, Sarah and I have decided there are 2 options in marathon running. You are either running with your focus on time, or running with your focus on fun.  I am so glad that when push came to shove, we chose the latter. :)  Moments from these last few miles that I remember clearly include fantasizing about a gigantic burger, fries, and milkshake (I had never been more hungry in my entire life!), wanting to kiss the strangers handing out pretzels and peanut butter crackers, telling spectators "this is so stupid..." (but with a huge smile :), stopping at the gummy bear station around mile 23 and beaming with joy as I grabbed 7 (7!!) cups of gummy bears, and the look in Sarah's eyes when she smiled and said "These are the moments we'll remember.  Now this is fun."

When we finally crossed over the Broadway Bridge back into downtown Portland, we were 2 miles from the finish line.  We were still doing a walk-run combo (much thanks to my now pretty excruciating pain, especially on hills) but the excitement was almost uncontrollable.  Somewhere in mile 25 a random guy stopped to cheer us on and said "You're almost there!!!  You only have a quarter mile to go!!"  This is when the totally surreal moments began.  I found my theme song of the day on my iPod ("Tonight, tonight") and began to blast it.  I was running down the street with both hands waving over my head, singing my heart out and putting every last ounce of energy I had into this final stretch.  As we approached a turn, there stood the big sign reading "Mile 26."  Tears immediately filled my eyes as I bit off a candy ring from my bracelet and turned the corner onto a street that was lined on both sides by strangers cheering us on.  I saw my beautiful sister Jenny to the right, video taping the moment and giving me just the encouragement I needed to get to the end.  We turned one last corner, and there, maybe 40 feet in front of us, was the long-awaited finish line. 

Words really cannot describe these last 10 seconds.  Everything around me became a blur.  All I could do was look straight ahead.  I didn't notice any people on the side of the road (including my husband and children!).  All I could see was that which was directly in front of me...those cameras, that balloon arch, that finish line.  I heard them call our names "Christie Wilson!  Sarah Green!"  We took our last strides over that line, stopped dead in our tracks, and just hugged each other, sobbing.  I could hardly breathe.  It's the weirdest feeling.  It's like you know in your head that eventually you will get to the end, but after that many hours of moving and that many miles, it seems as though it will go on forever.  Then suddenly, just like that, it's done.  Your feet are no longer moving.  People are handing you medals and space blankets and roses.  It's over.  And you take a mental picture and know it will be impressed on your mind and heart forever.  I will never, ever, ever forget that moment.  It was everything they said it would be.  It was worth every second.

The most amazing part about it all was how opposite it was from what we had imagined.  But it was so much better.  I just keep thinking about how perfectly God orchestrated the whole thing.  It was only a few days prior that we had the eye-opening realization that even though we felt like we had always done everything together, we really hadn't.  We had just been there by each other's sides through it all.  This race was such a perfect metaphor for life.  For the most part, there was always one of us going through something challenging or painful, while the other stood by to support and encourage in any way needed.  And there is no place the other would have rather been.  The only time we both felt healthy and amazing was that final stretch of pavement.  5 hours and 41 minutes later, our feet crossed that line.  And THAT experience we really, truly, and honestly had side-by-side.  WE DID IT!!!  And we did it TOGETHER!  Incredible. 

As I sit here and write, I am in so much pain.  My IT band is really, really, really mad at me (for good reason).  I was telling Josh I keep wanting to pat it like it's my race horse and say "Good job, girl." :)  It held up way longer than it ever should have, and it deserves to be babied for a while.  I'm icing and taking ibuprofen like it's going out of style, and I'm headed to the chiropractor tomorrow for what's bound to be a productive (read: painful) recovery session.  It's possible that every now and then I slip phrases into my conversations with Josh that sound something like "You know, I am in the elite 1% of the world's population now..." and "You're sleeping next to a marathoner..."  But hey, it's true.  Just like birth, this is something that no one can ever take away from us.  It's a gigantic check off my bucket list of life, and I am insanely proud.

Will I ever do this again?  I can't even imagine the thought.  Would I tell everyone to do it at some point in their life?  Absolutely.  Was it worth every ounce of training, energy, time, money, and pain?  Without a doubt.  It's the smartest stupid thing I've ever done. :)  And I will cherish this experience for the rest of my life.

26.2 Miles: Check.


My card Christie gave me the morning of the race. It was a text I sent her when I very first committed....

On our way to packet pickup!

Tough faces on the morning of!

Best cheerleaders ever!

The hugs she needed at the moment she needed them!


So proud of my man!

Loved this shirt.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sarahs 26.2 Story...

Wow. Woah. Holy Moly.

I kind of don't believe it's done! It was sort of a blur :)

We flew into Portland on Saturday at noon. Went straight to the expo and picked up our packets, shopped, soaked it all in. There were just so many people! It was crazy to think that they had all been training, struggling, sacrificing for months and months just as we had.

We headed over to Christies and managed to chill out for a little bit before it was time to head to dinner at the yummy Spaghetti Factory! Had a great dinner with Pat, Josh, and the kids and then Christie and I headed out to drive a part of the course and then go pick up her friend Wendy's Garmin that she was so fabulously letting me borrow. Had the chance to meet a couple of Christies best friends in Portland! It was so fun to meet the people I've heard all about. So thankful shes got such incredible friends!!

We got home around 8 and started to lay all our stuff out. This proved to be more involved than I thought, and by 9:30 we finally had our numbers pinned, gels and drinks set out, candy bracelets configured, nails painted, ribbons cut, electronics charged... you get the picture.
Pat and I headed to bed around 10, and I tossed and turned for hours. Seriously. I would guess I maybe got 2 hours of sleep. I just couldn't shut my brain off. So, when the alarm went off at 4:30 I was dragging. Got a cup of coffee and peanut butter toast (which later would prove to be a disastrous lack of calories) and then headed up to get dressed.

We took off at 5:30, called our third amigo, Sara in Detroit for a pep talk, and made it downtown and managed to find parking fairly easily. We walked to Starbucks to go to the bathroom and then it was time to spilt off from my hubby. He pulled Christie and I close and prayed for the 3 of us. He prayed for strength, endurance, and for this all to glorify God. The first of many inspired moments.

Christie and I found our corral and got in line for the clothing check. This is the one complaint I have for the entire race. Very disorganized. There were 3 different lines all feeding into the same, and all snaking all around the corral. We stood in line for a good 30 minutes. It was getting close to 7 (when the first group would go) and we both had to pee. So we sprinted to another corrals porta potties, cut in the long line, did our business, and headed back. Phew! Made it!

Our corral began to move and I got butterflies like none other! Set my music up and inched closer and closer to the much anticipated (and much feared) start line.

Christies Garmin wasn't set yet, so as we got closer we realized that they weren't going to be synced... oh well!

There it was. Balloons and the big red and blue mats... deep breath, push the button on my garmin, and... GO!

We were running. In our first marathon. This was it!!!

We looked at each other in a sort of funny, insane disbelief.

Our plan was to keep our pace SLOW at first. Somewhere around 12 minute miles. We didn't want to let the adrenaline make us go out too strong.

We were laughing and enjoying! We got around mile 2 and began passing runners that were in earlier corrals, and I told her we should watch for Pat. We looked for a red hat and white shirt for just a little bit and she screamed, "There he is!!!!!" He saw us as we were jumping up and down waving and screaming (and running)!

Kept running, enjoying all the spectators and their signs. The streets are literally filled with spectators. Makes Bloomsday look puny. Tons of bands playing all sorts of different music. Lots of cheer leading squads! (We may have joined in with a few...)
Some of my favorite signs were...
  • Run Bitches!
  • You're all Kenyans to me!
  • Dear Stranger, You're amazing!
  • Ride to the Finish Line- $100
  • I find runners incredibly attractive! (His phone number was on the bottom!)
  • I think you're insane!
  • I run for the Ice Cream Truck!
The spectators were everything! The next race in Spokane I'm going out to cheer on strangers!

I kept looking at Christie to see how she was doing, but she looked fine and I didn't want to bring it up :) Just about then I see a familiar face. Pats cousins wife, Jessica was there to cheer her husband on and jumped out of the crowd to hug me! I was so excited I accidentally threw my water bottle at someone! Ha! "I'm so proud of you!!!" She yells as I run away :)

Around 6 miles we realized we had been running for an hour! We were amazed that not only had it gone by super quick, but that we had been able to run together for so long. That was not something we had expected!

We hit 10 miles! I saw a friend I went to Nepal with 10 years ago in oncoming racers and was able to give her a big hug too! So many surprises! Christie was cracking me up here. Cheering for everyone and their dog. Dancing, and whooping! She was such a cheerleader I was cracking up. I tried to keep up with her jubilation, but soon began to see my energy dwindling. I mean, how many cheerleaders did these people need? :)

As we hit 12 miles we were about to head into a long stretch along industrial buildings, and I suddenly realized I had forgotten my Cliff Bar that I always run with... that was on Christies kitchen counter. I asked a random spectator if they had anything to eat and this lady pulled out peanut butter crackers. I mean who just carries those?? She was my race angel, and if it wasn't for her I don't know if I would have made it. Those peanut butter crackers got me through! Right after this we saw 2 of Christies good friends with a big sign! So fun! They ran a bit with us, and encouraged us!

The next part was my rough time. Mile 12-16. My cramps grew worse and worse. Finally it was to a point where we would make it maybe 1/4 mile before I would cramp up again and need to sit to stretch it out. I was discouraged, disappointed, and pissed off. I wasn't sure if I needed to toughen up and run through it, or stretch it out... I debated and Christie asked me if I needed her to be tough. I said, lets run to the hill. I told her I needed to blast my music and not talk. She nodded. We took off. This little, tiny stretch was what made me feel like I left it on the pavement. It hurt like hell. I just stared a the front of this car that was parked by the hill. That was my goal. I would either make it there, or my hamstring would snap and they'd have to cart me to the finish. I know I probably had an intense look of pain on my face, but Christie didn't say anything and ran with me to the base of the hill. That was a big moment :) We walked up the hill (Christie power walked, and I gripped.)

I used the porta potty at the top of the hill and in my haste to get back moving left my crucial water bottle on the side of the road. Didn't realize till half a mile down the road and by that point it was too late. Crap. Double crap.

By 18 miles Christie was starting to hurt more and more. I'll let her go into that... The hard part was that our injuries would flare up at different points. So, when I needed to stop and stretch- she needed to keep running. There were times I gutted it out, and there were times she gutted it out. This part was hard. Our goal was to enjoy every moment and to be thankful for it all. We knew it'd go by fast and that a few days later we'd be looking back, and we wanted the memories to be fun, not torture. This was not exactly fun and not exactly torture...

Christies family showed up at the absolute PERFECT time! I had tears in my eyes as I watched her hug her babies and her hubby. So, so, so what she needed! As we ran off Josh yelled, "Pat did it!!! He finished under 4 hours!!!" I got teary again. I was so proud of my man! So so proud!

At about mile 22 there's a huge HUGE downhill portion. Christie cannot do downhill so there was no question that we would walk it at this point. And that "disadvantage" turned out to be one of my favorite moments. We cracked up and joked and ENJOYED it! This was the point where we gave up doing it under 5 hours, and decided we were going to get back to having fun :)

My knee all the sudden killed. Like it did when I hurt it about a year ago. I knew it was the same thing, different knee. But, I had to finish at this point. It was at this same final downhill portion that my tummy decided it was done. Not fun. Christie wanted to dream about what we would eat and I wanted to puke or... something. It passed. THANK GOODNESS!!

We ran/walked this final few miles. Everyone around us looked miserable, and we tried to cheer them up as much as possible. All the sudden- we were back downtown! The finish is downtown!!! Eeekkk!!! About mile 24 we saw Jessica again and she ran with us for a second. Told us to take our music out for the end so we could hear everything. I asked her how her husband did and told  her thank you! Looked at Christie to see if she heard, but she was too busy rocking out :) She then made a face that I had by then learned to mean "we need to walk for a sec", so we did and this guy came out of the crowd and yelled at us :) We have our names on our bibs, so he goes, "Christie and Sarah!! Get moving!!!!!!!" Ha ha!! Soooo.... we did :)

As George Michael's 'Faith' was blaring in my ear, we rounded the corner, went a block and rounded the next one, and there it was. The thing I had not let my mind go to.


A huge balloon arch floated over the same red and blue mat we had crossed at the start. But, this time there were TONS of people hanging over the sides of the fences. Screaming. Jumping up and down. For us.

It was only Christie and I running this final block at that moment. I looked over at her and she had this smile, this look of determination on her face like I'd never seen before. She was absolutely beautiful! I looked back in front of us as the mat came closer and somehow looked into the crowd and saw my incredible husband with pride all over his face. I sprinted forward, rose my hands above my head and screamed, "I DID IT!" as I crossed the finish line. I did a happy dance for a second, and then Christie threw herself at me. We were hugging and jumping up and down and sobbing. "I'm so proud of you!" I told her. Because I was. Of both of us. We did it. Somehow.

It was so hard and impossible, and at the same time easy and fun.

We filter through and got our space blankets and enormous amounts of food. Took our pictures, got our medals and went to find our families.

I saw Pat first. I tried to run to him (ouch!) but people were in the way. I finally got a clear shot and jumped into his arms. I loved him more at that moment than I think I ever had. I knew what he had just done in an hour and a half faster than me, and I was amazed and grateful to share this with him :)
My awesome sister-in-law Jen had driven down from Seattle with my new nephew David. This was the first time I'd seen him since he became a Green :) So wonderful to get to share this with them!
We took tons of pictures, and ended up going out for dinner with Ed, Jessica and Christie. Drank some beer, ate, talked... it was incredible.

We rushed out to get our clothes from Christies, and raced to the airport to make our flight. Got home and gave our babies a big kiss.

And that was it. A whirlwind.

I don't know if I'll do this again. Not because it was hard, but because I don't think the joy, excitement, divine moments, and exhilaration could be topped.

Without a doubt one of the greatest days of my life :)

...pictures to come :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

There's a party going on tonight!

Airport pickup: Check.
Won some free socks at bib pickup: Check.
Free Samples: Check.
Lusted over funny t-shirt reading "I thought they said 'rum'": Check.
Got a hard and fast "NO" to the shirts from the hubbys: Check.
Carbo-Loading: Check.
Drove the course (OK, only the hard part): Check.
Rocked out to our race music: Check.
Got a little sappy: Check.
Painted our nails yellow: Check.
Laid out our race clothes: Check.

Stayed up too late: Check.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Giddiness Abounds

My excitement level has shot up.  BIG TIME. 

On Tuesday I saw an orthopedic doctor, who confirmed my chiropractor's diagnosis of my knee pain.

Tuesday night I hit the gym for my last attempt at figuring out a game plan for the race, and with God's grace I found one.  I started slowly, working my way up from a walk to a jog, and backed off every time I felt any questionable pain.  About 4.5 miles into it, my knee had loosened up just like the chiropractor had said.  I found a rhythm that worked for me and allowed me to progressively extend and improve my running times.  I was by no means fast, but I was running.  My pain lightened up significantly.  In fact, the last 45 minutes or so were virtually pain-free.  All in all, I ended up going 9 miles.  9 miles!!!  My longest run in over a month. It felt good.  And I now know exactly how to pace myself for race day.  My psychic Shuffle was in full effect after my run, playing 3 Jeremy Camp songs in a row, the final one being "Beyond Measure" while I was bawling with joy in the parking lot.  God used that night to teach me more about yielding control to Him and allowing Him to work miracles as a result.  That is exactly what He is doing, and I believe He is far from done.

On Wednesday I got my new shirt.  It fits perfectly!!  I cannot wait to debut it on Sunday!  And I was deeply moved and encouraged by Sarah's profound blog post.  I didn't think it was possible to be any more grateful for and blessed by her friendship.  I was wrong.

Today I had my last chiropractic appointment, and as I drove through downtown on my way back home I stared in awe at the Portland Marathon banners hung from the lamp posts.  I spoke to Spaghetti Factory to confirm our dinner reservations for Saturday night.  Sarah received the most amazing card from a past client.  And I received the most thoughtful gift of support and encouragement from my dear friend.

Sarah will be here in 36 hours.  Tomorrow is our most important night of sleep.  Saturday we will drive our race course, pick up our bibs, and lay out our clothes.  Race weekend has arrived. 

When I first began this journey, I was told I was embarking on a physical, emotional, and spiritual transformation.  I now know just how true this is, and I believe with all of my heart that Sunday is going to be life-changing in more ways than one.  This story is far from over, and I feel like these next 2 days will be the ultimate cliff-hanger.  I can't wait to see what's on the other side!

We made it, bestie.  We are really doing this!!!  I cannot wait to welcome you to the city in which you'll become a MARATHONER!  I am so glad we chose to write this new chapter in our story.  We will never forget this as long as we live.  See you in Portland!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Marathon Playlist!

So, for those of you that care- here is what I'll be shakin' my booty to during my 26.2 miler :)

SOS- Rihanna
Just Dance- Lady GaGa
Iko Iko -The Dixie Cups 
Move -MercyMe 
Stuck Like Glue - Sugarland 
Something Beautiful- Needtobreathe 
Single Ladies- Beyoncé 
Bubbly- Colbie Caillat
Getcha Hands Up- Press Play 
Poker Face- Lady GaGa 
Stronger - Mandisa
Go Tell It On the Mountain- Needtobreathe 
Glamorous- Fergie 
Hold Us Together-Matt Maher 
Up! -Shania Twain 
Let Us Love- Needtobreathe 
NY2LA- Press Play
The Sweet Escape- Gwen Stefani
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree- KT Tunstall 
Mighty to Save- Hillsong
It Happens - Sugarland 
Irreplaceable- Beyoncé 
Ready to Run- Dixie Chicks
Getcha Hands Up- Press Play 
I Wanna Do It All- Terri Clark 
The Words I Would Say -Sidewalk Prophets 
Here In This Moment - Beckah Shae 
Follow You - Leeland
In the Light - DC Talk 
Lay 'Em Down -Needtobreathe
My Redeemer Lives- Hillsong
Washed By the Water- Needtobreathe 
Kokomo - The Beach Boys 
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
Respect - Aretha Franklin
Salvation Is Here (Live) - Hillsong
All I Want to Do - Sugarland
Oops!... I Did It Again -Britney Spears
Who Do You Love - George Thorogood
Take My Hand -Shawn McDonald 
Gone - TobyMac 
Lose My Soul -tobyMac 
Say Won't You Say- Jennifer Knapp 
Ooh Ahh - Grits 
Taken By Love - Kutless 
More than Beyone Measure      
Valleys Fill First - Caedmon's Call
Tainted Love - Soft Cell 
Dance - Caedmon's Call
100 Years- Five for Fighting 
Hollaback Girl -Gwen Stefani 
I Declare - Sammy Eubanks 
Dive -Steven Curtis Chapman 
Fool For You - Nichole Nordeman 
She Dont Love Me - Sammy Eubanks 
No One - Alicia Keys 
SexyBack- Justin Timberlake 
Bye Bye - Jo Dee Messina 
You're Gonna Miss This- Trace Adkins 
Love Is Different- Caedmon's Call 
Here's To You -Rascal Flatts 
Lookin' At You - Nichole Nordeman 
Home - Nichole Nordeman 
Kiss Me - Sixpence None The Richer
For All You've Done- Hillsong
For Who You Are - Hillsong
It Won't Be Like This for Long -Darius Rucker 
Lead Me -Sanctus Real 
Everyday (Live) - Hillsong
Slumber - Needtobreathe 
Hey Mama - Mat Kearney
Ships In the Night - Mat Kearney
Count On Me -Mat Kearney 
Sooner or Later - Mat Kearney 
Chasing the Light -Mat Kearney
Learning to Love Again - Mat Kearney 
Down - Mat Kearney 
She Got the Honey-Mat Kearney 
Young Dumb and In Love- Mat Kearney 
Rochester -Mat Kearney 
Seventeen - Mat Kearney
I Will Follow- Chris Tomlin 
Ants Marching - Dave Matthews Band 
Run the World (Girls) - Beyoncé 
Diva  Beyoncé 
Crazy In Love-Beyoncé 
On the Floor - Jennifer Lopez 
Let's Get Loud-Jennifer Lopez 
Raise Your Glass - P!nk 
Get the Party Started  P!nk
Blow  Ke$ha 
(You Drive Me) Crazy- Britney Spears 
Low - Flo Rida
Faster - Matt Nathanson 
Brighter Than the Sun -Colbie Caillait
I Am Woman- Jordin Sparks
Rolling in the Deep - ADELE
Be OK - Ingrid Michaelson  
Tonight Tonight - Hot Chelle Rae 
Party Rock Anthem- LMFAO 
Green Light- Beyoncé 
Damn Girl -Justin Timberlake 
Jumpin', Jumpin' - Destiny's Child 
Sexy and I Know It -LMFAO   
Last Friday Night
Faith - George Michael 
Hangover - Taio Cruz 
Shuffle loaded?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Deep thinking going on!

That is how I feel at this moment :)
Somewhere between uber excited and giddy (annoyingly so) and then at the same time feeling nauseous and terrified (not a good, anticipation sort of terrified. Like a train coming towards you as you're tied to the tracks kind of terrified).
The giddiness comes from the fact that it looks like Christie is going to be able to run a good portion of it!! Something that for the past month hasn't looked so possible. Also from the simple fact that what we've waited so long for is almost HERE!!
The nauseousness comes from just that... its almost HERE. Either I will or I wont. Either I'll push through it and finish strong or I'll hold back and have regrets.
That's my fear. Regrets.
We have different fears- Christies is injury and not finishing. Mine is not living up to my potential. Well, I suppose that could be hers too! :)
We talked today and I told her how I feel like I haven't pushed myself. When her and Pat got injured I sort of acted like I was too. I did my long runs and the majority of my short ones, but I wasn't injured. I know that during this race I need to remember that my breaking point is just that- mine. I need to find the balance between running part of it with my Christie and enjoying the fun that we've set out to create and acknowledging that moment where we both know when its time for me to go on ahead. I'm dreading that moment. Where I have to take a deep breath, give her the biggest hug ever, and say something sappy like, "Next time we see each other we will both be MARATHONERS!" and go on. Alone.
Just typing this brings tears to my eyes.
I don't like being alone, doing things alone, going on alone... you get the point. I'm like a parrot.
But, I think that may be what God's been teaching me through this.
I continue to pray my heart out that miracles will abound and Christie will be able to run the entire thing with me! But, I'm trying to embrace the fact that there may be that moment where she watches me run away and that if shes OK with that I need to be OK with that.
I started to write that we do everything together and we need to do this together, but that's not true.
Noah slept through the night before Will did. And we celebrated both victories at their own times. She got married years before me, I had a baby before she did... most of the monumental experiences that I always think we did together- we didn't. We just enjoyed each others victories as if they were our own.
Now I get it :)
That's what we'll do on Sunday. Whether we run the entire thing together or not. If I run ahead I'll text her when I finish and she'll cry tears of happiness and whoop for me somewhere on the course. And if I'm able I'll find her 1/2 mile out and finish with her, or maybe I'll just be on the sidelines screaming my head off and bawling as she comes across the finish line alone- because shes the strongest woman I know. Either way we've done this on our own, but somehow God's given us the ability to enjoy each others victories and share in each others hard times- so much so that only now, 13 years later, I am finally realizing that the majority of it was one at a time.
This post probably doesn't make any sense, but for me this has been huge. I can hardly see the screen because I'm crying so hard and my kids are asking me why I'm sad and if they can have a snack! Haha!
C- I love ya, chicky-tina :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Green Light and God's Might

I just had one of those "Was this written exclusively for me?!?" Bible Study moments.  Before I divulge, I've got some back-tracking to do. 

A lot has been going on behind-the scenes in the past few weeks regarding my injury.  I haven't written a word about it, much to protect my mind and heart.  At this time last week, both Sarah and I were pretty sure I was not going to be able to run at all during the marathon on Sunday (SUNDAY!!!).  It was a devastating thought.  Thankfully, things have been looking up.  Here is a recap of what's been going on:

*Tried to run 3 miles last Monday.  Stopped after only about 4 minutes as the area surrounding my knee instantly began to burn just as much as it did when I injured it, even after 3 weeks off.
*Scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic doctor to get a true diagnosis and weigh the risks
*Cancelled that appointment after getting an amazing chiropractic referral from my dear friend Nicole (follow her incredible blog here: www.mydream2run.blogspot.com).  Scheduled an appointment for this past Saturday with no idea what to expect but a lot of excitement and anticipation for what he would say and how he would fix me.
*Broke down crying to my dear friend Jinger when it finally hit me, the morning of my appointment, that he might actually tell me he can't fix me and I can't run in the race.  I felt like my fate was in his hands.
*Praised God for an AMAZING 2 hour appointment with the chiropractor (who is also an avid runner and marathoner).  He diagnosed my IT band injury, did adjustments on my hips (a big part of the real cause: they were so screwed up my injured leg was a full inch shorter than the other!), and treated my inflammation with ultrasound and electrical therapy.  He laid out a "game plan" for marathon week (including 2 more visits to his office, one of which was today).  And, above all else, he gave me the OK to run. (!!!!!!!)  He told me it would hurt.  He told me I probably would have to run half and walk half.  He told me I would limp for a few days after.  But he told me nothing would pop or explode, that my actual knee was in great condition, and I would get to that finish line one way or another.  That was all I needed to hear.

He also told me to get out there and run this week.  This morning I ran my first 3 miles.  It hurt.  Really bad.  Sometimes I had to hold my breath.  But he had warned me that this would happen and assured me that it would loosen up after 3-4 miles.  So tomorrow I plan to run 5-6 miles and see what happens.  Wednesday I plan to experiment with alternating walking and running the entire time to see if it holds up better with that approach (or gets even more inflammed every time I slow down and it has the chance).  Then I'm out of time and there's nothing left to do but stretch, ice, down ibuprofen 'round the clock, and pray!

Which brings me to my point.  Tonight I was doing my final day of this week's assignment for my women's Bible Study (from "David: Seeking a Heart Like His" by Beth Moore).  It was about the story of David and Goliath and about how God's strength is so much bigger than our own or than any of the battles we face.  The final questions had me list an obstacle I am facing (my injury), the victory God wants to give me (a race that glorifies Him), and asked if I could commit to measure my obstacle against my God and not my strength.  I boldly circled "Yes."

And then, just a few lines down, the following line jumped off the page:

"Is He not only the Lord Almighty on the page but the Lord Almighty on the pavement?"

Seriously???  Would that line even make sense to anyone else?  I don't know, but it sure made sense to me.

Sometimes I feel silly even imaging that the race or our training has any importance to God.  There are countless more important things in the world and even in my own life, I know.  But last Saturday as I was reflecting back over my appointment and how much that green light from the doctor meant to me, a thought was overwhelmingly clear.  God cares about this marathon because God knows I care about this marathon.  The desires of my heart matter deeply to Him.  He knows every hair on my head and every fiber of my IT band.  I really and truly believe He will be smiling and cheering for me whenever I finally cross that finish line on Sunday.  Or wrapping His arms around me and carrying me if for some reason I don't.  Either way, that's pretty darn amazing.

Off to pop some more pills and partake in my new favorite past-time: stalking the weekend forecast.  Good night!