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 :) to come :)


Anonymous said...

Absolutely fantastic!! Very inspiring - I am so proud of u ladies. I literally got chills and testy eyes ready thru this all the while envisioning it the whole way thru. Blessings to both of u!!

Eryn said...

Your last paragraph was exactly how I feel! I don't know if I'll do it was the perfect "first marathon" and I just feel satisfied with it. Great great day, and I'm SO glad I bumped in to you when I did! LOVED our 3 second reconnect and hug!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story Sarah! Its encouraging and I'm so happy for your accomplishment. And you wonder how I ran during 90 degree days?! I laugh because your 26.2 miles full of endurance, determination, courage, & mental & physical strength makes my 10 mile run in the heat look wimpy. :) Congrats!

Christa Verheyen

the o's said...

SO PROUD OF YOU BOTH! couldn't have gone any better - what sweet memories you will have forever!! xo

Kris said...

WOW, you both did amazing with all the obstacles you faced. I'm so inspired right now...and looking forward to the day I run my first marathon. Thanks for the detailed post it really made me imagine how it was to run a marathon :)

mmsnyder said...

you guys are AMAZING!! and as you described the two of you talking, laughing, cheering for other people as you ran- i could TOTALLY picture that! :) congrats beautiful girls!!