I did it! I completed 26.2 miles of what I am saying is the hardest thing I have ever done! The crazy thing is that my mind wants to do it again (I am not sure why)! There were times of sheer joy: when I was at the starting line anticipating the start, when I got started and I was actually keeping a great pace, when I looked up and noticed my surroundings and enjoyed them and of course when I finished. Then there were times that I cussed myself out (literally and out loud so others probably thought I had lost my mind), times I began to think I had lost my mind, and times I really questioned my training. I know we are only talking 26.2 miles not 100’s of miles but it was overwhelming the amount of emotions that go through your head during this time when you are pushing your body to exhaustion.
I guess what I am really saying is that it was amazing. As I reflect back over the run there are so many emotions, thoughts, things I want to say and I am not sure how to express this feeling of doing something like this. I have disappointment because I thought I would do better (a faster time) and I thought I would be able to run the whole thing due to what I felt like was good training. Then there was joy that I completed it, didn’t pass out, didn’t stop (did think about it several times, but hey, I bought a really expensive marathon jacket. I had to finish so I could wear it!) Now it feels like all the doubt is being replaced with the desire to do it again. I did set a personal best (okay a personal only but who is counting): Finish: 4:49:24
61 in division out of 144
503 out of 1137 women
1558 out of 2748 who finished the marathon
11:03 mile pace but I really lost it in the last 6 miles and that is what brought me to 11 min. miles.
The crowds were wonderful. I had my headphones in but you could hear them and see their joy of yelling for you. They all seemed to truly express their desire to help you finish. I am so thankful that they all came out to cheer us on. I loved seeing some of the same people moving along the race course. It was like familiar faces even though you had no idea who they were. They were there for you! On multiple occasions while I was struggling people would read my name off my bib and scream “You can do it Shanna! You got this!” Then there were the moments where you saw your friends, your family, a person I hadn’t seen in over 15 years (stopped and gave him a hug!) and it was incredible to see their joy in your accomplishment. Overwhelming……
There were some great signs that kept me going:
“If it were easy, I would do it!”
“This is the worst parade ever!”
“Run for those who can’t”
“If you faint, we will pause your garmin for you!”
“Are you tired of seeing us yet?” (this is from one group I saw five times along the path)
“If you can read this you’re losing” – on the back of someone’s shirt. I pass them!
“26.2 because 26.3 is just insane!”
My least favorite and it kept popping up – “Trust your training” (Lots of self doubt for me behind that one!)
Then the one my daughter made. “You run like a girl! Go Mom”
A moment I will not soon forget is when Coach Barry Switzer placed the medal over my head and told me by name that I did a great job. For me it was a full circle moment. He coached one of my favorite football teams (University of Oklahoma and then the Dallas Cowboys). He was also been at track meets I participated in when I was younger. So for me a full circle moment was realized at then end of this race.
And of course there was the reason I ran. A Run to Remember those we lost on April 19, 1995 in OKC and then those we lost on April 15, 2013 in Boston. A community struck by tragedy but the strength and perseverance that endures through all of us.