This was the day. The day that my twelve weeks of training came to a head and I proved that I could accomplish something I never thought possible two years ago... Heck, maybe even a year ago. I picked out my outfit the night before and laid it out - complete with my "If I'm doing this it must be getting cold in Hell" BondiBand. I had all of my gear ready to go. I went to bed and drank some hot tea to aid in my drifting off to sweet dreams. As I laid in bed, eyes closed, I started replaying the advice I have received over these past twelve weeks. The one that stood out the most: "Visualize yourself crossing the finish line." I kept replaying that image in my head. Over and over and over again. It was a picture perfect moment. I looked strong. The strength of my stride got stronger and longer as I got closer to the finish line. Once I crossed the finish line, I would run into my husband's arms and my children would join our embrace (although Diva said she was sleeping in and not joining us). Ahhhh... What a sweet visual to fall asleep to last night.
The day had arrived. It was dark and early and it was time to get dressed. I found out that Diva changed her mind and wanted to go cheer me on. That made me smile. Before I knew it. We were ready to go. The dense fog made it somewhat hard for us to get there - missing one turn made us a tad bit later than we anticipated. Once we arrived to the race site, we had less than twenty minutes before the half-marathon started. My first stop was to the portapotties. Oh, the lines at the porta potties. There were four lines, all as long as the others. The conversation flowed as freely as we hoped our... Never mind, I'm not going to finish that statement.
When I exited the portapotty, I met up with a fellow running friend just outside of the potties. We overheard "5-4-3", etc. Freaked out we warmed up/sprinted to the start line - FREAKED!!! How could we have missed the start?!?!?! Then, the announcer then said, "the wheelchair half-marathoner has begun." Whew, we were relieved. We made our way to the starting corral and found the 3:00 pacer, Michelle. My plan was to stick with her and keep her pace. She's been very gracious with her advice and support this past week. I looked forward to running with her. I introduced myself and we were off.
About fifty feet along the course, I saw my family. There was KISA and Diva standing alongside the road. Captain Awesome was sitting on the Hubster's shoulders. I waved with a big smile and continued on. The pace was comfortable as Michelle said that we were going a little fast. That was a relief. I truly felt that I could do this pace for 13.1 miles. The group of runners that were running a 3:00 pace were so friendly - the ones I interacted with any way. Michelle kept us laughing and loose.
At mile one, we were a little ahead of pace. Michelle tried to readjust our strides. We looked to our left and we saw a beautiful athletic specimen gliding along the path, going the opposite direction as us. Michelle began cheering him on and we followed along and clapped and cheered. Then, one of us asked, "How soon do you think he's going to finish." We were astonished to learn he was going to finish the marathon in a third of the time it was going to take us to finish. Luckily none of us had any delusions of being, what's the word? Fast?
Unfortunately, this is basically where my story ends. Circumstances beyond my control sidelined me at mile two. I was done. In tears I called my husband and let him know I could not finish, nor could I go on to the first spectator spot at mile three. The image of the letters DNF on the race result website seared my brain and my disappointment increased. A jovial volunteer offered to take me to start line so I could meet up with the hubby. She was so perky - an obvious attempt to keep my spirits up. I told her how this week was full of barricades that were trying to keep me from running this race - and how I should have relented. I told her how fearful I was to return to our car and tell my children that I quit. She assured me that my son wouldn't remember and my daughter would learn that we have to listen to and cherish our bodies. I hoped she was right.
I saw our car and the Hubster standing beside it. He wrapped his arms around me and let me cry. When I got into our car, my son said, "I thought you were going to run longer." Dagger in the heart. :-) My daughter was so supportive and assured me that it was OK.
I came home and asked to be allowed to lay in bed the rest of the day and pout. This pity party was a one man show. The family agreed but that only lasted an hour or so. Next thing I knew, the kids came into my room with hot pink posters, purple balloons and purple streamers. They intended to have them on the course to cheer me on. Although I didn't finish - or come close to finishing - they wanted to show me how proud they were at my attempt. It was very sweet.
So, what's next? White Rock. I've already put my training plan in my agenda (scheduled workouts make it hard to skip workouts). Although I wrote training for this week, I planned on taking it easy. However, it's time for plan B. The training will go on and hopefully I will go on along with it.