Wednesday, December 10, 2014

St. Jude Marathon Weekend Recap

The St. Jude Marathon Weekend was a lot of things.

Amazing.  Inspiring.  Exhausting.  Painful.  Incredible.

All of these things wrapped up in one weekend package.

I've been preparing for this marathon all year.  This was the main event of my racing year.

It really was amazing. Even the sucky parts when I was cursing running and cursing my stupid idea to run another marathon and cursing the blisters and cursing all of my crazy friends who encourage me to do such stupid things....even those times were still awesome. 

This event was huge. And not meaning the number of runners (20 thousand-ish). The cause is huge. Much bigger than my stupid blisters, much bigger than my pain. And there were reminders everywhere.

Nothing compares to children with cancer and their fight. My pain running is just a tiny taste of their own life "marathon" and in comparison, my 26.2 miles is pretty insignificant. (Thanks, Jen, for these words!)

Miles 13ish.
Photo credit: Jonna Stumpo.  It was so nice to see a familiar face in the crowd.
I could tell you all about the gigantic blisters on the bottoms of my feet and I could tell you all about the 20 mile an hour gusts of wind and I could tell you every terrible detail of my mile 23 agony...but instead, I'm going to tell you about Memphis.

I'll tell you about the man who had an unofficial beer stand in front of his house...his house with every window and door open so we runners could hear the Christmas music blasting from within.  

I'll tell you about all the police officers cheering on the runners while they blocked traffic...well, most of the police officers cheered.  There was Officer McGrouchyMustache....

I'll tell you about the backed up traffic.  Holy moly the roads were at a stand-still.  Instead of being cranky at the marathon road closures, most people had their cars in park and were honking and hanging out the windows to high-five the runners.

St. Jude has Memphis by the heartstrings.  Some of the spectators looked so out of place, yet, there they were, cheering for those running for St. Jude.  It was so cool to see the whole community come together to support this awesome cause.

I think I smiled for this whole race.  Even in my darkest times, there was something to smile about.

At mile twenty-something, I was reveling in my misery, promising myself that I was never doing this again.  I'm never running again.  I hate running.  Why do I put myself through this?

Then I saw a sign staked into the ground on the side of the road.
2.5 years of treatment.
32 surgeries.
26.2 miles?  Yes, you CAN.

Well, damn.  Now I have to quit bitching and keep running.

Mile 26 complete with Carrie on the sidelines yelling for me to GO GO GO!
Photo credit: Jonna Stumpo.
As I crossed the finish line, completely exhausted, elated and crying the ugly cry, my brain was already making my race strategy for the next marathon.

We should know by now that anything that comes out of my mouth at mile 23 isn't to be trusted.  There will always be another marathon.  It's what I do.  It's what I love.

Carrie and I had a fabulous girls weekend in Memphis.

We even have fun walking in the pouring rain! (Friday)
She finished the half marathon in 1:37 with a shiny 4 minute PR (personal record) and 5th place in our age group!

I finished the marathon in 4:33 with a 29 minute PR and a big smile that's still planted on my face.

St. Jude raised over 7 million dollars from Marathon Weekend, which is actually down from last year.  Our fundraising will end on December 31, so if you haven't donated, and would like to:
Click Me!

Celebrating a job well done.


Special Thanks
~to Randy.  For being my biggest cheerleader, supporting my dreams and keeping our children and pooches alive in my absence.
~to Carrie.  For this weekend.  All of it.  And for walking with me, post-race, really, really slowly.
~to my friends.  For your words.  I've never run a marathon this far from home and without my family with me.  It was so fun to read your texts, tweets, messages and Facebook comments when I finished.  It was like having you with me. 
~to Jonna. For being all around awesome.  Hauling two babies around to be a friendly face in the crowd and for taking pictures. 
~to every single person who donated to St. Jude.  Whether you donated to me or to another participant, thank you.