Today I am hobbling around with two badly bruised toes bearing toenails with questionable futures. Also taking a beating from Sunday’s Chicago Marathon was my ego when I saw my finish time. (My results had me starting at 7:30 a.m. when I actually went out around 8:20 a.m. I estimate my finish time was about 4:52, which means I FINALLY cracked the five-hour mark after FOUR attempts.) The fact remains, however, that I finished my third marathon. I ran strong and on pace until about the 30K mark, when my leg cramped so badly I almost rolled an ankle. Things could have fallen apart at that point, but I remained determined to see my daughter, who was volunteering at Mile 25, and to cross that finish line. Between the heat and intermittent leg cramping, the last eight miles of the race were pretty brutal, but I kept running. I remembered my conversation at dinner the previous night with a Boston Marathoner who said she walks through all the water stops to prevent her legs from locking up, and that’s what I did. I forced myself to run through the cramps and used the walking breaks as motivation, knowing I could make it “one more mile.” And it worked. I did it. I crossed that freaking finish line with tears streaming down my face knowing I had never fought so hard physically in my life. I woke up Monday morning still feeling disappointed about the finish time inaccuracy, but it doesn’t matter what the clock says. I know I ran my best marathon ever on Sunday.
Congratulations to all the other finishers, and thank you to everyone who supported me during the race, whether in person or in spirit (especially my poor husband who couldn’t figure out where the heck I was half the time because my tracking was so screwed up). I know most of you think my running obsession is nuts, and it means so much to me that you encourage me anyway.