Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tupelo Marathon 2009 ~ Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!

I am very proud to say that I completed my first half marathon & after a day of recovery I know it won't be my last!

Race day started at 3am for me which seems asinine, but I'm a horrible judge of time, so I wanted to be able to get fueled, hydrated, focused and arrive on time. I had planned on walking to the marathon, because the starting line was only 1.5 miles from my front door, but it was early and DARK, so I drove. While warming up in the parking lot I ran into a skunk and was thankful that I drove & avoided the creepy crawlers of the country!

My support group met me at the starting line moments before the race started for last minute well wishes. It goes without saying that The Eberhardt's are good people. Anyone that will get up before the roosters {and I know it was before, because I heard them at mile 5} to watch their friend run are good people. Anyone that gets up that early to watch their friend do anything for that matter.

At the starting line Christina was quick to point out that our skirts were definitely shorter than every other skirt wearer at the race. Whatever, our outfits are running chic! I had planned on running in this outfit just about the minute I bought it in Atlanta months ago, and coincidentally my bib matched my top! I couldn't wear make up, so I had to over compensate with a cute outfit! See, exercising can be fashionable!

I had planned on creating a marathon playlist, but instead enjoyed my company & went with my "purchased" play list. The first song that played was Nicole C. Mullen "When You Call on Jesus." If you'll remember, this was the exact song that was playing when the "accident" occurred and my first thought was UH-OH! I blocked that thought out of my mind and instead focused on the words. I prayed for strength & specifically to remain injury free and comfortable.

Justin, Christina & Ken met me at mile 6.5 to take my flash light & give me a banana. There was something very refreshing about running in the dark and watching the sun come up. I've run this path several times, but I love the way being in a race makes the miles go by much easier.

Christina had to get a 3 mile run in for her own training, so she jumped in at mile 9 and it was perfect timing! Mile 11 was up and down hills and I was happy to have my own personal cheerleader cheering me on and getting me through! I've done all of my training alone, and after running with Christina I really need to get me a running partner! Anybody want to volunteer?

Christina rejoined the boys at Mile 12.5 and I was on my own. At mile 13 {This 1/2 was 14.2 instead of the normal 13.1} I felt the worst pain I have ever felt in my life in my left leg. This was the leg that had been giving me the problems, so I alternated walking and running. I knew I was only a mile from the finish, so I pushed through and focused on the finish.

As I entered the home stretch Nicole C. Mullen's "Redeemer" started playing & I thought how coincidental & empowering that I started and finished the race with Nicole. Then out of no where, someone came speeding past me & I thought, "Oh no you didn't! How are you going to speed past me RIGHT before the finish?"

Then I realized that OH ~ it was the MARATHON WINNER! He finished the entire MARATHON seconds before I finished the HALF! HA! Christina videoed the finish and on the video you can hear her say, "Oh look, she finished 2nd." Technically, I finished right after the marathon winner, but I didn't get 2nd. Oh well!

My sweet friend Candise made a sign & came out to support me & her husband who runs twice as fast as I do!

In the end, I finished 14.2 miles in 2:43:48. Initially I wasn't too happy with my time, but a few days out I can look back and be proud. I accomplished the goal and finished the race. As for my leg, I'm still in pain, but trying to be smart with my stretching & exercising. Already thinking about Memphis in December. Anyone?