St George Marathon...

 This post is dedicated to Boston Jae Taylor - 

Just like it said on the back of my race bib - "I'd rather have you."

This is the week that I have been dreading since April - the week that I was due. All the "what ifs" and "should have beens" come rearing their ugly heads. I knew October would be a hard month so 5 weeks ago I made a courageously stupid decision to sign up to run the St George Marathon along with Blake. If I couldn't have a baby then I would do next hardest thing.

Here is a wordy therapeutic race report... read at your own risk:

Friday - we arrived at the Race Expo in St George. Took this great shot then entered the land of crazy runners:

I am a runner but I am not a RUNNER... the frenzy of people buying discounted shoes, last year's race shirts, and endless products that will make you run faster, smarter, longer always makes me laugh. My kids enjoy these expos since they score candy, cow bells, stickers, and free shirts. We made it through the gauntlet and found our race packets... the shirt fit great which is really all I cared about... then headed out.

Saturday - We attempted to get the necessary sleep and totally bombed. Nerves, bathroom breaks, and Perry's horrific cough made it so I probably got 3 hours of actual sleep that night. At 4:30, we were up and ready and on our way to the bus. We took the long bus ride up the mountain and found a fire to  stay warm by.

This really is the worst part of any race - the waiting - all I want to do is get running but we had to hang out for over an hour. Finally it came time to hit up the port-a-potty one last time, strip off our sweats, and drop our bags in the truck. Blake qualified for Wave 3 so I totally got to haze him as he entered the "serious runner" corral with the elites and sub-elites. I took the long walk back and found the 4:15 pacer and tried to get right in the middle of the crowd to stay warm. 

Finally, the gun went off and we were on our way. I had made a very simple race plan and did great sticking to it.

Mile 1 - 10:
Mile 1 I used to get into the groove of running and had some fun passing people while I caught up with the 4:00 pacer - where I stayed for a long portion of the race. After that, I decided to keep myself busy by each mile that was a year that is one of my child's age I would think of them. For example, on mile 4 - I thought of Perry and all the wonderful (and a few not so wonderful) things that make Perry Perry. This was really a good way for me to think of each of my children and what I hope and dream for them. It was especially humorous when on mile 8, I was all but done with the mile when I realized I had forgot Cosie - of course, it was Cosie... poor middle undemanding child. So she got some of my mile 9 love as well.

Mile 11- 20:
My main goal for the race was to get to mile 20 before I walked whatsoever. After doing my kid spotlight thing I found mile 11 starting to hurt and I had nothing to distract me. This was when I remembered that I had told Kara I would run a mile (or 10) for her - and so I did - I ran Kara-style for 10 miles... which means I found a poor soul and chatted him up. His name was Ron - he was from Georgia - he was a family therapist... and he really did help me more than he knows. He had the right 9 minute pace that kept me running until mile 20 - which was really (besides finishing) what I truly wanted to accomplish.

Mile 21 - 22:
Here was the pain... oh the pain. Halfway through mile 21, I fist-bumped Ron and told him that it was his time to leave me in the dust. I could tell he was slowing down just because I was slowing down. He was very kind and offered to stick with me but I told him very dramatically, "No - just go on without me..." He chuckled and took off - well not really took off but I was fading fast so he quickly built a large lead on me. I knew these two miles would be my toughest and once I saw the balloons floating ahead for mile 23, I gave myself permission to walk the quarter of a mile to them to re-group. I tried desperately to catch my breath, attempted to push the thoughts of my legs as heavy as lead out of my mind, and gave myself a huge pep-talk. I tried to keep it mental but at one point I caught myself talking out loud, "K - at those balloons is mile 23 - that means it is a 5k to the finish. A 5k! Anyone can run a 5k. YOU have to RUN this 5k!"

Mile 23:
I started running again! It is always scary to allow yourself to walk because you never know if you will be able to start again. Luckily, I was able to bring my legs back into motion. It started as a pathetic shuffle but I was slowly able to bring back some speed. Then I saw Cassidy (more on her later) but it was so good to see a familiar face and her daughter handed me the best tasting Otter Pop ever. This was a huge boost that I needed and with the help of her and the rest of the gathering crowds I was able to get back on a decent pace.

Mile 24 - 26:
In a way I had looked forward to these miles - we found out that we had lost Boston on the 24th and they performed the D&C on the 26th. So this mile until the end were for her. This is when I cried about our loss (and just because marathons hurt so bad) once more and the tears felt good and healing. I was physically spent but I knew I was going to finish and by the looks of the time-clocks at the mile markers that I would PR (personal record for those of you who don't speak runner) - this was more than I ever hoped for when I signed up in my crazy state 5 weeks earlier. Mentally I was much stronger at this point than I ever have been in a marathon before and I thank Boston for that. Whenever I had negative thoughts - I would slap my bib and say, "I'd rather have you." and I could get myself back into a good place.

Mile 26.2:
The last mile was an eternity - it seemed it would never end. They pulled out all the stops - ice packs, live bands, cooling towels, popsicles, and spectators galore - but even still it was all I could do to just repeat over and over, "Do not walk. Do not walk. Do not walk." while putting one foot in front of the other. I could hear the 4:15 pacer coming up and I did not want to be passed this close to the finish by her. So I pushed through and then I saw Blake - I cried once more just at the beautiful sight of my husband cheering me on. I gave him a nice sweaty kiss and got myself over that finish line. Gloriously, I finished. I finished in 4:13:25 (a 9:40 pace) which I was very happy about. This was my third marathon and it was the first time I genuinely felt happy with my accomplishment at the end.

Post race:
I got my medal, my chocolate milk, and stumbled to the ground... where I couldn't move for the next half hour. I found Ron in a similar state and once more I expressed my appreciation to him for being my running therapist. After awhile I realized that Blake probably wasn't able to re-enter the finishing chute and that I needed to go find him... which meant I needed to stand up... ugh.

I found Blake, some more food that I couldn't stomach, and my flip flops (oh they felt so good). We took one last parting shot then hobbled our way to our van.

This race was fun and energizing and within minutes I was talking my next marathon which is something I usually don't do until years after. (Hopefully next marathon is after next baby though) It was the distraction that I needed this month and felt like the proper way to honor Boston. I am grateful for my body. I am grateful for my husband's passion that inspires me. I am grateful for my dad who made running a necessity in my life. I am grateful for Kara who gets it. I am grateful for Julie who took Luna every Tuesday so I could long run. I am grateful for multiple friends and family who called, texted, and encouraged me these last few weeks - thanks for not thinking I was stupid.

And thank you Boston - I could not have done it without you. Just like I could not have done it with you - which as I hope you know now is what I would have preferred...


Jana Weaver said...

What a beautiful tribute.... and great job on your run!!

Jo said...

You amaze me. I have no words.

Danielle said...

Cyndi, you are so strong and so amazing and so inspiring! Your beautiful children are so blessed that YOU are their mama for forever, Talmage and Boston included! Thank you for sharing this experience.

Pops said...

What an amazing post. I am so proud of you and your resilience. Thank you fit sharing yourself in such beautiful ways.