This morning I knew I would finish the Marine Corps Marathon. I felt it in my nuggets. I was teary-eyed at the starting line as I imagined the glory of the finish line. The race was mine. I was strong, rested, feeling happy, and starting in a closer coral to the start. I actually heard the howitzer fire and the national anthem and I knew this was my day.
I did not finish.
In fact, I did not finish in spectacular fashion.
Yesterday, while we were out enjoying the sights, we ate McDonald’s. Twice. The food crime of the millennia. And I paid for it most heartily in the port a jon today. (We were crammed for time while at the Smithsonian and there was a McPuke right there, so for the first time in, like, three years, we ate what they call food. It was gross. Not even the kids liked it, but since we couldn’t eat popcorn all day, that’s what we did.)
The race started out great. I got across the start line ten minutes after the gun (howitzer) and felt solid. I could tell that all the hills I’ve been running lately really paid off. Immediately following the 1st mile marker, things went south.
Between mike marker 1 and 10, I stopped in a port a Jon every time they presented themselves and puked on the side of the road twice. I was going at a decent clip, but by the time I got to Kim at mile 12, we were trying to avoid the pace car.
And then I’d just had it. By 13, 14 ish, Kim was literally pulling me along. Shortly after 16, I sat down and threw a proper fit. (Apparently, when I put my mind to it, I can be quite dumb.) Kim was perfectly willing to carry my grumpy, puke smelling carcass as far as the finish line, but I dug my heals in. I didn’t want to try anymore. I knew that at mile 17, we’d be diverted to mile 20, thus not qualifying as official finishers. It seemed pointless to try and finish.
I quit. Just like that. My brain was screaming at me to stop, my back was sore from the puking… I was done.
Kim was rightfully upset. She’d trained for weeks to run with me, to the point that she had injured her back/hips. Now here I was, giving up. I let her down. After a conversation that could have deteriorated into her punching me in the uterus, we sat down on a bench and rested. We looked at the crack in the Washington Monument. We made fun of people. Then we just sort of got up and started walking to the diversion point. We crossed the bridge to miles 20 and 21, and things were peachy; we were going to walk in as unofficial finishers, after all.
And then I almost passed out with vertigo and it felt like Rhett Butler was trying to crack my scull like a walnut. I couldn’t really walk straight. Kim had to hold me up. Again. And then I almost puked again (on the over pass…gross) and it was over. The medics came, carted me off, and gave me an IV. All the while, Kim sat with me, her training gone to waste, holding me up while I shivered and did my best not to pass out.
My husband came and collected me, and that is the end of that. Marine Corps Marathon beat me again. I’d like to hold to that saying “Dead Last beats Did Not Finish which beats Did Not Start”, but I don’t really care right now. My muscles are wiped out, I’m mentally exhausted, and I know I did all that I could, despite the hissy fits I threw. This may bother me, haunt me, even, that I came so close, that I had such wonderful support. …but right now I am content with my effort. My body was done.
I successfully raised $500 for Fisher House. That’s pretty good.
I’m a lucky girl. Kim still wants to be my friend, my husband still loves me, and the earth did not stop spinning because I didn’t finish a race.
And a very public shout-out to everyone who showed me support, on-line and other wise. The prayers and well-wishes were amazing! Kim trained through pain for me. Scott and Eli put up with us. Kyle shared his room. My family cheered me on from all across the country. My husband…my husband has shown patience and kindness and love beyond measure. (Love ya, Honey. Thanks for rolling with me, even when the wheels fell off.)
Hey, BareFoot Jim! I didn’t finish, but I think the monkey’s gone. I still want to race, and I don’t feel kicked. I know my body was done, that my effort was pure. The meal the day before, however…not so much. 😉 Thanks for the pep talks.
…there’s always next year. Or the Honolulu Marathon. Or a local 5k. Or a trail race. Or my bike.
…or just some hot chocolate and a snuggle with my family. See how that whole earth spinning thing works out?! 🙂
(Also, McD’s is the devil. I’m just saying.)
Congratulations to all the finishers and starters today!
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run, yours is the Earth and all that’s in it, and-which is more!- you’ll be a man, my son.”