Monday, October 18, 2010
To describe the marathon in one word: Surreal.
I know I completed the entire course, I know my feet hurt, but when looking through the Freep's photo galleries, I saw runners going on Michigan Avenue, going past Campus Martius, but I don't remember passing these sites. I remember individual moments:
- Two girls in Canada at the fluid station who smiled at me and said "Good job, Michelle." I looked at them, thinking perhaps they were students, yet wondering why they were in Canada, until I finally remembered my name was on my bib.
- The policewoman with the 8 1/2" x 11" handwritten sign that said "Yes you can!"
- Coming up out of the tunnel and seeing cheering people standing two deep to encourage us all.
- The church that had a water and banana station, taking it upon themselves to help us even though they weren't an official fluid station.
- The man in Indian Village who met me in the street to offer me some jelly beans.
- Best sign of the day: "That isn't sweat. It's your fat cells frying."
- The woman on Belle Isle who said "When you wake up tomorrow you'll be a marathoner. That's something 99% of the world can never say."
- Stopping at mile 21.7 to talk to Mike from the Y who was working as a race official. I remarked that I didn't know if a better description for my feet was burning or kniving. He reminded me that at this point it's all mind over matter and I only had 4.7 miles to go.
- A member of the medical team draping my finishers medal around my neck because no one else was there to do it.
By the time I reached the end, the crowd was largely gone, but that's ok. I finished. My entire goal was to not die so regardless of my time, I won my own race! The name of the game was slow slow slow, just keep surviving. I never saw the last chance pacer so not only did I finish, I did so with time to spare!
After the Riverwalk, we turned right and were faced with one last hill. I was beyond burning energy, I was beyond running on fumes and kept going only on willpower and desire. I kept trudging up, one foot after the other, cognizant of the blister on the ball of my left foot, every cell screaming to quit, but my mind saying no, keep going. I looked up and the first thing my eyes focused on was the Mile 25 sign. I started crying, realizing that yes, I'm going to do this. Un-athletic, poorly trained me just completed 25 miles. At mile 26 I started crying again then on Fort St. summoned every last iota of energy and ran to the finish.
The Freep is running a video of the finish line and here I am
The damage to my body isn't too bad either. I have a blister on the bottom of my right pinky toe, and a quarter sized one on the ball of my left foot. My biggest gripe is that I didn't stretch afterward and now have hamstrings that feel like concrete and make it painful to straighten my legs. This will pass. The pain is temporary but the accomplishment is a lifetime.
Come back tomorrow for my thank you letter to the city :)