Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Ran My First Marathon Today!!!!

My parents, Logan and I after my FIRST marathon!!! I was so happy!
Logan and I (Team Stanley!)
Here I am, running the final yards to the finish line. And yes, my Garmin said I ran 26.4 miles, not 26.2......(many people were complaining of this same thing....the route was longer than 26.2 miles.)

Hey y'all! This morning, I embarked on a 26.2 mile journey I had been preparing for seriously since May. (Okay guys: this one's gonna be a longggg post....)I began running after Weiss was born in February, inspired by our church's first annual 5K, which was AWESOME!!! (I love Community Bible Church and all my peeps!!!) Danielle Patteson, Lisa Walls and I had signed up from the Young Marrieds LifeGroup.
I began running/jogging/talking with Danielle Patteson during the week and on the weekdays, and we would take the boys and put them in our jogging strollers and go. Not only were we both college soccer players (so we are NOT of the traditional running physique), but busy moms and friends from church and she also went to school with Logan before becoming a teacher again, so we always had ALOT to talk about!!! Danielle had also run the Baylor Bearathon half--when baby Joshua was FIVE months old. She would run her long runs on a TREADMILL!!!! (Crazy...) THEN---we both got even more inspired when Lisa Walls---with 2 marathons under her belt---told us she would be running San Antonio 2008. We decided to get "hardcore" and join San Antonio FIT, a local running club specifically for the SA marathon with several hundred members.
So---at the end of May, our "official" training began. At the time, Logan and I thought we were staying in San Antonio until December because of the dental office construction delay, so I was soooo excited about this training, which met on Saturdays for long runs and offered plenty of support during the week and a personalized running schedule. Then--we moved to Marble Falls. I thought my training could be over. I immediately called Rebecca Nunnally, who knew just the person for me to exercise with....
Well, let me tell you a thing about runners---especially marathon runners. They get really excited when they find someone else out there like them who loves a sadistic sport. So, before I could even pick up the phone and call Denise, she called me. We had a great first conversation, and we planned to meet to run with her running buddy, Lexy. The next day or so, I went on my first run with two of my now close buddies.
Although they still put up with my pokey turtle self, both Denise and Lexy have been so much fun to run with. Others have occasionally joined us, spicing up our routine. We normally do our long runs on Saturdays, but sometimes that would change due to schedule conflicts, but we would meet at Lexy's here in Meadowlakes and take off nearly every morning on a 3.2 mile route around the perimeter streets in Meadowlakes. Because there are no streetlights, we all wear our hats with cute little clip-on lights because we leave at 6:00 AM and it is pitch dark sometimes.
So---after all of this, today was the marathon. Logan, Mom and Dad came to cheer me on. Little Weiss stayed with his Mia (Logan's mom, Cinda), and Dickey couldn't come--he was speaking out of state at a conference. Deanna Nail, Mendy Ritchie, Denise Rhodes and I were the girls running from Marble Falls. A guy from Lexy's church, Duane, also ran. (Sorry Lexy---I can't remember his last name!) Danielle, Lisa, my friend Wendy Fowler, and our architect, Jean, (pronounced "Zhj-ahn") also ran the full marathon. My friend Stephanie Blanks ran the half with a baby boy on board, due in March. However, there were 30,000 people there, so I only saw the Marble Falls girls because we stayed in the same hotel and hung out before and after the race. However, Mendy and I ran the majority of the race together.
San Antonio had an annual marathon in the past, but it was always very small for a city its size. However, the Rock n' Roll Marathon/Elite Racing Group bought out the marathon this year, and this was the innaugural season. This first Rock n' Roll San Antonio 2008 marathon is now Texas's largest marathon. There are lots of bands on the route, keeping it fun and lively. There is also a headliner concert the night of the marathon, but obviously I didn't stay, although it would have been fun! (I'm all showered up and refreshed, cozy typing in my bed...)
I was so inspired by the crowd and runners. The crowd was so motivational, and because I wrote my name on my bib, they cheered for me by name!! (Thanks, Denise!!!) Many were running for charity groups, which was incredible, and had raised money in the process of training. Others where running for friends or family. Tall, short, skinny, fat, old and young were running; all running stereotypes were broken. There were those runners with a sense of humor: Elvis, Santa Claus, people with tu-tus and fairy wands, a man in Levi's cutoffs, a pearl snap shirt, topped off by a mullet wig.
I've never cried when I've run before, but I got choked up today FIVE or SIX times with tears and a huge lump in my throat. I saw a college aged young man pushing an older man in a wheelchair. Everyone was cheering them on; it was so uplifting. Cancer survivors were running. There were several people with prosthetic legs running. One of the spectators stole my heart: a little girl, not much younger than Weiss, was along the route 2 times, and then I saw her at the finish. Her daddy must have been running. At mile 14 I first saw her: her mother was holding her, and she obviously had a tumor or growth in her neck. She was cheering "Go, go, GO!" with her little voice. The wheelchair racers began the race before the first of those afoot. I saw one of the last wheelchair racers at about mile 23 going up the incline of an underpass, struggling to finish. However, I know she was going to make it.
By all of these various people I encountered, God demonstrated how precious and fragile life is. I was filled with a new sense of gratitude for my life, those around me, and my God. I am thankful for all I have been blessed with in my life. I'm thankful for all of my family, my friends, my community, my health, and all of those who were inspirations today. Thanks to those of you who've called, emailed, "Facebooked," supported and prayed for me throughout this journey. You don't know how much it really meant and helped me.
I really got so much more out of this marathon than running.


Mark & Terra said...

WOW Courtney!! Way to go!!!! AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

Whoo, I'm crying. What a beautiful blog. Thanks for sharing!