I was pretty worried about the race. In the lead-up to it, there was lots of communication between the race people and runners regarding the possibility of weather/lightning/heat/humidity/storms/cancellation of the race! Wow. I had it planned. When they started to try to get runners off the road, I would just push harder & run faster. I was going to finish that race! I trained for months! Are you kidding?
So, Saturday morning, I drove to Houston with my senior son and two daughters. We really enjoyed the expo…it was a runner’s DREAM! Almost overwhelming…almost…
Before I went to bed, I prayed to God to just let the storm leave the race course alone…I had a full night’s sleep and woke up with the familiar race anxiety in my belly. I kissed all my kiddos good-bye, and found my way to my corral.
The race was AMAZING. I love the course. The crowds are great. The volunteers are the best I’ve seen. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be there. Even after the race, when it seems like the volunteers are ready for things to be done, they all take a moment to make eye contact, ask questions, even say “thank you for running Houston!” “Did you like the course?” Just blew my mind.
I finished in 4:03, which is my best time out of my now-5 marathons. I’m really happy with that.
I noticed a few people had pacers toward the end of the race. I really like that idea…someone jumps on the course to run alongside a numbered runner, usually a friend or family member I guess, and helps motivate the runner to keep on keepin’ on! I saw a young lady being encouraged by what appeared to be her dad. It was motiviating to ME and I didn’t even know these people! I think it must be nice, though, to have that. I realized this morning that the absolute toughest part of a race for me are around miles 23-24. I mean, you’ve been pounding pavement for hours, you know you are within 30 minutes of finishing, your quads are screaming, hamstrings tight as piano strings, feet feel beaten with a hammer, and the internal conversation? “Okay, is my head tired or are my legs tired?” At that point, it’s tough. You don’t want to slow down. Walking is out of the question. More conversation, “Okay, God, You got me this far, now what?” And, then a word will fall into my heart – this race was “faithfulness” because I knew God was showing me that I was faithful to Him through thick and thin…eyes on Him. He wasn’t about to let me down. Our God is faithful. I just felt so slow at that point. But, rather than look down at my Garmin and freak myself out, I knew I was stepping my way toward the finish. Toward my sweet children. Toward my goal. I don’t ever rejoice in the fact that I am indeed finishing a marathon until I feel confident the end is in my sight. I was really happy to see the clock ahead. I knew I was going to make it.
I am happy to report the weather was wonderful. Drizzle at times, breezy, lovely, perfect.
Oh, and after I finished and reunited with my children, the first moment I had, I was on my knees, making the sign of the cross, and thanking God for answering my prayer. And thanking Him for blessing me more abundantly than I could have ever hoped. Weather held out, a PR for me, safe travels, strength, and endurance to finish the course laid out before me. Gotta love it.