This was supposed to be an exciting weekend for us because we had been in training for Willie’s “knock it out of the park” half marathon and my first marathon. But then a little winter storm came into our lives. We probably should have taken the hint when our flight was canceled but we didn’t. We just got in the car to drive to Memphis. Race officials said things were still ago and we didn’t want to miss out on the race. We arrived in Memphis at 1:30 am before the ice storm hit.
Friday morning we woke up to attend the expo. There was a little icing but not much. The ice storm didn’t look as bad as what it was set out to be. We had a great time at the expo. We talked to a lot of people and just enjoyed being a St. Jude Hero. The pace car had all the names of the heroes on it which was really great, When I picked up my bib, I cried. This was the moment I had been waiting for and I was ready to tackle it.
We carb loaded and it was soo good.
And then at 6:30 pm on Friday night, the race was canceled. We were DEVASTATED! I cried about it and I was upset. The roads were fine. We had been driving on them the whole day. I just didn’t get why they waited so long to tell everyone because people did a lot of traveling in bad weather to get here for a race they said wouldn’t be canceled.
I went to bed to wake up to a Facebook message saying they were going to send out medals to everyone. I knew we couldn’t hang those medals in our house or wear those race shirts with good conscious because We didn’t earn it. First and foremost, we am a runners and those medals mean something to me. They are a collection of my achievements and tangible items for every obstacle We’ve crossed. The St. Jude Marathon medal was going to be my crowning glory of 2013 and I just couldn’t have that medal hanging in my house if I didn’t earn it. So Willie and I, got up on Saturday morning and ran our miles. He ran 13.1 and I ran 26.2!
Ironically, some people got their medals yesterday for running the course that was deemed unsafe just 12 hours before. A group of people headed downtown to run and we would have too if we got the memo but we ran in Willie’s neighborhood.
I’m not going to say this was the hardest run for me, because it wasn’t. I think purely because I was determined the run these miles. But it was cold, it was windy and it was repetitive. I wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood and I had to keep making loops to come back to the house for bathroom and water. I ran these miles way slower than I was capable of but I decided it was about finishing and not about time earlier on. I really thought I was running faster than I was though but these were slow 12:00 – 13:00 min miles for me. Big difference from those 9:xx min miles on Thanksgiving.
The cold was tearing up my body making it stiff and my muscles were tightening up but I kept pushing. I won’t lie, at mile 16 I thought about giving up at 18 I cried because I was lonely and 22 was probably the hardest mile for me. The last three miles were the easiest though.
Never take for granted a race situation because there are other people there to cheer you on, hand you water, pat you on the back and running with other people keeps you moving. I ran these 26.2 miles by myself and with no music. I wish I would have ran the first half with Willie but I didn’t. I remember seeing him at mile 6 and I was so happy to see him. I should have taken that as a sign. Willie never wants me to run with him but I think he would have been ok.
Of course there was chocolate milk for the finish. I know everyone thinks I’m just saying it because I’m on the team but I live for this stuff after long runs!
All in all I finished it. Willie finished his. I think we earned our medals and they will proudly hang in our house. I’m not sure if this makes me a marathoner but to me I am. I will put my sticker on my car and go on. We could have rolled over and went back to sleep and sulked in the unfairness of what happened, but we got up. We may not have ran the miles step for step together, but we did this together! I was glad to share this moment with my biggest cheerleader and best friend, Willie. The biggest regret of the day was we didn’t get our picture together and there’s not a single picture of Willie running his miles.
But these are the moments we will remember forever and no one can take those moments away from us. On Saturday, we truly became runners because we didn’t know what to do besides run. As we departed for home, I asked Willie was his favorite part if the weekend was and he said running. I smiled at him because I understood.
We finished off the weekend hanging with family and friends. Even though nothing went as planned, everything turned out the way it was supposed to be. The biggest lesson of the weekend: never let someone else take away your dreams if you can achieve them on your own!
Thanks everyone for traveling this journey with me and pushing me forward!