mraAfter eating the piece of best orange ever, seeing the man with the balloons and being in front of the Doubletree and seeing said man turn the corner ahead of me, the emotions as I previously mentioned were starting to swell.
My senses seemed to be heightened as I began to feel hot air and then cooler air and then hot air again. What the hell? The winds in downtown were confused. The cool front and the not cool front were fighting each other.
And my heart was fighting with my legs. Go. Stop. Go. Stop. Go.
As I turned on Louisiana I remember seeing the first angel. And she was yelling my name. Loudly. It was Sarah. And next to her was her boyfriend, Jose. Yes angels have boyfriends.
I ran straight towards her and she stepped off the curb to run out to meet me. I distinctly remember how good she felt as I hugged her as tightly as I could. I dont remember letting go. I think I didnt want to so I just held onto that in my head. And then I kept running.
Up ahead of me I could see the other runners turning and it seemed so close. So very close. And it was. I turned.
And there it was. The light blue of the Finish line paraphenalia. To me it said COME ON IN JUNE. You are almost there.
I was alone. But then out of nowhere a man stepped in line with me and simply said to me "Hows it going June?" (I had my name on both arms), I dont remember now what I said, but I do remember him asking me "is this your first marathon?" and I replied "yes." I told him I wanted to walk and he said "nice and slow, easy pace. Speeding up now is pointless. Just keep going, you're doing great." I thought oh my God hes SO smart. He kept talking to me and I kept trudging along ignoring the beep that told me it was ok to walk right now.
Then there was angels 3 and 4 to my left, screaming...Pony and Pizza Man. I remember Pony jumping up and down and yelling Junebug, and I remember John's smile. Said angel #2 (the man) was still nearby. After I passed Pony and John, I told the man "I cant do it." "I cant get there."
It was so close now. I went to say something to him, and he was no longer there. I didnt have the energy to turn my head and he wasnt in front of me either. I kept going.
From there I only remember reaching up and wiping tears from my eyes, again and again. I wonder if my pics will show me doing that at all. I usually try and make sure for a good pic at the end, but I dont even remember holding my head up at all.
The clock said 5:36 (and of course I still had the wits about me to subtract 3 or 4 min from that)...A runner always is aware of time. Always.
and then it was all over.
A man was at my side asking me if I was ok. Yes. Yes. Yes. He must not have believed me cause he asked if I needed to sit down, and I said "No." And he led me to the door of the GRB.
I then heard Erica. I dont know what she said, but I was trying so hard not to cry and someone was putting a medal around my neck. I went to Erica and April. I was having a hard time breathing.
I think the first words out of my mouth were: "Did Steve BQ?".....Thats the other thing about runners, at least the ones I know.
We are always thinking of others in our most painful times.
I never saw that man again and I wonder if he was real....
I know one thing that is real: I am a marathoner.
And she ran happily ever after.