Monday, March 23, 2015

Phoenix Marathon

 Well, this is me crossing the finish line with many emotions attached to it. Before I talk about that I have to back track. Me and 4 other friends (Jen Neeley, Becca Theurer, Annie and Lizzy Rigby) started training for this Oct. 11th, 5 1/2 months ago. We got a training schedule from JA and we stayed committed and dedicated to it. Sometime in January, my knee started hurting me. I still ran as best I could on it, but all of February, the most I could run was 7 miles before my knee just hurt way too badly. And a few weeks before the race, all I could run was about 3 miles before my knee started to hurt me. I was seeing a PT doctor, but really the only remedy was to rest and not run.
 The week of the race, I was a wreck. I was so worried I wasn't even going to finish. I knew a lot of walking was going to occur and I was determined to finish and cross the line, even if that meant it would take me 10 hours. But at the same time, I knew I couldn't physically walk on my bad knee that long. I went back and forth if I should run. I didn't want to injure my knee to the point of surgery or something really bad. So I was conflicted. I was discouraged. I was feeling extremely frustrated since I had trained so diligently and had done everything the Dr. had told me. I was also nervous of the unknown about my knee and the race. At one point, I told myself I was going to finish! So I decided to run and if it got to the point where I couldn't walk, I'd have to accept that and walk off the course. But I REALLY didn't want that to happen. A few nights before, Jeff gave me a blessing. One of the things that sticks out is that the Lord said I would surprise myself.

 Before I started the marathon I asked the kids and Jeff if they would be willing to support me and encourage me and I really wanted them to come to the race and watch. They made some signs and their presence was what I needed. I loved seeing them and even running with me. One of my desires is that they would see me finish what I started way back 5 1/2 months ago and inspire them to do the same when they have something they want to achieve later in life. They saw my pain and they kept encouraging me and giving me hugs. It was awesome!
So now to race day--I woke up at 3:35am we all met at Annie's house. We drove to the finish line and then were bused over to the start line. The race started at 6:30. I sat by Jen on the bus and we were both just nervous. The good thing about my knee injury is that the pressure to reach a certain time had gone out the window. My goal now was to finish and I desperately wanted that medal (you have to run the marathon within 6 hours). It was windy and i was a little cold when the race started. We were all at the starting line together cheering each other on and saying good bye, because we all knew we would be running at different speeds. We turned around to look for Jen and she was already gone:)
At first I was running with the 4:20 runner. Sure enough I started feeling my knee at around mile 3. before the race started I took some aspirin to help the pain. I kept my phone on me so I could talk to Jeff. My IPod died so it helped that I kept my phone on me. Mile 6 or 7 the 4:40 mile run by me. Still feeling pain and started to walk and run. I would walk every mile for about a minute. I talked to Jeff around mile 8 and he realized he was at the wrong place. I didn't end up seeing him until mile 16? Right before I crossed the half marathon line, the 5:00 pacer ran by me and it was then that I realized I could finish the race in 6 hours and get the MEDAL!! I crossed the half marathon at about 2:30 hours. It was gonna happen, I was so excited and uplifted. That joy got me through the next 4 miles of more pain and wear on my knee. By 16-17 miles, I was starting to get discouraged and when I did stop to walk, my gait was one of major discomfort. My ankle and hip were hurting too on the same side probably because it was supporting so much of my bad knee. At my worst, I knew jeff was right up the street waiting for me. I had my doubts that I could or rather SHOULD finish. I saw a guy, whom I've seen running around before, who is blind and he is holding on to another runner with a strap. I thought if he can do this in darkness, I could do this in my own form of darkness (a bad knee).  I popped another aspirin and kept going. In some ways running was less painful on my knee than walking. A cop asked if I needed help. There they were...Jeff and the girls. So happy and smiling ear to ear while I was crying on the inside. Oh, and I should mention that every time I stopped to walk, I was praying for strength, both mentally and physically. I also prayed overtime I started running, thanking Him for getting the momentum to get up to speed. It was a difficult transition from walk to run. Kinda felt or looked like I had a peg leg. Jeff and the girls cheered me on. They met me again at mile 20 and 23 running with me. Mile 21 I passed by the station with ALL missionaries. That was definitely encouraging as I thought about their time and sacrifice to serve a 2 year mission. If they could do it, I could withstand 5.2 more miles. I took each mile marker one at at time and celebrated each passing with a victory. My walking was more and more. I would walk through the mile marker and again at the half mile. I felt every time that much closer and the finish line within reaching. I was elated knowing that I was gonna get that medal. I really could care less about the medal, but it was more of what it meant. It meant overcoming months of commitment, months of pushing myself, it meant enduring pain, finishing something I started that was HARD. It stood for friendship, teamwork, courage, and hardwork. The last mile marker, I was in serious pain. My walk looked like some weird animal creature lurking through a forest. At this point, many runners, volunteers, and people cheering for loved ones made many comments to me of support, empathy, encouragement, and making sure I was ok. There it was the finish line. I started to run again. I was gonna run through the finish line. So many emotions I had already been through throughout the race that I didn't cry because I was proud of myself. I had already done that. I was teary eyed more for relief. It was over. 5 hours and 39 minutes later.  I heard people call my name. At the time I didn't know it was Jeff. I saw Annie at right before or her sweet of face. As I crossed there was someone with a wheel chair asking if I needed it. I declined. "I just ran a marathon, I can walk to my husband" is what I thought. I finally saw Jeff and the kids after I crossed the finish line, gave them a hug, and got my stuff and was ready to go home and rest. Jeff wheeled me off in the stroller. I rested and couldn't walk for a few days later.
I'm so glad I did it and so happy from the experience. I can pull many gospel oriented things from this experience. I don't have a desire to run a full marathon, but I do like half marathons.

1 comment:

gammie said...

I'm so glad you wrote about this in details, things I'd never heard. It choked me up in many parts listening to your faith, determination, desire to set an example and withstand pain. If you had run a 2:30 marathon I wouldn't have been as proud! What you did took incredible courage, mentally and physically! WOW!!! Lauren you are an amazing woman! I've always admired you and of course love you dearly!!!