Wednesday, February 03, 2010

ING Marathon 2010

*August 2009 ~ training begins; I run 2 minutes and have to stop to catch my breath. We run a mile and I feel exhilarated… sit on my couch remainder of the day... unable to bend my knee... Nevertheless, I feel FANTASTIC!
*Half way through the training now ~ I am running with my sister over a bridge I used to drive by and wonder, How Can those people run like that.

*Over the tough part of training ~ Breathing is lighter ~ Knees and I make a deal “you take care of me, I’ll take care of you” … endurance is greater than I thought possible at my age. Even with self-doubt.

*3 weeks away from Marathon ~ replace Victoria secret scented body cream with a strong, mint soothing Icy / Hot…
Night stand looks like Betty White moved in … Bedtime is now 9:15pm … I start to Worry ~

*Days before the big day ~ hands are clammy ~ annoying voice inside my head insists
I am not ready... Carb filled diet makes me feel like I ATE Betty White …
Cannot remember the last LONG conversation I had with my boyfriend… Breathe in Breathe out... Start looking at things around my apt as possible threats… Shoes, Treadmill, carpet, CAT…I have never been this careful walking across an apartment…

*Ughghh PMS sets in ~Re-read old inspiring E-mails from Coach Ralph ~ He keeps telling me I’m ready... breathe it in … keep it IN! ~ Feel like an emotional wreck ~ Ask those running with me ~ “how do you feel”? ~ In hopes, that someone says Man I am a WRECK! In which case I would feel better… ~ but they all seem to be “READY” ~ Wooosaaa …

*Walk into Pre-Race dinner ~ I count the glasses of wine alongside each table I pass... Wonder if I can stick to the “ONE glass max” rule...As I sit down and look around I take in the room ~ we are surrounded by family, friends and Teammates. Coach Ralph takes to his podium (chair) we listen to his speech with admiration and anticipation. I laugh and hold back tears as we watch the slide show... The room is filled with positive comments... Finally, the food arrives... (WINE) … breathe …

*Make it back to Maria’s house ~ mad dash to get things ready ~ help her get organized ~ Layer on the Icy / Hot ~ Lay in bed ~ I listen to the sound of the shower hitting the glass door ~ Smokey Barks ~ my heart is pounding ~ my entire body is buzzing … Breathe … I close my eyes... Quietly start relaxing (make a final wish, I hope Summer can make it out)
As I’m settling into the end of a long day, I Turn on my side … and through half opened eyes, I peep a weird face shadow ~ My heart skips a beat .. I reach out for my cell phone with shaky hands. I use its light to better inspect the space beside me. Whew just a Statue by Maria’s bed ~ Relax! I look at that weird head by the bed and I hear my self-whisper “psst I am ready” ~ and with a giggle I turn the freakish head towards the wall. Soon after, I am asleep.

*3am Alarm rings ~ I’m dressed ~ eating a bagel w/peanut butter ~ No time to fret... Breathe ~ get off Metro rail and walk to our tent … We are here... it is time... I look at my sister and realize … We are ready and the excitement starts to take over Team mates arrive... Huddle for final pep talk... group picture … head out to the corrals … WE ARE READY!
*Text message from a friend surprises me ~ Places Set ~ Flare shoots up... Smoke fills the air... and the race begins… breathe... My Heart is pounding and my face aches from smiling... I look over at Maria and see my own reflection beaming back at me. The pace picks up as Maria and I search the camera crew for our very own paparazzi. (Yoda if you will) I Spot him and yell out “WE are HERE”. The shutter goes off and the flash captures the moment as we run by. I look over my shoulder to take it all in... ~ Runners behind me, cameras flashing and JC waving to us from a block away ~ my heart runneth over ~ THIS IS IT! WE are here ~ this moment is ours ~ No one can stop us!
*The miles start passing by ~ 1 ~ 4 ~ 7 ~ 8... I am amazed at how great I feel. Spectators line up the course and cheer us on. At some point, sweet, cool raindrops envelop me. I remind myself to focus on my surroundings.... We wave at the two vivacious cross-dressing cheerleaders ~ Capture this one of a kind moment and push on.
*Mile 10 ~ 2 Gel packs down ~ countless porta potty visits, and hundreds of cheering strangers later ~ Pelvis pain, My knees burn, my toes feel like I’m running on naked bone and my pace is slowing down ~ I’m doing more speed walking than running ~ The clock threatens ~ My chest burns …

*Mile 11 ~ another stretching break ~ I learn to land on different parts of my feet. From the corner of my eye, I see a sign ~ the sign screams six words that get me moving again.“PAIN is temporary PRIDE last FOREVER” ~ I look at Maria as she captures that moment ~ we know we have to fight through the pain.

*Mile 12 ~ Speed walking again … Yoda informs us he is just ahead ~ Pushing us to fight harder …“walking? RUN DAMN IT” ~ we wave and start running. I can see something up ahead...a huge orange archway...“Half Marathon”

YOUR ALMOST THERE! ~ One last Turn!!! ~ I start running ~ the pain is overwhelming ~ tears swell up … I stop!

Disappointment starts rearing its ugly head … I am walking... holding myself together… refusing to give up... wondering HOW can I do this?

Maria is beside me again, she is pushing me… motivating me... My body whines as I start to jog again … and then in the distance I hear “TEAM FDC!!!! GO!! Come on you can do this”!!! I look up to see 4 people in Team colors … We pick up the pace … Knee Pain Jabs at me... harder and harder still … Again I hear “GO TEAM ..You girls can do this” I look over and see Elena and her camera flashing away ~ her smile spreads behind the lens ~ I turn around and reach out for Maria’s hand.

We turn and face the finish line ~ all Pain is gone ~ nothing but determination, adrenaline and my sister’s hand in mine … I can hear her breathing... I hear her sobbing and then Whoosh!! We have CROSSED THE FINISH LINE!!

I would like to say I was overcome with tears of joy as I crossed over that line… Instead, I can tell you that I was in shock, in awe of our accomplishment... It took me a little while to feel the Overwhelming pride of it… It was when I was watching from the Metro-rail ledge with the satisfyingly heavy medal hanging around my neck, that I felt it.

True people will continue on with their “mission” to bring me down... constantly insisting I have not changed. Reminding me of past mistakes ... My stumbles and falls…If nothing proved it before... The medal that hangs in my room serves as a reminder…I have grown. I have moved on. I SET A GOAL AND I ACCOMPLISHED IT! No words or actions to the contrary can take that away from me.

“NO ONE CAN TAKE THIS AWAY FROM YOU” ~ Ralph Fernandez DeCastro

MARITZA: Marathon Runner … who would have thought!