Due to last minute childcare issues, dear hubby turned from runner to cheerleader to watch darling daughter while I ran the race. He won the "Husband of the Year" award, trust me, he did. And he may not realize it but it paid off in my Christmas shopping for him when I bought him new running shoes and a GPS running watch.
I knew rain was in the forecast but the percentage seemed low and I was optimistic, or in denial, as I was certain it would be a non-issue. As I walked out of the hotel with my family the morning of with nothing on but my race gear I realized how wrong I was. It was raining. Not too heavy but rain nonetheless. Thank goodness I did have enough sense to tuck a ziplock bag in my pocket just in case. I moved my phone into it. Yes, it has a water resistant case but I am the type of gal that wants to be double confident. Killing a phone isn't in my budget.
We got to the start just in time with some speed walking. No time for a final pit stop. Just get in place and get ready to go. I talked to a couple that were running their first marathon. They were excited and nervous and worried about time. I told them to relax, enjoy their journey, and that they are guaranteed a PR. No pressure. Have fun. That seemed to help them and I moved away a bit to get centered. I like to say a prayer or two before I run mainly to remember how lucky I am, that running is a blessing, and that so much is out of my control. With a bang the race started!
By that I mean, we started slowly moving forward walking to the start. I am sure somewhere way up the elites and others were running but not us. We were a mob of marathon runners walking and bumping to the start. I had my phone in my hand since I pocket it after I hit the start when I cross the starting mat and a text came in. It was from my buddy's mom. It took a few seconds for the message to sink fully into my brain. My buddy was on the way to the ER as he was throwing up blood! He just had surgery a week or so earlier and had a tough recovery and my prayers went straight out to him and his family. In that moment nothing mattered except Toby being okay. I told God I would gladly give up a PR for him to be okay. I would embrace each challenge and run strong for him and pray for him. I texted his mom back, crossed the starting mat, pocketed my phone, and started running. How lucky I felt that I had just given her my cell number in case she ever needed to get in touch with me in a hurry.
It was a zigzag due to the crowded course and the amazing number of runners who were already walking the start. The Honolulu Marathon has race time corrals but they are not "policed" and you always have groups of walking people at the start that become roadblocks. I have heard other runners complain about this for years but in the past two years it never bugged me much. I guess I never hit as may roadblocks. I was zigzagging like crazy for over 2 miles when it hit me. I am running fast and getting nowhere. I am wasting energy as my forward pace is nothing spectacular due to all the zigzagging and I had to be super careful on the wet roads. I accepted the slower pace hoping soon I would find a good flow.
On the bright side, once I got to Diamond Head and the climb up it wasn't as crowded as previous years but you still were in a mob of runners and maintaining the pace you want was difficult. And the rain continued. Yes, there were some breaks but at times it got heavier. I am not a rain loving gal and running a marathon in the rain was becoming a journey more than a race. I wanted to run strong and happy, I continued to pray for Toby, I knew I had another marathon coming up on January 18th, I consoled myself that at least it wasn't hot, and I ran on at a nice pace until around mile 9 when my stomach got mad. At mile 10 I took a pit stop, which is something I typically don't do. Since I was stopped anyhow to take care of business I texted my little sis to let her know about Toby and to extend his prayer circle. She said OK and I said, I gotta keep running. And I did. I ran on but slowed my pace to let my stomach settle. I have no idea what set it off that day and will never know. Sometimes things just happen.
The Honolulu Marathon always brings a smile to my face because in the midst of all the hardship you get to see the elites running back and that is always inspirational to me. The rain continued and there were some serious wind gusts here and there. At one time a gust created a mini tornado with all the cups on the road and I literally leaned forward with all my weight into the headwind to avoid getting knocked backwards...and I ran on. I didn't like the gusts much and not for what you would think. Yeah, headwinds are a bummer but I didn't like them because they left me chilled to the bone and it took awhile for my running to warm me back up again. I was cold and wet many times throughout the race. I thought happy, warm thoughts.
At mile 19 I received the best text ever. Toby was being released from the ER and was heading home! I texted I was on mile 19 and still running for him. I barely walked at all this race -- only to text here and a few minutes later when my buddy's mom texted back words of support. It felt great going into the final stretch with such great news! I knew I had to run as best as I could until the end. And I did.
Towards the end we did see a couple of spectacular rainbows and the sun did come out and bless us. Those were happy moments. Moments when language barriers melt and a Japanese man can turn to me, say something, and I can tell by the sound of his voice and the point of his hand that he was equally awed by the majestic rainbow that we were running "into".
Once I was in the true final stretch I kept my eyes out for darling daughter and dear hubby. When I finally saw them, and darling daughter holding up our sign nice and high, I smiled and waved. At least I think I waved. My memory there is vague. And I ran forward quite happy to cross the finish line. I was ecstatic! I ran the best I could, I ran for Toby, I prayed for Toby, and my prayers were answered. My little buddy was okay. I didn't get a PR but I didn't care. I ran a marathon in the rain!!!!
My time was 4:20:37. I can't promise you all the photos I shared are in race order. I can guarantee the first at the start in the dark and the finish photos. Everything else in between, just go with the flow!
And on race day one particular song touched my heart like crazy as it made me think of my Dad. My eyes welled up with tears as I remembered this song playing at his memorial but I quickly dried my eyes knowing he was with me...running. In honor of Tuesday Tunes, the song was "On Eagle's Wings". It came on about mid-way in the race and was just what I needed to hear to lift me up and to remind me why I run....it is what my spirit is meant to do.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for every finish line I cross.
Daily Bible Verse: I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13
|Writing today's report has brought happy tears to my eyes.|