Monday, January 18, 2016

Chevron Houston Marathon 2016 Recap

What a great marathon weekend I had! I started the weekend resting. The Expo opened on Friday and I decided to stay at home and rest for the weekend (what a great decision!). Saturday I hit the floor running: I volunteered with the race with the Social Media crew. It was such an honor to give back to a Marathon that has given me so much! 
I also had a chance to hang out with my fellow Chevron Houston Marathon Ambassador April in the Expo floor. It was so much fun to interact with different runners and wish them a great race weekend!
Zeke and I got our packets and we took our traditional Expo photo:
This year there were several fun photo ops in the Expo:
 It was also fun to find our names right along with the other participants.
After the Expo we went to the Skechers party. I am so thankful for the apparel and shoes I received from Skechers! They really are a great company. 
We grabbed dinner and we went to our hotel to get some sleep early. I took my traditional photo of my apparel. Notice all the Brazilian flag excitement going on. I also tried Body Glide for the first time. It was a freebie and it works! My oh so reliable vaseline worked well for years. 
I believe we saved 40 minutes of sleep by being downtown for the race. The day of our 10th wedding anniversary, we got dressed and headed to the GRB to meet with our running group. 
We pray together, wish each other well and we took a big group photo. Fort Bend Fit is a real family and I am so thankful for them! I noticed that this year I took less selfies and I gave more hugs. I didn't hug everyone I trained with but I certainly tried.
My marathon story really starts here. I went to Corral D with my husband and a friend. We managed to find the 5 hour pace group and squeezed a trip to the bathroom. Another friend from my running group found us too so we started together. I managed to stay with the pace team for 14 miles. I lost my focus so I slowed down and decided to use the restroom. While I was there, I thought, I might as well be comfortable to finish this thing. 
The weather was perfect (thank you Jesus, we prayed for that). What I did not pray for  were cramps. When I reached mile 17 I had the worse case of cramps ever: I had cramps from my waist down. Instead of getting desperate, I remembered what one of our coaches told us "just keep moving, do not stop." I think I stretched once or twice. I drank Nuun, gatorade, and I grabbed pretzels from the crowd. Miles 17 to 23 were the worse miles I've ever ran in my life. Every time I thought about how awful my situation was, God sent someone to cheer me on. There were several Fort Bend Fit supporters along the course. I took every high five and hugs they were offering. Right before mile 23 there was a bagpipe player playing the song "Amazing Grace." I knew God was telling me "twas grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home." More tears followed. Our favorite running store was running the water station on mile 23. I saw some of my running buddies there and I started crying (I often cry between miles 22-24) they were so helpful and gave me words of encouragement, pickle juice for the cramps (it wasn't that bad!) and Lajuan ran with me till we reached downtown. All the uplifting words and encouragement made a difference. By the time she had to go back, Shannon (another running buddy) was right in front of me and the 6 hour pace team was right behind us. I let the pacer do his thing and I crossed with them at 6 hours and 2 minutes. I cried and cried (again) because I was so thankful to God for helping me finish. The marathon is so unpredictable. I trained and I was prepared but something I could never imagined happened. I'm glad that somehow, all the prayers of my family and friends reached heaven and God helped me remain mentally strong to tough it out and finish. 
My husband had already finished his half marathon (and he had a PR!) so he met me inside of the GRB. He gave me a big hug and a kiss and he affirmed my effort so much. I was so proud of him and I appreciate his support and love. 
I think that yesterday's run could be described as "cramps, sweat and tears." Still, I finished and I finished strong. I did not PR and I didn't get close to what I thought was my worse marathon time. I did learn that when the unexpected happens I needed to quickly change my expectations. I expected a glamorous finish, what I got was a woman who crossed the finish line with her own legs, cramp-free and with thanksgiving in her heart. 
Today I am thankful that Zeke and I got to celebrate 10 years of marriage at the Chevron Houston Marathon. I am thankful for our precious children, the fruit of our love. Seeing them today reminded me that the true love they have for me is the best reward I can ever have. 
I am thankful for my experience as a Chevron Houston Marathon Ambassador. It was such an honor to represent such a prestigious race! Thanks for reading about my journey friends!

Previously in this Series:
Week 27
• Week 26

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