This morning I was planning to get up early and write a detailed race report. I was going to tell you all about the ups & downs of the marathon experience. But I’m not ready yet. It was such a hard day in so many ways. They closed the race course because of heat before I could finish. In some ways I still feel that I can rightfully say that I completed a marathon – I went 24.1 miles, during the last three of those refusing all rides back to the finish area. But then at 24 the race director stopped me and the group I was with and refused to let us go further. She conceded slightly by having them reopen the finish line for us so I have my medal.
Ultimately, I was last in my age group. I was in the last half dozen or so participants overall. That joke about “please don’t let me be last” wasn’t such a joke Saturday. I experienced the most crushing disappointment of my life when I crossed that finish line – the finish that I had envisioned during hundreds & hundreds of miles of training literally vanished before my eyes.
I have never worked so hard for something in my entire life only to not succeed.
Would I have finished if the race director hadn’t stopped me? Yes. And that’s why I think I’ll be able to come to terms with this and say that I finished a marathon.
But I also feel that I simply wasn’t good enough. If I had run the way I trained I would have finished for real, or at least been within a mile of finishing before the black flag. I would have run more than I walked.
Tomorrow I will take some time to tell you about the amazing support from my friends and family. Tomorrow I will tell you how I fell apart and what I learned about a race this long and about myself. Tomorrow I will thank my husband for dropping in by my side even when he was starting to feel sick from the heat. Tomorrow I will cry (again) as I tell you about the friends who saw me at my worst, and those who prepared to run and ended up walking miles & miles & miles. Today I just can’t.
It’s true when they say that a marathon will change you. I’m still trying to process all the changes.