Picking up at mile 20. (For the first 20 miles, click here.)
Wade and I are running along, conversing, but mainly just trying not to focus on the intense muscle cramps we are developing.
Around mile 21, we come up on Allie’s sister, and she joins us in our quest for the finish line. We press on, but we were HURTING. As in, every muscle fiber in our legs is painfully spasming, and it feels like we could fall out at any moment. Thoughts going through my head during the last few miles include:
- It feels like I’m running on perpetual charley horses.
- Do you think we can make it?
- My legs feel like a cross between jello and stilts.
- This is so hard.
- I could easily curl up into a ball and pass out on the sidewalk right now.
- It is dangerously possible that my calf muscles roll up and detach from the bone at any given moment.
- Remind me again why I signed up for this?
- Please make it stop.
- Maddie, Maddie, Maddie, Maddie.
- How much further?
- Where is the @#$% finish line?
At some point along the agonizing North Parkway stretch, some of our dependable cheerleaders inform us that Allie is just a few yards behind, so we slow down and she speeds up, and around mile 24 we are all reunited. This may not sound amazing, but it really, really is. Of all the runners out there, and the fact that we all ran separately and at different paces, what are the odds that we would meet up before the end?!? It was totally a God thing, and it was awesome.
The last couple miles felt like an eternity and tested every ounce of mental and physical endurance we had, and then some. We encouraged each other along, and when we finally approached the stadium (what a glorious sight!), we ran our last little stretch hand-in-hand and crossed the finish line in 4 hours, 40 minutes, and 50 seconds. It was emotional, beautiful, incredible, and exhausting, and I am so thankful to have finished my first marathon in such a memorable way.
And I know I’ve said that I refuse to do another marathon, but now that I’ve put a few days worth of space between me and the race, I’m sorta kinda thinking I would maybe consider it.
In the distant future.