|Posted by Erik on September 23, 2014 at 9:15 AM|
Today was the first time my wife would toe the line for a full marathon, we were both nervous and excited at the same time. We felt we were prepared with the mileage we put in and also the training that our amazing coach Machelle had given us. The start took longer than we thought so we were forced to freeze 30 degree weather in 8700 altitude for an extra 25 minutes longer than we were prepared to. Even so we didn't mind as we did a futile attempt at warming up with a 1 mile shake out run for our legs 15 minutes before the start. As soon as we got back to the start our first though was to head straight to the porta potties which seemed like the longest wait in line ever. We entertained our selves by attempting to alleviate some of the freazing weather through stretching tight muscles all over the legs. At some point I think the blood flow seized to travel to my toes since they began to feel as if there were extra rocks at the front of my shoes. None the less we were about 10 minutes from the start and we decided to do the strip of freezing shame to our race attire. However, we need to lose as much as weight as possible as we started our descent. We stood there in 30 something degree weather wearing small bottoms in black, freshly printed navy new balance singlets, proudly displaying our E-Dragon logo and the logo celebrating our newly created baby, and sleeves, beanie plus some gloves. Luckily I decided to buy some hand warmers from a local athletic store in town to alleviate some of the cold from the hands. Otherwise they would of felt like falling off just as my toes i'm pretty sure. As they made the announcement to all the participants to accumulate at the start of the 26.2 mile race a shiver went through my back. Don't know if it was a little bit of wind from the mountain, or just the fact that we were anxious to start. As the decision to take a selfie at the start took place I couldn't help to notice that the warmth from the rest of the participants surrounding me was comforting. The Horn went off and my first thought was to get to the pace and settle as quickly as possible. It took us a 800 meters to get to the 6:30 pace but once we got there it seemed easy to keep. However we needed to make a quick pit stop at mile 2 porta-potties and As I waited Anxiously I started counting the women passing. Finally my wife came out and we were on our way descending into the mountain followed closely by big sis running with her buddy brian. As the next mile approached I noticed that we had gotten excited and were now running about 5:55 pace per mile which was coming from a 7:10 mile on number 2. I really didn't focus on it to much just noticed that my quads were starting to take a beating already at mile 4. We were still focused on hitting an easy pace of 6:15 per mile and we were doing a perfect job of it. Cottonwood runners were surprisingly friendly, all with smiles and very pleased to be running with us. At two points we had full conversations with people about where they lived, what their goal was and how much they were enjoying this marathon. They too particular notice on to how much fun i was having taking selfies of me and the wife. Though we were extremely happy to be here we did have a few concerns very early on in the race. Primarily the damage our legs were suffering from the down hills especially the calves and feet. kristine began to wish she had worn her compression socks but that could of been my fault for wearing mine. She had not trained with them during any of our runs so she decided not to bring them but when I mentioned it she told me she should of. The other major concern is the amount of pressure our baby was putting on my beautiful wives stomach. Needless to say the 2nd mile was not the last time we had taken the opportunity to stop and enjoy the facilities handsomely provided by the race organization. In total we were forced to alleviate the body about 4 times and 1 more time to alleviate the calf tightness through out the race. However, the difficult part of stopping was not the long lines of people we had to wait behind or ask to skip once we caught the half-marathoners at the facilities, it was the attempt to get back to relaxed pace while taking the beating from the downhill. We were really excited to know that we were close to the end of the downhill when we passed mile 12. We were already hurting from the pounding and the continuation of moving around the half milers which kept on getting thicker and thicker as we approached the 15 mile turn. At this point I realized my left foot had begun to show me signs of sharp pain shooting every downhill step I took. Every step we took only gave me the thought of getting closer to running on a flat surface and after we got there it would all be worth it. We would reach the bottom and we would continue to run faster but more comfortable, little did I know. The turn was very welcomed and we even began to run faster when we got into the 15 mile at the bottom of the hill, however, it was the beginning of the true trials of the whole race. As I tried to increase the pace I looked over to the left to see how she was doing. The face that I saw was that of someone trying to go trough the pain. Mile 17 was a brutal one since it contained our first big hill. My attempt to keep us at 7:00 per mile had failed and we had hit our first 7:30 and she was hurting from there. Here I knew she would need me most of all and it was my job to keep her going. My first thought was to break the race into pieces that she would be able to accomplish. As we approached mile 18 people all around us were cheering her on which kept on incuraging her even though her calf pain had begun to get extreme. My goal was to get to the turn around to reach the last hill and begin the decent into the finish. She officially hit the wall about 18.5 when we hit the turnaround because its when she began to express how much she couldn't do this. I looked at her eyes and her voice told me that she wanted to stop and that she couldn't keep going the pain was to extreme. The only thing I could tell her was to take the next step and reach the next mile. As I began to tell her to forget about the competition and just focus on the finish we were able to keep going 1 mile at a time. The shining light that we were able to see at the end of the tunnel was the approach of coach Edgar Gonzales and his words of encouragement, release of doubt and his accompanying jog during the middle of mile 21 and 22. That kept us going to the top of the bridge to the last 3 miles of race. One thing i vividly remember him saying was "when you get to that turn it's time to go because that is where they are going to be gunning for you." The last three miles of the race were brutal punishment, every step we took hurt more and more. Even though the pain was extreme on the quads, the feet, the calves, the toes and lower legs we were able to pick it up back to 6:30. Again my strategy was to break it up into pieces of things that we could handle. I knew this part of the race since we had ran it two days prior and the main thing we wanted to do was get to the big downhill right at mile 24. Once we did get there it was both a blessing and brutal punishment since every step we took send needles of shooting pain directly into every leg muscle. We did however manage to lower the pace to 6;15 on that mile and were filled with exhaustion and fear that someone was approaching. As we approached mile 25 i began to look back to see how much lead we had and to my surprise it was less than 100 meters and they were disappearing fast. I kept on trying to encourage and be the guiding light by increasing the pace and murmuring excerpts from my motivational videos but we were in too much pain. We kept on moving at blistering pace of 6;45 to try to keep the lead but that finish line looked as if it was 26.2 miles away still. Time seemed like if it was moving in slow motion as I looked at my beloved and at my big sis approaching faster and faster. At that moment I wanted to switch bodies with my wife and run the race for her and win this for her our baby and me but all I could do was encourage her to finish to take the next step and to keep moving. As we hit the 25.5 we had lost the lead and I was disappointed but I was also happy because we could of quit at mile 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25 but we didn't we kept on going and we were here. The last steps of this race did not hurt, the pain had faded and all I could feel was the amazing encouragement my wife had given me by battling through those last grueling miles. I couldn't stop thinking of my race in the future and the motivation she had given me. What pain she had battled throught to accomplish our goals. I was extremely proud of everything she did and her accomplishment to finish a 26.2 mile race, 2 1/2 months pregnant, with 2 1/2 months of training and on an all downhill course with all the brutal pain through out her body. She did amazing and I could not ask for more, she is my guiding light, the reason I wake up every morning, the reason I try to work hard at everything I do. thanks babe for this experience you are amazing at everything you do!!!!!!