Houston Marathon 2012. Traci’s Story.

There is only one word to describe running in a marathon, in my opinion.

WOW.

Seriously. It really was such an awesome experience and one that I will never forget. (My muscles rudely reminded me everyday for about a week after!) Huge memory maker that ranks up high on the list. And yes, I’m already wondering when we will do it again one day!!! Maybe Disney next time? Napa Valley? NYC?

It was neat to run a marathon, yes. But it was even neater (or more neat?) because of these two reasons…

First, running with a team of friends was absolutely what made this event more special. Ryan and I LOVED that we were able to do this with people we love. Christy, Mike, Jordan, Tim – we were honored and so proud to do this with you all. Christy & I ran the entire thing together and knowing she was right beside me pushed me on when I was struggling. We encouraged each other, reminded each other it was time for Gu, etc. There is definitely strength in numbers! She’s been a great running buddy & I have truly enjoyed all the miles we’ve logged together. And as usual, I adore knowing my handsome hubby was a few miles ahead of me and would be awaiting my arrival at the finish line with a proud smile on his face. Knowing this always motivates me. When we slugglishly found each other after the race, we both looked at each other with tear-filled eyes and hugged…we did it. We did it together.

The second reason this weekend was made so special was having family and friends that traveled to Houston to cheer us on as well as those that supported us from afar as we tackled this goal. It was overwhelming the love we felt. To know my mom, brother, and babies were waiting for me at the finish line kept me going. Thoughts of my dad motivated me. I hoped and prayed that God would give him a window that morning. To spot friends along the course holding signs brought tears to my eyes. I can’t thank you enough – seeing your faces at mile 4, 11, and especially 22 made all the difference.  Thank you to everyone that sent emails, texts, and FB message encouraging us throughout the weekend – you guys are so great! The whole experience was made complete because of you.

The run itself was a good one overall. I felt good, no weird pains or breathing issues. I felt hydrated and full of energy. We were maintaining a good pace. My iPod was playing a good playlist that Ryan had made for us. I was jamming, enjoying the route, chatting with Christy, and soaking in the experience. Up until about mile 22. Uncharted territory. The longest we ran during our training was 21 and that was HARD. As we entered into the last four miles- this unknown, I was getting a little nervous. With only 4.2 miles left, I was really starting to feel the exhaustion and “wall” that everyone refers to. I tried to shift my focus to other things besides the fact that we had been running for nearly 4 hours, that toenail that was about to fall off, and my chest muscles that were tightening. I prayed a lot more during these last few miles. God, give me strength. I was almost there. Nothing was standing in my way of the finish line now…I was tired, my feet were burning and going numb, but I still was moving one foot in front of the other with a fairly decent pace. It almost felt like my body was doing its own thing at this point and I was just watching it. We came to the “1 Mile left!” sign and my heart started to pump even faster with excitement and adrenaline. This was it….the last stretch. Then, finally in the distance I could see it. Surreal. The place that has been a huge unfathomable goal for many years…the finish line of a marathon. There were a ton of people lining both sides of the street as we turned the corner and headed to the end. I turned down my iPod to listen to the cheers and to see if I could hear my family. Everything was a blur & I couldn’t really focus on anything around me…maybe because of the tears in my eyes. Just a few more steps…DONE! 26.2, complete. My goal was to finish at 4:30. I finished in 4:28. What an amazing, indescribable feeling and one that ranks high on the list of greatest moments of my life. I thank God for this special day. High five to the sky!