Monday, October 19, 2009

I did it!

I did it! I am officially a marathoner!! I am still on that runners high. I could cry just sitting here thinking about what I have accomplished. It was/is such a rush of emotions!

Yesterday started out bright and early. I set the alarm for 4:50am. My dad was picking me and Bethany, my sister in-law, up at 5:30am. I got dressed and ate my 2 slices of whole wheat toast with peanut butter. My dad, Bethany and I headed out the door at 5:30am. We were parked and ready to walk over to Scotty's Potties (lol, the port-a-johns) to drain our bladders before we started the race. I had brought with me 2 throw away tops; one for my dad and one for me. We also had a throw away blanket around us as we stood in a door way to stay warm. It was about 32 degrees out. The start was at 7:15am. The hand cyclists and wheel chair marathoners were first to start. The next wave was the A & B group. My dad and I were in the D group and Bethany was in the G group (she was running her first half marathon). We started out kind of fast and fell into our pace. We made our way to the Ambassador Bridge, had an easy run up and a faster run down. The stretch along the Detroit River in Windsor was nice. Lots of supporters from Canada and the relay teams waiting for their teammate to pass along the chip.

When we entered the tunnel, we removed our gloves and unzipped our tops. it was a chance to warm up and dry off. We had an underwater pace of 8:21. Just before mile 8 we crossed back into the US from out of the tunnel and there was a sea of people lined up and down Jefferson. It definitely got you going again!

We were trucking along. Passed the 3:55 pace group, and were with the 3:45 pace group. Ended up passing the 3:45 pace group somewhere between mile 10-12. It was really cool when the half marathon and marathon split off. My dad turned to me and said "no turning back now". We were now on the marathon course. It took you through Greek town in Detroit and out into Indian Village. It was a very nice neighborhood with lots of nice homes to look at, but the crowd support was thinning out. I was happy to see Belle Ilse when we came out of the neighborhood. I was not looking forward to it, but knew that once we completed Belle Ilse, we would be well on our way to the finish line.

Here is where I took a turn for the worse. I told myself I would not hit the wall. But I did. between mile 20 and 21, I started to cry. I hurt from the waist down. My hips, my hams, my ankles, even the tips of my toes. Everything hurt. My emotions were getting the best of me. My dad told me "do not let this happen. look around, take in the sights and get your mind off the pain. we have time so slow down". After running so hard for 20 miles, I felt like we were shuffling along. We crossed back over the bridge off of Belle Ilse at mile 22. Once we were over I felt better, but was still having a hard time. I took it mile by mile at this point. We pushed on.

Then we passed mile 25. I said "we can do this" and dad said "yes we can". We turned on to Washington Street by Cobo Hall and there it was in the distance, somewhere in the crowd of supporters. The 26 mile marker. I picked up the pace, turned to my dad and said "come on". We rounded the corner at 26 mile marker and there was what we were waiting for all morning. The finish line. thousands of people lining both sides of the street. cheering us on. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. again we picked up the pace. we closed in on the finish line. my dad grabbed my hand, held it in the air and we crossed just like that! Then I looked to the right and I see a volunteer crying, waiting to put the medal around my neck. It was my mom. I hugged her and said " I just finished in 3 hours, 46 minutes and 28 seconds". I told her I would see her later. Dad and I headed to get our 'space blanket', grab our goodie bag and get our picture taken. We had it taken together. Dad told me I should get one by myself, but I didn't want to. We did this together. We were a team and there is no I in team.

Come to find out, we finished 3 seconds fast then we thought. Our official time is 3:46:25. Only 3:11 slower then my dads 2006 finish time. We were actually on pace through most of the marathon to beat he previous time. But we gave it all we had. There is no way either one of us could have run harder then we did. My dad also told that around mile 16 he was hurting pretty bad, but saw that I was pushing along and instead of slwoing down, he pushed on to. he said I carried him for part of the race. That is something I would have never thought I would do! He was there to carry me. We carried each other.

I ended up finishing in 36th place out of 216 females in the 30-34 year old age group.

We had no problem finding Bethany, Chris and Tom (my father in-law) afterwards either. Bethany finished her first half marathon without any training in 2:25 and some odd seconds. Not bad!

All in all, I believe my marathon training was a success! I had 3 goals; finish strong, finish faster then 4:19 and break 4 hours. I never imagined that I would finish with the time I had though. I met all my goals! It's such an accomplishment and truly am proud of myself.

Look out 2010 or 2011. You might see me running another marathon.


  1. Great job! Awesome time! Congratulations!

  2. Congrats!
    Sounds like such a great experience. I definitely understand those emotions around mile 20, I think it is pretty common.
    How awesome that both of your parents were there to see your big moment!

  3. Wow, you rocked it! I finished over an hour after you, but was still proud of myself. Thanks for sharing your story -- it's nice to know that even you fast people struggle at 20+. :-)

    At the end of the race, I wasn't sure I would do another full. By the time we were in the car on the way home, I was already thinking about my next -- maybe the Martian or Charlevoix?

  4. Aw, what a great story! (I teared up reading it!) Thanks for sharing your experience. Its obvious you and your dad truely share something special, and now you also share a marathon. How cool!!!!!

  5. Congratulations! I went down to support my friend running the 1/2 in Detroit and was so moved by all the runners crossing the finish together. It must be so amazing to have been able to do that w/your dad.

    Great job!

  6. Wow! What an amazing time for your first! Thanks for your honesty about hitting the wall. It's so neat that your dad was there to encourage you along. I wish I could do something like that with a family member!

  7. That is amazing! All of it - your time, your story, everything! I teared up when I read what your dad said about you carrying him throughout part of the race. That is so special that you and your dad could share that experience. Great job! I can't wait until I can call myself a marathoner.

  8. i cried for you, steph!! congrats!!

  9. i teared up reading this...what a great accomplishment this was. especially sharing this with your dad, it's just great that you and he share your passion for running. maybe i'll run in your 2nd marathon next year!

  10. I'm sitting here at my desk in TEARS. This is one hell of a story, I loved it. I wish I could run with my dad. Omg here I go again with the tears. Great job hon, nesties are proud of you!