$5.00 = 26.2 miles

Introduction by Dawn; Written by Maria McKenzie

We promised you a Tuesday recap of our Nashville journey. But since Andrea and I had already blogged our views on our personal blogs, we thought it would be a nice twist for you to hear it from Maria, our other partner in crime in Nashville.

For those who read my personal blog, you have heard me talk about Maria several times. Brandon and her husband, Tater (aka “the funniest man I know”) are best friends. And they actually started dating each of us within a month of each other. Even though Maria and I were separated by several states and even more miles, we eventually met and became good friends. Over the years we have grown close and I consider her an extremely dear friend of mine. In fact, I really just kind of love her.

It has also been wonderful to see her friendship with Andrea unfold. First through email as we all supported each other during each of our training runs and then in person back in March. There could have been concern that the weekend would be awkward since they were still getting to know each other but they instantly were old and good friends. The weekend was so very comfortable. Actually, it was a blast.

Back when Maria told me she wanted to run a marathon before 40 I not so secretly rooted her on. In fact, I think I constantly had a bug in her ear the last couple of years encouraging her to do it. When she told me she signed up for the marathon I was just as excited as she was. And seeing her cross the finish line…well, I just cried. I did not even try to hide it. I know the hard work it is to train and I was and am so very proud of her.

And after reading Maria’s recap if you find yourself wondering what Andrea and I thought about the entire weekend (including the race and Nashville as a town) feel free to jump on over to our personal blogs to check our stories out…

Andrea’s Recap

My Recap

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My road for the 26.2 medal started over $5. When Dawn and I agreed to register for the half, I went online with my credit card. The price for the half was $90, the full- $95. It just kept staring at me. I heard Dawn’s voice in my head chanting do it, do it. Honestly, I thought, what’s $5? If I can’t do it, then I’ll just lose it, and do the half. What I didn’t know at the time is once you commit…it’s very difficult to quit. Believe me, over the course of my sixteen week training, I must have quit at least ten times during my solitary long runs. Out loud, at least five. And once I did quit. Totally. I cried, I told everyone that I was no longer doing it. Thankfully, Dawn & Andrea let me quit. They gave me full support, told me we would run the half, have fun in Nashville. I was so happy they let me off the hook. Another friend wasn’t so kind.  She told me I would regret it. She sent me a list of top ten reasons why I should finish the marathon.  She said, one day you can tell your kids, “I ran a marathon”. That really hit home for me. Although right now, they don’t know how hard the training was, one day, I hope if they’re faced with a challenge, they can think: I got this. I can do it. My mom finished a marathon!

During the race, I quit another twenty times, AT LEAST. I quit at mile 15 (Dawn had warned me what a tough mile that was). I cried when the 5:30 pace group that had been behind me the whole time, passed me. I knew I was no elite runner, and it was going to take me anywhere between 5 to 5.5 hours to finish. I googled celebrity marathon times and chose a celebrity I thought I could take! Originally, I was gunning for Oprah, but surprisingly, she finished in 4:29. So I found Katie Holmes. She finished the New York Marathon in 5:29. When that pace group passed me, I thought, there goes Katie Holmes, NOOOOO! At mile 17, I called my sweet husband on the phone and said I could not go any further. I was completely unprepared for the hills. He told me, I don’t care if you walk the rest of the way, you finish it! He then called some family and friends to give me moral support. My phone rang a few times the rest of the way with people telling me I could do it. Funny thing is, not once did my feet stop moving. Sure, I walked. I walked more than I thought I would.  But for all my “quitting”, I never did stop. I also got a lot of support along the way from total strangers. One lady said “you WILL finish a marathon today” at about mile23 and I wanted to kiss her! I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t disappointed in my time. I never thought it would take me 5 hours and 57 minutes to cross the finish line. But when I ran up at mile 26 and saw Dawn & Andrea cheering me on, I cried!

At that moment, it didn’t matter how long I took. It just mattered that after four months of training, I finished what I set out to do. Dawn once told me about a quote that said something like, “everything you need to know about yourself, you can learn in 26.2 miles”. Well, I learned that I can follow through on a commitment to myself, I learned than I’m stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I learned that I have a whole lot of friends and family that love me and helped me cross the finish line, almost as if they ran the 26.2 with me!  For the past week, Julia, my three year old, has been telling people at school, at Walmart, everywhere, “my mom crossed the finish line”. Music to my ears!

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And just a friendly reminder, our Gracie and Me $25 Gift Certificate Giveaway is still going on!!  To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this post or any other post published between now and this Friday, May 13, 2011 (by noon). Want more than one entry? All you have to do blog about it on your blog, twitter it, or share on Facebook. If you do just one or all three of those, leave a comment for each one telling us which one you did and where to find it and you will receive another entry.

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