As I lay in my bed my thoughts were everywhere "It won't be easy. Dont focus on the Sand Run part you have 16 miles till you get there! Poise. You can only do what you can do don't get caught up in anything else anyone does. I hope I can win. I hope I can finish. I hope nothing terrible happens. Im not ready. Im not prepared. I dont know if I can break 3 hours..." Doubts they always keep me awake. Like most runners, doubts creep in and it is our job to shove them back out.
3:48AM I was done trying to sleep, it was what it was now. I cooked up some eggs while singing my new favorite song of the week "Amen" by Edens Edge. I decided I would get it stuck in my head. It wouldnt be the first time I had that song on repeat for over 2.5 hours and I knew I would love it. Finally at 5:15 I headed downtown. As soon as I got in my car "Amen" was playing and a huge smile crossed my face. Maybe it was my day. My family arrived about 10 minutes after I did decked out in "We Love Becki Michael" shirts in matching colors to the jersey I had decided on. Which happened to be a coincidence. I love things like that so I took it as a good omen, and showed them to the start line after a quick stop at a porta jon.
I was greated by familiar faces and well wishes in the staging area where Bret, Dave, and John all wished me the best gave hugs, and encouragement. I tried to relax with my mom, aunt, cousin, and grandpa until 20 mins prior to race time and it was time to warm up. Seven minutes of jogging, 4 drills, 4 strides, a quick restroom stop and a shoe change later, I was down to my sports bra and spankies on the line of the race I had dreamed about running for years. Creigh announced that this was the nineth running of the race. I looked at Leo, and giggled "Nine is my favorite number" I said. Like I mentioned before, I like coincidences.
I hugged Jennie Kormanik and held back a nervous tear or two. "Poise", I reminded myself. The gun went off, and we were on our way across the Y bridge before I noticed. I was running with Damon Blackford, and knew he would be good for 6 flat pace. 5:55- "Ok, awesome, that was a cake walk. Be smart, chill and just stay as efficent as you can with your stride." Mile 2- 5:56(11:52) "WOW I was ready for a big slow down. I need to let Damon go. I am running too fast and I will regret this. Keep MY goals in mind...1. Win. 2. Break the course record. 3. Get another trials quaifier."
Mile 3- 6:23(18:15) "Alright! Now don't get lazy, just roll with the course and enjoy it. There is Mom, Kasey, Grandpa...what a great family! Ok Ok keep your emotions together. It really is great to know they want this as much as I do."
Mile 4- 5:52(24:08) "Ok im still well under 6:10 average, just keep it moving as easily as I can."
Mile 5- 6:11 (30:19) "Perfect, I hope they are keeping people up to date, I know mom is going crazy back on Broadway. Haha...I'll see her in a few miles."
Mile 6 and 7-6:04 (36:23) and 6:10 (42:34) "These miles are flying by, If I can keep things under control, this really could be my day. I hope my calf doesn't get any worse. It might cramp, but nothing I can do about that now, that damage is done."
Mile 8- 6:15 (48:49) "Holy Cow Diane is out here!! Oh, I hope she doesn't over do anything, what an awesome person. I think im still smiling?!"
Mile 9 and 10- 5:56 (54:45) and 5:59 (1:00:45) "Jenny! Nicole! Michael! David! Andrea! Jake! seems like every step there is someone I know! Ahh campus! use this down hill. It is really loud over here. This is great." As I looked up getting ready to turn onto Broadway I saw my family. Kasey was holding a sign that said "Balls to the wall". Mom with tears undoubtedly telling the person next to her I was her daughter. Aunt Deb and Uncle Kenny getting to witness a marathon for the first time. Most amazigly, Grandpa, who we lost for nearly 5 minutes in July following a 5 bypass surgery. They were all there cheering with their matching shirts, homemade signs, and more love than most people are blessed to have. They were proud...but now I had to hold on because I still had 15.5 miles to go until I could see them again. I gave them a smile (to hold back tears), and a thumbs up.
|Smiling at my family|
On to the Valley...
Mile 11- 5:48 (1:06:33) Sharp downhill and the fastest mile of the day and it was time for the towpath and I to have a little talk. Mile 12- 5:59 (1:12:33) "Fucking towpath! Gosh I hate this! Ugg the footing sucks, I keep slipping, and could it be more boring..."
|Just before the 1/2 and the towpath|
Mile 13- 6:17 (1:18:51) "Becki, quit complaining, you are half way". "Yea and you are on your knees, but that's what this race does to you if YOU GO OUT TOO FAST AND JUST HOLD IT!" So I began to sing, "Can I get a thank God, Hallelujah, baby do you believe it do you ya, your moma called it she was right. Glad to see you so alive. Whole town nearly whoped and hollered." I started dreaming of the part of the course I loved. It was coming!
Mile 14- 6:15 (1:25:07) "It is all up til Angel Falls, hold on".
Mile 15- 6:19 (1:31:26) "Amen, I am done with this frickin Towpath. Grr I hate it!"
Mile 16-6:29 (1:37:55) I popped out onto the road and there was the Harbert family, I shook my head and hoped I didn't look quite as rough as I felt. Actually I hoped I really wasnt as rough as I felt, because this was going to be a challenge.
Mile 17- 6:27 (1:44:23) "I am done worrying about pace. Just hold on Becki. You are fine. It's tough, you knew this would be the case."
Mile 18- 6:58 (1:51:21) My Hamstring cramped up just about 400 meters from the Sand Run's intersection. So I came to a screaching hault and hoped I would be ok. I got it loosened up, and began the struggle that I like to call running once more.
Mile 19- 6:57 (1:58:18) "What the heck, just quit, you are going to get beat if you even make it to the finish line. Wait?! Am I seriously leading the race I have obsessed over winning since Dec. 5th of last year, that dictated nearly all my choices and thinking about dropping out 7 mile from the finish line because I MIGHT NOT WIN? Who the hell am I right now...pull yourself together."
Mile 20-6:43 (2:05:02) "Oh thank God the Harberts again!" It was nice to see someone who is aware of the anguish I was going through. "Gosh I hope I can hold on".
Mile 21- 6:36 (2:11:39) "I love this neighborhood. Just get to Firestone High School. Becki I know you can do this, you are tougher than you think you are".
Mile 22-6:54 (2:18:34) "Finally up Garmin, in Stan Hywet, and on my way to victory I think. there is no one coming I can see and that means at least 3 minutes up and if there is anyone behind me right now she isnt running 5:50's. Forward can still win, even if it is hidious."
Mile 23- 6:24 (2:24:58) "Geesh, this is really really tough. I have never wanted to see Market street so bad in my entire life."
|coming down main street|
Mile 24-6:49 (2:31:47) I was happy to see Jennie and Nicole who would later say they were confident I was going to cry when I got to Market. I almost did, so that is why I looked like that. I got goose bumps when I saw Angel Falls Coffee. I knew I had to simply keep moving forward and a dream I've had since 2008 would come true. But 2 miles is a long way when it is mile 25 and 26.
25-6:16 (2:38:04) "I love running downhill, this is way better than I thought it would be. I finally feel like I can move again. Thank you gravity."
26.2-7:51 (2:45:56) I hit main street and knew it was 1k to go. I passed Ann, and knew it was 600 meters to go, I saw Andrea and the Akron Track crew and I knew I just had to kick. I turned into Canal Stadium and knew I could still break 2:46 so I pushed as hard as my legs would let me.
I crossed the finish line with 2 goals and held back tears. I shook Jim's hand for the first time, hugged Steve and Jeanine and thanked them for a race that could bring so much into my life. I saw Dave and had to hug and kiss him, Brett and John were quick to have my arms around them too. So many awesome people in our community that helped me accomplish my goal. And my family! How amazing to have them sitting there screaming like I had won the Olympics, with pride in their hearts and joy for my happiness.
|My incredible family|
The Akron course took all I had. Much like other lessons this seemingly fickel life has taught me, if you keep moving, keep your head up, and give things you never thought you could do all you've got, you just might over come them, with a smile. At mile 18 I felt like I had been kicked in the teeth, but at mile 20 I spit out the blood and yelled "is that the best you've got?" One thing is for sure in the marathon, you will never be given an inch, you will have to take it. My past year had it's fair share of struggles and I can say that after the race I walked away knowing I was capable of more than I believed I could do.