This past weekend my awesome husband ran his first (and according to him, Only!) marathon. The first thing I will say is that I am so incredibly proud of him. You guys KNOW, know that a marathon is not easy. But let me tell you what the last month or so has been like for my guy.
First of all, he is a former football player at the University of Tennessee. He's suffered foot/ankle injuries that he's never fully overcome. Yet, with that he still trained hard for his marathon. There days/nights where his feet/ankles and toe joints made him too miserable to sleep and the week of his marathon the man was drinking baking soda and wearing the wooden shoe of shame to help ease the pain. To say he is a determined human being is putting it lightly.
Secondly, he lost his one true hero on 11/11 this year.. his dad passed away very unexpectedly. There were times towards the end of his training he fought the mental battle between moving forward and getting it done or calling it quits and putting the marathon behind him. He knew it would be hard physically and even emotionally but with this the emotional battle was bigger. He still persevered.
We made the trip to Huntsville, AL for the Rocket City Marathon alone. We arrived at the very small expo to pick up his packet, ate dinner, checked into our room and were in bed at a decent hour. The forecast all week called for 100% chance of rain. We awoke Saturday morning to pouring rain but it was to move out by the race start. That was a plus. Belly full and dressed to go we headed to the race start line.
Once all the runners were off I really had no clue what to do. I was in a city I didn't know, alone. The first thing on my mind was coffee at that point and I knew I could plug Starbucks into my GPS. So, I did that. I figured if I was able to find the Starbucks and then plug the intersection of the 15 mile point, which is where I was meeting hubby I would be good to go. It was rough finding the Starbucks but only because I kept getting to one road and the lady saying, "You have reached your destination." That Starbucks must have been hiding in a building! Anyway, I had plenty of time before I had to be at mile 15 but was stressing over the direction and all this extra time I had. Nerves were getting me already.
My phone was buzzing with with calls and texts from home asking for results of this one or that one and how'd my hubby do, etc. I don't know if it was that, the anticipation or the extra cup of coffee I had but I was a nervous wreck. I kept looking at my watching, the finish line clock and pacing, trying to add up the time to see when specifically I should expect my husband. I knew what he was wearing but it seemed like every person that rounded the corner and headed down the hill to the finish was dressed exactly the same.
Finally, I saw what I knew was my husband and couldn't stand it anymore. I jogged the little uphill towards him in my rainboots, backpack strapped to me and camera flinging across my chest to get a good picture. Snapped one and realized my camera battery had died. Oops. Thankfully my phone had enough charge for me to get a few.
It's such a different part of racing being on the spectating end especially as a runner myself. I now know what he has gone through when he's been awaiting my arrival at a finish line. I won't say it's as hard as running a marathon (or any other distance) but it is quite exhausting.
Congrats, babe! I'm so so proud of you. Hang your medal and wear that marathon shirt with pride. You earned it!!!