Yesterday was a special day as several of the people in my running group ran their first marathon. It was a weird morning for me as I got up and dressed in race day clothing without a bib to pin on my shirt. My plan was to drive to the finish line area and then walk the two miles or so to my meeting spot with Lynda. Running with Lynda to the finish line of her first marathon would be my long run for the weekend! After parking my car in a very full parking lot, I gathered my gear and set off to meet Ryan to spectate for a couple hours. After finding Ryan on a bike, we moved to the eleven mile marker for the half marathon group where we hoped to see many of our Without Limits group runners in the home stretch of their race.
As I pulled out my phone to snap photos of our friends, I realized that the joy of running is so prevalent on race day. While not everyone had a smile, the toughness of character and the elation at the finish line are hard to describe in words. There were so many moments of excitement, but as with any race there were tears of both joy and sadness. Despite the temperature being perfect for running at 50 degrees, the humidity was at 90%, which is not great for runners. There were some disappointed marathoners who had the Boston qualifying goal on their mind.
Here are some snapshots of the day:
|Lynda, mile 4 photo by Ryan|
Lisa in the upper left gave us her shy smile as she motored by to a new PR!. Holly, always stylish in her pink tights (upper right), Christie, the girl who helped me through fall marathon training and Shawn, another who helped with long runs this winter. Each of these girls had strong races!
Many more girls in the group came through after I moved from that spot to meet up with Lynda and I am sorry I missed so many of them. With a 30 minute window for meeting Lynda, I did not want to take a chance that I would miss her at mile 16!
I soon spotted Lynda as she crossed the bridge, and she immediately said "I need you Pam, I've slowed down a lot" I told her not to worry, checked on her fuel and we kept moving. I could tell she was struggling by the look on her face, but her training had been thorough and she had the strength to gut out the race. Luckily we were approaching a road with lots of people cheering and I kept revving up the crowd introducing Lynda as a first time marathoner! It was so exciting to watch someone become a marathon runner in the span of a couple hours. The hardest part was probably the last loop through the Landfall neighborhood when Lynda had to dig deep with mental strength. When we reached the final turn out of Landfall at mile 23, a smile of delight came across her face. Ryan and Lori had kept us company on their bikes for most of the journey, circling back to bring us things, such as a refilled water bottle and bananas. Soon we were met by two more Without Limits runners, Holly and Kelly and the four of us ran Lynda to the finish line from mile 25. With her posse in toe, Lynda earned her marathon medal with courage and a hard fought race. I am so incredibly proud of this girl!