Yesterday I tackled the day I worked all year for, The Jacksonville Bank Marathon. I decided to take the ride to Jacksonville alone to clear my head of all the negative thoughts I had throughout the week and focus myself on my race. I knew I had some battles ahead of me when I got there. Like facing some people I wasn’t ready to see and getting over the fear of that starting line.
I spoke with a good friend of mine the night before I left and she got me hooked up with a pacer for the race. He has already qualified for The Boston Marathon and she said he would run with me and assist me through the stops and do what most pacer do. That is call your pace to you and let you know what target you are on. I knew this pacer because I have ran with him before in Macon Georgia and he is an excellent qualified runner. We spoke when I got to my hotel and got things arranged for that morning. I met Marcus at 5:30 am at the Boiles School where the marathon begins. Our race started at 7am… My focus was to stay on an 8:23 pace, I began my 1st half exactly on target. I went through the half way point where I needed to be, then at mile 16 I saw it. The wall hit me like a ton of bricks! But before I say that, I have to say the humidity and heat was terrible even when I got up at 4 am. But when I experienced the wall, I saw red and I remembered back in my earlier years seeing this same thing, but it wasn’t in my running, it was in other areas of my life such as my childhood, and definitely my divorce. I wasn’t about to give in, even though I felt as if I was carrying blocks of lead on my feet and I could hardly breath. I would look to the side of the road and see people falling out on the roads or bending over throwing up and I would say to myself at least you are still standing girl, take your ass on to that finish line you have been here before you can do this!!! I tackled that wall head on. I had my pacer there right beside me saying encouraging words to help. He was reminding me that my goals were too high to give up. He would say can you remember that wheelchair Stephanie??? You are running 26.2 miles and you can do this and this is way more important than loosing that BQ at this point!
So I carried it on in to a finish of 3:59 and it was a PR for me because my best official marathon time is 4:01. When I got to the finish line I was there alone so I do what I normally do and that is fall out. I feel out on the ground for about 10 to 15 minutes and enjoyed the time. I then packed my things up said my good byes to everyone and headed back home. Emotions were high for me on that ride home. I had feelings of doubt, disappointment, and heartbreak… So I called up a good friend of mine and she helped me pull things together and realize that I have way too much to be thankful for in my life to let this disappointment get me down and I will have plenty of other chances at Boston.
This journey of mine is important to me and I will not give up on it. I am refocusing myself and I have big plans set for me for the following year to come. I do appreciate every person who follows me on my journey and has faith in me. I never thought I would say this but I am more thankful now for those hard days and nights I suffered in my past because I realize they developed me into the strong woman I needed to become.