I slept well. I woke up at 3:30 am excited, nervous and ready to run. I kept telling myself, “You’ve got this! Trust your training and listen to your body. You are stronger than yesterday.” My nerves were calming and I realized I can and WILL do this.
As I approached the start line, the nerves were coming back to the surface. Again, I calmed myself down. I was to meet Black Girls Run on the Art Museum steps (Rocky Stairs) for the group photo. The pep talks by the different members were uplifting and encouraging.
I lined up in the blue chorale. Since it was my first marathon, I registered with the slowest time. I decided not to run without music or a partner because I wanted to experience the race without the distraction, alone with my thoughts and one with myself.
I approached the start and the nerves turned into excitement. I was off! I started slow because I wanted to be able to finish strong and running.
Miles 1 – 8
I was taking in the sights, sounds and people. I was feeling good and the crowd was cheering for everyone. I heard a few cheers for me “Go Francine! Looking strong Francine!” Then I heard a cheer I was not expecting “Go MOM! You can do it! We love you!” It was my boys. They surprised me! My day was made and I had a permanent smile for the rest of the race.
I was still running and feeling good. No issues breathing and I was on pace. I was on a roll. Then I felt s pebble in my shoe. I had to stop to get it out. I was back on pace. A big THANK YOU to the spectator that had Dunkin Donuts. That glazed donut was a needed boost of energy. It was the best donut I have even had!
Miles 17 -20
This was the quiet part of the course. I was alone with my thoughts. My head was clear and I was enjoying myself. I was picking up my pace and then I saw an ambulance go by with someone with an IV and oxygen. I slowed down to make sure I would not have an asthma attack and end up the same way. It was a reality check for me.
Then, I ran into one of my training partners. She was in bad shape. She was crying. I stopped to ask what was wrong. She put a new plan in place and she hadn’t stopped for water until mile 10. She was dehydrated and cramping. I had given her rolaids to help with the cramping. She assured me that she was ok and to keep running.
Miles 20 – 26
This was the toughest part of the course for me. I was mentally drained. Then I heard a voice “hey Francine!” It was my coworker Denise. I was so happy to see her. She was feeling the same way and we vowed to finish the race together. We would run for 2 minutes and walk for a minute. The quiet course became filled with the cheering spectators again. We started to feel that energy again. We got to mile 25 and she said, “We can walk and then pick it back up in 1 minute.” I said, “No, I am going to finish this and finish strong.” I saw the finish line and got a burst of energy. I took off! I wanted to finish. I HAD to finish running and strong.
I could not have done this without the support of my family, friends and Sole Sisters of Black Girls Run. You are ALL amazing. I appreciate and love each and everyone of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Stay tuned for what I’ve got planned for the rest of the winter.