It’s finally over with. The days of training, and stressing. The marathon came and the marathon went. It did not come without sacrifice and it did not end without pain, tears, and sheer enjoyment.
The Mother Road Marathon. A race that stretches from Commerce City, Oklahoma, connects to Baxter Springs, Kansas, and ends in Joplin, Missouri. The entire race is ran on a historic highway, Route 66. However, on this race, Route 66 nearly kicked me.
The months before this race drained my will to keep going. Many times I wanted to quit. I wanted to quit not only running, but on life itself. My homework suffered, my relationship strained, and anxiety made me slightly insane.
What was all this for? To run a few more miles than last time? It was for me. It has always been for me. What sort of person would I be to go through months of personal torture and then decide to quit? I’d be just that, a quitter. I’ve quit on plenty of things, but this time it was different. It was then, it is now, that I will never give up on myself.
I ran this marathon with that since of pride and self-worth through every mile.
So let me give you the details.
The first half of the race was great. I ran with perfect form, breathing, and confidence. Before the start of the second half, I saw them. My own personal support team. My Dad, step-mom, (Debbie), my sisters, (Mary and Chrissy), and my niece, Kelly. They had signs and loud voices. Their words of encouragement rang softly in my ears. “You can do it Cindi!”, “We love you!”.
I would pass with a hefty smile and as they drove to the next available spot, the horn honked, hands waved, and voices cheered. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. So I kept on pushing.
I made it to mile 16. “and behold! There are pretzels!” Thank goodness, I was getting hungry. By now, my legs were getting very sore.
For those that don’t know, I had been seeing a physical therapist about my strained IT bands and hip problems for 2 months. I felt very prepared for this race and knew I would be sore, but was not expecting what was about to come.
Now, stopping is not the best idea after prolonged mileage. However, I did. My calves cramped and I finally stretched them. I felt better getting toward mile 17 so I started running. My legs became sorer, so I started walking. This was the scenario until mile 20-21. My dad, during his intermittent trips to keep.pushing me, kept asking if I was going to make it. Yes, dad, even if it kills me. By mile 20-21 my legs were killing me. The achy pain was enabling me to continue my run/walk and I was now limping, in both legs.
By now, the sun was bearing down and the concrete was hot. I could feel the energy, whatever I had left, spilling over and simmering onto the asphalt. Every hydration station was a chance to pour water on my head and drink Gatorade. The miles were diminishing and my legs were like wooden planks welded to my legs. I kept going. Nothing would stop me now. I was too close. The miles were shrinking, but not my determination to finish this marathon.
Mile 25 was approaching and I could hear music and the announcer. I started crying, I was almost there. I started ‘walking’ faster. I now saw the finish line. My tears fell and my legs picked up speed. It was then I heard the announcer’s encouraging words. “You can do it runner! You’re almost there!” Then, I heard this from the announcer, “You can do it Cindi! Keep on pushing!”. My tears left and my legs I could no longer feel. I walked as fast as I could. My family was there. My mom rushed to my side and I crossed that finish line with pride. It took forever, 6 hours and 15 minutes to be exact, but I finished.
A few people held me up and walked me toward my family. As I write these words now, tears fall. It was a very powerful moment that I will remember for the rest of my life.
The instant I crossed the line, the stress, anxiety, and the strains on life, were drained from my mind and spilled out of my bruised toes. It was glorious. The Tri-State Mother Road Marathon made one tough mother runner out of me.
I want to thank family, friends, and my loving husband for their undying support. Without you, this marathon and all its troubles would have been harder to bear. Without your words of encouragement, I may have never crossed the finish line or finished one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.
Thank you and I love you all.
Now, to rest for many moons.
Here are some pictures of the race, and other random sightings.