Monday, February 20, 2006

Finisher

I finished the Austin Marathon. I was the 2439th finisher, with a time of 4:18:23. And it was the most challenging, exciting and emotional four hours of my life. I could not have wished for a more powerful experience, and being able to share the weekend - and the finish line - with my parents was even more powerful.

The weather was cold - 30 degrees - and the first few miles were slick with ice. The first 8 miles went very well, with dad and I keeping a roughly nine-minute pace. Then, I got a surprise cramp throughout my left leg, which curbed me - literally - a few times to stretch and hammer out my quad. After a salt packet, I decided to run through it...well, I ended up running through it for about five miles, which was no fun. The pain dissapated and we picked up our pace again.

The hardest miles were 23-25, both because my body was completely drained and the closeness of the finish messed with my head. At mile 23, the cramping came back, which didn't make things better. At 25, I decided to kick it in, hoping to make up some time. A beer vendor was on the side and dad and I grabbed a couple glasses, toasted our efforts and finished it off with a nice Powerade chaser.

Coming around the last turn toward the finish line was a feeling I'll never forget. Months of training and injury, numerous evenings lost to getting in mid-week runs, and about three years of wanting to complete a marathon with my dad all set the stage for an emotional finish. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It hurt (and hurts today). But I would do it all over again tomorrow.

After experiencing a marathon firsthand, I have so much respect for people who have and train to run marathons. I'm now part of less than one percent of the world's population who runs 26.2 miles, and I'm proud of that accomplishment. Of additional note, my mom beat her last 1/2 marathon time significantly on Sunday, coming in at 3:14. She's amazing.

Pictures are being developed - I'll post when available.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Mike Swenson said...

The simplicity of your headline says it all. Finisher. Congrats on a beautiful accomplishment.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Sara Nutt said...

Congratulations. You are amazing! I look forward to hearing all about it. Thanks for being such an inspiration to many.

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Natalie said...

Congratulations, that is a huge accomplishment!

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Dad said...

Dedication, determination, preparation, heart, faith, pain, a laugh or two, and a focus to finish were all a part of a great experience in running the Austin Marathon. You did it. Your first marathon. Congratulations! I was so proud to run it with you!

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Allison said...

Woo- what an accomplishment. You should be beaming. This is GREAT. And, I'm so glad you could share this experience with your family. A truly motivating story that gives me hope as I'm gearing up for my first marathon. Will look forward to your insights in the months to come. Congratulations friend!

3:52 PM  
Blogger Esue said...

Big ups to ya

5:32 PM  
Blogger David said...

Congrats Andy! That's awesome! I definately like the beer near the finish...you deserved it!

2:38 PM  

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