Marathon Weekend-Thursday, April 24th to Sunday, April 27th: Despite many people staying in to rest the first night in Nashville, Janine and I closed down the bars. Hitting up numerous spots, we knew Friday night would be early to bed. Setting a 3:30am wake-up call, I awoke to Janine yelling, “Geiss, you gonna get that?” Morning person, I am not. Janine, however, was ready to go! Dragging my feet all the way to the hotel lobby for a group photo, we then packed into the buses and heading out to Centennial Park where the race was to begin at 7am. It was raining at a steady pace and we spent the next two hours finding new ways to stay dry.
Our corral finally started at 7:40am and the rain subsided at that point but it remained overcast. Thousands of spectators cheered throughout the entire course. Nervous about the “rolling hills”, my legs took better to the ups and downs than I thought they would. I was able to stay ‘in the zone’ for the first six miles when I realized I should probably get a little water, though most of it ends up on you rather than in you, my clothes were now wet from the earlier rains, sweat and dribbled water that was meant to be ingested. By mile 12, I hit a wall (no, not literally). Blisters were forming on my feet and sweat was pooled in every orifice. Even the theme from Rocky was not motivating me!
My mind turned to the previous evening…huddled in our TNT chapter after the Pasta Party, one by one; people stood up and told stories of how blood cancers have affected their lives and the ones they love. One young woman burst into tears at the memory of her brother that she lost three years ago. Sobbing, “…he was my best friend”, my eyes welled-up. Why didn’t anyone tell me to bring Kleenex?! As if that wasn’t enough, another woman cried out that her mother just called and told her that her brother’s liver just failed and would not have much longer to live. So at mile 12, I thought about these people and what they were going through. My legs heavy, my whole body aching and wet, I had nothing to complain about. The pain and exhaustion I felt was insignificant compared to what these people were going through. So with the last ounce of energy I had left, I kept running. Crossing the finish line in my personal best time of 2 hours 16 minutes and 39 seconds. But I was not alone. Each one of you, who donated and supported me through my training, was there with me. It might sound ‘hokey’, but it is true.