This past Saturday morning we loaded up the car and headed to Waco, TX for the Miracle Match Marathon {MMM}. We ditched the kiddos with the grandparents and Brandon and I were on our way, just the two of us! {What a blessing!} 

The MMM is a very small race compared to the bigger city races we usually go to. There were no lines, a small expo, and just under 200 people that finished the marathon on Sunday. We arrived at packet pickup and I received bib #20. They had big maps hanging on the wall of the course route and a gentleman walked me through the route. He explained where the small hills were, where the big hills were, and where the even bigger hills were. I was told not to expect a PR {personal record} at all. To say the least I left packet pickup with a lump in my throat and my stomach in knots. I was so very nervous. Probably more than I ever have been before  a race. 

That evening Brandon and I ate at PEI WEI {YUM!!} and we stopped at Collin Street Bakery on our way back to the hotel. We got there about 30 minutes before they closed so we walked out of there with 4 cookies and 2 containers of cinnamon rolls FOR FREE because they were going to throw them away at the end of the day! Awesome! 

We ate our cookies, brushed our teeth, and got a great nights sleep {Besides when I woke up at 3:00AM thinking we had slept through the alarm and I missed the race}. Totally odd, but the hotel room had no clock so I woke Brandon up in a panic! 

Sunday morning I felt great. I was right at the front of the pack at the start line. The marathon, 1/2, and 10K all started together. The weather was perfect as we set out onto Baylor's campus. The sun was starting to rise and it was so peaceful. The campus was beautiful, and I had settled into a comfy pace preparing myself for the 26.2 miles and hills ahead. 

Right before mile 5 everyone split. The 10Kers went right, the 1/2ers went straight, and the marathoners went left, and believe me: the marathon route was the road less traveled for sure. There was no road congestion. I could see maybe 5-10 runners in front of me, and just a few behind me as well. I knew that the road ahead could get lonely. 

Mile 7 came with the first small hill {easy peasy}. On that hill I passed a man, probably in his mid 50's. He was walking up the hill and told me to take it easy, and that it was just the beginning. Around mile 8 he caught up with me and we quickly became friends. His name was Jorge, he is an ultra-marathoner. That run was his 48th marathon to run and I realized that he knew what he was doing. Mile 8,9,10,11,12,13 passed in a flash. Rolling hills filled with conversation with my new friend. Plant based diets, proper fueling, ultra-marathons, our families, blogs, and running groups were the topics of our conversations. 

Mile 13 came with a bang. A beautiful view of the lake and a hill that made you forget the beautiful scene all together. Mile 14-15 was one loooong hill that never seemed to end. We walked the hills that were steep {At that point our walk was faster than our attempt to run up the steep inclines}. 

Mile 16 came and Jorge and I got split up. He stopped to tie his shoe and get some water at a water stop and I continued on. Just ten more miles. I was feeling strong! I started concentrating on the the next 4 miles. I knew that the last six were going to be killer. Miles 17,18,19 were pretty much a breeze. Down hill or flat. 
 
Then mile 20... I knew at this point unless my body completely shut down I would have a PR. I continued on as my body grew more and more fatigued on the HUGE hills in Cameron Park followed by 2 small, steep, and rough hills. My hips were starting to hurt from going down so many hills, by that time I was hot, out of breath, and hitting the dreaded "wall". Mile 23 came with the promise of less hills and the end in sight. 

Mile 24 was a tough mile for me. Brandon had gone ahead to the finish line and I knew the last 2.2 miles were just me and the pavement. By this time I could only see a few runners ahead of me {which I ended up passing!!} I decided to run mile 24 for Alivia. I kept thinking of the joy she is to me. The things I love about her and her sweet little stubborn soul. Mile 25 was for Gray. My boy. His blonde hair and blue eyes that I treasure so much. He high pitch scream and the his sweet shy smile that makes my heart skip a beat. By now I was just praying there would be one more hill so I could walk, but there was no hill insight. Just the bridge I knew the finish line was located on and the promise of Brandon waiting for me cheering me on. 

After running up a pretty killer ramp there it was: .2 left over this old wooden bridge. There was B, along with others cheering us on. I crossed the finish line at 4hours 32minutes and 31seconds. {A 6 minutes PR, which I am so excited about considering the tough course! It is known to be the toughest marathon in TX!}

I got my medal, my finishers jacket,  chocolate milk, a delicious fajita, found a seat, and just processed everything that had just happened. Realizing how strong I am. How far I have come from just having a baby 11 months ago. How much I am loved and supported by the man of dreams, family, and friends. How much I love running and the challenge it is for me and how much fulfillment I get from pounding the pavement. 

Man, what a great experience Sunday was. I am so very thankful for the opportunity. I am so very thankful to the person that paid my way. I am so very thankful I got a redemption race after Dallas was canceled in December.  I am so very thankful that Brandon rode his bike for 4+ hours. He was my own personal traveling water station and he kept me going when I wanted to stop. His love, patience, encouragement, and persistence gets me to every finish line. What would I do without him?? I am so very thankful our babies are loved by their grandparents and we can leave them knowing they will be loved and cared for!!

I got 2 things I wasn't expecting from this race: 
1. A sunburn
2. A blood blister on my toe
Both things I would not trade for anything. 

The MMM was great race. Beautiful, tough course. Great water stations that were ran by spirited, encouraging individuals. I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a challenge. I hope to go back for sure. It's worth the hills! 
 


Comments

Kali
01/29/2014 7:59am

I got terry eyes when you ran for Alivia and Grayson! How awesome to have that as motivation :) Congrats on your PR!

Reply
Carrie Hall
01/29/2014 10:47am

What a wonderful recap~~~I could picture it all!! Love dedicating a mile to someone...how brilliant!

Reply
Kasey Lore
01/29/2014 2:20pm

You're such an inspiration! Everything you've accomplished is simply amazing!! Congratulations on your PR :) and the free cookies and cinammon rolls...luckyyyyy lol.

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