damik's Diaryland Diary


Greetings from last place

When I decided to run TOU last Feburary I did it with full enthusiasm bought books on the subject, reading everything on the internet I could find. This was my first marathon, and I wanted to make it a good one.
I made some mistakes, I guess every newbee does. I trained too hard and sometimes quit early. I never quite made it as far as I wanted in training. But I still believed I could do it. I was going to do it.
I was devastated two weeks before the run, when an injury at work threw my back out and tourked my knee. I took it easy for a week, per Dr.'s orders, and as my back felt better a week later I decided to start training again. The first day I trained I couldn't run more then a half an hour before my knee felt like it was going to give out. I was frustrated and upset. I had no hotel room in Logan, I had no one coming to cheer me on, I didn't even want to show up and try.
Or part of me didn't, but that part lost out. On September 21 I got out of bed at 2:00a.m. to make the drive from SLC to Logan. Lingering doubts filled my head. Self doubt and fear. But I had made the commitment, I was going to see it through.
I was doing well the first 11 miles. I met a wonderful lady named LeighAnn who let me tag along. I had started to think that maybe the Dr. was wrong, I could go the distance. But at the 11th mile I started feeling it. LeighAnn was going faster then I could, and I didn't want to slow her down. So I said good by and walked my own pace for a while. I ran a while with an inspiring lady, she had done many marathons, and was happy to pass on her experience. I went with her for as long as I could, but my knee was hurting too much. I was beginning to think I was a fool.
I walked two miles myself. They were the loneliest two miles I've ever done. I hurt so much I wanted to sit down and cry, I hurt so much I wanted to take the next car down the canyon.
Two walkers were closing in on me I slowed down a bit more so they would pass me sooner. I met Jenny and her father. They came from California and had walked many marathons. They helped me, and encouraged me, and gave me an orange. With them I was able to achieve the micro goal I had set for myself of passing the half way point. But, they were walking strong and I was still struggling. I slowed down and said good bye.
That's when I met Lauren. She had been jogging and walking, but was slowing down like I was. We started talking and bonded instantly. She told me she came from California and she was here for the Marathon and because her aunt had a baby. She told me that after the race she was going to her uncles to sit in a hot tub.
We were both struggling and met many temptations to make it easier for us. Like the man who gave use directions on the marathon that happened to be a short cut. Or the many sweepers who offered to give us a ride to the finish line. Oh, did it sound tempting. We were each doubting our ability to finish, but telling each other we could do it. Right brain and left brain were fighting. The water stations were mostly closed down, we were hot and tired. We both hoped the sweepers would stop asking us if we wanted a ride because we were afraid the next time they came around we would say yes.
We were determined to finish. We had come all this way, we weren't going to give up. It wasn't going to be for nothing.
People came out of their houses with water. They still cheered us on and told us we were doing great. The wonderful people of Logan kept us going.
We had two miles to go, but it hurt so much I didn't know if I could keep going. I had been a while since someone had offered us water, and I wouldn't doubt if both of us were bordering on dehydration. I figured the finish line had long been pack away, and that we were probably lost anyway. I did not want to go any further, I just wanted to curl into a ball and cry. Lauren was pushing me as hard as I had pushed her earlier. Telling me that I didn't let her give up earlier, and she wasn't going to let me give up now. A man with a large Gatorade bottle came up and offered it to us. I said yes with no hesitation. Lauren and I shared a drink. His wife offered us each a box of Nerds for a sugar boost. It worked wonderfully and I found some energy I didn't know I had. The man, I regret I never got his name, had finished the marathon earlier, and he actually walked with us to the finish line. Encouraging us and telling us we were almost there.
The finish line was in sight. It was just a short straight stretch to reach it. The man told us to run it in together. I wanted to and encouraged Lauren to do so as well. As the volunteers cleaning up the finish line clapped and cheered us on we ran it in. As we received the medals that had inspired us to keep going for so many miles we knew it was worth it.
I just wanted to thank everyone. To all those who told me I was doing a great job, to all those who helped me when I was in need, everyone who still cheered as we went by. You made this experience worth it.
And I realized something I would never have thought before, I always thought I had to be better then some one else. As a competitive person, I wouldn't have thought it possible to be able to hold my head up and say I came in last as the same time. But I know now there is no shame in last place. Like the quote on the TOU webpage, last is just the slowest winner. And I don't mind being the slowest winner.

11:54 a.m. - 09-22-02


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