We turned in early on Saturday to rest up for the race. I was more nervous than Jackson was! I even had a dream that he had to run the race in my flip-flops! Jackson woke up at 5am to catch a bus to Marathon and I kissed him farewell since my race started and finished in Athens. I got the news that Baylor beat Texas and spent the hours leading up to my race watching highlights of the game! I, of course, called Jackson to let him know this and that the Rangers also won. I think this fired him up even more before the race started.
I went alone to a crowd of thousands of people to start the 10K. A girl noticed my World Vision shirt (yes I have one and no I am certainly not wearing it every day) and struck up a conversation with me. It turns out she and her five friends were all from Texas and I spent the next half hour in the race stall talking about Texas and college football. It was really fun telling all of them that Baylor beat Texas J. Sorry to my UT friends, y’all know I would root for y’all if you did not play us. Anyways, I finished the 10K in my goal time (a little over 54 minutes) and I got a medal! I have not received many medals in my life so that was a really exciting experience for me. I then ran to the metro to try and meet up with Jackson to run the last part of the race with him. We were able to meet up at the 35 kilometer marker and I ran almost the rest with him (just not through the finish line). He was doing really well and remained confident and upbeat the entire time! I was SO proud of him and could not believe that he was actually going to run a marathon and not just any marathon, the original marathon! He finished in just over four and a half hours and never once stopped, not even for the steep hills!
It is hard to put into words the whole experience that was this marathon. I mean, it has been an event that has been in the making for the last 10 months – going all the way back to a conversation about New Year’s resolutions in Dallas at my parent’s house the day after Christmas. More time and effort have gone into this than many of things in my life. I felt like I did when I played baseball and came up to bat at a critical moment in the game. If you ever have given a speech in front of a large crowd, the day/hours/minutes before the race felt a lot like that. I wasn’t sure if the training I had done was sufficient and the farthest I had run was 19 miles. I spent Saturday afternoon sitting on a couch and just watching inspirational stuff on Youtube.
We were afraid of oversleeping so we set 3 alarms and laid out everything the night before. Daylight savings was kicking in at 4AM the morning of the race and we weren’t sure if the clocks would automatically change. I made it to the bus that left at 530 and was in the city of Marathon by 630. The race didn’t start until 9AM so I had a lot of time – which was awful. I just wanted to get to it. I got a text from Haley saying that Baylor beat Texas and that the Rangers won which fired me up and helped me take my mind off the waiting time.
Whenever you do a large race, they assign everyone to a starting group. I was in Block 6 and started running around 920. We had to be in our starting blocks by 830 and I was startled at how many guys immediately after the crossing the start line ran off to the side of the road and just started urinating. It was quite a sight. I couldn’t believe it! I mean, there were port-a-potties just a mile or two down the road. The craziest thing I saw was a girl who around mile 10 made her way over to the side of the road behind a pretty small telephone pole, looked to her left, looked to her right (I don’t know why – there were 13,000 people running the thing) and then dropped her pants and started peeing – my jaw dropped!
The hardest part was around 3 hours (mile 20) when we came to a really steep hill. A bunch of people around me started walking and you could see the pain on their faces. I was really tempted to just walk to the top of the hill and then start running again. People talk about hitting “The Wall” when you run a marathon. I think I hit about 3 or 4, but this was definitely the hardest moment for me, but God is good, I just dug in and He got me through it all. Whenever my legs started to hurt, whenever my joints started to ache, whenever I wanted to give in and just walk, I would shout out “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength – get to the finish line, get to that finish line.” I recited the Lord’s prayer countless times and replayed the opening scenes of movies like Chariots of Fire and The Spirit of the Marathon in my mind.
You can see a few other race photos on facebook at