Nola continued! Let’s see, where did I leave off? Oh yeah. Best. Day. Ever. huh? So you see that picture here? The smile dropped off about mile 16. That’s a holy cow, it’s hot, this is a log way to run, let me cry a little to feel better kind of face. I last saw my family at mile 15.5. At that point we were all starting to feel it. I know that because I can’t post the pictures because my running buddies would kill me. They are not pretty. Mom handed out cutie halves like I pro and I thought they were going to save the day. Ha!
I’m going to put it all out there folks. If you know me, you know that my stomach does not always gel with distance running. I ate only my own food before the race but that did not seem to matter. I did not feel right on race day. I took two Pepto at mile 5 and two Immodium at 13. Yep, you guessed it. At mile 21 none of that medicine had helped. I won’t go into detail obviously but I was DERAILED. I had to leave a couple of buddies because I couldn’t spend too much time without a porta potty in sight. What a lovely couple of miles that was. Hey, I was running for sure and crying a little. Thankfully I got to a water station and took as much water in as I possibly could. That did the trick!! At that point I knew I was going to make it. THANK GOD!
The end of the course got me mentally I believe. It was a long out and back with no access for spectators. Our little group started spreading out as well. So it was quiet and lonely. One huge thing I haven’t mentioned is my friend Heather was given the gift of a bible verse for every mile from one of her friends. Since she was with us, she read them aloud. It was awesome. At the beginning it was fun to hear. As the race went on it became a life line. Well, during my little episode I lost Heather. I repeated “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13 about a zillion times.
Then the coolest thing happened. At about mile 23.5 I was walking and sniffling some and this tall blond girl came up beside me and said “No more of this. You have a two mile warm up left. You are running with me.” So I started running with her. We talked some. Her name was Gabrielle and she was from Canada. At one point my foot was hurting and I told her I needed to walk for a second. She told me, “No way, your foot is not broken, keep running.” That’s what I did, then amazingly I saw Heather just up ahead!! I told Gabrielle that was my friend so she said, “Then go catch her!” I told Gabrielle she was an angel and left her behind. I caught Heather just before mile 25, just in time to hear the verse! Then we finished together.
Here’s the thing. I’m tearing up as I type this. I couldn’t find Gabrielle after the race to thank her. I believe she was an angel sent to help me. Yes, she was a real person, I was not that delirious. But her name was even Gabrielle! My sister said maybe Taylor sent her to tell me to suck it up. Whatever happened, she was there and at that moment she was everything I needed. If anyone knows her, please thank her for me.
As Heather and I finished the last mile we saw our good friend Shirley and Coach who were there cheering us on. Then so many at the finish. It means so much to see the friendly faces. So much. We came in at 4:49:21. I am proud of that. That last 5 miles were one of the hardest things I have ever done. I will take what I learned from this race and apply it to another one some day. Also, all of my buddies did awesome as well. Including Lisa, with her fractured leg!
After the finish I cried with the hubby for a little while then I celebrated with my family and running buddies.Nola ended up still being one of the best days of my life. We trained very hard for this one race. Even though I did not quite make my goal I’m proud of the accomplishment and it gives me something more to work toward. I learned that God does give me strength (and Canadian angels), I have the best running buddies on the planet, the best support and I do love this sport.
If you think for one second I stayed true to Paleo during my last 24 hours in New Orleans you are dearly mistaken. I ate and enjoyed the city! Today I stepped on the scale and you’ll be glad to know I’m back to the real world. Track tomorrow with scrambled eggs to follow!