At mile 22, I received enough information to know that my goal was within reach but not a sure thing. Thanks to Ms. Garminia’s refusal to join me in the downpour, I ran the Portland Marathon by feel (and proximity to the 3:50 pace team.) I did not have the difference between gun fire and time to the starting line. At most, I was off by 8 minutes. It was more than I thought I could shave but I was determined to make my goal happen.
I picked up the pace: sub-8, sub-8:15, sub-8:30. I was passing people right & left and narrowed the gap as I reeled in the finish. Grunting and gritting my teeth, I powered through the final miles.
There was no way I would miss the goal this time!
The street lights above turned yellow, signaling caution. Along the side of the road, lay people who’d miscalculated their limits and pushed their bodies to exhaustion. I couldn’t let that be me.
Just as the light turned, a voice yelled out, “Red means GO, Juls!” I pushed on, thankful for the reminder that I was not at my limit. I had more, much more to give.
In the final mile and half, my body started to slow despite me sending messages to pick it up. There was more in me, I just knew it. The people offering encouragement, music along the way, and the rest of the outside stimuli was no longer able to fuel me. It was time to separate and use the last of my mental and physical energy to fight for my BQ.
Instead of all the prior missed BQ’s crippling me, I was now using them to fuel the fight. Determination and a strong belief that I deserved to finally be qualified to run the Boston Marathon gave me enough force to cross the finish with 4:02:xx displaying. Almost assuredly, it would have taken me 2 minutes or more from gun fire to have crossed the start. I had to have hit my goal. I just needed to verify what already knew. Then, I would celebrate…