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Today I completed marathon #7!

Today I ran my first marathon with a group in lieu of solo!

Today’s race was not about running to a personal best, but was about getting 9 very special ladies from the start line to the finish line of their first marathon.  It was one of the most exciting marathons as I got to experience it through their eyes.

These ladies have worked hard through the summer, running over 400 miles in preparation for today’s race.  They ran through the hot humid days of summer and they ran through the wet cold days of early fall.

Today we arrived at the Metro dome about 5:45 AM.  It was almost 2 + hours prior to the start.  So what do 12 ladies (9 novice runners and 3 coaches) do with all that time.  We had some fun!

Questions and Answer Shirts!

During our training, we would drive to some of the starting points.  When ever asked “how far do we still have to go?” or “are we there yet”, I would always answer “2 hours”.  It became a running joke within the group!  So when Maria came with “Are we there yet?” on her shirt, it was only natural to put the appropriate response on my shirt!

We had a couple of goals at the start of the race – to stay together until Mile 13 and check in to see how folks were doing; Stay together until mile 20 and then see where everyone was at.

Mile 8 and looking Good!

At Mile 13, we sent one of the runners off.  She was doing well and capable of getting a faster time than the pace we had planned for the race.  Some of the ladies did break off the main group at various points during the race.  The weather did get warm towards the end of the race.  The heat did take a toll on some of the runners.  And then there were the hills.  Hills + heat+ 26.2 miles = some very tired runners!

But all of those who started finished the race!

Ladies, I am so proud of you!  You stayed the course, you ran well and finished strong.  You have accomplished your goal and finished the race!  You have done what many will never do.  Thank you for letting me be a part of the journey!  Wear your finishers shirt with pride!  You have earned it!

Now rest and let your body recover.  Job well done!  All of you will hold a special place in my heart!  You are an inspiration to me.  This race was one of the most fun races I have run and it is all because of you ladies!

The Lovely Ladies at the Metro dome!