26.2 Miles

Matt's resolution for 2015 was to run 365 miles - one mile per day - over the course of the year.  He started out strong thanks to some mild weather in January and some business trips that allowed him some time on treadmills.  By the end of February he was already several miles ahead of the number of days in we were, but then March came and he got hit with an awful migraine that lasted for days and days.  Without any daily running, he quickly went through his surplus miles and got pretty behind which meant he was heading into the hot months having to play catch up.  Then in April, he thought "Why not run a full marathon this year if I'm going to be running anyway?"

I'll be honest, I was against it from the get-go.  Did you know the first person to ever run a marathon died at the end of it?  Yeah, that's pretty much all I could think about.  Not really worth it, ya know?  But his argument was that if he was ever going to do it, then now was the time - before he got any older and while he was still in good physical shape.  Bucket list and all that nonsense.

So that's how he found himself training for a full marathon mid-year.  He signed up for the St. Jude marathon in December - one that he'd run the half marathon three times already.  I tried not to remind him that every time he ran the half, the first words out of his mouth were, "I'm never doing that again."  I just smiled and let him go about his running business, especially when he offered to push a kid or two in the stroller with him!

Matt was strong in his training (even running every day in Jamaica!) until the last couple of weeks.  His longest training run was supposed to be 20 miles, but he only made it through 17 before running out of energy (literally).  Of course this only made me more nervous.  I tried to talk him into just doing the half again but he felt confident that the day-of adrenaline would carry him the additional miles.

The day we had all been waiting for (dreading!) finally arrived.  Matt laced up his running shoes and was out the door super early in the morning.  We sat at the dinner table the night before mapping out our plan of when I would try to see him with the kids.  His parents were in for the big event as well so we'd be in multiple cars.

Our first spotting of our favorite runner was around mile 6.  We found a great stretch of road that didn't have anyone standing on it so we could have a front row view.  Turns out no one was standing there because it was just past a drink station where the runners through their cups down.  We had to dodge some water and gatorade being thrown at our feet!  

We had our signs and were ready for him!

We hopped in our cars and drove to our next location - the 11 mile mark where the course splits between those doing the half marathon and those doing the full.  I wanted to see him at this point so that I could encourage him to go the half route if he wasn't feeling well.  I was tracking him on my phone but still didn't see him sneak up on me until he was right in front of us!  He looked great and was still going strong so we waved him off in the full marathon direction.

At this point in the day, my mom took the kids home for lunch and naps so it was down to just me and Matt's parents.  We did some wonky navigating through the city and were able to see him two more times before Pat, his mom, had to leave to go pick up the big kids.  Then it was down to just me and his dad.

Our next sighting was at mile 20 and he gave us the typical Matt sign of "I got this."

When we had talked the night before, he had admitted that he thought the stretch from mile 20 to the end would be the hardest part.  We knew he'd need some encouragement so we drove to mile 23 to see him again.  I was sitting down while we waited for him but quickly jumped up when I could make out his figure.  I didn't dare complain about being tired while he was doing all the running!

Bill and I drove downtown and parked to head to Autozone park where the race ended.  I parked way too far away and was scared we were going to miss his finish.  Just as we reached the park, Matt called to let me know he was walking.  His left knee was killing him and he said it felt like it might explode.  He only had a mile and half left to go!  I told him to take his time and go slow and we would be there waiting.

The runners enter the stadium from the outfield so they have big screens projecting them crossing the finish line.  Here are both his dad and my dad glued to the screen watching for him.


I really expected us to hang out there for a little while.  We had him a change of clothes and thought he'd want to dry off and rest and get something to eat.  But as soon as he found us and I took the picture above he said, "I'm ready to go home."  Oh, and also "I'm never doing that again."

That evening, Thomas rewarded him with a back massage.  I'm pretty sure he earned it.  

After he tallied up the total number of miles he'd run after the marathon, he was at 493 for the year.  With three weeks left, he figured he might as well make it 500.  And he did!  He met his new goal the last week of the year and said those last 7 miles were the hardest ones to do.  I think he may hang up his running shoes for a while.

I wish I could say this was the end of our marathoning days but guess who's got this crazy idea to give it a try this year?  Yep, this girl!  Now, before you start thinking I'm nuts, I'm considering doing the HALF not the full and I will be WALKING, not running.  And, you know, it's January while I'm typing this which is when everyone is gungho about resolutions, so ask me again around July to see how I'm feeling about this.  I've got a couple friends who I'm trying to talk into doing it with me and Matt's sister, Jill, says she's on board, so hopefully that will keep me accountable.  Time will only tell...