If you’ve been wondering, yes, I finished! But the real question is, did I finish last? Yesterday’s post left off around mile 12. I had decided that my new goal was to not come in last, and that lasted for about one second until that became about 3% of my goal and 97% stayed on just finishing before the time limit in as little pain as possible.
Around mile 13, I knew I had enough time to make it. I happily got started actually using the crutches again on that mile. (It was ridiculously painful to walk without them, but I have no upper body strength and had to keep up).
I was so unbelievably ecstatic to be in mile 13, though it pretty much seemed like the longest mile I’ve ever done in my life. As you can see from my pictures, I grabbed washcloths in the morning and stuck them over my crutches, and that really helped. (That’s a tip for any of you out there planning your next half marathon on crutches.)
As I was walking along with my crutches, another sag wagon came up and this incredibly nice woman who was driving said “I just want to let you know that you’re doing great and you’re gonna make it.” It was exactly what I needed to hear. The people in the wagon gave me some water and said that there was chatter about me on the radio and people were excited that I was going to make it.
A super ripped guy across the street didn’t realize they were all being so nice and he yelled “don’t try to convince her to get in that van! You’re doing it! You’ve gone this far. Nothing can stop you now.” I really appreciated the sentiments.
The sag wagon drove away to go check on other runners and I kept on hobbling. I passed a man who wasn’t watching the half marathon anymore, but happened to be on the sidewalk, still walking around Huntington Beach. He said, “oh my gosh, you’re actually finishing! My friend and I saw you start this morning. I have to call and tell him that you’re doing it!”
It took me forever to see that finish line. I kept asking strangers on the street every 10 feet or something ridiculous like that (but not actually that often) if I was getting close. And people said I was.
And lo and behold, the sweetest thing I could see, in the distance, there was the finish line! The feeling was indescribable. I have never been quite that happy to see a finish line. I was finishing for everyone who said I inspired them to think they could do more. I was finishing for everyone who said I never would. I was finishing for myself.
The announcer was a sweetheart saying “for real? You’re incredible!” They actually got video! If I ever feel like I can’t do something I’m gonna pop that video in.
(For anybody who didn’t see it in an earlier post, I came in at 5:07:46 (a mere 1 minute and 3 seconds before the official end of the race). (I had started in one of the last corrals, crossing the start line over 51 minutes after the race had started).)
I didn’t come in last! When the results came out, it turned out there were 7 people who came in behind me.
After waiting for 13 long miles, it was finally time for that delicious Dairy Queen!
As I was walking away from gear check, I actually saw helpful Marcia from the expo that morning. She remembered me and wanted to make sure I finished. What a sweetheart.
I don’t know if any of these people are reading this, but a quick humongous thank you to the patient staff of Surf City – they actually still had bananas and water when I finished! Also, thanks to the spectators and runners for words of encouragement. Thanks to the people on the sidewalk who gave me pretzels. Thanks to the woman who, around her mile 5, saw me on the turnaround and said “I was thinking about quitting, but now that I saw you, I can’t.” That meant a lot to me. I’m so glad I encouraged you to keep going, and your comment encouraged me as well. Thanks to all of YOU who are reading the blog. I can’t wait to tell you all about Palm Springs this weekend!