|Just got to the race, it was raining pretty hard (Tonya and Julie)|
|Jason and Jarhett, our Batman and Robin for the half marathon|
The marathon course is described as ".... the most difficult and challenging, but scenic course.... 5000 ft climb. .....packs a punch and features significant elevation gain with tons of mud, rocks, creek crossings and did we say hills? Yes, there are LOTS of hills!"
As we arrived at the park early Saturday morning it was still slightly dark and pouring down rain. It was 54 degrees out and everyone was either under cover or using the bathrooms. We heading to the bathroom, took a few photos and then headed for the covering to try and stay dry before we had to head to the starting line. We saw Jason and Jarhett and Yolanda and Blanca all preparing for the half marathon. We also saw Jerrilynn who would be joining us for the full marathon. It's always fun seeing faces you know at races.
|The full marathon map and elevation|
As we got to North Falls we got to go downhill for a little bit heading down to were the waterfalls are located. We passed an aid station and left our sparkle skirts behind, they were becoming more of a bother than they were worth. We quickly headed up the perimeter trail for a 13 mile hard core trail run through the woods. The trail started off very steep. This was about mile 6 and our first hard climb. This climb just got harder and harder. About half way up we saw two men walking back down, they decided to quit. Can't say I blame them, but we just kept going. It was so steep we looked like we were crawling, but we weren't. My calves started to burn and I started to feel very fatigued and I really needed to go to the bathroom. We trained on lots of hills, but not on trail hills. Trail hills are much steeper than road hills and very muddy. It began to even out and we were starting to enjoy the trails again. We were coming up on Howard Creek Horse area (a horse camp). Around mile 9 or so we came to a sudden stop and people seemed to be panicked. A creek crossing! The water looked clean but was moving fast. I quickly stepped in and it felt so good on my tired feet. As I got about half way across the water was moving faster and it felt stronger so I slowed down for fear of falling. The water came up to the middle of my shins, I think it hit Tonya's knees (I am taller than her). I was determined not to fall in, the water was very cold and I still had to go to the bathroom...this didn't help! I actually thought about peeing in the creek, but just couldn't do it! We finally stepped out on the other side and I felt numb but started running again. It was a very strange feeling to run with numb feet/calves. It felt as if I had compression socks on. I looked down and my skin was very pink but as we ran on, the numbness eventually faded.
|Mile 10.7, aid station #3|
We headed up Old Maple Trail. I don't remember that being terrible, very muddy and pretty. Every once in awhile we would remind each other to "look." It was so beautiful out there on the mountain. It was wet from the rain but the sun was shining in through some of the trees, lots of trees and ferns. As we came up to about mile 12-15 we knew there would be trouble! Buck Mountain! I do believe this is the climb Tonya said she would tell me she hated me on! I knew she would get over it, she never came the the "hate" point but did tell me to "shut up" when I told her, "keep going, she wouldn't want anyone to think I was faster!!!" Yes, this is the way we talk to each other when it gets hard, but we both love each other dearly and never really get mad!
We finally made it to Aid Station 4 (around mile 14) and there was our friend Jerrilynn who we had played passing games with the first half. She seemed rather tired so Tonya encouraged her to join us. We all took off up the mountain together. We were all in good company. We all somehow needed each other. The trail was still narrow and we had to run single file up and down, across another creek, over a couple large tree stumps. This was more difficult than it sounds, our legs were so tired at this point that we couldn't just hop over the logs or we were sure to fall on our faces. We had to stop, and lift our legs up and it hurt so bad, but we did it! It was so muddy in some parts of the trail we had to slow down so we wouldn't fall on each other or down the bank. There were some holes, lots of large mud puddles, sticks, rocks, slippery bridges but we all watched out for each other. We would warn each other if there was a hole or slick spot. All three of us were able to keep from falling down. If you know me, you will be surprised I didn't ever fall, in fact, Tonya came close to falling more times than me, hehehehe!
Around what we thought was mile 19 (was really about mile 18) We were still running single file as I go by a man standing in our trail path and he seemed to be looking for his friend to come. Next thing I know Jerrilynn is talking to him, then she kissed him! Come to find out...it's her husband! She was so happy to see him and I was glad she wasn't kissing a strange man!
We thought we were almost off that dreadfully beautiful mountain but Jerrilynn's husband was saying something about a little over a mile to the next aid station? We all agreed that we hoped he was wrong! He wasn't!!! He was right, and it felt like it took forever to get off that mountain.
Finally we start hearing cheers, we knew we were close! We came around off that narrow muddy trail to the paved path that lead to the waterfalls (North Falls, aid station #5, mile 19.1) and I looked up on the bridge above us and there is Lincoln's Mom Jenny, and my friends Shawna and Rebecca who helped get this fundraiser going. They had been standing there asking people if they had seen Batman and Robin. Other runners remember us and told them if they had passed us or not so they could keep track of where we were on the course. They threw their arms up and screamed! I threw my arms up and screamed. We stopped fill up with water and they ran down off the bridge for sweaty stinky hugs and showed us they had our sparkle skirts. They found them at the aid station we left them at. We told them to go to South Falls for the next check point and we started to take off again but had to stop for just a second. Tonya was overwhelmed with emotion and I realized she was crying. Seeing Jenny was a reminder of why we were out there and we had just come off the hardest part of the marathon and our bodies were tired and hurting. When I saw Tonya's emotion I started up a little but had to keep going. I thought I would be crying at this point but I just couldn't. Not sure why. I was beginning to worry about Tonya a little, she seemed very tired and we still had to run around the whole falls trail.
This was the part of the marathon I was really looking forward too, I love the water falls. I have never seen Silver Falls in the FALL time, it was very yellow with beauty all around us from the trees. Tonya insisted that the mile marker 19.1 at the aid station was wrong and her Garmin was right (saying about 20). Now one mile sooner is a lot of a difference, 7 miles left? 6 miles left? Yes, a BIG difference when your this tired and ready to be done. Was hoping Tonya was right, but had a feeling she was wrong because I knew how long the trail was around the waterfalls and it's longer than 6 miles, but I kept my mouth shut and kept going.
|Look closely and you can see we ran behind this waterfall|
We had lots of inclines up and down through the falls trails, Some paved paths and lots of gravel. Then it was time to climb out, oh no, the stairs! From the moment we decided to do this fundraiser run, the stairs is what scared me to most. I was afraid I would either fall down or wouldn't' be able to lift my legs anymore. I knew we were getting close to the end, so all I could do was go up the stairs! It hurt and I had to go slow but I kept going. I looked back and Tonya and Jerrilynn were coming along. Tonya seemed to be hating this part very much! There was also a man in a orange shirt who seemed to be pulling himself up with his arms on the railings. As long as I took it slow, it wasn't as bad as I had imagined We had a ramp to go up to get up to the top, aid station #6 (mile 23.5). We had to walk up this ramp, our bodies were wearing down and Tonya's hips and chest were hurting. As we got to the top, there was Jenny, Shawna and Rebecca again. Aid station 6 had been abandoned and they took over! They gave us water and we took off walking while they headed to South Falls, the finish line. The man in the orange shirt got to this point and asked my friends the quickest shortcut back, he was done...he walked off the course!
Tonya's chest was hurting whenever we would start running so the three of us walked together. We were not going to risk anyone's health to finish faster. Besides, we were all so beat up, no one really cared to slow it up. The cut off time was 6 hours and we knew about this time we weren't going to make it. We had no idea if the race organizers would even still be there when we got to the finish. They stated clearly on the website that the cut off was 6 hours. I really thought we would get done in 5-5:30 hours, 6 at the very most. We all three can run a normal marathon in around 4.5 hours, BUT...this is no normal marathon. As we came into South Falls I was so happy. If Tonya's Garmin was right, we just needed to go through the grass to the finish! YES!
|Almost to the end!|
As we came down off that last hill, we had to run through some grass and I saw my son Randy watching for us. I could tell he was watching for us because all of a sudden he looked up and then took off running to the finish back over our last bridge we had to cross! We ran over that last bridge and there was the finish line still up! Our families and friends were all still there waiting and cheering for us. They handed us medals (we didn't think we were even getting medals for this marathon). Rebecca and Shawna had pockets full of little yummy apples they had taken for us off the food table that was now shut down. It was the best apple I've ever had! I was so hungry. I was so happy it was over but too tired to cry, and all Tonya could do is cry. Every time someone would hug me, it hurt my shoulders and back but how could I not hug people! It was done, finally!
Tonya and I along with 241 other runners finished the full marathon 52 people didn't finish the race. This is the only time I have ever thought it would be nice to know the course good enough to cheat. I wouldn't of cheated when it came down too it, but just for me to think of cheating you know it was hard!
I knew this marathon was going to be very hard, and that's why this one was picked for Running For Lincoln. Superhero Lincoln is in a battle with Leukemia, we needed to go battle the mountain for him to raise awareness and funds for his family. I didn't know just how hard that mountain would be. Life is full of mountains. When we look to God and have family and friends support us, the mountains aren't easier, but more bearable. Lincoln's family gives God the glory and I admire them. Please consider sending in $26 to show this family support as they run over their mountain. Tonya and my marathon is over, they still have over two years left of treatments. A marathon is 26.2 miles, we are close to our goal of $100 per mile each, for a total of $5200. We ran 26.2 miles, can you give $26 and help us with our goal and bless this family?
You can see our fundraising page/updates here.
|Tonya, Jenny and me (Julie)|
If you have any questions please message me here. Through November all your giving is tax deductible so don't wait, give today!
|The true Superhero, Lincoln!|
By the way, I would NEVER run this marathon for myself, it was way too hard. Running it for Lincoln was worth ever ache and pain and every hour in training, Lincoln is a true Superhero. I never expected to get a new friend though this experience. Thank you Jenny for being such a encouragement and friend and showing God glory in your good times and your bad times. You are such a good example to us all and I am so thankful for you.