This journey really began on Friday. It worked out that Doug's flight from Korea would get in just in time for me to catch my flight to see Cathy so, I went to the race without Chloe. We handed Chloe off at the airport and had a quick smooch and I was off. I got into Fresno around 10pm CA time which is Midnight in TX. Rented a car and headed 2hrs north for Cathy's house. I was super zonked but the funny thing was, as soon as I got to her house and found Cathy and Emily (her second to oldest daughter) waiting up I was totally rejuvenated. We ended up talking for almost 2hrs at which point I really had to call it a night :). The next morning Cathy, Emily and I headed to the Expo, it was great. It wasn't a big expo, in fact it was a Modesto sized Expo. It was small but, it was so much fun to go with Cathy. I got to meet the rest of her girls there, it was great. The night before the race we set up all of our gear and set our alarms for super early just in case there were parking issues or what not. We got there with no trouble and hung out in the car for a bit. It was only 40 degrees outside so we had to stay warm until the start of the race. We hit the Port a Potty's a few times (this will be a theme throughout the day :)) and then went to the start. The top picture is of Cathy at the starting line. Doesn't she look Happy.
Here is Cathy at mile 4, our first Port a Potty stop, we hit every single one which was every two miles from here until the end of the race. I could be wrong but at first I think she needed them and later on I think she went in there so she could get a break and get away from me. Not good. Maybe I push too hard? It was right around here that Cathy began to make me think their was a kink in our plan. She said her legs hurt and so did her foot. Uh Oh, that didn't seem good for so early in the race. She kept on keeping on and then the 1/2 marathoners who had hit their turn around point began blazing by us heading back. Mentally you can see how that would be hard. At around mile 6 I called in reinforcements. And man did the Running Moms deliver. They began sending tons of messages to her via my phone. I would read them to her and she would instantly light up, it was great. I am telling you I belong to the best group of runners ever. I had called in reinforcements because I didn't know if someone could really hit the wall at mile 6 in a marathon. I tried all sorts of things to keep Cathy's mind off of the race and maybe make her laugh, some of them put a smile on her face, most made her say "oh my gosh" and I think the Chariots of Fire Ballet made her laugh, but then so were the spectators. Cathy got over the wall at around mile 19 and was so dang happy, it was awesome. She hit another wall a few miles later but she just kept going. Ok she might have had a hand in her back so she couldn't really stop but she did keep on keep'in on. The race was so hard for her, it was truly impressive to see how hard someone would work to achieve a goal. She went all out and she did it.
Here we are with less than a mile to go. I know I know, check out those biceps. I think next time if her legs get tired I am going to suggest she try running on her hands. With those arms it has to be possible. Hey, I think there is some guy who has done the whole marathon that way. I know there is one who has juggled the whole way. Hummmm, something to consider. Oh and yes I did say "next time." Cathy is already plotting her next marathon.
Here is Mama Cathy with all of her girls. They met us at the end of the race, ran out to meet her and ran her almost across the line, it was awesome. They even wore pink for her (it is her favorite color).
I learned a lot from this race. I was really blown away that after running only 2.5 yrs an almost 50 yr old woman could do a marathon. I felt like she had to work harder than I have ever made myself work in a race, she pushed through boundaries and walls that would have made most of us quit. Cathy went from running a 5K a year or so ago to running a marathon. She proves that if you want anything bad enough you can go out there and do it. I left her house truly inspired to run harder and push myself more. Cathy is truly an inspiration and it was awesome to run her first marathon with her. Hope we get to do another next year.