Friday, May 13, 2011
On February 25, my husband and I flew to DFW for the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth. His mother and stepfather came to meet us at the airport, and drove us to their house in Fort Worth. Arriving two days before the race gave us time to hang out with friends, and catch up with family, which was lovely.
Saturday, my mother-in-law enjoyed a day of exploring different eateries in Fort Worth. I enjoyed a delicious lunch of a chicken salad croissant, cake, and gelato. I was having a wonderful time with my mother-in-law, when my head started to throb and my lupus medicine began to churn in my stomach. I asked if we could call it a day, and we went back to their house. There, I spent the rest of the day and night terribly sick. I couldn’t keep down any food. I was cold and clammy. I ached all over.
When Sunday morning came, I debated running the marathon. But our friend Derek came down from Tulsa to run it with me. And I couldn’t bear with the idea of paying $85 for a race without completing it. Therefore, I decided to run and, if needed, walk the race.
We started off at a good pace, and Derek and I chatted—catching up on our various life events. I still ached, but I was having fun. We ran through downtown Fort Worth, and the course was nice and shady. Our pace was easy enough for periodic text messages and phone calls to and from our family members (my parents drove up from Houston to cheer us on).
At mile 13, my husband, the best man from our wedding, and my in-laws were waiting in front of a friend’s house, ringing cowbells and cheering us on. We stopped, briefly. And my husband gave me some medicine for my aching joints. He also told me where my parents were (they hadn’t quite arrived at the city by this point).
At mile 19, my husband, parents, and in-laws met us. By this point, I was feeling weak and extremely achy. I stopped and talked with my parents for a bit. I told Derek to run on without me. He protested, but eventually I convinced him. My parents and husband walked with me a little bit, and then they left to meet me at the finish.
At this time, the course was getting very sunny. The sun is like kryptonite for a person with lupus, and I quickly felt what little energy I had fading. But God sent me an angel in the form of another runner, who had stopped to walk. I finished my last 5 miles with an older gentleman whose name I can no longer remember. We walked those final miles, chatting about our families, jobs, and travels. He encouraged me, and I did the same for him. This man, whose personality was so much like my father’s, made sure I finished what I started. He even encouraged me to run over the finish line, despite our 6+ hour finishing time.
I’ve had better and faster races, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of finishing a race. I could have easily quit, and used my lupus as an excuse. But I didn’t let my upset stomach, aching joints, or dwindling energy stand in my way. Lupus may have slowed me down, but it didn’t drive me to quit!