I finished it, but looking at my time, it seemed like I barely finished. I just did not get close to my goal. In fact, my finish time was 15 minutes slower than my first Portland Marathon, which was 11 years ago, and 45 minutes slower than last year.
At first I felt so disappointed that my time was so slow. Sure, I had had the stomach flu and sure I got injured just weeks before the event, and sure I did not train enough (again), but somehow I thought I could overcome all of those obstacles. I did not. Instead, I felt like a failure in some way. Here, I talk about a goal of a certain time, but do not reach it. My husband laughs at me when I say I feel like a failure for going that much slower this year. He reminds me that there are very few people that have run marathons in the world. Hey, I finished. I should be happy.
And, completing the marathon is really what the race is all about. They make all who finish feel like winners. Close to the finish of the race, weaving my way through the streets of downtown Portland which was laced with thousands of spectators, I heard my name announced, Cornelia Seigneur of West Linn on the loud speakers, as they do for all finishers. And, upon crossing the finish line, I received a medal around my neck and a rose from some sweet little kid volunteer, and I was curtained with an aluminum type robe to keep us warm; and somehow, we were all made to feel like winners, like we had accomplished everything. Somehow. In the end, it is “did you run the marathon?” not “how fast did you run?”
I gobbled down the food they offered us. Juices, bagels, oranges, yogurt, Fritos, bananas, cookies. And I was so happy to have finished my seventh marathon.
I picked my when t-shirt and met my family; it was so fun to have my kids cheer me on and my husband took photos during and after the race. My kids joined me for part of the race which is a tradition now. It is good for kids to see their moms reach goals. Okay, not the time I wanted but the goal of finishing.
Because, that is what life and faith are all about. Finishing. Endurance. Commitment. Trying your hardest and having a good attitude about it. No matter what. Finish the race. Sweat in between. Finish. Even when you do not reach your specific goal. Finish. Even if it is slower than last time. Finish. It is a good lesson in life to remember.
And so, I proudly wear my marathon t-shirt. Which says, Finisher. No one has to know my time!
PS, my inspiration for running Portland marathons is Kristi, pictured here with me before the race. She, like me, did not run her best race, but finished!! (And, of course, it is all online: http://www.portlandmarathon.org/index.php)