i woke up sunday morning nervous, excited, and ready.
after suiting up in my race gear (never thought i would wear spandex in public, but there i was, squeezing my legs into my spandex capris:) and stuffing down a bagel, i was out the door with the perfect combination of a scared out of my mind stomachache and adrenaline pumping through my veins.
the day i had been training for for months had finally arrived.
either i would dominate or die.
fortunately, i've come out on the other side and lived to tell about it.
sarah graciously dropped brandon, mr. lesley, and i off and we made our way to the start area.
after a short fight with mr. lesley about whose fault it was that we forgot the gels, we all calmed down, checked our bags, and got into our corral.
with a corral in no man's land, it took us awhile to cross the start line, but 30 minutes after the race started, we were on our way.
the first 5 miles went through downtown and went off without a hitch.
my personal highlight had to be when "one moment in time" came on my playlist.
whitney knows how to shoot straight to the heart.
i was like, "yes, i am running with destiny."
races seem to bring out the cheesiest side of me, and i welcome it with open arms.
once we made it to city park, we were greeted by mr. lesley's aunt and uncle, his sister leighann, and brandon's girlfriend sarah.
i couldn't keep my arms down any time we saw one of our loyal fans.
they were some of the best cheerleaders you've ever seen.
and it seemed like every time i looked up, mr. lesley's uncle was there with his flip cam recording it all.
(sidenote: the signs on our backs were for his cousin emma and grandma who both passed away in the last 6 months [his grandma only a few days before the race.. we wanted to do something to honor their memory.)
once we split off from the half marathoners around mile 11, i have to admit, i felt pretty amazing.
i never thought i would ever be able to run a marathon and then to be included in the marathon group and hear everyone cheering, felt so, so good.
i felt even better when i saw new friend kim standing along the course with this amazing sign.
again, i started waiving my arms and fist pumping the moment i saw her.
she is such a good friend to wait for so long just to see us run by for a couple seconds.
then less than a mile down the road, we saw kari, brian, and baxter:)
such good friends and faithful fans.
they came out early in the cold before going to see the BRONCS! just to support us.
i was smiling from ear to ear when i saw them.
(oh, and waving my arms like a crazy person yet again).
we ran through wash park (one of my favorite spots in denver) for miles 16-19...
and once again our cheerleaders were there to support us.
and leighann's in-laws even joined in the fun (fun=cheering in the cold.)
and to our surprise, our friends kjaer and monica were also there to cheer us on.
let me just say, the support of our friends and family during this race was incredible.
it definitely made all the difference.
when we were tired, they gave us high fives.
when our nipples started bleeding, they gave us band-aids (ok, maybe only mr. lesley's nipples didn't cooperate, but whatever:)
when we were thirsty, they gave us water.
and we were so thankful.
the last 7 or so miles were definitely not a cake walk.
maybe i yelled at mr. lesley a couple times (while running backwards), but sometimes you've got to do whatever necessary to get 'er done.
then comes the definite highlight of the race...
mr. lesley and i were running towards the finish line when i see my sister and friend rachel (who surprised me and came to the race) on the sidelines.
i was super excited to see them and kept on running.
all of the sudden, i feel a tap on my shoulder and turn around to see my step sister lele running right beside me.
i definitely screamed and looked at her in a complete state of shock.
for weeks we had been talking about how great it would be if she could come to the race, and lo and behold there she was.
she flew into denver just for the day to be there to see me finish the race.
i was blown away at her thoughtfulness.
mr. lesley and i finished holding hands (yes, we know we are so adorable) with lele right at our side.
(oh, and i have to add, the girl in pink in front of us fully kneeled down at the finish and we almost crashed into her...i was like "get out of our way!"...don't mess with a girl who has been running for almost 5 hours.)
after i got my medal (gosh, that felt good), i chatted with rachel and tried to wrap my mind around seeing lele right next to me.
i was so thankful to have both sisters there to celebrate.
and in case you were wondering, i couldn't feel my legs and was struggling to walk. no bigs.
after grabbing my metalic cape (i basically ran the whole race for that cape, my medal, and the 26.2 sticker i will proudly be putting on my car), mr. lesley and i soaked in the moment of 1. being engaged and 2. finishing a marathon.
what an incredible 72 hours.
after we semi regained the use of our legs, we took a group shot...
made some new friends...
showered all the nastiness off, assessed our wounds (my feet were NASTY...blister city for sure...i considered posting pictures, but i wanted to spare you from tossing your cookies), and made a b-line for some delicious pasta at maggiano's.
after lunch we had to get our things together and drive straight to the airport to catch a flight back to michigan for mr. lesley's grandma's funeral.
and even under such sad circumstances his AMAZING mom and aunts made these signs to greet us at the airport.
they are so great.
one weekend with two dreams coming true.
getting engaged to the love of my life and accomplishing a dream i once thought was impossible.
it doesn't get much better than that folks.