Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Most Dramatic Mile And A BQ In Her Pocket


After finishing my 100th HM at Tacoma City and celebrating with many friends my milestone, I went back to the course to mile 25 to cheer on my friends and to pace my dear Maria for the last mile in her Boston Qualifying quest: 3:45. I was frantically texting with our common friend Marie to know where Maria was and how she was doing. Marie told me that she had just run at mile 21 with Maria and that she was ahead of pacer. I was in a corner before the last water station, exact location 25.1 mile. Three young girls are cheering on every single runner. I saw 3:25 pacer running by, texted Marie back and forth, and after I saw the 3:40 pacer I put my phone away.

When the 3:45 pacer was approaching I noticed that Maria was not with him, I started to freak out. Then I saw her may be 5 seconds behind, and told the girls: This is it. Here she comes. The girls started screaming: Go Maria, Maria, you can do it, only one mile to go.  Maria was running with Marc Frommer what gave me great relief.

As soon as we passed the hydration station, Maria stopped and said: I can't do it. I told her "you've gotta go. You can't stop now, only one mile to go”. The pacer was separating from us and he was about 10 seconds ahead now.  I gently put my right hand in her back pushing her, and told her, we gotta keep going. Maria started running again, and 10 seconds later she stopped again saying I can't do it. I replied: YOU MUST do it. I pushed her again now not so gently and she kept going. I told her as soon we turned around the corner this slight uphill is gone, then will be flat till mile 26, and the last .2 are downhill. We turned into Pacific and about mile 25.6 Maria started to slow down. The pacer is now about 20 seconds away.  I understand distance and velocity well, and I knew that we still had chance to press on to reach the pacer, but seconds were golden and we couldn’t afford to lose any of them. I pushed her again literally with my hands on her back, she accelerated and yelled at me: NO ME TOQUES !!! (DON'T TOUCH ME in Spanish); I yelled back, "Fine, I won't touch you but you must keep going." Marc was on my left, Maria on my right and to avoid touching her I moved to the left to leave Marc in the middle. She goes, sorry Lizzie. I told her: don't worry HATE ME today, hate me if you want to, puke if you have to, but you can’t slow down. We need to pass the pacer, we are getting close." I totally knew and understood what was at stake, I knew the regret if missing it by a matter of seconds, and I knew that she had the guts to push the pace, so I could care less that she had yelled at me...Then, we passed the pacer, Maria moved to the middle, and I think this moment was huge because that gave her the confidence she needed (somebody captured this moment with a great photo).
After passing the pacer
We were now about mile 25.9 and I told her, "see the cop's car? That’s mile 26, the rest is an awesome downhill". We turned around the corner, and when we had the clock in front of us I wanted to get Maria focused only on the clock. I knew that with that she would have all the adrenaline that she needed to cross the finish line with a BQ. I told her "Maria, look at the clock, look at the clock, keep your eyes on the clock".

Look at the clock, look at the clock

Maria, look at the clock

Keep your eyes on the clock
Then I told her "YOU GOT THIS" and I stepped aside to avoid crossing the mat.
You got it Maria, YOU GOT THIS
She sees the clock and she knows she's got it
 She beautifully crossed the finish line at 3:44:41. A Dramatic Mile And A BQ In Her Pocket.
The most beautiful expression.
I asked her: Can I touch now? And she said: YOU CAN TOUCH ME ALL YOU WANT!!!

24 comments:

Ginger Gruber said...

I'm so glad to finally hear the story about the pictures. I have goosebumps reading this. You are a beautiful friend, Lizzie.

Pete Hamann said...

Awesome story! Thanks Lizzie!

lizzie lee said...

Awesome wife you have !!!! When is your HM? Maybe you are NEXT!!!!!! :) :) :)

Maria José Morante said...

I love you Lizzie Lee!. It is a pretty cool story, isn't it? I am so glad you wrote this, and you are such an awesome writer! Thanks again my friend.

the Shoe said...

You already know I just love this story and the powerful photos that go with it. Human triumph at its very best. Congratulations to all for this individual and joint victory. Stories don't get any better than this!

Kimberlee Blake said...

I NEVER get tired of it, Maria! Just so, so cool! xo

Meggie Fischer Kennedy said...

Amazing, Inspiring words... GOOD JOB!!!

Ramanama Nama Naa said...

María, that is a wonderful account of how it happened and that was such a great read and it made me tear up (I know that's mushy, but it really did). I will never get tired about hearing about your BQ race or any of your running. YOU ARE AMAZING! I couldn't be happier for you. What a wonderful write-up. Again, congratulations!!

Trisha Burke said...

It gives me goosebumps and happy tears, Maria. We are all so proud of you, chica!

Paige Denison said...

Beautiful synergy to capture a common goal!

Duane Dow said...

Wonderfully written. Almost like living in the moment with you. Awsome!

Susan Pierce Richards said...

You always make me cry happy tears!!!

Tracy Coniglio said...

Awesome little play by play to capture an amazing moment. Congrats to you Maria!!!

Mary Reyes said...

Se me aguaron los ojos que belleza! No conozco a tu amiga and I'm already pro

Mary Reyes said...

Proud of her

Karen Flynn MM #4024 said...

I happen to be the person in the pink in the lefthand side of this picture. Even though I had not been intimately acquainted with any of the other runners in this picture I have to say when I came upon this group in the last mile of the race I felt the common bond & was so inspired & moved by what I was witnessing! The emotion in that group was palpable! I feel honored to have borne witness to the human spirit in full bloom in that last mile. I too ran a BQ & a marathon PR that day and this race will forever be my favorite race for so many reasons, one of them being my last marathon mile encounter with this group of extraordinary people!

Karen A Flynn said...

I cannot get enough of this story! Thanks for making my last mile forever memorable too as I am the runner in pink in the photo with this group! I also ran a BQ & a marathon PR that day and I have to say that this was the coolest & most inspiring last mile I have ever run! Thanks you guys!

Lizzie Lee said...

Love it Lizzie

Jen Shearer Beach said...

Same sentiments that Trisha said... brought tears to my eyes and makes me want to get out and run again tomorrow! Congrats on your achievement... I am so proud of you!!

Trisha Burke said...

Jen - it made me want to, too! Maria is an inspiration!

Lori Kendall said...

Love you Maria! You are an inspiration to so many friends!

Yum Runner said...

This is so amazing! My heart rate definitely raised as I was reading. I'd love, love, love to have someone like you ruing by my self, keeping me focused. You are awesome!

Alexey Panteyev said...

Wow, I had no idea you were pushing to qualify for Boston! Great job! And an awesome post by your friend! Sorry I couldn't utter a word of encouragement, I was pretty spent myself. A tap on the shoulder is all I could do.

Tiffany Correa-Castro said...

So proud of you Maria!!! What a great story and even a better friend!!! Besos chica