The following is a letter from Team AANMA runner Anna Mae Pierce:
The Marine Corps Marathon was quite an emotional ride for me. I never thought asthma was affecting my athletic ability until this past year. I knew I needed to take my medications to control the asthma and I knew when to take it easy because of the weather or due to any other triggers that could affect me during my runs (for example, freshly cut grass).
I slept only 1-2 hours the night before the marathon. I thought I would wake up with a “flare up.” So when I awoke without any pain in my chest, I knew it would be a great day – to be able to run, be surrounded by great friends, everything!
I decided to run at a comfortable pace. It was great! I was running a great time, too! I was excited to see my family at mile 19.5 (the AANMA cheer section), but when I got there, they weren’t there! Luckily I saw another friend from Winchester. She totally brightened my day. I momentarily forgot about my family not being there.
After mile 20, I hit the wall! So that is what they were talking about – that’s what I thought in my head! Plus cramps, cramps, cramps in the legs! I had NEVER experienced anything like that in my life! The last six miles consisted of walking, running, and even stopping to stretch multiple times. Just when I would stretch out one muscle another would start to spasm!
On to the finish…and the hill. I was running, my Garmin was already at 26.2, I walked five steps, but I pushed myself to the finish line. All of a sudden, I saw my husband and brother! I saw them all! They were yelling for me! I began to cry. I was doing it…I did it!!!
You see, they wanted to see me finish. They thought it would be better to surprise me at the end. I cried a lot! I am sure I looked ridiculous!
I finally met up with my family and my first comment was, “Where were you???” Then I cried some more! Happy tears! It just meant so much to me.
This meant even more to me than you will ever know! AANMA had made it even more of an amazing experience! I cannot thank you all enough!
AANMA was a perfect fit for me! Thank you, thank you, thank you for making the Marine Corps Marathon such a wonderful experience!
Anna Mae Pierce