A friend sent me an email and told me of the story of her running a half marathon. In the course of life, one single person completing a half marathon isn’t such a big thing? Or is it?
You see, she’s recently lost over a hundred pounds and she’s changed her life for whatever reasons she has. Honestly, I am so happy for her. I know that her loosing the weight is a wonderful thing as she will no doubt be healthier and in turn have a better quality of life.
But the thing that impresses me more than her loosing weight and made me think tonight is that she is doing what is important in life!
You see, she is living and she is writing her story everyday. And I think that is what we all should learn to do better – live life and tell a story worthy of telling with our lives. Don’t be afraid to go out and do something. Don’t be afraid to really live.
I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this chapter in her life story book…
Well, after months and months of planning, training, walking miles and miles through blisters, butt pain, etc, (you get the picture), I accomplished a goal. That goal was to compete in a half-marathon. For that event I set 4 goals. First was to just plain finish the 13.1 miles. The second was to at least get in under 3 hours 45 minutes. Then the third was to hopefully get an “official time”. That time had to be 3:30:00. And fourth was NOT to come in last! As the day of the event got closer, I knew, barring any injury or heart attack, I would finish and I was confident I would get in under 3:45:00 but the third one was still in question and I had no clue about the fourth.
In the pre-dawn darkness and cold drizzle 1,700 competitors started the 13.1 mile race. I knew I would be run over by all the runners so I positioned myself to the side about halfway back. As I stood there waiting for the gun to go off I suddenly got choked up and tears formed in my eyes. I couldn’t believe I had actually made it to the starting line. Long months of training in the heat and cold and dreaming of the finish line over and over had culminated in this final moment. I became overwhelmed with emotion. I was going to do it! I only had 13.1 miles to go!
I never heard the starting gun, just saw the crowd start to move out ahead of me. As most of the crowd raced by me, I settled down into my rhythm, put the earphones on and got down to business of finding that finish line. A little way down the road, I spotted Ralph with the camera. He had gotten up at 5:30am with me and again my wing man was with me. As with most of the miles I have walked in the past year and a half, I was alone in my race. All the runners had long since disappeared, and those that had started running and were now walking were little dots on the horizon. The Silver Comet Trail was beautiful this October morning and I was enjoying my fast walk through the woods. Low and behold, I started to catch some of the people in front of me.
Timers at the mile markers kept me motivated and by the time I made it to the turn around point I was determined to make that third goal. By now my poor ole tired puppies were starting to bark a little but everything else was holding up just fine. I also got to see just how many people were behind me. I was ahead of 18 racers at that point. Well, at least I wasn’t last! When I hit the nine mile mark and the caller announced my time, I knew the third goal was within reach. I still had plenty of gas in the tank, thanks to my cinnamon roll, bananas, M&M’s and Gator-aid. I turned on the afterburners and started to catch some of the people in front of me.
The last two miles were difficult as I had really stepped up the pace and stretched out my stride and dug deep into my determination and grit. The muscles in my legs were starting to sing now, not scream but definitely singing a loud tune. By now most everyone was gone, the timers and water stations abandoned. It was a lonely last 4 miles. When I passed the 12 mile marker I was setting my tennis shoes on fire and so damned happy that I had only one mile left. I knew I was going to make all my goals.
With two tenths of a mile left to go, I looked up and there was my little girl, Melissa, coming up the path to meet me. I started singing the words out loud to the song in my headphones and joggers along the trail started laughing. Not making fun mind you, just laughing. I didn’t slow down, and she pulled in beside me and we breezed into the finish line, Melissa pealing off at the last second, so I could cross the finish line for my official time. And there was my wingman, taking pictures. I came in behind 1,673 people but ahead of 26 people, with a time of 3:24:37, got my finishers medal, the tee-shirt and got to tick off one more of those things on my life’s list of things to do. I wore the tee shirt for 2 days after that.
My muscles did some serious complaining as soon as I finished the race, they weren’t singing anymore, they were screaming very loudly and I heard the tune. As soon as I sat down on the bus back to the start I knew it was a bad idea. Every muscle from my waist down cramped and strained and twitched, etc. But all was well. A bottle of Advil and a cheeseburger later and I was absolutely fine. The next day I only had one spot that I knew was a problem. A tendon in my foot was strained but a couple days rest and it was good as new.
Two days later, I was back on the street walking and wondering, “What’s next”?
Well, thanks for indulging me in this recount of a very important day in my life.
Love to all,