Sunday, March 4, 2012

Marie's half marathon

Yesterday, I ran 13.1 miles. Never thought I'd be typing that. I initially intended to run the National Half Marathon on March 17th, but when I went to register for the race, the slots had all been taken. I investigated other half marathons in the area, but most are held on Sundays, and I was unwilling to drive for hours, only to run for hours and drive more hours back home. Thus, Marie's half marathon was born and the date set for Saturday, March 3rd. My dad ran with me, and it turned out to be a perfect day for running: mid 50's and overcast. I planned a route along the W&OD bike trail that had a convenience store where we could refill on Gatorade and take a quick bathroom break. Other than that stop and walking to drink fluids or swallow goo, I jogged the whole way and came in with a pace of 10'47" per mile. Nothing fast or fancy, but perfectly acceptable for me, especially since 8 miles is the longest I had ever run until yesterday.

Major thanks need to go out to a few individuals who played a major role in helping me meet (and even make) this goal.

First thanks go to ADAM. He is the ultimate husband, encouraging me to go running and watching the kiddos while I put in some time pounding the pavement. He celebrated the success of every run, short or long, and found me the Nike+GPS app for my iPhone that enabled me to track miles, times, and accumulated distance. Love that app and love the man who installed it for me. We celebrated when I hit the 100 mile mark in my training records (not including any time on the treadmill, elliptical, or the deleted runs where I forgot to turn the app off before I got in the car and recorded supersonic speeds), and Adam arranged a really great surprise group of cheering friends and family at the finish line. (The pie has nothing to do with the post; I just really like this picture of Adam).

More thanks to go KIMBERLY, my running buddy. She helped me realize I could run long distances because of her determination to do so herself. She also helped me realize that running can be fun. It's amazing how quickly time passes when one is conjugating Spanish verbs or swapping life stories with a friend. I had set a tentative goal to maybe, someday run a half marathon. Kimberly held me to my word and gave me the jumpstart I needed when she invited me to go for a 5 mile run on Christmas Eve morning. I could barely walk the rest of the day, but I was hooked on the process. She was also the first one to get me to run 8 miles, breaking through a major mental block since had only ever done a 10k before hitting that distance. Props go to Jerry too, who provided transportation for that monumental run and encouragement all through this process.

I can't close this post without thanking my DAD. He is aptly nicknamed by many family members as "The Energizer Bunny." At his physical last year, Dad asked his doctor if the knee pain he was struggling with would prevent him from running a marathon. The doctor told him if he ran a marathon, he'd be back in for knee replacement surgery. Dad saw that as a challenge. He decided to run to work one day (13 miles), and with that accomplished, he signed up for a marathon, which he ran a few weeks later. His will and determination amaze and elude me. I haven't figured how to channel that level of commitment, but having Dad run this with me made it loads of fun and, the whole while, it felt very doable. He was nice enough to hang with me at my pace, and he saw me through to the finish line. He also helped manage my energy level with expert advice about when to take salt pills, Aleve, swallow runner's goo, and drink Gatorade. I have a picture of my dad and me that was taken after we ran the New Year's Resolution Run 10k a few years ago. I keep it by my jewelry and look at it daily. Dad - you inspire me to exercise and to try hard things. Thank you for that.

Final thanks to my ENTOURAGE. It was so fun to have Adam, Spencer, Emma, John, Valerie (Mom W), Jerry, and Kimberly meet Dad and me at the finish line with Gatorade, a balloon, my very own 13.1 sticker to slap on the back of the van, a bit of juggling (Jester Jerry!) and lots of cheers as I ran in. It was the best finale a girl could ask for. Somehow I didn't end up with the big group photo, so this will have to do for now. Thank you, all, for seeing me through to the close of this crazy adventure.