This view has become pretty familiar over the past year or so….the arch at sunrise, race spectators lining the sidewalks with funny signs (i.e., “You’re my inspiration, complete stranger,” “You’re running better than the government”) thousands of jittery runners packed into corrals waiting for the horn to go off…
But yesterday was a little different. Yesterday, for the first time, I ran a race on behalf of aĀ charity in honor of my kids. It was also the first time I’ve gone into a race feeling unprepared. I’ve always known going into a race that I’m slower than most, but I’ve also known that I’d put in as many miles as everyone else. This time, however, shin splints in both legs eliminated almost a month of crucial training and caused me to change my entry for the marathon (my first) to the half marathon. Even the half marathon seemed like a stretch. But thankfully I made it to the starting line. I even felt pretty good through the first seven or so miles. But by the time mile 10 rolled around, my body made sure to remind me that I had a training shortage and it hurt. Badly. But I finished. It wasn’t the race I wanted to do or the time I wanted to achieve, but I crossed the finish line and I was able to raise a lot of money for research for my kids’ disease. I got this as a result.
The finishers medal doesn’t care how you got there or how fast/slow you did it, it just says that you got there. And I love it.
Another proud accomplishment from this race? My brother. He ran the full marathon and did it in a time that qualifies him for the Boston Marathon. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s amazing. And the boys got to witness him do it. Probably my favorite part of the day.
Speaking of amazing, we had to laugh at a guy prior to the race. As we waited to head to the starting line, he mentioned that he’s 72 years old and yesterday marked his 40th marathon. My brother has seen him at every race, so we knew he wasn’t pulling our leg. He also told us that his wife wasn’t as thrilled about the milestone. Her comment? “When are you going to stop these damn marathons and start doing the half marathon?”
On a much lesser scale, as I nurse aching hips, legs and feet today, I’ve found myself asking when I’m going to stop this damn distance running. The likely answer? Ha. I probably won’t. I’ll be smarter and more realistic in my goal-setting, but I won’t.