This little white tulip in a sea of red caught my eye the other day and made me smile.
Pretty little rebel.
The next day, I took this photo. This is the start line of my very first marathon.
Believe it or not, these photos feel very similar to me.
In a sea of racers, I sometimes worry that I stick out a little bit…but not in a quirky, lovely white tulip-type of way. I don’t look like a runner…I’m not as fast as the others…blah, blah, blah. Especially at the start line of my first marathon. Holy cow, what was I thinking? I don’t belong here! But as I slowly ticked off the miles towards the finish line, I embraced my race — and the way I prepared for it. I guess I probably did do things a little differently than others — and it was decidedly me. During my training, I didn’t even try to run without walking intervals. I stopped for visits with all oncoming dogs, both on leashes and in yards. I greeted the neighbors. I took photo breaks. Lots of photo breaks. But I followed my training plan to the letter and put in the miles. I stayed injury-free and made it to the start line. And during the race? True to form, I stopped to pet a yellow lab around mile 11. I took a few (crappy) photos (below are the only remotely decent ones). But I finally made it to the finish — and got a medal that looks just like everyone else’s.
So it turns out that I blend when it counts.
When the route took us through the AB campus, they were kind enough to have a Clydesdale out to cheer us on. LOVED this.
These teenagers completed a half marathon like this. I found myself smiling and shaking my head at them quite a bit.
And here’s a BIG part of my marathon story that made the day even more special. It was definitely a family affair. My brother ran the marathon, too. Only he did it in a time that qualified him for Boston — by FOUR minutes. (Then the poor guy had to stand around forever and wait for me to get there.) My Dad and my boys volunteered along the course. Then my oldest jumped in at mile 15 to get me through the back part of the course. (I went ahead and paid for his full entry, hence the bib number. No running bandit.) I seriously don’t know how I would’ve finished without him. He was my constant cheerleader and motivator. He pumped up everyone around us, thanked every volunteer.
“Mom, you are SO CLOSE.”
“Let’s do this, Mom!”
“Look at you, Mom. Those people behind us have given up. But you’re not giving up. You’ve got this!”
He made me laugh through some of the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt. Yet again, I found myself marveling at my kids’ capacity for love. Unconditional love. It makes me tear up even now.
Anyway, months of training for this event are finally over. I’m grateful and relieved. More than anything, I’m completely content sticking with my brand of running. Because it’s authentically me. And I’m good with that.