Yup. I did it. I made it across the finish line with all 10 of my toenails. I had no doubt I’d finish. I wasn’t so sure about the toenails. Most of my friends lose a few somewhere around the 10-12 mile range. I was lucky and i trimmed them vigilantly before every long run.
It was hard, but uncomplicated, which made it easy in the end. Running long distance is largely mind over matter. In the morning it was misty and I had a bit of a stomach ache. I focused. I paced myself. . . I listened to my awesome play-list. I made funny faces. My running partner, Jaime had a great pace and somewhere around mile 2, I stopped to tie my shoe and she went ahead. She made great time. I didn’t want to slow her down and I’m glad she went ahead. This is funny because for two weeks before the race, she repeatedly told me to go ahead of her if she needed to go at a slower pace. She ended up crossing the finish line several minutes ahead of me. I’m so proud of her! I felt better by mile 6 and really felt great between miles 10 and 12. At mile 10, my friends Moxy and Kiwi were there to cheer me on, grab my sweat-soaked jacket and bandanna and hand me a dry bandanna. That was awful sweet.
Along the way, I high-fived little kids who were cheering and musicians who were playing for the runners. I get all choked up when watching people run these long distances. I’m so proud. I’m so moved. I’m a blubbering mess of tears and admiration. I was afraid that I would be a blubbering mess while running, but thankfully, there was only one time on the course when I got a little teary-eyed. It was funny to be a participant. I felt sometimes along the route like I was also a cheering spectator of my running mates. I was curious to know everyone’s reasons for deciding to train for a 13 mile race. I wanted to ask them for their stories. It was definitely a unique experience to run the same direction as 5,000 other people. . .
I’m really grateful . . .Glad I didn’t injure myself during the months of training. I’m grateful for my running partner, Jaime Safianow, who showed up to all of our training runs during the month before the race, even in the bitter cold and slushy rain. . . and for all of my awesome runner friends who have been trying to get me in the club. . . especially Amy Fletcher, Moxy Castro, Betsy Parmer, Shawna Gibson and Kiwi DeMayo. . . Thanks to Dave Madden, who is a great and fast runner, for being willing to pace with me. That run really changed my whole experience and made me less reluctant to run with people.
And thanks to Rochelle Poulson. She ran the Austin Marathon a few years ago for the first time. Watching her life’s transformation during her training inspired me infinitely. The endurance, joy, power and strength she accumulated during that training prepared her for her battle with breast cancer. I remember walking to the end of my block early that morning (the marathon route passed right by my house) to cheer her on. I stood on the corner crying and clapping for at least an hour. At that moment, I got it.
And, thanks Chad Pope for the fresh coconut hand-off after I crossed the finish line.
I’m doing another even harder course on Feb 20th, the Livestrong Austin half Marathon. It’s got a whole lotta hills. Good thing I’m adding Ashtanga yoga this week to my training schedule. . . My quadriceps may resign if I don’t give them hours of extra stretching and strengthening.