26.2 miles in the books...
I’d been planning for Oct 9th, 2011, for seven months. The date was written in cement on my calendar. My girlfriend Jojo and I were in this together, and had shared many a phone conversation and funny story around our running schedule. Her husband had joked for months that we were going to "run ourselves straight into mono." …I didn't argue.
The training was tough with our everyday life schedules. Especially since we weren’t together to do it. Jojo was in Colorado with her three beautiful girls, and I had my little-big Skye and Spider with me in Utah. Daily mom duties combined with work and travel made it even tough to stay committed…And even tougher to stay healthy.
But dispute Jo's knee injury (she hadn't run more than 4 miles during the last 4 weeks of training), my nagging hammy, and our little bout with food poisoning the night before the race (don’t get me started on that feeling), we crossed the finish line…And really, that was what it came down to.
You never really know what you are hoping for when you start a race like this, but as I was nearing the giant sign with FINISH written across it, everything became very clear. This moment was for my kids as much as it was for me. My son had already asked for my medal. They have heard me say, "You can't quit" about a 1,000 times, and I didn’t. Every step of the way, I was thinking about those two little people in my life that had cheered me on (even if they didn't know it); I was thinking about my husband who would bike along side me just so I wouldn't be bored; I was thinking about my awesome girlfriend who inspired and motivated me to sign up for this insane race and, even though she was hurting, made the trip and kept it positive every step of the way. At that moment, when my body was in pain and my legs were so heavy, I was overwhelmed with joy knowing how lucky I am.
Tears were flowing as I ran through the finish and stumbled beyond. I couldn't hold them back, and it was wonderful! Three hours, 30 minutes and one second. And I’d finished. Then, when I finally found Jojo and learned she had muscled through her injury to finish as well (when we started she wasn’t optimistic), we were emotional freaks together. Life is too short not to build your scrapbooks full of moments like these.
So thank you Joanna for encouraging me to do this and sharing it with me, and to my family for supporting me, and to Chicago for cheering us on and putting on a great race! It’s a moment in my life I’ll never forget.
**If you want to hear more of my thoughts about the race, you can watch my Monday morning post-race Spreecast here