Tonight I had to relieve Mike of Clara-helping duty. It’s really just about the most irritating thing in the world. Thankfully, I can see a lot of progress already. She’s starting to spontaneously read signs and titles. She’s believing she can do it, and that makes all the difference.
I had a similar thing happen to me. See, the first run I ever did was the Valley Harvest 10k. I ran it in 1h15m and I felt pretty pleased. After all, I’d been a couch potato for the first 38 years of my life and I had spent 5 months gearing up for that run. The next year I ran about 1h10m, then 1h4m. Last year, we ran the half marathon. But I had a goal this year (for the first time). I decided that I really wanted to crack the one hour mark.
The weeks leading up to the run did not look promising, but today I just made up my mind. I located the 55m pace bunny and I followed her very closely. I figured that at some point I’d be looking at the 1 hour bunny’s tail, and then maybe even the 1h5m and possibly the 1h10m’s cotton fluff.
Here are some Pace Bunnies, if you wondered what they look like…and here is the article I nabbed this photo from.
I gave it my all. Normally, I walk every 10 minutes (referred to by those in the know as “10 and 1s”). Today I only walked up hills (and then I didn’t fully walk) and a couple other times for less than a minute. Near the end I had not seen the 55m bunny in a long while. I decided the 1hour bunny must have passed me without my noticing. I was discouraged but I felt my brain saying “just do this. just go. just do it!” so I did. I thought about how we’d thought of the 21.1k, last year, as 5k chunks. I thought about how many times I’ve run “a 10” and I just went.
I crossed the finish line…and only the marathon/half-marathon running times were showing.
Then I saw my running buddy who knew her own time (but not mine). She told me many of the running bunnies had lost their signs and some had even lost their ears.
“Oh man,” thought I, “I really was later than I thought.”
Right after my running buddy and I finished. See our medals? See our happy faces?
Next, we went down into the gym for snacks and massages (so great). As we stood in line a running friend offered her iPod for us to look up our times. We found lots of people, but not mine. I decided to give up looking and accepted that I’d finished.
After the massage, we went to the locker to get out our gear. That’s when Mike sent a message that said “57.55! Great job!” (I may be paraphrasing). I literally jumped for joy. I still can’t believe I shaved SIX MINUTES off my previous time! I feel like a million bucks.
Next, though, was one of the most fulfilling race endings I’ve ever witnessed.
Our coach, the Helenator herself (Helen MacDonald) completed her first marathon today (and qualified for the Boston because of course she did). She had secretly started training in the spring, not entirely convinced she could do it. She would give us secret updates from time to time and then she started going public as her confidence grew. About a week ago, she mused about how there would likely be no one left by the time she arrived. Her ETA was about 2 hours after we’d pulled into the station.
There were a pile of us who either waited around for her, or who made the trip in JUST to see her arrived. I spotted her coming up the road that leads to the field. I yelled ‘HELEN!” and other people started cheering. As soon as she got close enough, I could see the tears streaming down her face. We ran up to the field to see her and I yelled to her daughters and her BFF (and her daughters) “she’s coming! she’s coming!”.
Then I did what she’s done for me and for so many others. I ran her in. I ran beside her and told her how amazing she was how she was totally going to beat the goal she’d set and at the last few seconds I veered off, hollering at her to go go go!!!
She crossed the finish line, almost 5 minutes earlier than she’d hoped, and collapsed…in tears. I could hear her daughter ask “are you tired Mommy?” and she said “no!”
It was so awesome and inspiration to be there with her and for her. What a moment. What an incredible day.
Day 345 scorecard: 1725 down, 100 to go