Mile 21: "You CAN do this. You WILL finish and it will be AMAZING. You are an inspiration to me." - Kristy
Kristy and I ran a 10K together last September. It was my first 10K and, I believe, her first as well, but she had already done one half marathon at the time. We both had a finishing time goal of less than an hour. She had a fancy watch to tell us our pace throughout the run and she had to reel me back in a couple of times at the beginning. I had only run a 5K at that point, so I wasn't considering the extra 3 miles I would be tacking on at the end. We made it to mile marker 6. Yep, mile marker 6! and I had to stop and walk. STOP AND WALK, just .2 from the freaking finish line. We could even see the finish! We had it in sight. I had previously given her permission to encourage me or yell at me, whichever she deemed necessary. Sweet girl didn't have it in her to truly "yell", but she did her best...I just simply gave in to the heat and exhaustion. I walked for about 20 seconds or so, before digging in and sprinting to the finish. Our final times? Kristy - 59:xx; Audrey - 1:00:11. I deserved that. I did indeed spend the rest of the day kicking myself for that walk break. She and I both knew I would!
Well, Kristy, I was walking when I read your encouraging words this time, but it gave me enough umph to break away from my comfort zone of walking with my new friend and do some jogging. And you know what? It felt good. I was still capable!
|Does the song from Clueless come to mind for you, too?|
"Alllll by myself!!!" :)
|Excuse the inevitable "leaning down fat roll". |
My husband says I'm ridiculous to even think anyone will notice, but how could you NOT?!?
|Pretty, right? This was on the Greenway. There were people out playing and riding bikes and jogging.|
I would repeat these words before the finish line once I caught up to my final "new friends". They were absolutely what I needed right at this moment.
Know what else I needed? A reminder of Ashley's words about this last part being run from the heart. On the twins' 3rd birthday they had a checkup at the doctor. When the doctor placed the stethoscope on Jack's chest he said, "Do you know what I am listening to?" Jack nodded. I asked, "What? What is in here, Jack?" as I tapped my chest. Jack said, very sweetly, "Jesus." I thought of this moment as I jogged and walked the Greenway. I passed a church called "Jesus is Lord". I saw a sign, way above the trees in the distance, that said "Jesus Saves". Yes, He does. He has saved me so many times in my long life, and I had NO reason to think He would fail me now. I pushed further.
Another note to make you, hopefully, smile. I remembered when our sweet cat, Steve, died a few months ago. Explaining his death was hard when it came to the kids. It was hard to explain to myself! He was only 3-ish. Anyway, I explained to Jack that Steve was in heaven with Jesus...ever since then, if you ask Jack who lives in his heart, he will answer "Jesus and Steve". So, I ran mile 23 for Jesus and Steve! Our sweet tabby cat who would follow us anywhere we walked around the neighborhood, and always greeted me at the door after my runs.
When I saw Mile marker 24, I knew I was in the home stretch. I also realized I was very much alone at this point on the Greenway, so I took advantage of that moment to express myself appropriately...
|Take THAT mile 24!|
|In the right hand corner of this picture, you see two women? I caught up to them very soon after this mile marker, we would cross this finish all together. Running!|
I met Christine and Anna at this point. A 16 year old beautiful girl with her mother. Anna had decided to attempt this marathon as her first, and her mother wasn't going to let her go it alone. Awesome. Inspiring. I told them I hope one day my sweet Zoe will undertake such a thing with me. Maybe something a little "easier"? Ha. They had such great attitudes at this point. I had been seeing them off and on throughout, but this was my first chance to actually talk to them. I shared some of your encouraging words from my notebook with them. I learned that Anna is the oldest of 3. They trained appropriately, but still just didn't feel quite as equipped as they had hoped to feel. Two sweet souls that managed to get the smile back up on my face and lifted my spirits as we closed in on the finale.
|At some point either right before this marker, or right after, there was a professional photographer. |
Us three girls made sure to run strong past him as he captured our final moments!
|It's fuzzy...because in the words of Forrest Gump, "I was RUNNING!"|
The rain helped me to focus on getting the kids back to the car and out of the wet. Then, as I sat in the back seat and realized my legs were going to begin to cramp a bit, I slammed my hand in the sliding back door. This definitely took my mind off the pain in my legs! Ha. I quickly changed clothes and listened to the boys excitedly tell me about their fun-filled day. I was brought back into my life, just as I had "left" it. Barely enough time to even register all that had just happened, I hopped in the driver's seat and began the 2 hour drive home.
I didn't have much time to truly reflect. These three blog postings will serve as my journaling about the experience. It was more than meaningful to me. I can't put certain thoughts and feelings into words, but I just have to say - without ever knowing this would be something for me to overcome, it is absolutely, 100% something I had to do. And I did it.
I don't know if I'll run another. I like to think I will at some point, but it's not in any immediately plans. This experience has rocked me to my core and I truly believe I am supposed to do more with it than just keep it in my mind. It has changed me. I don't mean to sound melodramatic, but the Blue Ridge Marathon was a high point in my life that I never expected to have.
Does that even make sense to anyone else? I hope you have enjoyed my pictures and my words. I hope you will conquer your own mountain one day and share the story! Memories are great to have and to hold, but you never know what someone else might get out of hearing them in your very own words.
Thanks for reading!