And, and, and.
Little did I know what was going to happen to me three days later. I knew that I was going to run, or attempt to run, 13.1 miles. I knew that I had to get up at 3:30 am. I knew that it was going to be grueling.
What I didn't realize was how this race was going to affect me, as a person. How it would touch my heart and my spirit in so many ways that I didn't think running a race could. Yeah, it was a lot about running, but even more? It was about being part of something greater than myself, knowing that I'd played a part in an event that was bringing good to a lot of lives.
While I could do a play by play of how much it hurt, or what each mile was like, I want to actually talk about parts of the race that really moved me, emotionally. Cause there were a lot. Christy and I decided to pace together, and for me, that was so incredible. To share so many things with someone over a physically challenging course is something that I will always treasure. And I'm glad she's a sap like me - there were many times we were crying while we were running. At one point, Christy said she was hyperventilating from crying. Running and crying do not combine well. But there were so many moments:
- Running by men in the military who were SERVING US WATER. Oh, my goodness. They already do so much. Them standing there, handing us those little cups? Seriously, that really got me.
- On the freeway stretch, we ran by a little person. She was maybe up to my waist, her legs were bowed, and running looked painful for her. But there she was, pushing her limits. I mean, how can I EVER complain when someone with the physical challenges she has is running a 1/2 marathon?
- Passing a woman who had clearly done chemo recently. Her hair was starting to come back in, downy and soft. She was walking, head held high, with a shirt that exclaimed 'SURVIVOR.'
- The blind woman, walking the half, and I'm pretty sure she was on her own. She was using a cane, feeling her way along the pavement. She was small and her shirt read 'Little Giant'. When someone who literally is missing one of her senses can get herself out there and do a half...well, that's pretty freaking amazing.
- All the supporters lining the route. A sea of purple. I could not have asked for better motivation than people yelling 'GO TEAM' and high fiving as I passed.
- Whenever we hit a hill, I'd say 'WE OWN THIS HILL.' I'm sure that didn't get old (ha ha).
- At mile 12, when I was running out of gas, I looked to my left and out of nowhere, I saw the mom of one of my high school friends. She is a Team in Training coach. She gave me a hug and ran with me for a little bit, and I so needed that.
- Crossing the finish line with (okay, almost with, she beat me by a second) with Christy. What an incredible experience to share! Half mary sisters for life, girlfriend!
- Celebrating afterwards with all my girls from Team Shrinking Jeans. So amazing to get to see everyone in real life. They're all in my heart forever.
Not the guy who ran in Batman briefs. Okay, maybe that.
When I signed up with Team in Training, I was thinking, yeah, I'll train for and run a 1/2 marathon. That's awesome.
And it was.
But I didn't bargain for how I'd feel differently inside, how this would change me. For the better, I think.