If you asked me a year ago if it was possible to run 13.1 miles, I would have thought you were crazy. Today, I can actually say I am crazy. Because I did it – I ran 13.1 miles. I may have run like a turtle, but this turtle finished.
Mind you, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done – but like most everything I have done, I just took it one step at a time. I have to give credit to my old friend, Cam, who has run a couple of Monument Ave 10k’s with me and thought that we had enough old girl stamina to go further. She insisted we could do it and me- ever ready for a challenge- took her up on it. (Ok- for clarification, Cam is about 20 pounds lighter and runs all the time…just saying, not making excuses).
Training began in August and began easy- with 3 and 4 miles. We trained on the weekends with the 1/2 marathon training team- and who would know that there are so many crazies in Richmond who like- or pretend to like- to run? There were lots of us there- all shapes and sizes, all ages, all levels of experience. Oh and all sorts of outfits- from barely clothed to fully covered. I fall into the latter- so does Cam. We may think we are young but we know how we look- and we expose as little as possible and still eliminate wind drag. As if there is such a thing.
The schedule quickly escalated to 6 and 8 miles. I remember thinking that I had never run 8 miles in my life before- at least not on purpose. I once got lost in Coronado and ran around the island for an hour trying to find my way back. That doesn’t count though. And let me tell you hot Indian Summer days in Virginia are extremely tough on the body. I remember thinking on one really hot and humid Saturday 8 mile run that I was simply going to call Uber to come get me and meet Cam. It was a serious consideration. And then I remembered one step at a time. I finished- sweaty, stinky and exhausted, but I did it.
The biggest test was 10 miles. I mean I don’t like to drive 10 miles, let alone run. But we got all psyched for it- ate carbs the night before and tried to get some sleep. It was the toughest run of the training – mostly hills throughout downtown Richmond. But at the end, we knew we could do 13.1. We had this…one step at a time.
The day of the race came on a very chilly but sunny day. Cam and I arrived in ample time to alternatively get nervous and get excited- all while freezing! The crowd was exhilarating- it is a camaraderie I can’t really explain. I was best friends with 2 young 30 something mothers in the hour before start time. (Of course it was short lived as they left me in the dust about mile 1…)
Off we went and a little over 2 1/2 hours later, I was finished. But what had happened in that time span was remarkable. Cam had left me about mile 6- as expected- and I continued at my slower pace. My knee and hip starting hurting, but I was determined. I can’t even begin to tell you what I thought about all that time-mostly singing lyrics in my head and praying for the finish line. But I kept pounding the pavement- listening to my special playlist and remembering- one step at a time.
And I crossed the finish- much later than I had hoped due to my knee- but I crossed the finish. And I have a beautiful medal to prove it and a picture with Cam (who was finished and had already had a slice of pizza and a beer before I got there).
I did it one step at a time for 13.1 miles – much like we all do most tough things in this life.
And I will probably do it again.