Monday, May 19, 2014

Start, Endure, and Finish

As most of you know, I ran my first marathon just over 5 months ago on December 14th in Huntsville, AL.  The thought of running a marathon wasn’t even a possibility just three years ago.  I didn’t even think I’d want to run more than a 10K.  Fast forward three years and I am a marathoner!  I’m not saying that to brag but to encourage you.  If you set your mind to do something, then it’s possible.  I’ve read many times, “The body can do anything.  It’s the mind your have to convince.”  When I first took those first steps on October 1, 2010, I would have thought you wee crazy if you would have told me I would run one day.  I just wanted to walk and get healthier.  I thought me walking 3 miles was impossible but it wasn’t.

I learned many things about myself over the course of training for and running that 26.2 miles.  I’ve shared some of those things in past post but there is another person that doesn’t get much credit for the sacrifices she makes.  For Valentine’s Day this year, Tish put together a collage of photos from that marathon and stuck a quote on it.  The was just the frosting on the cake.  Training for a marathon isn’t easy.  If it was then everybody would be running marathons.  It takes so much out of your physically and mentally.  She had to put up with me getting up early on Saturday and Sunday to go and get my run in.  Although I’m sure she would have much rather me be at the house, she endured all the hours that I spent out pounding the pavement to accomplish something that was important to me.  She has even had to come and pick me up a few times because I’d call her and tell her I could make it any farther.  One of those time was during what was supposed to be a 20 miler that turned into a 16 miler.

The quote that she put on the collage was, “Courage to start.  Strength to endure.  Resolve to finish.”  When Jeff asked me about doing the Rocket City Marathon, I really wanted to say I didn’t think I could do it.  Just a couple of months before, I had told Koach that I didn’t think I had time to train for a marathon and that I was sticking with half marathons.  He understood.  Jeff had faith that I could do it.  Courage wasn’t about putting my name and address into the online form to register.  That was easy!  It was actually pressing that SUBMIT button and then doing what it took to make it to the start line.

Strength to endure was something we all need in all walks of life.  It doesn’t take just physical strength to finish a marathon.  It takes mental strength too.  I found that out late in my training while trying to finish those long long 17, 18, 19, and 20 mile runs.  It was hard at times to get up at 5am and hit the pavement an hour later and stay out there until almost noon.  Planning your route carefully so you could either stop by the store or the house for hydration.

Resolving to finish is one of those things that is easy to say but hard to do.  I had it in my mind for weeks that DNF was not an option.  I was going to finish!  Somewhere around 23 miles, I decided that I just couldn’t go on and I was finished.  The finish line was still over 3 miles away and there was no way I could make it.  Jeri, one of the sweepers, said something about that time that I’ll never forget.  (You’ll have to ask me about it sometime.)  It made me dig deep within myself and muster up all the strength that was within me that I knew would carry me to the finish line.  Finally after 6 hours 5 minutes 9 seconds, I crossed the finish line!

Shortly after finishing, Tish gave me a gift.  She had bought it even before I had finished.  It was a tag, as she calls it, to go on my necklace.  It has 26.2 stamped on it.  I still wear it now and will continue to wear it as a reminder that I can do anything that I set my mind to do.

The photo collage hangs next to my side of the bed and every morning when I get up to run, it reminds me of the reasons I do what I do.

Thanks for stopping by this week and I hope you enjoyed this post.  Comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Time of My Life

The 33rd Coke 10K was held a couple of weekends ago and all I can say is “WOW!!!”  I had the best time at this year's race.  I didn’t run my fastest 10K but I enjoyed myself so much.  In the past, I was serious about it and was racing against myself.  This year was different.  I decided that I was going to do my thing and whatever time I got then that’s what it was.

Jeff and I met downtown to get in a couple of miles before the race and we ended up walking probably two miles or so.  We really don’t know because we didn't have our watches going.  We just enjoyed a good paced walked and talked.

Before we went back downtown, we stopped by my house so I could change into a different shirt.  It was cool that morning and I had worn a long sleeve for our meeting before the race.  As we and my two oldest kids were walking to downtown, I realized I had forgotten my number!  I didn’t have but about 40 minutes and we were almost to the start line.  Jeff let me borrow his van to go back to my house and get my number.  Now that is a great friend!

After the gun was shot and the runners were off, I quickly settled into a good pace.  When I arrived at the water stop just before the 3 mile mark, I saw a familiar face.  At first I didn’t recognize her.  It was Christina that I had ran with a couple of times before. I decided to stop and chat for a few minutes.  It was good the catch up with her.  I saw a guy I knew coming down the hill and told Christina that I had to go.  We said goodbye and then I yelled, “Hey, Mr James, where you been?  I’ve been waiting 15 minutes for you!”  Everyone got a good laugh out of it.

As I continued on and made it around the loop and back to the street behind the Presbyterian church, I took a couple of minutes to chat with a man that worked for the Coke company and lives on the course.  I had talked to him a few weeks ago while he was out in the yard and I was out running.  I also got to see the plastic fish that his grandson had caught earlier that day too.

I returned to race mode and got on with my run to the finish line.  After finishing I met up with family and friends and visited with a few folks that I hadn't seen in a while.  The kids and I finally made out way back to the house and it was time for a shower.  We then broke with tradition of going to the Mexican restaurant and went to the Chinese place instead.

I honestly can't remember much of the rest of the afternoon but it had been a great day and I had a blast!

The Gum Tree 10K in Tupelo was this past weekend but I chose not to participate in it because of the two previous busy weekends.  I also know that if I went down there to just run the race and come home, that it wasn't gong to happen.  Jeff and I met at the church and ran a few miles together.  I ended up with just over 11 miles and that is all I got in all week.  They were good miles and Jeff and I enjoyed the conversation together.

Sorry this is a week late and I'll try and do better next week.  I already have an idea for next week's post unless something else comes up.  Have a great week and I hope to see you again next week!