Sunday, July 06, 2014

Run like the devil

Giving birth three times was hard, but after finishing my first half marathon I can now name the fourth hardest thing I ever did.
If you’d told me a year ago I’d run 13.1 miles, I would have said “What? You must have me mixed up with a much younger/fitter/way more ambitious mother runner.”
But after I heard about a half marathon to be held in Napa at the end of June, I signed up. A lot of it had to do with the sparkly race medal. I like accessories. I wanted that medal.
On race day, the first six miles felt great. A couple times I got the “Wow, I’m really doing this,” running chills. At the halfway mark, I looped around the turnaround cone and gave a big fist pump, feeling strong.
By mile 8, my pace had slowed a bit. I stopped for water and picked up two new people: a devil runner on one shoulder and an angel runner on the other shoulder.
They started talking to me.
Devil runner: “Why are you doing this? You could just walk. You don’t have to run.”
Angel runner: “Keep running. You trained for months for this. You can do it.”
At mile 10, my angel runner reminded me that I only had three miles to go.
“Three looooong miles to go,” taunted my devil runner.
At mile 11, there were only about 10 other runners around me.
Devil runner: “Look, everyone else is walking. You can walk.”
Angel runner: “You trained to run this distance. You can do it.”
Me: “Shut up both of you. I’m trying to finish this.”
A friend and her baby waited for me at mile 12 holding a big pink sign. “Trust your training,” it said.
“Only one mile to go,” she shouted as I wobbled past her.
Halfway through mile 12, I could see the finish way down the road. It was so close but so far away. My breathing was shot. My legs were jelly. Devil runner finally got me. I walked for a few minutes.
I saw another runner who’d already finished walk by me wearing her finisher’s medal. I hated that she was already done and I was still limping along, but there was no way I was not going to run across that effing finish line.
Angel runner: “You do not want to walk across that effing finish line.”
I started running again.
Near the end, I saw my husband. The girls are right ahead, he said. All three were there, even College Girl. I managed to give them a thumbs-up as I ran around the last turn. Crossing the finish, I saw my mom and my running coach.
“You did it!” they said.
I fell into them for a hug and burst into tears.
“It. Was. So. Hard.” I sobbed.
I grabbed my husband’s arm to keep from falling over while I bawled like a baby.
“Get your medal,” he reminded me.
Gasping, I put my prize around my neck. It was so beautiful.
Even my devil runner agreed.

No comments: