Young people. Older people. Shorter people. Tall people. Skinnier people. Pleasingly plump people. Injured people. Elite athletic extremely fit people. One-legged people. Broken arm people. Asthmatic people. Cancer people. On-a-mission people. Fathers and daughters. Mothers and sons. Husbands and wives. Brothers. Sisters. Friends. Lovers. Family. Runners. Joggers. Walkers. Hobblers.
The running community encompasses all kinds of people. And at races, you will see every kind there is. It truly is amazing, awe-inspiring and uplifting.
This past Saturday (May 20, 2017), as my husband and I ran the Fargo Half-Marathon, our fourth of this particular event, I noticed all of the different types of runners – the different types of participants – and for some reason, it hit me. There is no true description of what a “RUNNER” is, who they are supposed to be or what they are supposed to look like. There are all types of runners. It really is awesome. And something I absolutely love about the running community. We are all family and it is quite unique.
Now, on to the race itself. Oh boy, folks, it was an emotional one. I have no idea why, but holy smokes, I have never shed so many tears during a run.
First off, I truly did not know if I was going to be able to run the whole thing. This year has not been the best. My training has been very minimal. Between my mom getting sick and then eventually passing away March 11 to my dad and everything I’ve been through with him and his Alzheimers to dealing with my own health – my asthma and plantar fasciitis, it has been rough to say the least.
From January 1 through May 19 (the day before the race), I logged a whopping 112.62 miles. Total. Yep, not a whole lot of training going on. On a side note, my hubby logged 116.7 miles in the month of April alone and a total this year of nearly 400 miles. It was 394.53 miles to be exact. And then you wonder why he got a PR this year. Seriously, he kicked some major butt. According to his watch, he finished in 1:51:25 – dang near 15 minutes better than last year’s time of 2:05:23. FIFTEEN FRIGGIN’ MINUTES! Way to go, Al! SO proud of you.
Okay, now back to my non-training.
In January, I ran zero miles. Yep. None. In February, there were 12.42 miles logged. In March, the worst month of my life, I got in a total of six miles. Yep. SIX. I picked it up a bit in April and actually ran 45.11 miles. And this month, May, I got in a few more, 61.71 total miles. That was including the 13.22 I logged for the half-marathon (yes, my watch showed 13.22 miles). Prior to that it was 48.49 miles.
And then I wonder why I was wondering whether or not I was going to be able to run the whole thing. But, I did. And I was pretty dang happy as you can tell by the photo I posted on SnapChat shortly after the race:
So, why was it so emotional? I really don’t have an answer. I know that something triggered the water works shortly after mile one. Then the water works came again when I saw someone wearing shirt honoring a loved one they lost this year. I can’t remember the name, but it was like Megan or something and it said “Be Free Megan” and then had her birth date and death date. Seriously, the floodgates were open and the tears streamed freely down my cheeks.
Then, someone’s shirt said, “Never lose hope.” Yep, water works again. It seemed every mile there was something. There were the soldiers, the one-legged man who “ran” the race using his crutches, the mother and daughter duo that ran “with” me, the signs, the kids cheering. Seriously, it seemed everything and anything made me cry.
But the moment that REALLY made me cry? It was when when the bands along the route, I’m guessing it was mile 11 or 12, was playing a song my mom loved. And it was a song she used to sing. And, the name kind of is ironic……Mama Tried. Yep, the good ol’ country song from Merle Haggard. Despite having my headphones in and my music up somewhat loud, I heard the band loud and clear. And I heard my momma singing. It was at that moment that I knew she heard my pleas; she heard me asking her for help and guidance as I tried to finish the race. She knew it was then that I needed her. And, as usual, she was there for me. And yes, once again, those tears were falling pretty damn hard.
Around mile 10, I nearly stopped. I nearly stepped off the course. My stupid right foot, the one with the plantar fasciitis, was killing me. The pain was ALMOST unbearable. Almost. My big toe on my left foot was on fire, which it does frequently when I run longer distances. I was a mess. But, something inside me said to keep going. Maybe it was because at that moment, that man, the runner who despite his disability of only having one leg, was out there on the course. Running his friggin’ heart out. Using crutches to help him along. Maybe it was at that moment when he passed me that I decided to suck it up, put on my big girl panties and just keep going. Maybe my mom at that moment knew I needed a kick in the shorts and made me see that inspiring runner who just kept going.
Whatever it was, I did keep going. I did just keep putting one stupid foot in front of another. And by not stopping, by not quitting, by not letting myself down, I got to hear that song, Mama Tried, at just the right moment. It gave me what I needed to finish. When I hit mile 12, I sent Al a text message that read: Mile 12!!!! I was so excited. I knew at that moment I was going to make it. I knew I was going to cross that finish line. And I didn’t care what my time was. That race was not about the finish time, but about the finish line. I needed to cross it and I did. And then, I eventually made my way to Al and you guessed it, the tears once again, made an appearance. A little harder this time.
Al and I after the race.
My stats from my Garmin.
My splits. Not too bad. I had a few negative splits, so I guess that’s good.
And here are some more photos just for fun.
Brandon and me enjoying the brownies with peanut butter frosting his grandma made for me. OH. MY. GOODNESS! They were so delicious!
The pepperoni pizza (from Spicy Pie) and the beer (at Flatland Brewery) we had after the race.
Al and me enjoying our beer at Flatland! Thanks, Brandon, for taking the pic.
Brandon and me enjoying our beer at Flatland. The color was weird on this so I made it black and white and I like it much better!
This was actually taken the night before at the race expo. It’s kind of traditional for us to take a pic by the banner everyone signs. And yes, Al signed it for us.
And lastly, my dad and Lily. We stopped in for a visit as soon as we got back to Alexandria. We didn’t even stop by home first to unpack. And my heart was made happy when we walked into my dad’s room and face lit up at the sight of the two of us. He was happy, smiley, talkative and doing amazingly well. This was the best end to a pretty great weekend!