Monday, December 6, 2010

Waiting to Exhale

I did it.

It only took me



I did it.





(Oprah Winfrey at the finish of the Marine Corps Marathon. I looked WAY better at the finish yesterday. Ha ha ha!)

For those of you who aren't marathoners, it's an ongoing joke that everyone wants to beat Oprah's time. Because, well, IT IS A REALLY GOOD TIME. She ran her race in 4:29:15. My time yesterday was 4:25:01!!!!

So, forget about running a PERSONAL BEST marathon (which I did thankyouverymuch!). Forget about my motivation for running this year. Forget about everything else. What is important is, that I beat Miss Winfrey. Right? (I still think there should be some sort of html code for sarcasm. Then you would know without me having to tell you...). Oh, and I also beat a host of other celebrities, in case you were wondering. I beat: Alanis Morisette, Al Gore, Jared Fogel (celebrity?), Katie Holmes, Mario Lopez, Meredith Viera and Al Roker. Yes, I know this because there is a website, and I went there. (Feel free to go there and see who I didn't beat as well. I don't mind!)

Anyway, yesterday's race was incredible. The weather was PERFECT! Freezing cold while we were waiting, but perfect for running. It was a new course, so I was a little concerned about the unknown, but it ended up ok. The start was a little tricky, as it was delayed by 10 minutes and THEN they did wave starts. Blech! It took me over 30 minutes to reach the start because I was in Corral K. It would have been nice to know that up front, as I would have prepared better.

In my excitement, I made some serious rookie mistakes, but I was able to adjust eventually. Unfortunately, as a result, Miles 23-25 were a SERIOUS gut check. I sobbed like a baby for two miles. Seriously. Ugly cry, snot streaming from my nose, loud noises, sobbing. Don't believe me, just ask my friends at Mile 23 and Papa Bear at 24. I was mortified. I think it was a combination of how terrifically horrible I felt at the moment and the realization/relief that I was almost done. I honestly didn't think I had it in the bag until the last .2 of the race. And then I ran (what felt like a sprint, but was more akin to a waddle) to the finish line screaming like a banshee and pumping my arms in the air. Yes, I was that crazy person and I didn't care! And then I crossed the finish line and realized that I COULD NOT WALK ANOTHER STEP. It was mighty humorous to me. They forced us to step up a curb to get our finisher's medal and I SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED passing on the medal!!

Obviously, my excitement is due in significant part to my success in yestarday's race. But I ran this race with a purpose and new motivation this year. This race supports the hospital where Brother Bear is a patient and eventually had his surgery last February. The race raises over $500,000 for said hospital. Did I mention that in EIGHTY TWO YEARS of existence, this hospital has NOT CHARGED THEIR PATIENTS A SINGLE DIME?? Incredible. So this year, I ran in honor of my very brave cub who toughed out a hard year and was such a trooper. I ran in thanks to the hospital that treated him with care and compassion and did it without charging us a dime. I also ran for two cubs that are patients of the same hospital and have an amazing Mama Bear from my same hometown. They are siblings, Will & Ellie. You can read more about them here.

So, to say I was motivated is an understatement.

But I couldn't have done it without all of your support. The encouraging calls, notes, and texts before the race, the new song from my Big Brother Bear who has conquered and overcome way more than a marathon this year (to say it was a motivational song is an understatement), the INCREDIBLE support from my church that sponsored the water stop at 9.5 (and my dear Bear Friend that coordinated it all), The complete stranger (angel) with the poster of Isaiah 40:31 just when I needed it, my bear friends with the AWESOME glitter-y sign at mile 23 - when I thought I couldn't make it one more step, those smiling faces and that sign gave me the motivation for 3.2 more, and - of course - Papa and Brother Bear who braved the weather, crowds, and traffic to see me at mile 9.5, 14, 18, and 24. Having the support of all of you whether virtually or in person was monumental.

Thank you.

Papa Bear (a way better, way faster runner than me) has a quote from Chariots of Fire that he loves and truly believes. The main character, Eric Liddel says, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure." While God did not make me fast, I still love this quote. When I run, I feel God's pleasure. It is a sort of holy experience for me. Yesterday was holy and awesome.

And now, I will go nurse my blistered toe (first one in THIRTEEN marathons!?!?), and sore legs. Apparently, Mama Bear don't bounce back like she used to.

But that doesn't matter because, I BEAT OPRAH!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lucky #13

For all my runners...

A Marathoner’s Benediction

Go. And as you go, may the wind be always at your back pushing you and motivating you.

Go. And as you go, may the crowds be loud, motivating you when you need it most.

Go. And as you go, may the water stops be ready, nourishing you for your journey.

Go. And as you go, may the road be flat and fast, encouraging your inner Kenyan.

Go. And as you go, may the chafing and cramping be minimal, keeping you from pain and suffering.

Go, And as you go, may the Lord watch over you and keep you, giving you faith when you feel you have none left.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

This just in..

Bethlehem is overcome by a mysterious illness. Only angel left standing. Baby abandoned in manger. Mother of God is missing. More details at ten.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm fallin'

On the last school day of every month, Brother Bear's school forgoes the usual uniforms and allows "free dress" for the day.

Believe me, NO ONE is more grateful than me that this day only comes once a month.