This will be a long note, so please go get some wine, sit and relax, and let me ramble because I need to get this out. Or if you are a skimmer.... hunt your name down, it's in there somewhere!
On this training journey I have shared runs with: Celeste, Steve, Kate, Lynn, Sarah D., Jill, Claudine, Nicole, Amy, Diane, Liam, Barb, Karen, Claudette, and my 10 year old son Kaiden. Wow... that is amazing. You guys have kept my feet moving and made those long runs seem possible and certainly more enjoyable. To Kaiden who on my 13 mi training run during vacation joined me for the first 2 miles to Nubble Light to see the sun rise and the last mile along the beach. Not to mention, that was his third time that week doing a sunrise run with me. To all of you and your supportive legs, thank you.
To my extra cheerleaders: my mom, dad, Andy, Rose, Kristen, Darci, Jodi, Liz, Dan, Pete, Sarah B., Rhya, and Sean. Many of you always seem to have some "likes" on my endless posts on facebook about running. Dan for sending me a tweet of acknowledgment of my hard work. To my cousin Pete and Sarah B. for coming by at my miserably hot half marathon in July at mile 11 when I was just about to die... you might not realize how seeing familiar faces rooting for you, lifts up your legs and lets you realize "I can do this". To Kristen, her daughter, and their cat who cheered me on in their driveway on a long training run. To Rhya and Sean for coming up from Maryland to join me for my first marathon. To my mom for being at the finish line of my half marathon as well as spotting her little red Prius along mile 9 and 10 and hearing her in the distance... "Go Amy!". To all of you cheering, thank you.
To my coworkers: Gloria, Jeff, Carolyn, and Ken, who check in with me practically every Monday morning to see how my weekend long run went. It is nice to re-live those moments of triumph... and defeat. And just knowing that you might ask me, makes it easier to get out of bed and just do it. To all of you nerds... thank you.
To those that have watched my kids while I ran: Juliana, Stephanie, Kris and Maria, mom... what would I ever do without depending on you all?!!! Juliana and Kris and Maria for watching my kids for almost an hour more than anticipated because I just couldn't get my feet moving that day. And to my mom who not only came up from 3 1/2 hours away to watch my kids but she also brought them to the parking lot to cheer me on, where I was finishing my 20th mile. To all of you with open doors... thank you.
To my expert running advisors: Celeste, Rhya, Darci, Nancy, Ken, and my See Jane Run girls (Amy, Diane, Barb, Claudette)... Celeste for telling me about Body Guard and Runner's Alley!, Rhya who introduced me to Hal Higdon, to Darci who gave me blister prevention tips, to Nancy for talking me out of over training, to Ken (who in his running days would run 30+ miles at a time!) who's words of wisdom about pacing myself led to an unexpected PR... thank you. And my full time advisors from See Jane Run... you ladies are phenomenal. You are a wealth of information from tips like dressing for 20 degrees warmer than it is, using a Jeff Galloway beeper, eating and drinking the right things, taking Imodium AD for those unmentionable problems , and the list could go on for pages. Our headlight runs, our 5ks, 12ks, 10ks, Color Run next weekend, our St. Paul's runs, you name it we are there for each other. That is priceless. A tear on marathon day will be for all of you but especially Amy who is my mini-me. We have the same name, the same pace, the same non-stop chatter, and she has this drive that is infectious. I couldn't ask for a better advisory team. To all of you know-it-alls, thank you.
To Shannon, who I met early on in my life changing journey. Who came in my life just the right time to let me know how it was ok to take care of myself. To give me the self confidence to be me. To let me know that it is ok to just take a compliment and not brush it off with a sarcastic remark toward myself. She may not know this but I know that she is a big part of my weight loss journey being successful. We also did a 5k on a cruise (she named it: Buffet to 5K... still love that name!), I think we had to go around the track on the cruise ship 31 times to complete it. Thank you cruise queen, thank you.
To Shari... oh my Shari. To the person that makes time to ask me almost on a daily basis how my day is. Who knows my running schedule inside and out. To the person who knows exactly how many miles I will be running and when. I owe so much to Shari. Not only for her friendship but someone who is there to support me not only in my running but continued effort to keep the weight off and continue to meet my weight loss goal. Thank you Shari for being willing to do mud runs with me, willing to suffer through bikram with me, for trusting me enough to run a 5k with me, and for just your sick sense of fun, like the day we walked 8-10 miles on the treadmill side by side for our "girls night out". Thank you crazy girl, thank you.
To Celeste, who inspired me one day. It was October 3, 2010 when Celeste completed her marathon. She ran the Smuttynose Marathon and it is no coincidence why this is this marathon I chose to run.
The ah-ha moment:
Celeste ran amazing that day. I had never been to a race before and never run before. I was about 50# heavier then and it had never occurred to me that running was an option for someone like me. I looked for Celeste at mile 17... I waited and waited and waited. Soon I knew she was either having a really bad day or maybe I just missed her. It turns out that she was on a PR pace and I didn't just miss her, I missed her by a lot! I got in my car and drove to mile 24 or so and that is where I spotted her. I was holding back tears when I saw her. And she was strong.
What I took from that day was forever in my mind. It was not only the inspiration drawn from the crowd cheering on thousands of people that were out of their mind to run that far, and it didn't just come from watching my amazing friend be strong and impressive (I already knew she was those things), it came from those that were suffering. Those that came across that line way after she did. It was from this big guy that was chugging up the hill that looked like he was mentally and physically exhausted. It was from the people in the back that didn't fit the skinny mold of a runner that I thought I knew. It was from the drooped shoulders, the clunky legs barely moving one foot in front of the other... it was from the people who I could relate to.
The following day I ran. I ran 1 mi on the treadmill in the gym. I tried to run 1 mile at Celeste's pace. Just one. In honor of her accomplishment. I tried. I did not succeed but I did run. I ran a mile and I can close my eyes and see 0.7... 0.78... 0.89... 0.91... 0.94.... 0.97.. 0.99.... 1.00 ticking by on the treadmill screen like it was yesterday. It was slow, it was painful, it was like that 1 mile was never going to end. But I did it and when it was over it made me look at myself different. Made me start to believe that I might not be the person I thought I was but rather the person that I wanted to be.
Celeste then went on to encourage me to run. She talked to me like she knew I could do it. To Celeste, thank you for thinking of *me*, clunky me, as a runner.
OK so this is pretty deep stuff here but hang in there with me (if you are still reading, that is)...
The biggest thank you is to the 3 people that are impacted most by my decision to run this thing. Yes... "this thing". Some days saying "marathon" is like saying Voldemort. This big thank you is of course to Ian, Kaiden, and Kael. Most days I try to run before they are awake but as training becomes more time consuming it runs into family time. I think they couldn't be more happier for me though. I can't count how many times I would walk through the door and the kids would say "Good job mumma!" or "Did you have to walk?" or "How fast did you go?" I could not ask for a more supportive family. Ian, who covets his sleep in time, hasn't made a peep of a complaint! He even asks how it went and when I tell him I ran a 9:53 PR or a 8 min split or finished a 20 just under 12.... he just looks at me and says "Good job hun". It's the same "Good job hun" that I give him when he scores new D&D rule books from the bargain bin at Double Midnight. It's all just words to him but what he takes from it, is that it is important to me and that it makes me happy. Thanks Ian. Thank you for not needing to understand to still be happy for me. Thanks Kaiden for thinking I can do anything. Thanks Kael for the joy you bring me when you give me a hug when I get home from a run. I love you three more than all the stars.
· Entering a porta potty on an empty construction site early one morning to find the contractor outside waiting to use it when I was done;
· Accidentally running in a parade, which lead to giving all the shriner guys in their mini cars high fives;
· Completing a 12k in memory of my Aunt Sarah and up a hill that I later learned is appropriately nicknamed "vomit hill";
· On several occasions, waiting for turkeys and deer to cross the road;
· Running toward the full moon some early morning runs;
· Completing a sunrise run at Nubble Light with Kaiden;
· Taking a wrong turn that put me about 4 miles out of my way; and
· Putting more than 500 miles on the road.
I am one lucky gal.
And if I could ask you to do one more thing for me....
In honor of ALL of you, I would like you each to name a song you like. I want to play this music while I am out on the course for 5 +/- hours. It can be any song, except for the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey, that's just mean. Pick a song that you like, perhaps your favorite song! I listen to all genres of music, fast and slow. If possible, could you pick your song this week so I can get to downloading!
And did I mention.... Thank you?