Dear Mia and Elin,
Nineteen weeks ago I began a journey. A journey to rediscover who I am, who I want to be, a journey that involved pushing myself physically and mentally to the brink, a journey that taught me volumes. Yesterday I started and FINISHED my first marathon, 26.2 miles. I am sure when you get older you will roll your eyes and say "Blah, blah, mom you ran a marathon. I get it." It will be a story I will pull from throughout your life that will no doubt become one of those annoying mommy moments, but someday I hope you will read these words and be able to learn something amazing about yourself.
Nineteen weeks ago my biggest fear for you two was that you would become just like me. Today I as I held my medal and reflected on my run I wanted nothing more than my biggest fear to come to fruition.
My hope for you is that in life you will stumble because getting back up takes courage and strength. Although I want some things to come to you naturally (preferably math and science) having to WORK for something makes the "grade" so much sweeter. It will be hard to watch, but I want your hearts to be broken so you will know the difference when you meet your true love. I want you to fail, so success will be sweet. My hope for you is as you struggle and suffer through life's twists and turns you will reach to me, just like I reached to Mimi, but I also want you to be independent. As much as it kills me I know some of these lessons must be learned on your own. As hard as it will be for me to be on the sidelines know that your mom is watching. Know that I am cheering you on. Know that I have walked a similar mile and when you are ready I am here to carry you to whatever finish line you are trying to cross or obstacle you must overcome. I ran this race to show you people can change not realizing I already had.
I am not perfect, and I will make mistakes. I am sure I will "scar" you for life, but someday I hope you read my words and see me not just as your mother but a woman with a dream. With the love from my family, friends, hard work, blood, sweat, a LOT of sweat, and many tears it came true. I overcame myself and my fears. I put in the time and the 26.2 medal is mine. You two may never run a marathon, but someday I hope you will know what it feels like to achieve the impossible. Whatever your "impossible" is your dad and I will be there with signs and cow bells!!! I love you sweet girls. The only thing that stands in the way of your dreams is YOU!!!
Loving you Big,
This week was pretty amazing. I had three short runs, but only did two. I was so tired that I figured sleep was more important than a 4 miler mid week. I fueled up on carbs and H20 and headed to Savannah. Friday night I slept (as much as a child sleeps on Christmas Eve) and woke up at 4:15 to join the masses at the Inaugural Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon.
My brother in law and my one of bests were embarking out on their marathon journey's as well. We carpooled to the shuttles and race prepped together. As my corral approached the start line I teared up. "This is REALLY happening!!!!!" I was in the 20th wave, but as my feet pounded out it I felt like I was the first. I knew to start slow, but my adrenaline was pumping.
The next thing I knew I was at mile 5. Fifty five minutes later mile 5. I was shocked. 5 miles takes me 1:05. I knew I needed to slow down, but I felt great. So I kept on. Mile 10 my bladder took over. I was tempted to pee in the woods, but found a port o potty with no line. I let go off precious hydration and ran on. The next thing I knew it was time to split. The 1/2 marathoners went right and I went left. 13.1 two hours and twenty four minutes later. I couldn't believe what was happening. I ran harder. I ran faster. The next thing I knew mile 18, three hours and fifteen minutes later. The Spartan Sister told me months ago "The race begins at mile 20". Three hours and thirty two minutes later my "race" began. Miles 21-23 were the HARDEST STEPS I HAVE EVER TAKEN!!!!! I wanted to walk, but I had come so far I couldn't quit now. I pulled from my reservoir of support. "Katie is a fighter". "You are OUR champion". "Trust your training". I began to sing. "That's the night when the lights out in GEORGIA!!!!" The next thing my tired sweaty eyes saw were the numbers 23. A mere 3.2 miles stood in my way. I climbed over the wall and soared into my second wind.
Miles 23 & 24 whizzed by. As I approached mile 25 I looked to my left and my heart leaped. I saw 4 very familiar faces. My eyes burst into tears and my feet got faster. Miss Independence, Spartan Sister, SS's hubs Robo Cop, and Robo Cop's Mama, were there with cow bells and signs screaming and cheering for me. My hand went over my mouth and my tears burned as they rolled down my cheeks. "I am KILLING this!!!" I screamed as I approached mile 26.
As I approached the final corral I searched. Where are they??Where are they?? And then I saw it. A large caring hand waving at me. A face beaming beaming with pride holding our sleeping toddler in his arms. Tears. I saw my Dad. More tears. 4:33.46 I crossed the finish line. The Race Crew draped my medal around my neck an hour faster than anyone, including myself ever expected or imagined.
The rest is a blur. I hugged my mom, my hubs, and my dad. "I am so proud of you", he said as four big crocodile tears fell down his face. I made my over to the sidewalk and kissed my sleeping children. I saw my niece Baby R (not really a baby any more considering she's 7) with what I thought was an illusion. The Scholar Sister appeared to be holding her hand. Was I delirious? The Scholar lives in TX???? No. I wasn't dehydrated she was there in the flesh. My ENTIRE family was there!!!!!!!!!!!! Sobbed. Blubbery mess in her arms.
I learned two things that day. One being I may need to invest in a Garmin. My GPS tracker may have been off a bit. Robo Cop kept accusing me of being a sandbagger!!!! I then shut him up with my tracks of my runs!!!! My neighbor stopped me tonight and said "I have seen you run. You looked liked a 5:30. Amazing." Besides investing $$ in a new gadget I learned that inside me there was a champion. The little girl who used to run races with her dad was still alive inside of me. As the race progressed and I realized I wasn't going to crash it occurred to me that she was inside all a long. I was too scared to let her out. I was afraid of failing, falling, staying comfortable was easier, but taking the risk and pushing my limitations paid off in a BIG way!!!!!!!!! I not only finished my marathon, but I finished in 4:33.46. Over an hour faster than anyone, ESPECIALLY me had planned.
It's hard to believe that it's over, well not that hard considering I can hardly move an inch. What an amazing ride, with such a sweet, sweet ending. I am grateful the good Lord blessed me with a body capable of "killing it", a family who supported "it", and a journey that lead me not only to the finish line, but to depths of myself I would have never found. The journey to 26.2 has taught me so much about myself, my life, and my direction.
I am not going to quit running. J Man's Mama (Baby M's "boyfriend"s mama) won't let me. But I am taking a week or so off!!! I am planning on the Hilton Head Half Marathon in Feb. So this journey, the journey of me, the stay at home, marathon mama continues.
May your journeys be fruitful, full of love, and fast feet.
Week 19: 32.2 Miles
Lesson learned: We all have a champion hidden inside.