Tiaras, tears, and Triumph!

Well, I’m still alive! I made it through my first marathon and first race. A lot of people wondered why I went for such a big goal for my first, but my family will tell you I like to bite off more than I can chew. But now I know that I can take on the big challenges in life. More importantly I’ve learned how crucial a team and support is to big endeavors.
Yesterday was rough, I died a few times on the course. But the amazing coaches, Team in Training (TNT) staff, cheerleaders, bands, and just some great San Diego locals helped me keep going. Even better were all the people I met on the course. TNT runners, others who were just running, and the volunteers at all the water and med stations.
I knew long into training that it was going to be a hard race. My body is not really built for full marathons. Well not yet. My new goal is a half marathon, which I’ll be running the whole course if I can. Training will start at the end of this month and the race is in November. So I’ll be resetting my countdown. I won’t be with TNT this time, but I’m sure I’ll join them for a few runs here and there. I’m also going to check out some other groups in town.
Towards the end I met two amazing women from Calgary, Canada and we pushed each other till the end. We even took our victory photo at the end together, so I can remember them forever. It all sounds fun and positive, right?
It was definitely those things, but there is an emotional side to running a marathon. Especially when you run it for a cause. I was running in memory of my Grandma Virginia, and my Grandaddy Big Jack. Serval times when coaches were giving me pep talks to keep me going, they would tell me to think about those people who I was running for. As soon as I did the emotions would overtake me. In the last 4 miles all I could do was focus on my new found running partners and talk them over the finish line. If I had really thought about friends and family I would have probably collapsed in tears.
Thankfully I had provided my own encouragement and motivation by wearing a tiara on top of my hat for the race. I bought it on my birthday to have a little fun with my teammates at our pasta dinner. Initially we joked about me wearing it for the race, costumes being an integral part of the Rock n Roll marathon series. But then during the night when I couldn’t sleep I remembered why I started wearing a tiara on my birthdays. It was to remember all the birthday dinners with my Grandma Virginia and the little glitter cardboard tiaras and crowns she would have for us to wear. That was all I needed to make up my mind.
So yesterday I put all my gear on and rub on tattoos. I had shoe bling, a fuel belt, hot pink socks, and then a big beautiful tiara. All through the race I got compliments and was able to share the story of why I was wearing it. That was such a motivator, that I might run with a tiara more often… Just kidding.
I’m headed home with an experience of a lifetime, a big medal around my neck, sore muscles, sunburn, and the title of marathoner. So what goal do you want to accomplish? Believe me, you can reach it.

How Did I Get Here?

Steve Prefontaine in a post-Olympic 2-mile rac...

Steve Prefontaine in a post-Olympic 2-mile race in an International Athlete Club track meet, the Crystal Palace, London, 15 Sep 72. Rod Dixon, behind him, won the race (Photo credit: The Happy Rower)

Well as you may have read I’ve been training for a marathon. When people ask me why, I quickly reply that I was smoking crack back in December when I signed up. But let’s be fair, even crack smokers aren’t this crazy… And bath salts users, well they are apparently training for the zombie apocalypse. So no more joking about that. It’s also an insult to those who have helped me get here. Yes, get ready for it, it’s my “academy speech” where I thank all the people who got me to this place, because “you like me, you really like me!”
Well first and foremost lets start with the woman who gave birth to me (I hold back on using the “mom” word since my sister has worked equally hard in that role). It was my mother’s journey as she trained for two marathons that sparked this desire in me to do this. I just had this nagging that if she could walk them I could run something. That it would become a marathon was so far from my mind… But here it is two days away. So on Sunday I’ll be running for my mom, in fact her name will be on my shirt. And like she said, if I feel like giving up I have to remember that my mother completed two marathons and all while in her 50s. I’m also running in memory of her father my Grandaddy Big Jack. He was an amazing person who I dearly miss and who would have told me I was crazy at the same time he told me he was proud.
I have a book called The Southern Belle Primer. In it there is a rule about belles that says they will call their father “Daddy” even when they’re 90. So true. My daddy has been a big supporter during all of this. Every phone call and text he tells me how proud he is. He gave me a lift with postcards from his recent trip abroad. And never doubted that I could achieve this. His humor and positive attitude is something I hope I can draw from on this race. I will most definitely be laughing if anything goes awry because at this point what can you do but laugh! I am also running in memory of his mother my Grandma Virginia. A strong woman with a love of life. She would have asked why I was running past so many wonderful sights in San Diego. I will be thinking of her with every flower or piece of art I pass.
And now for the big sis, or Mom2. She has texted, called, skyped and more to keep me motivated and check on my progress. When Mom1 got concerned, she was there to defend me. She is even trying to keep track of me while traveling inTurkey! I first started looking at long distance running because of a challenge from her to run a half marathon. Neither of us reached that goal but I will be trying it again this fall. Maybe I can get her to join me…
All of the support would be nowhere without The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and their Team in Training program. I have had an amazing support staff, great coaches, fabulous mentors, and a team that I will truly miss when this is over. They have worked this girl down 20 lbs and into a runner for life. Please visit their websites and learn more about how you can help fight blood cancers.
So that just leaves my dearest friends and while I could go on and on I think the music might be playing me off stage. So here is a quick rundown.
Alyx, I could not be here without you. Your laughter, support, and texts pushed me along. I look forward to the day when we can celebrate this together.
Chrissy, thank you for always listening. Your patience with me and my endless talk of running is unmatched. Your generosity has been amazing.
Megan, the best running partner ever. You pushed me to run better and faster. Your voice will be in my head pushing me along on race day.
Kristi, always keeping me smiling. Whether it was a quick FB comment or a long email you were there. We will need to get some margaritas to celebrate!
Kevin, the best a girl could ask for. So amazing to be sharing this with you. Thank you for believing in me.

Ok sappy speeches done. Some really fabulous people donated to the cause to help me reach my goal of $2900!! All of you have given me great reasons to push ahead and keep up all the hard work.
So I’m ready as I will ever be. Right now I’m on the plane to San Diego. Trying to stay hydrated and get ready for the time change. We are hopefully landing soon, because I’m ready to get settled in and start enjoying San Diego!
If you want a peek at what I’ll be seeing as I run just watch this video

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