This morning marked the end of a journey. It was my last Saturday morning run with Team in Training. I remember nearly 2 years ago when I sat in the information meeting just 6 weeks after giving birth to my third child. I was determined to run a marathon and I knew that Team in Training would help me accomplish my goal. I was no newbie to TNT. I had already completed a Grand Canyon hike with the Team in San Francisco and I was well-informed on how the money raised was used for cancer research and to support cancer patients and their families. Not only did I want to run a marathon, but I knew that joining the Team would be a great way to form valuable friendships.
I was easily suckered in at that first meeting. The next thing I know I was at the first training wondering if I would be able to keep up with the fastest runners. I saw a woman there who looked to be about my age. I remember that she kind of looked a bit tough and she had all of her running gear. I assumed that she had been running for a while and I must admit that I was a bit intimidated by her. At the trainings that followed, that running chick always seemed to go above and beyond. She would run extra miles and turn around to go back up over the bridges. One day I decided to stick with her and see what would happen. Wouldn’t you know it, we became each other’s best motivator. We became good friends…. life-long running buddies. Even though we are now separated by thousands of miles, I say “life-long running buddies” because we already have future plans to meet up for races around the country. Even though I don’t see my running buddy, she is still motivating me to do my best and to never give up. I can’t thank her enough for that.
So we ran the Walt Disney World marathon. Oh wait, let me back up for a minute. Let’s not forget the Jacksonville Bank Marathon just 3 weeks before that. Four of us crazy teammates decided to do our long training run (20 miles) during the Bank Marathon. We figured that we would run the first 20 (you know, to train) and then just walk the rest (you know, to recover). Well, that really sucked. We don’t recommend doing that. The Walt Disney World marathon was a much better experience even though I still thought I was going to die at mile 22. But what do you expect during your first “real” marathon? Pain… lots of pain. Out of the 4, I came in last… not my best moment, but I finished!
Of course we couldn’t stop there. My buddy calls me not too long afterwards to ask if I would be willing to coach the Fall Team with her. Sure, why not? Oh, but please note that when we say “Fall Team” we mean that the participants train during the summer so they can run a marathon in the Fall. I hope you realize that I live in Florida. I soon found out that training during the summer really SUCKS. In order to beat the heat (whatever that means because the heat doesn’t care what time of day it is) we had to wake up at 4:00 am in order to start our runs at 5:00 am. Not that I was a Friday night party animal, but waking up at 4:00 am on a Saturday morning really SUCKS! But you know what? It was worth watching those participants finish their first half-marathon. What a rewarding experience that was!
Then what? Oh, of course I couldn’t stop there. I just had to run another marathon with the Team, but first I had to do my own thing and finish that Goofy Challenge. Then I was able to meet up with the Team and give it my full attention again. But let’s go ahead and mention that I couldn’t have done the Goofy without another running buddy who I was fortunate enough to meet through TNT. Okay, by now you should realize that it is so much easier to finish a race when you have a MOTIVATOR! Now THAT was FUN! Seriously, I was ready for it and didn’t feel like I would die. It appears that marathons seem to get easier as you run more of them.
Done with Goofy and then back to TNT to finish training for the next marathon. I had to go back and forth between which marathon to do, but I finally decided on the Country Music Marathon in Nashville. So, I was chugging away at my training and having fun meeting more amazing people when… WHAM! Yep, I was hit with THE INJURY. Whatever, you blasted injury! It really pissed me off and I had to take a running leave of absence. But, needless to say, I was determined to at least finish the half-marathon. And I did. Somehow. Still not sure how I ran nearly the whole thing, but I did. It SUCKED, but I pushed through. Maybe that is why I won the TNT award for “Most Determined.”
And this morning was our celebration run. Now what? Oh, right. Of course I have a plan. Now I will finish my first triathlon. Let’s shoot for an Olympic on June 23rd.