I “beat the bridge” and I conquered the MCM 2016! I had an absolutely amazing weekend in DC. This race was important for so many reasons (to me). It may sound cliché but I believe it in every way. This race changed me. The change was small but extremely significant. I have already posted about how the training for this race changed me, but the race itself created some changes in perspective. There are things about that day that I could never put into words, so I am just going to keep those in my heart.
Please keep in mind that these are observations are from me and should be taken in that context. There were several different types of runners that ran with me on Sunday. There were the runners, who would finish the race in the same amount of time that most people run a half marathon. These runners are serious and I have to be honest I don’t know any runners like this and I don’t really understand them. I am just going to move on……There are the runners who are considered the average marathon runners. They run a marathon a little faster and avoid most injury. I am trying very hard to work my way into this group. These runners finish any where from 4 hours to 5 ½ hours. I look up to these runners. These runners inspire me and challenge me. They also show me that IT is possible. Most of my running friends are in this group and I have so much respect and love for them. I ran the first half of the MCM with these runners. Granted, I was in the back half of this pack but I was with them.
Then there is my group of runners. These runners are all heart! In what we lack physically, by injury, physical exhaustion or age we make up for in heart. I ran the second half of the race with them. These are the runners who will not quit! You never see these runners stopping. They are always moving forward. Let me tell you a little bit more about these runners. These runners are people who started with the goal to finish. Some of them wanted to finish stronger, but their bodies had other plans. The heart that these runners have is one of the most inspiring things I have ever experienced. I am going to try very hard to put into words the truly amazing things I saw Sunday. I hope I can do them justice.
There was a couple running in my group of runners. They had to have been in their 70’s. The wife was running at a steady pace, but her companion was struggling. He would run a short distance and then walk. His wife (I assume that is who she was) would run back to check on him. I bet she ran 36 miles by the end of it. You could tell that this was not what he was accustomed to. He was a Runner and he was in disbelief that his body was revolting like it was. He began to voice his frustration by saying things like “I used to be a runner and now I am just a damn walker” or “this is stupid, I should just quit.” I finally looked at him and asked him why he was even out here. I asked him to look around, did he see anyone who wasn’t giving it everything they had? He teared up a little and continued with everything he had. He never said another negative word. He finished that race and I hope he was proud of himself.
Around mile 24, I noticed a woman who was bent over at the waist. Her legs were moving but it was like the top half of her body had just folded. It was obvious that she was in pain. I don’t know if the pain was from injury or exhaustion. I watched her for a few minutes kind of confused as to why she wouldn’t just stop. Then out of nowhere came two women, who I assume were her friends, and she put her arms around their shoulders. These three women moved forward. They didn’t let that woman stop even though they were exhausted too. I offered to help carry her, but they didn’t want my help. That’s heart!
I saw a man who was limping so severely that I hurt for him. I saw a woman incredibly overweight, who was running as fast as she could. She was on a mission. I saw a lot of heart. I was running and concentrating so hard on just keeping my legs moving, when I heard someone say excuse me. I looked back and saw a woman about my age. I slowed down and got even with her. She looked at me and said “you have been an inspiration to me most of this race.” I looked at her and thought “ME?”. I was confused, why on earth would she say that to me? She continued saying “I have been looking at the back of your shirt.” (I was wearing a yellow tank top… on the back it says “never give up” and “it takes all you got”) she explained that the saying on my shirt and the fact that I never stopped, kept her going. I was blown away by this. I have thought about this a lot. I never considered myself an inspiration, until a complete stranger from Iowa told me.You never know who is looking to you for inspiration, so all you can do is put your heart into it.
Every person, who runs a marathon, has a personal goal that they are reaching for. That goal maybe a PR, conquering a fear, proving you are a badass, or just to finish something that less than 1% of the population of the USA ever has. Running a marathon takes a lot of hard work and a lot of heart. I am grateful to the people who ran the MCM 2016 for changing my perspective. On to the next adventure....
Side note: I have a good friend, who is running the New York City Marathon in the morning. Enjoy yourself and never take the experience for granted. Jenn, RUN YOUR ASS OFF!!!!!!