Monday, August 13, 2012

I Won!

Okay, so actually I got 1,998th (out of 2,500 or so) but if you were reading at the beginning of the journey you will understand what I mean.  When I signed up to run the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon at the beginning of the summer, all I had in my head was "This is probably crazy, but I feel like I HAVE to do it....I have no idea how I'm going to fit in the training but I just know I will."  As I've mentioned, before kids (or as my friend Mariah dubbed it this past weekend:  "BK"), I got really into running after quitting smoking.  In the beginning, my goal was to run a 5k but I found myself going farther and farther until I made my way up to the half marathon distance.  I did that a couple of times before getting pregnant and then spent the next four years adjusting to motherhood and adding to our brood.  I never "quit" running but had trouble finding my motivation and drive with it and while I was thriving as a mother (and feeling very proud of and happy about that) my running was taking a clear backseat.  I just couldn't figure out how to get it closer to the front seat...I've never been interested in ousting the kids and Nathan from the front and there just never seemed to be enough room to squeeze anything up there with, for four years my running life was the annoying preschooler in the back, constantly asking, "Are we there yet?"

Little did I know that all this time, all I had to do to get my ass in gear was to sign up for and (financially) commit to something that seemed impossible.  I don't know why that was surprising because as I've told you before, it's how I got running way back in the very beginning.  While talking with my sister, I laughed out loud at the thought of me running 3 miles without dying.  I suddenly realized, in that moment, that that was exactly what I HAD to do and my running life was officially born.  So, although I'd run 2 half marathons "BK", I thought the long distance, endurance stuff was in the past for me...I looked back on those days as the "when I was in really good shape" days and was half heartedly soul searching (if that's even possible) for my next goal.   I'm so glad I finally realized I needed, at this point in my life, to just stick with what I know.  I mean, I already HAVE the shoes and the roads and trails are literally right outside my door and free.

I'll admit I kind of skimped on the training a bit.  I started out in full force, incorporating the cross-training days my training guide suggested but ended up in the second half of the journey with a 4 day running week...partially because I've been struggling a bit emotionally these past few months, and working out all those days seemed to be making me feel worse instead of better in that department.  It seemed that 4 days of running every week was sufficient for my goal of making it to the finish line and I felt less pressure that way, so I went with it.

I also have to admit that the race itself was oddly a strange sort of comforting way.  Don't get me wrong, it was really fun...heading up the night before with Nathan and the kids and going out for a special dinner and staying in a hotel...Owen had the time of his life and it was so fun to imagine it seeming like a huge adventure to him and Zoe, staying in that Super 8 the night before Mommy's big race...Owen giggled and acted silly throughout the whole dinner and as we were looking for our (first floor) room, we walked by a flight of stairs and he yelled out "OH YAY, STAIRS!!"....having to run out to a local shop after closing hours in my pj's and beg them (successfully) to let me in because I'd forgotten to pack a t-shirt...walking to the starting area from the hotel the next morning and soaking up the beautiful mountains completely surrounding us as we waited to start the race...seeing Nathan and the kids smiling and cheering for me here and there along the course....overhearing special moments in other people's lives as we were all running along, in our own little worlds finishing up chapters in our own personal stories:  The two friends reminiscing about the first half they'd run together, years ago when one of them was sick.....the older woman and young teenager bonding as they ran, the older woman saying "None of your sister's thought you could do this" and the teenager quietly responding "Well, I'm doing it."...running past a dog kennel and imagining the 15 or so barking dogs were actually cheering us all on...reading inspirational poster after inspirational poster set up by the local high school cross country team....running past a shooting range, imagining they were shooting at me:  RUUUUUUUN!...watching someone take their ear buds out to encourage a struggling stranger in the last 1/4 mile: "Don't give up now, we are coming up on the best part of the whole thing...everyone will be cheering for you and you get to cross the finish line!"....and then, catching sight of Zoe, waiting for me in the shirt I'd made for her to wear in her race back in June...I wasn't sure she'd actually jump in with me, but as soon as I saw her I knew she was more than ready...I grabbed her hand and we headed to the finish together, smiling the whole way.  I was squeezing her hand so tight, and she was squeezing right back, once in a while sort of snuggling up, her cheek to my hand...when we crossed the finish line I hugged her and thanked her for helping me to the finish right when I needed it and she handed me a little plastic trinket-y medal she'd been holding and saving for just that moment.  It was a really great morning and I am so proud of myself.

This half was so different than the "BK" halves in a few ways...for example, I actually felt overall much better this time around which was really satisfying.  The most interesting and surprising difference for me though, was that crossing the finish line didn't feel like the biggest accomplishment of the whole experience.  The accomplishment this time wasn't necessarily running all that way that morning, it was everything leading up to it.  Fitting in the training on a regular basis without feeling like I was sacrificing my life with my family.  Although I worry about "what's next",  only because I'm afraid that without the end goal, I may lose focus, I have hope that I'll be able to keep  on truckin' now that I've proven to myself that it's really not that hard to fit it in once I set my mind to it.
Our awesome kids, having an absolute blast at dinner the night before...


So exciting!!!

Off to the finish...



  1. I'm so proud and happy for you, Sarah. What a wise insight about the race not really being the point. All those miles you fit in along the way, making the time to take care of yourself and be your own person inside the Mom: those are the sundae. But I bet it's nice to have the cherry on top, too. The cherry is bright red so everyone sees it and they know that you're a Mom but you're also a runner. I'll bet Zoe never forgets that Mom's can run races too!

    Here's to being faithful to who we are, even AK (after kids).

    Love ya!

    1. Oh, Mariah...thanks for being such an amazing friend...can't wait to hear about your journey! XOXO

  2. Love this post! Having previously been a big runner and now having had a baby, i can totally relate! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome, Laura! Hope you are able to fit in what you strive to fit in too--it's tricky, so even more rewarding when you can put the puzzle together!