I think I’m in the habit of trying to do the impossible…
Or at the very least, what might seem impossible to me.
In the midst of training for Chicago I got an e-mail from The NorthFace Endurance Challenge. I have a soft spot for this race, you see, a weak-in-the-knees adoration for this endurance challenge.
It was my first marathon ever last year.
So, you know it pulled at my little heart strings until I officially registered for a second round. Only this time I decided to go for the even more impossible.
I just added a few more weeks of training after finishing the Chicago Marathon. I was tired, wornout, overwhelmed, scared and nervous…but I was stoked to complete another new challenge.
Come beautiful Saturday morning on November 17th, I had all the same feelings. I was tired, but excited. Overwhelmed but prepared. Nervous but amped. And when the race started I was off again on cloud nine. My feet, one after another, doing what they know best, my eyes on the road ahead, my hot pink fingernails waiting to give me my superpowers when I needed them. I know my mom thought I was crazy when I stayed up late just to paint my nails on race eve, but there was method to my madness. Superpowers, duh.
And I definitely needed them.
There’s no play-by-play for this race recap, just as there wasn’t for Chicago. I think what is happening is that I’m becoming so overwhelmed by emotions that everything seems to happen in a blur. I am so humbled by my running experiences, grateful for my capabilities, and beyond thankful for all the support I’ve received. I remember the race in moments, and these are moments I hope to remember for the rest of my life…
…all the runners lined up at the start, nervously chattering about how it’s “just five more miles.” Me, standing there in the middle of it, smiling like a kid in a candy store.
…reliving all the sites of Kansas City and remembering running the same streets last year and how magnificent I felt when I finished my first marathon. The same hill, the same bridge, the same buildings…they all felt so nostalgic.
…my friends who were running the half marathon catching up with me and giving me words of encouragement. Then watching them as ran ahead, finishing a great race of their own.
…coming to the first aid station that offered sliced oranges. An orange has never been so delicious.
…the stairs. Four flights to be exact. At least they were going down.
…splitting away from the marathon runners and beginning the out and back route that added those no-big-deal five more miles.
…looking down at my pink fingernails and summoning them for some of those superpowers now.
…the smiles, waves, thumbs up, nods, and words of encouragement as the leader 50k-ers passed back along the out and back route. Those small gestures meant oh-so-much.
…seeing my dad at mile eighteen. I knew it was him from half a mile away…pride just beaming out of him.
…wanting to stop around mile twenty. I’ve never wanted to stop so bad. I decided to walk and eat another orange…then dug deep and found some way to keep going.
…seeing my sister. Her voice screeching as she cheered me on. Then seeing her again, driving in her car, yelling out her window. And again.
…coming to terms with the fact that I needed to walk again. So I did. And at the encouragement of one of the wonderful Kansas City Police Department officers, starting to run again.
…striking a conversation with another runner. Come to find out the only race he’d ever ran was a 5K, and here he was running a 50K right next to me. I told him he was doing great, and he admitted that it was only because he knew I’d been behind him for awhile and he didn’t want me to pass him.
…a mile later, passing him.
…walking for a third time up the longest and hardest and steepest hill, probably in the world.
…the feeling of knowing I only had two miles to go. I was actually going to finish this.
…the little girls who were cheering and told me that the finish line was so close.
…coming around the corner…the same corner that I rounded on August 27th, 2011…hearing my sister’s voice again…trying to hold the tears back and myself together long enough the make it a few more yards to the finish line…seeing my dad standing there…hearing the announcer call my name…
…and crossing the finish line after four hours, forty-seven minutes, and thirty-three seconds. Another seemingly impossible task…finished.
If there is one thing I can tell you, it’s that you can really do anything you want to in life.
My heart is so full of pride and gratitude and thankfulness. For everyone who has given me so much support through everything, I can’t thank you enough.