Well, I did it. I finished in an upright position, didn't finish last and I didn't "hurl" at the finish line!! These three things are important to me when I'm in a race. (Ok it's not really, but it is on my mind)
As I mentioned in a previous blog, this was my third LHRR. I experienced the hottest sun I've ever felt while running. I ran the first 3 1/2 miles at my normal 15 minute mile; I was feeling good. Thankfully I was still running when the other runners were passing me, (since they all ran three times faster than me). For a split second I was embarrassed ~ but in true runner fashion, the high fives, shout outs, and thumbs up from those passing me by gave me the push I needed to keep going. Runners are courteous, kind, supportive and only in competition with themselves ~ my size didn't matter, my speed, or lack of, didn't matter, my being four to five miles behind them didn't matter. All that mattered to them was I was there; giving it my all. I embraced not only the shout outs and high fives of the other runners, but the spectators as well.
Then it began, the sciatic pain, and something new, back pain!! I slowed down ~ yes, to a modified power walk; then to a very slow walk. I almost literally crawled up Gallows Lane. I was alone for several miles, well almost alone; you see LHRR is run extremely well; the committee and volunteers are scattered throughout the race route, and it seemed that just when I was at my limit of exhaustion both mentally and physically, a LHRR angel appeared with a cold water or a kind word to encourage me to continue on. Of course, through tears and sweat, as much as I wanted to stop, I was determined to continue. I was hurting yes, but not crossing the finish line would hurt more.
I wasn't concerned about how long it was going to take me to complete this race, however I was surprised that my final time was over two hours ~ yes because it took me almost 35 minutes to complete the last mile. Like I said, I almost crawled up Gallows Lane. Half way up this hill I was greeted by a race official. He asked me if I was ok. I said "NO" ~ I'm not okay, but I will be once I cross the finish line. He offered me words of encouragement, water and told me there was a medical truck up,ahead if I needed anything. All I wanted was to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I reached the top of Gallows Lane, and for the third year, my friend Rob Ross and his band SideKick were there ~ and for the third year Rob stopped what he was doing and came over to hug me ~ and then the tears began again ( no one could tell if it was tears or sweat so I hid my emotional mess behind the sweat) I continued down South Street with runners who had come in a lot sooner than me leaving to go home!! But again in true runner fashion the kind words and high fives kept me going. And I did keep going, step by step, closer to West Street. Then there I was, ready to turn onto West Street ~ taking a deep,breath and mustering up all the energy I could to jog down West Street and cross that finish line. Closer and closer ~ to shouts, cow bells, even hearing my name over the loudspeaker, I made the sign of the cross, looked up into the blue sky and blew a kiss to the heavens ~ thinking of my father and my special friend who passed away ~ step by step, breath by breath I was finally there ~ I did it. I crossed the finish line ~ I was hot, tired and sore, but felt incredible at the same time. I thought of how the past few years changed me ~ mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I'm a better me ~ and the best is yet to come.