26.2 is the loneliest number. Or it could be, if I stuck to my usual thinking.
You see, to me, running is a solitary effort. It's time for me to have a nice long chat... with me. I've never been one to socialize and jog, to joke and run. I like running because it is my time to zone out. To daydream. To think things through. It's my time for me.
I have a wonderful husband who understands this. He runs with me for part of a run, and then lets me finish with myself. It's not that I don't want him there. It's not that I don't need him there. It's just that running is solitary. Not lonely, solitary.
I have spent hours upon hours training for the Detroit Free Press Marathon. To be quite honest with myself, I've spent hours upon hours upon hours training for the Colorado Marathon, the Denver Marathon, and the Freep Marathon. Unfortunately, injuries held me back from the other two. The determination was there. It was crazy. I was crazy. Crazy enough to run 26.2 miles in downtown Detroit and Windsor, Canada.
I spent a lot of time with myself, learning about me, during the long training regime. I said goodbye to beautiful Fort Collins, and hello to Enid, and more specifically, Vance AFB during my runs. I discovered myself during this time. I realized what was important, and what was not. I realized what dreams I have, and which ones I don't. I realized running is more fun when you don't "have" to do it.
But I stuck with it. Sheer
With a little help.
While running may be a solitary effort, marathoning is a team event. I learned how much a screaming crowd helps. (And I also learned how hard 3 miles can be after losing that screaming crowd...I
But most importantly, I learned what it means to have a great running partner. The last 13 miles were slow. I didn't talk much. I didn't think much. But just knowing I had the man who gave me the passion to run running along side me made it that much easier.
My dad ran the second half of the marathon with me. He was there for me, for encouragement when it got rough, for entertainment when it got boring, for photography when it got exciting. It blew me out of the water how important it was for me to have that in the end. To have a running partner. To have built in encouragement. I don't think he knows how much it meant to me to have those 3 hours with him. It's the best thing he has ever given me.
I do want to make sure that I thank my other "Marathon Partners." I want to especially thank my J for being so encouraging and understanding throughout the training. I crossed the finish line with his dog tags on, so he was there with me the whole time. I need to thank my sister for bookend-ing the race with me. I need to thank my cousin and dear friend who ran the half and stayed until the very end to cheer me on. Thank you to my mom, who cheered louder than them all when I crossed that finish line. Thank you to my MIL and SIL who made sure to be there at the end. Thank you to my aunt, for getting me water when I needed it, and cheering her head off when I was close. Thank you to all the friends and family who were thinking about me that day, your support means so much to me. And finally, thank you to my dog, for logging so many miles with your mom.
Oh and thank you to Jill Asiala and Anastasia Smith for all these pictures. And TSC Graphics. Did I just win an Emmy?