I think it’s safe to say I have gone through every emotion possible in the last few days. It has been a whirlwind. I am truly amazed at the response to David’s beautiful story about our marathon journey together. Friends, loved ones, acquaintences, and strangers have reached out with love, support, enouragement, and admiration. I still find it hard to believe that it’s little old me that you’re all rallying around.
This experience has forever changed the way I think about myself. It began on October 1, just 12 short days ago. David Wallach called and asked me to run a marathon with him, and be Pace of Chicago’s Athlete of the Month. More than just an incredible honor, this one statement challenged the way I viewed myself. Despite having trained for two marathons and having finished one, plus a couple of halves, a 10k, 8ks, you get the idea… I never considered myself even a runner. The thought of myself as an athlete rocked my world. And yet, here was this man — a true athlete in every sense of the word, telling me that I, too, was one. It’s one thing when your parents, siblings, friends, and loved ones tell you that you’re awesome, an athlete, a runner, a whatever. They’re supposed to. They love you. It’s what they do. But when David said it, I guess it started to sink in a little differently.
On October 9, I attended the Chicago Marathon Expo to pick up my race packet. David said he wanted to meet up with me so that he could introduce me to some people. Sure — not a problem. I had no idea that I was about to get the royal treatment. When David arrived at the expo, he called and asked me to meet him at Nike. There he was, with a Nike backpack full of goodies. A Moji knee, Zym endurance drink mix, a Fleet Feet gift certificate. And a man from Nike was standing next to him, holding hangers in his hands. “Oh, I grabbed mediums, but I think you’re a small,” he said. He came back with new running capris, a long-sleeved tee, and a jacket. As soon as I was dressed in my new running clothes, I was fitted for new Nike Lunar Glide shoes. David kept calling me Cinderella that day. Funny, that’s exactly who I felt like. Just with better shoes.
On race day, Barb and David took such good care of me. They helped me celebrate my accomplishment, and not focus on hours and minutes on a clock. But that story is below. I’ve told you all of it. When I woke up the next day, I was beating myself up. Some of that comes across in my race report. And that’s okay — all athletes are hard on themselves sometimes. (See, I’m learning already. I’m an athlete!) But then I read David’s article, and the tears streamed down my face. What I saw as a dissapointment, he celebrated. He focused on the things that mattered — the fight and the finish. Suddenly, it was okay. My parents, my friends, my family — everyone had tried to get me to celebrate. But seeing my journey thorough someone else’s eyes was priceless. It forever changed the way I think about myself — for the better.
That said, there’s no stopping me now! Last night, I sat down and wrote out a list of goals for the next year — from now until October 2010. And here’s what I’m going to do:
- Start going to Yoga again — once a week
- Spin class — once a week
- When not in training, run at least 2 – 3 miles, 2 – 3 times a week
- Complete 2 – 3 half marathons
- Run the Fleet Feet/Nike Women’s 10k, and hopefully other 10ks
- Choose another marathon — Chicago ’10? Chicago ’11? Another city?
- Meet with a sports nutritionist
And there you have it. From “Where do I go from here?” to “Here’s to what’s next!”