My first race was two years ago: the Hot Chocolate 5K at the National Harbor. Hundreds of people had parking problems, the race started late as a result, and I'm told the 15K course was a disaster. But once we got started and my feet thawed, it all went beautifully for me and the friends I was with:
As you can see, the Hot Chocolate 5K ended with hot cocoa and this... still the finest post-race party I've ever experienced:
There have been other races, including two 10Ks and two half marathons.
By the way.
To all you tiresome bores who drone on about how "everyone gets a trophy" is the downfall of society as we know it, and how we should give prizes to the fastest and the best and let all the mediocre people be content with the experience of playing: JUST TRY AND TAKE MY FINISHERS' MEDALS, you alpha-wannabe jerks.
Cough. As I was saying. Races:
I got to run a 10K with a handsome friend!
Along the way, there have been equipment fails:
During your times of trial and suffering, when you see one red line, it is then that I carried you. -RunKeeper Jesus
There have been trail fails:
And there have been user errors, like when I forgot to turn off RunKeeper while walking the labyrinth at Mo-Ranch:
And for the last four months, there have been about 400 miles, as I get ready for this:
Here I am post-15 miles. There was woohooing.
Post-17 miles, when I fumble-fingered the picture. Epic:
Post-18 miles, when I was a cold, wet, triumphant mess, and I got the dang picture right:
Post-20 miles. It was 48 degrees and rainy the entire time.
How beautiful are the feet of those who just get the dang run done already. -Isaiah, sort of.
I started the Couch to 5K program three years ago. Before that, I had not run since sixth grade softball, and even then, I ran in short reluctant bursts. I took on C25K not because I wanted to run, or even because I wanted to lose weight or improve general fitness, but because I wanted to hike Mt. Washington in New Hampshire with family and I didn't know how else to train for it in flat suburban Northern Virginia. I made it up the mountain, barely. I made it up despite both of my boots failing and being woefully out of shape. (Running 5K and hiking for several hours aren't the same, go figure.)
I made it up the mountain...
...because the other options were to inconvenience a lot of people by requiring them to rescue me, and lying down to die. I'm enough of a good girl that the former was as unsavory an option as the latter.
I haven't done a hike like that since then. But I still run.
I remember attending Rice University's commencement at the end of my sophomore year, when lots of friends were graduating. I was captivated by the PhD hooding ceremony---all those relieved, resolute scholars, turning to face the audience as a professor draped the doctoral hood over their shoulders.
I knew that would be me someday. I remember thinking about the great human achievements, listing them in my head: Getting a PhD is one. Writing a book. Inventing something. Oh, and running a marathon, I suppose.
Now, getting a PhD is a multi-year process, which makes it much more a test of stamina than a marathon. Still, if you'd told me five years ago that someone would be hanging a marathon medal around my neck rather than an academic hood, I would have been shocked.
But with a little luck, a lot of tunes, proper hydration and no injuries, that will happen on Sunday.
You can do things you think you can't do.
By the way, you can still give to the American Heart Association in celebration of my Disney Marathon run.