Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thirteen Point One Reasons (Part Five: Redemption)

There's a half-marathon that is described in this fashion: two tough uphills after mile 9 and 10; and a final, soul-crushing climb to finish the race where the steepest third of a mile is a 5% climb. This is where the praying starts.

A previous runner of the race had this to say: "It's a very tough course, especially after about mile 7. The last mile is designed to make you see God."

One year's final male finisher added one more thought: "I was looking for God during the last mile, but I didn't see him. I guess he finished ahead of me, too."

I opted to run this half-marathon as redemption.  For those of you who've followed along with me for a while, you might recall that my first experience with a half-marathon ended with uncharacteristic abruptness that ought not to be duplicated, even though it yielded a heck of a blog post.  (Anything for the blog, I say.  Anything for the blog.)

In a nutshell, if this diagram is true (and I'm prone to believe that it is),

 

then my initial race can be chalked up to that squiggly section.

Despite nursing the tail end of a head cold that required nose spray all week and resulted in an unappealing fist-sized wad of soggy Kleenex being tucked into my pants as I ran, today's experience was a significant improvement.  I finished on my feet two hours and two minutes after the starting gun rather than on a gurney in an ambulance.

There's just so much room for improvement when you start at rock bottom.

During the last mile (where praying starts, indeed), a man I know came alongside me.  He's a personal trainer who can run backward circles around me.  He was on the course for moral support of others, not completion himself, and as such he coached me for a segment on the final hill.  "Get control of your breathing.... You've got this.... You're almost there.   Doing great... This isn't a hill, this is just a little bump... This is yours to take... "

While I appreciated the pep talk, I suspect that if I had been able to respond more than mono-syllabic nonsense I would have asked him to quiet down and just let me die on the side of the road, please, which was pretty much my same mental response to Joel when he offered encouraging one-liners while I was in labor with our three daughters.

With the finish in sight, I made one final push which, to onlookers, probably resembled a very tired woman slodging through peanut butter.

Then I crossed the line, blew my nose one last time for good measure, and basked in that upward arrow of success.

Image compliments of Calvin Mackie

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5 comments:

  1. I'm so proud of you, Robin!!

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  2. woot!!! congrats!!! *confetti* *I swear, I will vacuum that up before a cat eats it*

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  3. Oh, how I remember the feeling of finishing a half marathon. *sigh* It makes me all warm and fuzzy and proud of you. And I don't even know you. But awesome job anyway! Yay for you!

    Also....I read the link to your previous attempt at a half marathon. And yikes! You are one brave chick for giving it another try.

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