10 years ago today I woke up in the apartment I was sharing with my mom.
We gathered our stuff together and headed to the start line of Marine Corps Marathon. It was a morning filled with excitement and angst.
Could I run 26.2 miles?
Could a girl who pretended to hyperventilate to avoid running laps on the soccer field in 9th grade run a marathon?
Could a girl who was not athletic at all and who only played sports when forced to – really do something that most consider to be a challenging feat?
Could I run farther than I drive most days?
I had two goals in mind. Finish and beat Oprah’s time.
Today marks the anniversary of that marathon and tomorrow I will be running the same race for the 8th time. Twice I ran the 10k – once 6 weeks after having a baby and once when pregnant. In the past eleven years I have only missed being at Marine Corps Marathon once and that was because I was 37 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. I ran 3 miles that day with a friend and spent the majority of that run talking about the race that has become a part of me.
It’s a funny thing to feel that a race is “yours” but that’s exactly how I feel.
Yes, countless of other people have run what is considered the People’s Marathon but to me, this race is so much more than a race.
I have found myself numerous times over the course of these 26.2 miles.
I have debated life and what I wanted from it.
I have found out what I am made.
I have over and over again learned that no matter how low I go I can pick myself up again and soar.
I have had some of the roughest moments and most amazing moments.
The 7 Marine Corps Marathons I have run have been 7 of the best days of my life.
I’ve said numerous times that the day I crossed the finish line of Marine Corps Marathon I was forever changed, and I stand by that statement.
10 years ago I had no idea what the next 10 years would hold but WOW it’s been an amazing ride. Three kids and 24 marathons later it’s one more special than I could have imagined.
I am SO VERY thankful to that insecure, semi shy, angst filled 21 year old that chose training for a marathon over having a typical post college social life. I am so thankful SHE decided to run a marathon and do something she didn’t think possible. I wish I could go back and give her a hug – tell her that everything will be okay and that running will change her life – to just be patient.
In 2003 I was the 4,790th person to cross the finish line.
In 2012 I was the 512th person to cross the finish line.
It’s been a crazy journey and I couldn’t love it more.
While in Kona I was discussing “life” with one of the guys who worked for Timex. We were walking back from the finish line and saw a man who had prosthetics on both of his legs running towards the finish line that was being dismantled. He had missed the 17 hour cut off but was finishing anyways surrounded by a small crowd. I broke down crying, not tiny tears, but gushing tears. It broke my heart first because he had missed the cut off but also because of the human resolve – he was GOING to finish what he started. It was a mix of happiness and sadness. I’m not sure how this moment segued into not forcing life and just letting it happen as it is supposed to but it did. I talked about how a month earlier I didn’t even know that I was going to Kona, but at that moment I really felt like I was supposed to be there. When I don’t force my life and just live it – it turns out exactly how it’s supposed to. Robin agreed that life happens exactly as it should and it’s our job to just live it.
I am so thankful for this race and can not wait to spend tomorrow running 26.2 miles with so many different family members. I’ll be living life and not worrying or forcing what is to come. I want to finish just as a did last year with a HUGE smile on my face.
Here’s to another 10 years MCM!
MCM 2003: 4:20:34 – overall 4790 – gender 1232nd
MCM 2004: 4:56:19 – overall 8504 – gender 2763rd
MCM 2005: 3:59:52 – overall 3380 – gender 779th
MCM 2008: 3:36:41 – overall 1630 – gender 236th
MCM 2009: 3:31:21 – overall 1341 – gender 182nd
MCM 2011: 3:21:46 – overall 720 – gender 91st
MCM 2012: 3:17:14 – overall 512 – gender 58th