Sunday, April 17, 2011

Big D

Last weekend James, Court and I ran-walked the Big D half marathon.  Honestly, leading up to it I never felt that excited about our upcoming ridiculously long, blister-causing experience.  My feet were mad at me ya'll...especially my toenails.  But that's a completely different post that no one would ever want to read.  Anyway, excitement was actually the opposite of my feeling about the half marathon.  The word "dread" was more of an accurate description of my attitude toward it than anything else.  As the weeks went by, I started counting down the number of long runs I had left until I never had to do it again.  NEVER AGAIN.  Like for the REST OF MY LIFE.

So I was completely surprised by what the experience ended up being for me.

There were so many things I loved about the Big D, from the indescribable feeling of running in God's creation, seeing the beauty of it in a completely new way to the scent escaping from the cabinet shop that we passed on the final mile, reminding me of growing up in my dad's cabinet shop to the moment that Bye, Bye, Bye came on my ipod at the exact moment that I needed a boost of energy...college may have been a decade ago, but I still love that music! 

But the thing that overwhelmed me to tears during my 13.1 mile journey was the people.  It was amazing to me that so many people came out to sit in their front yard or stand on their street to cheer on complete strangers.  There was actually one woman cheering wildly, holding up a big poster that said "RUN COMPLETE STRANGER RUN!!" and hugging any willing runner.  Maybe it was that I looked so beat down, but every person I passed that was watching, looked me in my face and encouraged me with kind words.  It was so moving.  I've never personally experienced humanity in that way.  Where people are there loving other people just because they want to be supportive.

I also loved watching the people that were running and walking with me.  There was a husband and wife that stopped at every single mile marker to take a picture giving a thumbs up or posing by the sign, a mother with her tween daughter both wearing hot pink running gear, and a man with his 8ish year old son....seriously y'all, that kid couldn't have been a day over 8 years old.  They started out with me and you could tell the dad was trying to motivate his son to run, but the son was reluctant.  I didn't see them again until mile 8 when they ran past me.  I got chills as they passed.

I was so emotional during the last mile that every time someone would cheer me on I'd start to cry.  I had to force myself to stop thinking about it so I could focus!  Once we were back at the fairgrounds and I knew the end was near, I started to get really nervous that I would completely lose it when I crossed the finish line.  My heart was racing so hard that I'd run for about 5 seconds and have to stop because I was so out of breath.  I'm sure I looked like a complete idiot alternating running and walking every 5-10 seconds, but I really didn't feel judged by anyone.  It was one of the few times in my life that I didn't become acutely aware of how harshly everyone around me must be judging me.  I felt them supporting me, pushing me on, so for that moment my insecurity disappeared. 

My mom brought Hunter up to cheer us on at the finish line...
She said he'd stand up on the bars and yell and cheer for all of the people passing.  (Oh what I'd give for some video of that!)

James crossed before I did...



...and about 15 minutes later, I came through...


I remember telling my marathon-running friend at work about two weeks before our half marathon that I just wanted to get it over with because this isn't something that would make me feel good or accomplished, but after it was over I felt like I'd never felt before, and now I'm looking forward to the next one!  If only I can get through that dang training...

3 comments:

the lowes said...

GO YOU!!!! thats awesome girl!! love the blog too...hope yall are blessed!!

The May Family said...

Carole, I totally teared up just reading about the people... gosh, to actually be in the race I would have been a weeping sack of Julie. So proud of you, friend. To set such a challenging goal and see it through must feel pretty amazing--- sure seems like a superhero status to me.

Rikki said...

that's awesome, carole! i seriously almost wrote on your fb wall "who are you and what have you done with carole??" after you said you did a 1/2 marathon! but i thought it might be rude...but now i just said it, so there. :) i'm proud of you! way to go!