Published: December 3rd 2011December 3rd 2011
I have heard the phrase, "going the last mile", or "the last mile of the way", or even people talking about meeting a 'milestone' in their lives, but only the last few months has those taken on a new meaning.
This time last year Anthony and I started running for better health. It's that time in our lives when things aren't where they used to be, and the midlife spread has nothing to do with peanut butter. Well, if truth be told it probably actually does, we go through it almost as fast as our daily fiber. But I don't have to explain if you are over 45, you know what I mean.
A dear friend of mine, Tammy Fowler, has been an incredible incourager. She started running a couple of years ago too, and this time last year ran the St. Jude 1/2 marathon.
So, here we go - running first part of a lap at the high school then gasping for breath the rest of the lap. I was always athletic, as was Anthony. How did this happen? We've climbed a volcano in Africa for goodness sake - surely that means we are in shape! (For that story and pictures, go to a previous entry).
It took almost a month before I could go a mile without feeling like one of those people who get flung off the treadmill because my feet just couldn't keep up. Anthony was much more diligent than I, but I was determined to keep up.
In February we ran our first 5 K since college. Valentine's theme, Cupid's Run. I wore gray ... that's what I felt like! The winner finished in 14 minutes - I managed somewhere around 37 minutes, Anthony was 34 and we were hooked.
We found a few trainging schedules on line. "Couch to 5K". That seemed appropriate - and a pretty good plan. In a month or so Tammy started asking us if we were up to the half marathon. December seemed like so far away - as did the pain of the run - so we signed up.
We did a 10K in Franklin, got turned around getting there, it was raining, and missed the start by about 20 minutes! At least there was no one running past us to make us feel like we were losers - we were at the tail end. And it was funny, every time someone said something like, you can do it, keep going, we made sure that they knew we got a 20 minute late start .. like they really believed us!
The cool thing about some of the races is that they give you timing chips to attach to your shoes. Once you cross the start line your chip time starts. That way no matter how many people are waiting to get started everyone has their own time.
One night after Wednesday night bible class we went home, suited up and ran in the rain with Head lights and flash lights ... not a good idea, but that shows our determination.
As we progressed we got into the GU (basically 100% sugar energy in a gooey gel), the wicking fabric, the insoles, the aspirin, the heat pads, and the muscle rub. "Honey I love your new perfume, what is it?" "Glad you like it, it's the new floral scent BenGay."
We were becoming runners. Then we did a 15k. Tammy ran with us, and each of us finished dead last in each of our age groups, but we crossed over the 9 mile long race finish line just like every other person on the run. It was uphill 9 of the 9.2 miles! Really!
There were a few injuries along the way, but we played it smart and we healed.
A 20K in Dickson proved to be particularly challenging as the person we talked to about the course simply did not understand the meaning of a HILL and told us the course had some moderate inclines. Girl! this is middle Tennessee .... we were walking before the first mile and needed hiking poles and mountain climbing rigging to get up!
Brain teaser - Anthony and Shasta ran a 20K race in Middle Tennessee. Anthony finished before Shasta. Shasta was the last runner to cross the finish line. Shasta won a medal for 2nd place. Answer at the end.
Now I sit in Memphis, the night before the St. Jude Half Marathon and I am so excited about tomorrow. Not that I have any illusions about where I will start or finish in the list of the more than 12,000 other runners, but that I am actually doing it.
I will be wearing a barney purple running outfit, and a lime green head band - yes, I will stand out. But I need satelite to be able to find me if I get stuck somewhere along the way.
BUT if you want to track us while we are running tomorrow, go to the St. Jude home page at
and type in our name or bib number and it will tell you how we are doing.
Our bib numbers are 4869 and 4910.
IF you check on us after about an hour and then again in 1 1/2 hours and we have not moved - call someone, anyone, tell them to bring something with wheels.
As a matter of fact, I will be wearing my headphone. If you want to call - those of you who have my number, please do! It will certainly take my mind off all the things that are hurting and not cooperating as they would have 10 years ago.
The race starts at 8:00 in waves two minutes apart from each other based on how fast you are. We are in wave 14 - that tell you something?
Pray for our safety and all the others running, and we'll post a Post Race Blog to give you the results.
Now, for the brain teaser answer. All runners are grouped by age. Anthony finished last in his group that had more than 3 runners. Shasta finished dead last in the entire race but her age group consisted of two women. She was second! She got a medal ... so you see - as long as you don't quit - even if you are last - you are still a winner.
So for now, signing off to get some sleep - 13.1 miles in my very near future to conquer!