I can't tell you how many times I was ready to back out, 'cause it's a number too big to count. Last year my sister challenged all of us siblings to run a 1/2 Marathon. I accepted the challenge (sort of). I 'looked' at a training schedule. I 'planned' to start running sometime so that I could work up to the start point of the schedule. When I did start to run a couple of times a week I could barely run to the end of the block. I thought it an amazing accomplishment when I could run 1 mile without feeling like my lungs were gonna fall out. All too soon it was time to start following the training schedule. Needless to say I wasn't quite where I had intended to be. The schedule had workouts 6 days a week, three of which were running. I generally got in 2 runs a week, most of the time, and no other workout. I actually did not run at all for three weeks before the 1/2 marathon. (I know...it was stupid)
My sister was my Jimmy Cricket. She shared her training success and kept me from completely throwing in the towel. She is totally and completely AMAZING!
SWEETHEART had originally planned to run with me but in the training process she joined the cross country track team at her high school. District policy said that she could not participate in any other competition while participating in a school sport. So in keeping within her own integrity she did not run in the 1/2 marathon. BUT, she did send the most incredible letter of encouragement. The night before the race I had what I'd consider to be as close to a panic attack as I'd ever had. I couldn't stop talking, I wasn't making a whole lot of sense and I was freaked out about what was going to occur the next day. I was worried about my socks, where I was gonna put my ipod, lip gloss (important, you'll see why later), the energy cube thingys, etc. My sister was SO good. She took me to the sporting good store the get whatever I'd need to clam my irrational fears. Later that night I read SWEETHEART's letter. I was ready to go after that. In the letter she shared the importance of never giving up. Reminding me that I'd done harder things than this before. She told me to imagine her cheering me on and shared some running advice she'd learned in cross country. Like how to breathe through a side cramp, staying hydrated but no too much, and how to stay motivated. I carried her letter with me the whole time.
The next morning my sister, brother and I drove (in the dark, early, early a.m.) to catch a bus that drove us up the canyon. We waited in the dark, huddled around bon fires to keep warm until the sun came up for the race to start. I lined up about 1/2 way back in the crowd of runners with my sis and bro. That was the only time I saw them throughout the race, with the exception of the last mile when SUGAR and my siter, almost an hour after she'd finished the race, came to run with me. The canyon was BEAUTIFUL, running down hill a blessing, shaded by the canyon walls from a hot sun -joyful. All of these things made the first 10 miles surprisingly bearable. The last two miles where excruciating. Running through neighborhoods, up hills, winding around, unable to get a bearing of where I'd eventually end up and wiped out from the previous exertion made the last two miles as difficult as the previous 11 combined.