Why did I decide to run a marathon? It goes back a little further than that. Why did I start jogging? Well, I thought I could win a medal. Yes, Millennials, but I knew I had to do something.

 

So I figured those 46+ may not be able to run as fast as me. Ha! I was wrong. So, if I can’t be swift, maybe I could endure. The next logical step in my thinking was – Why not a marathon?

  

It Looked Easy
I saw the runners on TV and they made it look so effortless. However, when I started thinking about it and jogging/running myself, it was a bit hard to do on my own. So, I looked for someone or a group to help me. That’s when I joined Team In Training.

 

If you’re going to run a marathon you are going to have to train. You pretty much have to get up daily to go out on your daily runs. To give it your all, you can’t drink (sugary drinks or alcohol) and expect to go out the next day and run say 5 miles. Yes, there are people who do that, but I needed every bit of strength, energy and hydration, I could squeeze out.  

 

I went from a jogging/running enthusiast to considering myself a marathoner after completing my 1st marathon. We ran primarily in the Honolulu marathon, however for the others we did a run or jog for 3 minutes, then a walk for a minute. One of the famous marathoners at one of our pre-marathon carb-loading dinner said he really admired us because he, “…did not have the stamina to stay out there taking 3 or 4 hours to complete the 26.2 mile course.”

  

 

Heroes
Yep, we felt proud. It did take stamina, a strong will, frequent breaks and a worthy cause to push us. But, we also had heroes. My hero, Paula, was pictured in last week’s post. (See link at the end of this post.) Your hero was a person suffering with leukemia, lymphoma or a blood cancer. He or she served as a motivating force. We talked and she encouraged me. In fact, she and some of her friends contributed to my fundraising efforts.  

 

Edward, my husband, has always been supportive in whatever I’m doing. From inspiring me as I finished my dissertation to coaching me in the delivery room (though at times I wondered – “Here comes a really big contraction!” he’d say.) to my running, body building, vegetarianism, moving to Charlotte, veganism and more. For us, life is an adventure! We like trying new things and challenging each other in games – chess, backgammon and even arguing means you are learning something new about another person’s ideas.

 

His support almost was too much for me to bear as he went out with me one day during my daily 5 mile run. When we walked or ran/jogged I was always a little behind him. But now that I was training for the marathon, I was picking up my pace and running a bit faster.

  

Anyway, Edward and I were both going neck and neck during the first 2 1/2 miles by the time we got to mile 3 he was slowing down a bit.  I said, you can stop when we pass the house. I just want to get my miles in.  He said, “No, I’ll continue with you.” I said, “You don’t have to do that you can quit.” Well, he plodded on and completed the run with me. I don’t think he ever went on another training run with me because I scheduled them when he was not at home. I did not want him knocking himself out just to prove he could do what I was doing. (My interpretation) Come to think of it – he never tried rollerblading.

 

He is a great supporter of a wife who tries to do too many new things, too many times. But that’s what makes life interesting. Who wants to do the same thing, the same way, all the time? Now, if I were married to someone with my same attitude, it would be too much! Edward keeps my feet on the ground, so I don’t float away with too many new con-found-it-all ideas!

 

 

How I Felt When it was Over
When I finished the marathon I felt I had accomplish my goal. But then, I wanted to do more! Not right away, but i really did want to do more. That’s why did three more TNT events.

 

There is something about stretching yourself, training hard and pushing yourself to grow and condition your muscles, eating right, and getting enough rest to accomplish your goal.  

 

My last marathon in Chicago. Well, I knew it was my last marathon, because at mile three I thought – “What the heck am I doing out here?” A few years earlier I completed a marathon in Alaska, now in Chicago where we once lived, I knew this was it! I fell during the Chicago race, and ended up carrying an ice pack on my hand for the last 13 miles. I hurt my knee when I fell and some people at the aid station encouraged me to quit, but I did not want to end the race that way. I limped, ran/walked and completed the race. The coaches with Team in Training always escorted us almost to the finish line, especially if we were hurt.

 

 

Anticlimactic
The end of the run was not anticlimactic. After training for almost 6 months, how could it be? I was jubilant and a little gitty! I completed a marathon, 26.2 miles, in the Windy City!

I almost forgot about the fact that I was searching for my cousin John to meet me after the marathon. I couldn’t find him because I was tired, turned around, and so exhausted that I couldn’t find where we were to meet. I ran into one of my coaches & we determined we were going to find our way back to the hotel. (He knew nothing about which way to go since he was not from Chicago.) So, off we went, in what I thought was the right direction. After walking what felt like a long time (probably actually 10 minutes) my cousin John drove up and gave us a ride back to the hotel. What a lifesaver!

 

John asked me later where the guy I was walking with was from. I told him he was from Georgia. John said, “I never heard an accent like that, I didn’t think it was real.”I said, “Yep, it’s real, but you can’t tell how a person is by their accent.” (Just like you can’t judge a person by their skin color.)

My cousins, John, Bobbie and Elvie & Davin’s family (Elvie’s son) came to my hotel room. We laughed and talked for a while. I told Davin “It was such a coincidence he was in town the week I was running a marathon.” To which he said, “‘Cousin Harriette, we came to see you run.”  (I love my cousins so much!)  Then they went out and brought back dinner. While they were out, I soaked in a really cold bath, as cold as I could stand it. The next day, I had none of the stiffness or soreness I had after the two previous marathons. Well, if you are going to learn something late, it’s good to use it at least once. (A few minutes in a cold shower still works wonders for stiff joints.)

 

I wore my medal the next day to breakfast with Pearlie & Saundra as did the other 20,000 people who completed the Chicago marathon. We each received congratulations from passers-by all day! Two of my long time friends (Derise & Sheila) stopped by Pearlie’s the next day to hang out with me. Friendship – priceless!

 

There’s nothing like setting a goal and accomplishing it, no matter how big or small. Always do your best! Like I said in the beginning, I never participated in sports growing up. This is as close as I can get to that kind of comaraderie. I loved every minute of this adventure!

You must do the thing you think you can not do.” Eleanor Roosevelt

 

So, which one did you like better this one or the earlier version? How to complete a marathon injury free

Dr. Harriette

 

 

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