I like to reflect upon things and learn from them. I haven’t really been a “runner” for long, but this past year I ran the entire time…no injuries! That in itself is a huge accomplishment. However, I have three overriding themes for 2014, with regards to my running life:
1. I am stronger than I think I am.
Seriously. I set a goal in January, to run one half marathon every month…not 12 in a year, one every month. In Northern Illinois, January, February, and December are a risk. I did it though. I accomplished that goal! In addition, I ran the inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World, my first TWO full marathons (Green Bay, WI http://www.cellcomgreenbaymarathon.com, and Madison, WI http://www.madisonmarathon.org), and my first Ragnar Relay. It’s been quite a ride, and let me tell you, the training for that final marathon and December half were quite lacking. I was tired.
2. I get by with a little help from my friends. (AKA…I need my run buddies!)
I didn’t run a single race alone. I have a wonderful group of supportive run friends from all over Wisconsin and Illinois. Not to mention the friends I have made on Twitter through #Runchat. I am a very Blessed person. Most of the races were with my husband, Steve, and when he couldn’t run, he was supportive of every race I did. He is amazing and I am fortunate to have his support in everything I do.
However, November and December were particularly hard for me with regards to training. My closest run pal broke her leg, another run pal had a hip injury, still another had ACL surgery, and Steve pulled a muscle in his calf. I really dislike the treadmill, and have a hard time motivating myself to run on it. I really missed having my run pals around.
In August, my dear friend, and upcoming runner, Tammy Alexander passed away after battling lung cancer. As a non-smoker, and someone who was working on improving her health at the time of the diagnosis, this seemed particularly unfair and angered me a lot. I heard a song by Matthew West called “Do Something” and decided that rather than being angry and paralyzed, I should help Tammy as best I could. I started running every run for her. #R42 (Running 4 Two, a moto I now live by, started by http://www.annieslocker.org). She wanted to badly to run that Princess Half, and couldn’t. She wanted to do Ragnar and couldn’t.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the Madison Marathon was November 9. I ran for her, in her running shoes, and Team Lung Love (www.myteamlunglove.org), to raise awareness for the illness. Steve, of course, ran with me. I had a horrible time training, and just wanted the race over with because I didn’t feel I had given what I needed to be prepared. That morning, Steve fell behind me, and usually catches up (but I have apparently been getting faster, who knew?!). I ran the majority of the second half of the race alone…except I wasn’t alone. At mile 19, Steve said he wasn’t going to finish. He asked me to call on Tammy. I did. I let him run a little ahead of me, looked at his calf where the pain was, and asked Tammy (and God) to help him finish. About 10 min later he said he didn’t hurt anymore. We both finished together, and I took 40 minutes off of my time from my May marathon!
I believe Tammy was with me. I believe she kept me strong. I believe that she is ALWAYS running with me (yes, I talk to her). Her parents were at the finish line of the race, cheering us in as we crossed. The official pictures even have them in it. I am not sure if I am describing this whole scenario in a way that someone who hasn’t lived it can understand, but I need the world to know, we get our strength from internal, and external sources. Tammy lives on in my heart…and my shoes! Love you my sole sister!