I am rounding the corner at the mile eleven mark. I am cruising. I am a well oiled machine. My legs are turning over in glorious precision, each muscle tweaked to maximum performance, creating the perfect stride. My body is the picture of efficiency, every movement propelling me toward the finish line in record time. My months of training have prepared me perfectly for these last two miles. I am breathing easy, my pony tail flying in the wind, my skirt sparkling in the sunshine. I am calm, I am peaceful, I am zen. I am...oh, who the **** am I kidding? I am none of those things and where the **** is the #!&*!%@$* finish line????
It was the hills. There were HILLS in the race. OK, not like huge hills and not like a thousand of them but still....a hill is a hill and add a bunch of them together and you get death.
The wheels came off at mile eleven. The first ten miles were ok. ish. I mean, I got through them.
Starting line. Well, for some, the starting line. For me....ten minutes behind the starting line. There were approximately a bajillion runners in the ING Hartford marathon and half marathon this year. A bajillion. We take up ten city blocks at the start. A lot of pre-race festivities, songs, announcements and then bang...the starting gun and we are off!! And off down a hill. Yay! I love this race. Starting down a hill...my time is going to be amazing. I am going to crush it!
I should have known. I should have thought it through. I should have realized what was to come. It should have dawned on me right then and there....we were going downhill. Down a hill. We had thirteen miles to go. Something may be ahead. Let's see. Hmmm. Something, something. What could it be? Oh, I know. AN UPHILL.
A ton of uphills actually. It was these mini Kilamanjaros that got me. And so there I found myself at mile eleven, hot, sweaty, my legs screaming to stop, my feet barely managing to lift off the ground, my face contorted in all kinds of ugly pain, my mind on the brink of giving my failing body permission to stop running and start
I was running this race for charity. I was running this race for all those brave kids living with Crohn's disease. I was running this race for Christie. A lot of very wonderful and generous people had donated their hard earned money to me, to this cause, putting their faith in me, trusting that I would cross that finish line.
I tried. I really tried to think of all of that. To think of all of those kids with Crohn's, to think of Christie, to think of my sponsors. I wish I could say it was those thoughts that carried me to the finish line.
It was the HUGE, SCARY, YELLING, FREAKING GIANT who appeared at my side out of nowhere at mile eleven and started screaming in my ear. "YO, PEACH!! WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU?? HUH?? WHAT? YOU GONNA START WALKING NOW?? WHAT? YOU A BABY?? I DON'T THINK SO!! YOU BETTA KEEP RUNNING, PEACH. I AIN'T JOKING WITH YOU. I SAID RUN AND I MEAN RUN!! YOU AIN'T GONNA QUIT NOW. NOT ON MY WATCH. YOU AIN'T WASTING ALL THAT TRAINING. YOU HEAR ME PEACH?? I SAID RUN! NOW RUN!!"
That's what got me to the finish line.
Guardian angels can come in all shapes and sizes.
Mine happens to be a hulking, screaming, very scary looking african american man.
Thank you, big, scary, screaming guardian angel for appearing when I needed you most. Mile 11.
I did it. I crossed that finish line.
Thank you to all of you who donated to my run. I am extremely grateful and humbled by the generosity of my wonderful family and friends.
Thank you Hoka One One. My feet may have been shuffling but they were blister-free and in a happy marshmallow cloud the entire time.
Thank you Rock City Skirts for making me sparkle and get a ton of attention and cheers of "go, Sparkle Girl, go" along the way.
And finally, thank you to Christie. You may be "drama" about everything else in your life but you have never been drama about Crohn's. Your quiet determination and positive, never complaining attitude are truly inspiring. You are amazing and make me proud every single day.
And so, dear twenty followers and two lurkers, that is my half marathon story. What a journey it has been. Thank you for sharing it with me. And don't worry! If you meant to donate but somehow forgot, good news! There's still time. (You didn't think I'd let you get away that easy, did you??). The fundraising site will be open for a while longer.
To donate go to: http://www.crowdrise.com/CTChildrens/fundraiser/petraamrein
Stayed tuned for more adventures in the life of Peach.