Sunday, October 25, 2009

Story of a 1/2 Marathon

The Beginning

It’s the end of May and we’re on our way to Milwaukee. A discussion about loosing the baby weight sets this in motion. A call to CaSondra confirms it. We’ll be running a ½ marathon in October. The thought has me 2 parts excited and 1 part scared to death. 13.1 miles. That’s doable, right? Wait. I’ve never run more than 6 in my entire life. The anxiety creeps in but I push it down, I can do this. WE can do this.

A month passes and we have each put in a few individual runs but we know that when the real training begins we want to do this together. All of us; this is going to be a family affair.

The jogging stroller was a must. We pack it up, slather the baby with sunscreen, tie on his hat and head out for the trail. Our first few runs are only 2 miles long. Pushing this jogger is more work than we anticipated.

My 1st run - July 2009

The Middle

Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch…….
Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch…….
How’s your shin feeling?
It’s doing okay today.
Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch……
Baaaaaa. Baaaaaa. Baaaaaa.
That’s right Buddy, Baaa, baaa. Look at the trees!
Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch……
And Switch.
How far are we going today?
That sounds good.
Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch….

It’s the middle of August and this has become a ‘thing we do’. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays – we have a system that works well, each pushing the jogger for a ½ mile and then switching. Our evening runs are warm, but not sweltering. I look forward to this time together and am in awe at how connected I feel to Collin during these 40 minutes when we are saying the least to each other. Keaton loves being in the stroller and looking at the trees and when we go for shorter runs Maia tags along too.

The End

It’s 6:30 am when CaS pops her head in the door. “Happy Race Day!!” It’s our cue to get out of bed and get moving. As soon as my feet hit the floor my stomach plummets. I’m so nervous. I wasn’t this nervous last night. I didn’t realize it was going to be this bad. I’m not sure if I’m going to puke, poop my pants, or just start crying. Maybe all three.

As soon as we enter the parking lot my stomach settles a bit. We are surrounded by runners and it is cold. Really, really cold, but the adrenaline in the air seems to be warming me up.

The baby is bundled in his winter coat and hat, his stroller is toting a balloon that reads “Good Luck.” A passerby stops him and Busha and asks if his Daddy is running the race. Busha tells them his Daddy and Mommy are running. Strangely, hearing this fills me with an enormous amount of pride. I’m going to run this thing, and I’m doing it for a little boy in a Yooper hat.

We make our way to the gates and upon hearing the announcer officially start the race I make the sign of the cross and think again of my little boy. As we creep up to the starting line we are able to give one last wave to Keaton, who is with Papa and Busha. They wish us luck and we are on our way.

The first mile or two go quickly. There are lots of people on the side of the road cheering us on and as we enter the park where the majority of the race takes place there is a band set up playing music. This is oddly inspiring and I get a bit choked up. They came out here for me. Well, sure, and 6,499 others, but still, for me!

By mile 3 I’ve already fallen a bit behind Collin. Not wanting to run that long by myself I push it to catch up to him. At mile 4 we are greeted by our cheering committee. Baby has already fallen asleep put Papa props him up so we can see him anyway. We wave and yell and keep running.

For the next 6 miles Collin and I run side-by-side. My legs never really warm up but I’m feeling okay. This is definitely doable. We talk a little, joke around with each other, and he encourages me when I’m feeling tired. I take my energy gels at mile 6 and mile 9. The first one seems to help quite a bit. At mile 8 we catch a glimpse of CaSondra rounding the bend on the other side of the trail. Collin shouts out and we exchange Woo hoos!! At mile 8 ½ we hear a fellow runner say she is saving her energy for the hill at mile 10 and the finish line.

A hill at mile 10? Who does that?

The hill is the death of me; it is a good 200 feet and it’s steep. I’m chugging, chugging, chugging, but I just can’t do it. I have to walk for a bit. I hate every second of it but my body just physically can’t keep running.

By mile 11 I’m feeling much better and I vow to not stop running for the next two miles. As I come up on the mile-marker for #12 my heart soars. One mile to go. I can so do this!!!

I can see the finish line in the distance and as I round the final bend I give it all I’ve got. I know my body never left this earth, but right now I feel like I’m soaring. As I cross under the yellow banner it hits me. I did it. I completed my first ½ marathon.

After leaving the course the first person I see is Collin. My lungs start to expand in the cold and if I wasn’t on cloud 9 I think they would actually hurt. We make our way back to the family and when Keaton sees us a smile spreads across his face and he reaches out his arms. I know he doesn’t understand what just happened, but it felt like he was saying: Mommy, Daddy, I’m so proud of you. We snuggle our little boy and although I’m sore and already limping, I can’t stop myself from dreaming about doing this all over again.


Kristin C. said...

Yeah! Congratulations! I LOVE the family pic- so sweet & inspirational.

Em said...

I love your half-marathon story. I'm sitting here all teary. :) I'm SO proud of you guys! What an amazing accomplishment.

Gail said...

Awesome! Congratulations on finishing your first 1/2 marathon!

Kristi said...

Wow! What an accomplishment! I am so impressed with you guys. I can't imagine how it must have felt to finally cross the finish line.

Anonymous said...

Yeah The Kono's and Shim's did it!! I'm so proud of you guys pushing through the doubts and choosing the uncomfortable for less than 3 hours! Now to hear a story like the one you wrote- priceless!!! It is beautiful. Em- I'm tearing up too! It was one of the best weekends to have the whole family here! Love you CaS

Andrew Ryne said...

Congratulations! I cant even imagine it! What a great way to spend time with the family :) Our family time is rolling around the floor or running after Andrew at best :)

samantha said...

I am wicked impressed. WAHOO and congratulations!!!

Amy Bomstad said...

Congrats Kate! You guys are amazing! You look so great!

I love the family pic! Keaton will love that story someday.

amanda said...

Impressive! I'm not sure I'd have to courage to make the decision to run, let alone actually do it! And I love the pic of Keaton in his stroller...that smile is gonna melt some teenage girls' hearts some day!

MaLinda said...

Congratulations! Chicago's got a great full marathon...

Kate said...

Thanks everyone for the kind words and the support and encourgement throughout this endeavor. It means the world to me. You guys rule! :)