Tomorrow I will be stepping up the start line for my seventh marathon. Hopefully it will by the end of the day I can say that I have finished all 7. We all know that there isn’t much that is going to stop me from getting there. No matter what I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
With each marathon, I’ve learned something. Learned how to push myself. Learned that I am stronger than I realize. Learned that no matter what there is always a little more in the tank.
My first marathon, Philly, was a fluke. That year, I had trained and completed the Runner’s World Hat Trick (5k, 10k, and Half marathon all in two days). When it was over a friend nudged me to sign up for Philly the following month. One 20 mile training run later, I was in. I finished in 4:46:20. This is before I knew anything about running, so I do see humor in that I didn’t push for the 4:45 time..
Then over the next few years would run a marathon a year. For my second marathon, Marine Corps, I trained with a coach. I finished in 4:38:14. This is my current and more than likely my PR for marathon finish times. I should have PR’d my first New York as I was well trained for it, but went out way too fast not following the plan. This is a mistake I will not make tomorrow.
Two weeks after that first New York Marathon was my thyroid surgery leaving me not just without my thyroid, but also working parathyroid glands. I was determined not to let being Hypopara take away my running and the Chicago Marathon was supposed to be my one hypopara marathon and done. A way to snub my nose at it. I learned a lot in Chicago. I learned that for me the set run/walk plan doesn’t work for me. I learned that my body does NOT like running in the heat as it was very hot that year. Most of all, I learned that I can just keep going. All things being considered, an hour slower is pretty awesome.
But then, then it became about something more. Last year when I got picked to be part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team, I could not have been any more honored. I still remember sitting in a Toys R Us parking lot talking on the phone with a friend in 2013, a year after the shooting in Sandy Hook. She could not understand my pain over the horrific shooting when I was not personally involved, but I was involved. I’m a mother, that year my youngest son was also in Kindergarten. I took it very personally because this tragedy as we’ve learned over the years can happen anywhere. She couldn’t understand my pain and told me that I needed to do something as I wasn’t “getting over it.” I didn’t want to get over it, I wanted to do something. So here we are.
Although, even before last year I was involved. I did what I could, but I wanted to do more. This is my more. I can and do share the message of inclusion, stopping gun violence, and making a change. My personal friends know this to be true. I remember one year on Wear Orange for Gun Safety another friend that I ran into at a baseball game while I was wearing my orange shirt saying to me, “Isn’t every day Wear Orange day for you?” She meant this is the nicest way possible because she knows I am always spreading the message.
So here I am getting ready to run my second marathon as part of Team Sandy Hook Promise. At a lunch today it was said, “You weren’t just a number coming into Sandy Hook Promise. You were selected. Your stories and passion are what got you here……. We picked you from the heart.” So I run knowing that this isn’t about me. This is my way to not just share the Sandy Hook Promise message which I do, but about helping to support an organization that is doing so much good. Last year was my slowest marathon to date at 6:10:13; but my most memorable and favorite one.
I am honored. It is more than words. It is a truthful statement.
My goal. My only goal tomorrow is to wear my Sandy Hook Promise shirt with pride. Ok, I may also have a goal of 5:45 time but that is secondary. I know it won’t be easy, but nothing in life worthwhile is a walk in the park. I will get that walk in the park crossing the finish line. I’ve learned a lot about running since my first marathon. I’ve learned a lot about what my body can do even after becoming Hypopara. I will do what it takes knowing that I will have not just the support of family and friends, but the Sandy Hook Promise community.
This picture was taken last year during the marathon. I have taken MANY race day photos. I have NEVER taken one like this with the sun shining down on me. I look at this as a sign that I was not alone. So as I run these 26 miles, I know that the saying 26 miles for 26 angels is more than a catch phrase. It is real.
It’s go time.