Since Melissa and I wanted to drive and park instead of taking the shuttle, we left early and got to the race by 7:15. First pit stop with no lines, and then to the staging area which was inside a parking garage shielded from the drizzle and maybe 5 degrees warmer than the outside. We easily found some of our other friends and tried to keep warm. The race started pretty much on time and I was happy to start running because it was quite chilly. The first 2 miles I ran alone until I came up MaryAlicia and a friend.. Ran with them for a while and then found Steve and Michelle from a running Facebook group I belong to, and the kind souls who gave us a ride to Runaway Pumpkin. Got to spend some time with them before picking up the pace.. Then I was solo again for a few miles before I ran into another running group friend, Courtney from Run Mama, Run. We ran together for several miles. Around mile 3 I saw two women running with a sign on their back that read, "running for the 20 children who will never know the joys of running..." or something close to that. The tears filled my eyes and I choked back a sob. I think all of us have been crying or filled with sadness since we learned of the tragedy in Connecticut. As a mother to a kindergartner myself, I keep hugging her and looking at her with the knowledge that there are 40 parents with broken hearts that will never get to do that again. That is unfathomable. Since our family was introduced into this world of birth defects, I have watched too many parents have to say good bye to their precious babies too soon. I hear of usually at least one, sometimes up to six babies lost each week to CDH and that is devastating. I have way too many friends with children that either are currently battling cancer or are survivors. It is scary enough being a parent with the reality that you could lose your child to disease, illness, or an accident. But on a normal day that you sent your child to Elementary School? Maybe fought over their pokeyness getting out the door as I do with mine most mornings. They said good bye, that they loved them... and that was it. That was the last time they saw their child before someone brutally murdered them. Children. Innocents. I don't think anyone right now can wrap their heads around how someone could hurt these innocent children and adults. I know this sets the stage for discussion about gun control, or mental illness care - which both are valid.. but right now I can't get past the sick feeling in my stomach. This tragedy has not been far from my thoughts since it happened and I am thankful for those two runners who ran today in honor of those children, and to the many other runners who are have or are planning 26 mile runs.
**I wasn't sure about keeping that part in... I am sitting here wondering if it is appropriate - but I think it is where most of us are right now.. We are trying to go about our lives - but this horrible tragedy is ever present in our thoughts. Whether you are a parent or not, I think most humans have been profoundly gut wrenched by this unspeakable act.**
So then I tried to breathe again because it was hard breathing between the cold, and the rock of grief for children and adults I have never met, but I found my groove again. I was able to chat with Courtney for a while and we kept the pace between 9:50 and 10:00 min miles. I have a whole new appreciation for the out and back. I love seeing the fast runners came back towards us. I love seeing my speedy friends run past. I love being able to cheer for my friends. Around mile 8 Courtney and I parted. I started slowing down around mile 9.. I looked at my watch and was annoyed to see that what felt like the same pace was 15 seconds slower - so I had to begin the internal conversation. By mile 10, that evil voice in me started telling me it was ok to walk, I wasn't planning a PR today - why did I need to push? But then competitive Liz said, Your knee isn't hurting today- you should be running faster - GO! It took everything in me to keep it between 9:50-10:00 and then once I hit mile 12 I was running on fumes. There was a lot of positive self talk that transpired to get me to that finish line. I finished at 2:10:59. A one min PR and I was able to run the entire race without any knee or hamstring pain. This was a hard run for the last 3-4 miles and I'm not sure if it is was the weather, or fueling issues, or xyz.. (there is always something)... but what I am learning is that it is the finishing these hard ones that gives me the 'fuel' for the next time. I am able to recall pushing through something more difficult as motivation to keep going.
So all in all a great event! There was warm (but burnt) soup awaiting us as we entered the garage. Eggnog, Beer, and several vendors sampling their products. A cover band playing top 40 hits. I even got 2 prizes - a Nuun water bottle for being in a costume, and a pair of socks for answering a trivia question about Foot Traffic correctly. The Oregon Lottery had a fun booth set up for photos... Other than the weather, which they had no control over, I have no complaints about this event. I had so much fun!
So now I take a two week Chiropractor prescribed break. The acupuncture treatments are really improving my high hamstring tendinopathy (I finally figured out the name for my injury!) but I need to make sure my body is even stronger and healed before embarking on training for that 26.2. I'm going to take the next 2 weeks easy and just enjoy precious moments with my beautiful children and my wonderful husband and just be grateful for each moment, each day we have together.
|With the deranged Easter Bunny...|