Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
1. It was hot. And humid. And I don't like to move, period, in hot and humid.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Today I wogged the half marathon of The National Marathon To Finish Breast Cancer where 100% of the proceeds from this race go toward breast cancer research and care. It’s a great event for several reasons - the time limit is great (7 hours for the marathon AND half-marathon), the expo is very ladies-oriented, the fans along the route are super supportive, part of the course is run on the beach, and the general atmosphere of the race is very positive – nobody is jockeying for position or grumbling because the walkers are in their way. In fact, everyone is encouraging and looking after each other. People are wearing tags (available free at the expo) on which they write names of people they are running for. There are breast cancer survivors running, and many along the course cheering us on. It’s just a great event.
On Friday, I posted on facebook that if anyone wanted to volunteer a name, I would be honored to walk in that person’s honor or memory. I got several replies and listed the names on my tag. Some had won their battles with breast cancer, some were in the middle of their battle, and some had lost their battle. The names came from friends all over the country. Most of the names I didn’t know and had never met. But they all shared one thing – somebody loved them enough to share their names with me.
When I got ready to pin my race bib and honor tag onto my shirt in preparation for today’s race, I noticed something. I had 13 names – the exact number of miles that I would be wogging (walking/jogging) today. Was it an accident? I don’t think so. I think it was God’s way of helping me finish this race, since He and I both knew I had not trained for this event.
One of the things you can do in this race is to have a relay team where each team member does a part of the marathon. I now had 13 team members, and I decided that each one would wog a mile with me. Here’s how it went with my imaginary-but-real running partners:
Mile 1 – Michelle was first on the list, so she was going to start the race with me. She is my friend Monica’s sister. Monica is a great person and a lot of fun, so I imagined that Michelle would tell me some funny stories about Monica (which I would have to make up). But instead, Michelle kept her sisterly bond and stayed quiet. The first mile starts with an uphill trek up a big bridge. Michelle and I trudged up that bridge. We looked at the water and the helicopters and talked about how pretty it all was. Soon we had crested the bridge and were headed down. Before we knew it, the first mile marker appeared. We jogged to it, and Michelle dropped off.
Mile 2 – Shirley joined me next. She’s Mari’s mom, and again I was hoping for some good (made-up) stories. But no again, so we talked about Starkville and Mari and Karen and their families and the days of the Band of the Blue and the Gray. We talked about runners passing us and all those timer beeps going off for the runners using Jeff Galloway Training system. We got a drink of water and started jogging toward the next mile marker.
Mile 3 – Leslie Lee picked up the next mile. Since we never met, we just talked about being Mari’s cousin and what that was like. We looked at all the pink in the crowd and the supporters. We didn’t talk much, except when I suggested we jog (and when to walk). It didn’t seem to take long until we had arrived at the next mile.
Mile 4 – Beulah joined me next. Beulah was the only one that I imagined what she was wearing. She had on black running shorts and a pink singlet (she said to get over it, Emily). We walked a bit, and she seemed a little concerned about our pacing, and that we might be last. I assured her that once we got to the off ramp on Butler Boulevard, we would jog down it, and when we passed under the bridge, she would see all those still behind us – and I mean ALL of them. We did both, and she was quite relieved. We also got to see the lead half-marathon runner pass us on his way BACK to the finish – in other words, we had almost done 4 miles with 9 to go, and he had done 9 with 4 to go. Beulah was amazed. We made it to the next mile marker before we knew it.
Mile 5 – Marian was waiting and waited as I stopped to give my sister-in-law Kitty a hug. Kitty (and her four layers of clothes) and Ray had waited in the cold for me to come by. Marian and I turned and started through the beach neighborhood. A couple of times people would yell out, “Go Luanne!” Marian asked me if I knew these people. When I told her my name was on my race bib, she wasn’t so impressed. She was impressed with the people in their yards with their dogs, cheering us on. When we saw the next mile marker, we jogged toward it.
Mile 6 – Edith was going to get a good mile, because part of it would be on the beach. On the way there, we set goals – jog to that palm tree, then walk. Before we knew it, we were headed out to the beach. The waves were lapping, the sun was shining, and it was beautiful. We would pick someone ahead to catch up with, and do it. We looked at the banners on the beach with all the hopes, wishes, and messages of everyone participating in the race. Ahead, we saw the next mile markers, and sprinted (sort of) to it.
Mile 7 – Emily got an important mile, because not only was it still on the beach, but when her mile was done, I would be over half-way finished. The point was to get to that next mile marker. Emily was all bubbly and cheery and smiley as we talked about renewed old friendships and how a breast cancer walk had helped us reconnect. We got to the point where the half-marathoners left the beach and the full marathoners kept going. Emily was disappointed that the others got to continue on the beach, but when I pointed out that they had 19 more miles to go instead of 6, she seemed okay with it. We headed off the beach and soon were jogging toward the next mile marker.
Mile 8 – Eva got a good mile because at the end of her mile, I would only have a handful of miles left. At first I couldn’t remember Eva’s connection (until later when I remembered she is Sarah’s sister). We were back on the beach neighborhood streets, with lots of cheering sections. We saw the drummer on the roof of the hotel and we saw the full marathon leaders breeze past. I told her we needed to jog a bit so I could loosen up a bit, and she went along. We turned the curve just in time to see the next mile marker, and jogged toward it.
Mile 9 –Kathryn joined me next, although a bit unsure of what she was doing. Since she is a bit older, we decided to walk a bit more (nothing to do with my jelly legs or anything). We looked around at the other runners/joggers/walkers. Sometimes we’d pick a person to try to catch, only to discard her and choose another when our first choice started running. We were a little slower, but we kept at it, and soon there we were – at the next mile marker.
Mile 10 – Being a nurse, Susan thought perhaps we should stop and she should check my vitals. I assured her that if we stopped, there would probably be no restarting. Besides, we had to get up the ramp that Beulah and I had so easily jogged down. So Susan and I wogged as the elite marathoners raced past us, and we got up that ramp. Once we were back on the bridge, I pointed out that there were still bunches of people behind us. We looked ahead, and there it was – the next mile marker.
Mile 11 – My Aunt Laura was waiting. I didn’t have to imagine her outfit. She was wearing the same sweats that she wore in the 5K we did for Maribeth’s pre-wedding race. I knew she probably needed to walk more, too, so we did. We set our sights on the man in black who was ahead of us. We’d catch him, then he’d jog off, then we’d catch him again. Playing chase helped, because soon we were at the next mile marker, probably the hardest of the course.
Mile 12 – Faynetta got a tough mile. Not only was it close to the end of the race, but it was uphill on that high bridge that started the race. When we started, we could see the mile marker way off in the distance. I assured Faynetta that we would get there, even if it took us an hour (it didn't). We were well ahead of that 7-hour time limit, and we were going to make it. First we set our eyes on that highway sign, then the yellow truck, and then the start of the bridge. By then we could actually see the mile marker, mileage and all. Since we were going uphill, I told Faynetta that there would be no jogging – we were just going to get there - and we did!
Mile 13 – Nancy got the bad news/good news mile. The bad news was that we were still going uphill. The good news was that once we got to the top, we could jog downhill, around the corner, and the finish would be waiting for us. So we made it up and up and up, until we could see it heading downward. We broke into a slow jog to make up time, and soon were turning the corner. The finish line was in our sights, and we aimed straight for it.
Mile 13.1 – At the last tenth-mile, all my ladies were waiting. We all joined together and jogged that last little bit. As we crossed the finish line, we raised our hands high, because we had finished the race together. But most importantly, we knew that in some way we were also helping to finish breast cancer, too. Thank you ladies, for helping me keep going and finish, and for your courage and fight. You are my inspiration!