Sunday, February 14, 2016

Donna's Half Marathon

Today was the big race - the marathon and the half-marathon. This is one of my favorite races, because of the course, the support, and the cause. It's a really "feel good" race, even when you might not be feeling so good. The camaraderie and surroundings are just spectacular.

Steve and I always stay at a hotel at the finish, which is at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. It's great because as soon as I eventually finish, I can walk to the room. But in the morning before the race, it also means I have to walk and get on a bus to get to the start. This morning it was a bit chilly, and the group of race participants I was with wandered about a bit before eventually finding the bus. And then we were off to the start - where we all huddled around the heaters that were set up.

Eventually the sun came up, we gathered in our corrals and off we went. This is the first year that we haven't run on the beach, which is kind of a disappointment, but it makes the race organization easier. Once again, as they've been for nearly every year, my sister-in-law Kitty and friend Ray were on the course. They waited in the cold for me to (eventually) come along, and it's always such a lift to see them and get a hug! She has on her pink and her 3-Day hat - she's such a good supporter!  Of course, I have on two shirts and pants under my skirt ...

Eventually I made it through 9 miles and started on the final 3, which are the worst three because they are always on slow inclines (up an on ramp then up some small inclines, then up and up and up a big bridge). Speaking of the big bridge, it's the last mile of the race. As you are going up the bridge, the race team has groups to cheer you up the bridge. They also have these signs to inspire you, signs that all the participants signed during the expo and package pick up. There are several of these to be signed, and they're all on the bridge, urging you to get those few more steps in.

I signed one for Marilyn during the expo, which happens to be the one above - can you see where? Here's a hint - it's under the first leg of the "N".

Eventually I made it to the finish line and got my medal. It wasn't my best race of the year - it was a little windy and I was just slow. But it was one of my best, because of all the lives that I think about as I do this race each year. And each year, I hope that research that this race funds will lead to a cure for breast cancer. And it's that thought that brings me back every year - the thought that one day, this race could no longer be needed.

Thankful today for: beautiful race day; Kitty and Ray along the course; Steve at the finish; fellow racers and their encouraging words; supporters along the course; lunch with Steve at Zaxby's; safe, fast, smooth plane ride home

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

I SAW MY NAME! You are such a good and faithful sister- I love you! <3 <3