It’s been a long road (literally and figuratively) and I could not have done this without the help and support of a great many people. So I would like to take a little bit of your time and thank them here.
Firstly, James gets a special thank you for supporting me (and proudly announcing to all of our guests at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast that I was doing this). He has fed me lots of carb loaded dinners, put up with being woken up early when I got up at 5 AM to get my run in before it got too warm, and covered for me at the inn. He has believed in me all the way. I could not have done it without him.
A second BIG thank you goes to our Assistant Innkeeper, Sara, who gave up her Saturday mornings to come in early and cook breakfast so I could fit in my long runs. Since I was often not very motivated toward cooking and working after I got back from a long run, she carried more than her fair share on those days. Again, I could not have done it without her.
Our daughters also need a special thank you.
Emily for coming up with the idea and entering herself, me and her boyfriend, Tom, in the lottery. I never thought we would all get in! She has shared runs, discussed the benefits of different type of Gu (and debated flavors), and been a good buddy all along. And Tom, thank you for one of the best training runs of all. Our trail run through the mud and muck in Vermont the day of my niece’s wedding was memorable. Emily was injured and didn’t join us but you gamely took off with a crazy older woman, leaping over puddles and downed trees. We were lucky we didn’t break our legs!
Sarah, as the one living in Asheville, you got to listen to me talk about training, what was working and what wasn’t working ad infinitum. Thank you for the suggestions and love. It made me happy when I asked you what you would have done differently when you ran the Chicago Marathon and you said “Nothing. It was just wonderful.” Not truly the helpful advice I was looking for but a great affirmation.
And Abby. Thank you for being there on the day and leading our cheering squad. Thank you for picking up sweatshirts. making dinner and jalapeno poppers (yummmm) after the race and all the other fabulous ways you showed your love. And Joe gets a big thank you for surprising himself when he thought he was surprising all of us.
And to all of you who have read this blog, sent me songs and cheered me on from a distance, thank you! (A special mention goes to my friend Paul who discovered running just a few years ago and was right in there with comments and suggestions.)
So how was the race? It was wonderful and awful. It was full of people and all alone. It was cold and hot. It was surreal. 45,000 people running, spread out in a bouncing river of humanity in front and behind me. The amazing thing was we found our family every time we passed them (which was one of the BEST moments of the race each time).
Will I do it again? Probably not. The training is a huge commitment in time and effort and there are other things I want to go on and do. I would definitely consider doing another half however.
Was it worth it? Yes. I do feel proud of myself, not for completing the dubious achievement of running 26 miles but for being in a place at my age where I am able to do so and for actually running across the finish line!
And now it is time to go back to Asheville, NC and the Carolina Bed & Breakfast.