16 short years ago I bought my college girlfriend a pair of shoes for her first #Marathon (Grandmas!) … she didn’t make it to the start due to injury. Since then we’ve married, had three babies, and changed our life more than we’ve kept it the same. These 16 short years she’s gone back and forth with running / training and always supported me & crewed me 10+ races for every race she enters.
Lately, she’s wanted to get back to Grandma’s Marathon – Duluth, Inc. … signed up for 2020 and put in a lot of training, but you know – #Pandemic. Wasn’t feeling the virtual thing and eventually regrouped for WhistleStop Marathon 2021 … today it happened! Choo Choo!!!
This was her kind of race – off the beaten path & in the North woods and she did NOT treat it like her first rodeo. Long story short, she stuck her nose in it through halfway before heat and cramping hit earlier than everybody wanted. I’m not going to lie, she looked bad at 16mi and worse at 20mi. I felt similar to the three times I’ve seen this woman push out our babies – helping with the small things but in the end quite helpless as she rode the struggle bus (hopped aboard the trouble train ) into the pain cave. She wanted to walk but didn’t around 23mi and she just kept running putting one foot in front of the other to finally cross that marathon finish line 16 years in the making. 3:17 for fading to 4th among the heat and gravel. I wasn’t expecting such emotion today as it all unfolded, but I found myself at yet another finish line incredibly moved by the human spirit. Quotes of the day … “that was definitely my 100%. That was definitely harder than I thought. I didn’t have anything left and I didn’t give up.”
I also found myself among her puking in the parking lot as folks just …. stared We laughed, cried, and joked on the drive home “Why do we do this? Why would anybody want to get out there again?” I can’t answer that well sometimes, but (especially in the case of childbirth) the pain is certainly worth the people and I think sometimes it takes the pain to see and enjoy the full person. I also know we sometimes just forget how much it sucks
She’s not one to post pics of herself, so here’s a few I took on this very very very proud day I had with my darling. (I have a dozen more of her trying to walk post race, but only included my favorite one).