It's official! Training for the marathon is over. The next time I run, it will be on race day. It all went by so fast, but at the same time, it feels like it took forever to get here.
It was on race day last year that I registered for the Richmond Marathon. I was 28 weeks pregnant, had just finished the 8K and knew that if I didn't commit in that very instant, I might not commit at all.
So, there it was. 365 days away. 26.2 miles that would one day help to define me. Part of me wished that I could race right then. And part of me wished that maybe they would just call off the event all together. But they didn't call it off, and here I am three days away feeling really ready for what's ahead. G and I were told this week to "run 20 and race 6.2." I think it's a great plan. And as I sit here writing my race dedication post, I keep that thought in mind. So, here it goes ...
Mile 1: This mile is dedicated to my Dad. In some crazy way, I hold him responsible for my running obsession. I often think back to why I began to run, and every time I do, I am left with the same answer. To be as healthy as I can, so I am there to see my children grow. My dad's early passing pushes me to do everything in my power to ensure that I have decades left on this planet. And for that, Dad, I thank you. I know you will watch over me every step of the way.
Mile 2: This mile is dedicated to my loving husband. Without his support, love and willingness to stay with the kids while I logged endless miles, I would never have been able to do this. And although he thinks I'm crazy for doing a second marathon after swore up and down that I never would, he backed me up 100%. Thank you for that J, but seriously, this really is my last marathon. Make sure I don't change my mind!
Mile 3: This mile is dedicated to my Mom. She has always been my number one supporter. I truly believe that she believes I could win this race if I wanted to (trust me, that could NEVER happen). She is my cheerleader, always screaming for me whether I am on a three mile training run or crossing the finish line of the biggest race in my life.
Mile 4: This mile is dedicated to Dizzle, my future runner. She has the longest attention span of anyone I know. If you give her a task, she will work on it until it's perfect. I hope that I can be just as focused during the race. I know if I am there is no way I'll fail. Plus, she truly understands that looking good when you run is just as important and running well. And trust me, if nothing else, I am going to look good.
Mile 5: This mile is dedicated to Doodle. She is by far the most stubborn (or is that driven) person I know. I want to channel her drive in those moments that I can't go on (hopefully, I can do it minus the temper tantrum), because I know her strength will get me through.
Mile 6: This mile is dedicated to Dilly. She is a large part of why I am racing in the first place. Running through her pregnancy and then those early sleepless months, showed me I can do anything. She made me a mom of three and her addition to our family has pushed me to prove how much I can handle on a daily basis. This marathon is just another test. A test I will pass. And the thought of her cherub face will help me smile when I want to cry.
Mile 7: This mile is dedicated to Angie Pants. She always supports me, even if she can't understand why I would want to run even one mile, let alone 26. I owe her for all the babysitting she provided, so that I could run without my children. I'm not sure she understands how huge that was for me and my sanity.
Mile 8: This mile is dedicated to Beans. Like Angie Pants, she can't understand why I am doing this, but she has never questioned it either. I know that even if I had to crawl across that finish line, she would be cheering for me (and waiting with a cupcake). And I am thankful for that.
Mile 9: This mile is dedicated to my Garmin. Yes, I am dedicating a mile to my watch. It has been my training partner through good runs and bad. And oddly, I am lost without it. It has a way of pushing me and keeping me in line all at the same time. And I wouldn't race without it.
Mile 10: This mile is dedicated to my Running Skirts. Sure, I might have a mild obsession, but there has never been a better piece of running clothing designed. It highlights my a** in all the right places and I NEVER race without one.
Mile 11: This mile is dedicated to my sneakers - Gel Cumulus 10. Talk about an awesome shoe. With them I have logged hundreds of miles and thankfully stayed injury free (OK, don't mention the ankle - that's a mileage thing, not a shoe thing). Here's to them staying strong and getting me through the next 26.2.
Mile 12: This mile is dedicated to all those cupcakes I have eaten. Or maybe it should be dedicated to the women who own the shop where I get all those cupcakes. Either way, those delicious things have been my reward for nearly every long run. In some ways, they have made all of this training worth it, because really, is there anything better than eating something so decadent without guilt?
Mile 13: This mile is dedicated to Tall Mom on the Run. Yes, I know it may seem strange that I am dedicating a mile to someone I've never met in person, but in some ways she has shaped my marathon experience. Her marathon recap gave me the outline for how I wanted to prepare for this race and for what I expected to get out of it. Not to mention, it really helped me convince G that running with the 4:30 pace team is the best place for us. Add to that, the fact that her giveaway is why I am sporting my sweet necklace and you can see that I need to thank her.
Mile 14: This mile is dedicated to Fay. Not only has she joined us on nearly every long run of this training, but has become one of my best friends. She always manages to make me smile and I LOVE running with her. I just wish G and I had been able to convince her to join us.
Mile 15: This mile is dedicated to Rachel. She has supported me through this training and will be screaming for me at every Party Zone on race day. I owe her huge. And one day, when she rocks out an Ironman, I hope I can do the same for her.
Mile 16: This mile is dedicated to McNelis. If she hadn't run her marathon last fall (and let me tag along for so much of that training) I might not be running this weekend. Seeing her accomplish such an amazing feat, made me SUPER jealous that I didn't get to do it too. So thank you for inadvertently pushing me to do this (that goes for you too, Rachel).
Mile 17: This mile is dedicated to Emily, the only Kenyan I know. She helped me get through some seriously hot summer runs. And she always pushes me to run faster (even if it is only to keep up with her). She was a huge part of my last marathon and I can't wait for her to join me for a few miles on this one.
Mile 18: This mile is dedicated to Jack (or is that Jackie P.) An honorary skirt in my book, he brought a new energy to those super long training runs. He never failed to provide humor and that was HUGE. I hope we get the chance to run with him on race day, (even if only for a mile).
Mile 19: This mile is dedicated to the rest of the Run Like A Mother team. I have missed running with you all these past few months and can't wait for you to come back. Thanks for supporting me from the sidelines.
Mile 20: This mile is dedicated to G. She was 100% with me this entire training. We've run over 600 miles in the past 24 weeks (most of them together). We've seen each other at our worst and our best and if this training didn't make us best friends then nothing ever will. I am honored to be such a big part of her marathon experience and am forever thankful that she is such a big part of mine.
The last 6.2 miles are dedicated to me. They are my miles to prove to myself that I am stronger than anything the marathon can throw at me. The first 2o miles I run with others in mind. The last 6.2 are for me to race for me and me alone.