We did it! On Sunday, June 9th, I completed the Steamboat Springs 1/2 Marathon in 3 hours and 51 minutes. Around the same time, my fundraising total for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hit $2,761 -- 110% of my original $2,500 goal.
I can't begin to express my gratitude for your support as I worked to accomplish this huge (and somewhat uncharacteristic) goal. There is no question that your help and encouragement got me to the finish line. And I have to tell you -- I was not the fastest, sleekest, or most accomplished athlete in the event, but I was definitely the most enthusiastic and cheerful! I knew I already had won, even before they fired the starting gun. You see, thanks to you and many other generous folks, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Team In Training raised more that $110,000 dollars for the Spring season. That means lives were saved, research was funded, families and friends were assisted - even before I took my first step.
The race itself was surprisingly fun. We had a pep talk in the hotel lobby, then got on a bus and rode to the starting line before dawn. Everyone on the bus kept remarking about how long it was taking to get there, as we all slowly realized how very, very far we were going to walk or run. Aside from an absurd number of porta-potties, the starting line was fairly non-descript, and the air was cold until the sun came up. There was a one-hour delay due to some transportation issues, but as soon as we got underway I became aware of just how beautiful the scenery was. Being a (slow) walker, I had the road essentially to myself, and I was able to enjoy the sound of a distant river, at least three different kinds of songbirds, the reassuring crunch of gravel as I toodled down the road, and the sight of gamboling calves running circles around their more sedate dams. The locals were fabulous, setting up cheering stations along the way and offering just as much enthusiasm to me as they had the speedsters at the head of the pack. One pair of water-hander-outers were about six years old, and I had to turn them around as they ran up the course behind me, away from their grown-ups. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and I had a spring in my step for quite a ways after I left them behind.
I made good time, even running a few sections, and despite the heat (an uncharacteristic 90 degrees under cloudless skies and relentless sun) felt good for most of the race. I was able to cheer on other Team In Training folks as the full-marathoners began passing me, and I did my best to offer encouragement to all the runners who were faltering. Karma came full circle around mile 11, when I hit my own personal wall and the cheer stations boosted me. That and a little Lady GaGa and other hard-rocking tunes on the iPod. I have to say, mile 12 was pretty much the hardest mile I've ever walked.
When I finally reached town, I was delighted to see my mom and dad, who gave up their day to come cheer me on and brought me to tears with their proud smiles. Finally, I crossed the finish line, received my medal, and got a great hug from Anita, who had sucessfully completed her 10K hours earlier. After some stretching and cold water, we all celebrated with fried pickles and sandwiches at a nearby restaurant (don't knock the pickles -- I've never tasted such salty fried deliciousness in my life!) and Anita and I headed back to the hotel for a much needed nap. When I woke I was pleased to find that I was only mildly sore, and filled with a sense of accomplishment and pride I seldom reach.
pictures are available on Flickr at:
So, we did it, and we did it well. Thank you.
Who's up for a full marathon?