“If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings.”
I have raised three daughters. I am so proud of all three of them, but this weekend, I was especially proud of my middle daughter, Katherine. Growing up, Katherine played the usual sports: softball, volleyball, and soccer, but in high school, she injured her ankle and was unable to do sports. I never expected that she would be the first daughter to run a half-marathon. I talked to her about her experience and asked her to write about it. So, today, my guest blogger is my amazing daughter Katherine.
I knew I wanted to try to run something more significant than a 10K (6.2 miles), but needed something that would motivate me to really do it and not give up. My friends had done Team in Training, and I knew someone who worked there, and they said it was a great program, so I joined.
My entire journey with TNT was met with numerous obstacles when trying to find time to train and raise the money: vacation, new puppy, shorter days, rainy weather, iron deficiency….
My best run was definitely the 8 mile run with Dad over Christmas. We ran around town, and he told me stories the entire time, distracting me from the monotonous motion of continuous movement. He kept me talking, reassuring me that if I could talk, I could run a few more miles. This was the longest I’d ever run continuously.
The weather was horrible the two weeks leading up to the race. The Saturday before the race, however, was a beautiful day- sunny and low 70′s. I got out and ran 10 miles, stopping for water every 2 miles or so. It wasn’t a continuous run, and it wasn’t a very fast one, so I was still a bit discouraged.
I went into race weekend knowing that I hadn’t been as dedicated as I’d liked to have been, but I knew I had trained as much as I could with life going on and that I raised past my goal for LLS. I was excited but very nervous, not knowing how much I would be able to run on Sunday morning. LLS does an Inspiration Pasta Dinner the night before the race where we all get together, carbo-load and reconnect with the mission of TNT. The main speaker of the night, Jay, got up to speak about his connection to LLS and Team in Training. He was going to run the half-marathon the next day as well. He began speaking and a slideshow came up, showing images of a young red-headed girl. He spoke about his daughter Kayla, who was diagnosed with ALM Leukemia at 17 years old. He talked about her aggressive chemo treatments, her pain, her hair loss and his shaving his head for her. During her second round of chemo, she was feeling much better. Everyone in the room who did not know Jay thought this would be a story of healing. However, Jay then revealed that Kayla lost her battle with cancer in September of 2010. He has been running with Team in Training since, raising over $9000 in 2.5 years for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There was not a dry eye in the room, and he received a standing ovation.
I woke up Sunday morning with shaking hands and put my running clothes on. I told myself that I just needed to pass the finish line. I hoped to maintain my training pace, 11:07, and finish between 2.5 and 2.75 hours. I had to run for over 2.5 hours straight!! The day was beautiful (but cold) and the energy was insane. Through the first 2 miles I was emotional, realizing how beautiful this day was and how lucky I was to be running this race, on this day, for this cause. Mile 3 and 4 were tough to get through, knowing I had so much more running to do. Once I got to miles 7, 8, and 9, I felt unstoppable. I was killing my pace and didn’t feel like I was dying. Once I got around mile 10, I was loosing steam. I approached a water station and grabbed a cup, stopping to drink it because I can’t drink and run. I didn’t know if I could make the next 3.1 miles running. Then I saw Jay. He ran past me with Kayla’s name across his shirt and photos of her on a poster hanging from his back. This was just the inspiration I needed, and I kept going. I finished with an average pace of 10:56 per mile and a time of 2 hours and 26 minutes. Absolutely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.