Well it’s that time of year again — to review what’s happened in the past year and set goals and resolutions for the new-year. This past year I finally met one of my longtime goals; I completed a marathon in Milwaukee, WI. As I’ve found with other big life events, this marathon came with the sensory memory of a song, “Shut Up and Dance”.
It took 5 years of running and 5 half marathons before the thought of completing my first marathon began to percolate. By 2013, I was mentally ready for the marathon, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be as injury derailed my plan. After working hard the next 2 years, to get stronger and a more efficient running form, 2015 would be the year of my marathon.
I started the racing year off last February by leaving the dark, cold, winter of Chicago to race under the bright, sunny skies of 70 degrees at the Gasparilla half marathon in Tampa, FL, where my daughter goes to school and a fabulous medal in the shape of a large pirate head, great Columbian food, and my daughter, my mother, and my mother in law waiting for me at the finish line.
In the beginning of May, I ran the Capital City half marathon in Columbus, Ohio, with my friend Sheryl pacing me to a PR (personal record) of 2 hours and 21 min. The joy of PR’ing was unfortunately marred with mild heel pain/plantar fasciitis.
I took the next 3 weeks off from training and then hired Coach Jamie Dodge of Runners Connect to get me safely to the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon on October 4. For the next 6 weeks Coach Jamie’s plan guided me through challenging cross training workouts which included elliptical, swimming, aquajogging, and biking until I was ready to begin a run/walk program in early July. In addition, I persevered through personal setbacks as well, including my husband losing his job, preparing my son to go off to college leaving my husband and I empty nesters, and developing a non-life threatening allergic condition requiring multiple medications (I haven’t taken medications for the past 15 years).
The morning of the Milwaukee marathon began in the dark at 5:30 am. We caught a shuttle bus in downtown Milwaukee that took us 26+ miles north to Grafton high school where we got to hang out inside until 5 min before the start time of 7:30 am. At 7:30 am, my friend Sheryl and her 2 daughters, along with 3500 other people and I began the marathon in perfect race conditions of overcast skies and 52 degrees, which remained constant throughout the race. I adopted an 11 minute run (approximately 1 mile) to a 3 minute walk pace and looked forward to meeting my family at mile 14 and my close friends at mile 19 who all came to cheer me on.
Since this was a small race we had limited entertainment, except at mile 8 where a college band played, “Shut up and Dance”, a song that I intended to download prior to the race but had forgotten. The song made me smile and dance a little as I realized I’m finally running a marathon and would complete it.
The highlight of my race was when my son, Drew, jumped in and ran with me at mile 14, mile 17, and miles 21-25.5 running at my pace, much slower than his usual 6 min pace. He showed up with his smiling face, abundant joy, music “Shut up and Dance” blaring from his phone, salted watermelon and lots of encouragement to keep me going as I completed the race in 5 hours 24 minutes.
Now when people ask me, “how did it go”, I say, “IT WAS SO MUCH FUN”. The whole experience of running with thousands of other people with the same goal of finishing a marathon, being encouraged along the way by spectators and other runners, encouraging other runners to keep persevering and then upon finishing, sharing our experiences while recouping with food and drink, brings people together in a shared sense of commitment, a feeling that even if only momentarily as I reveled in my own accomplishment, the world was an OK place.
Completing and training for a marathon takes commitment, discipline, patience, perseverance, sacrifice, dedication and lots of preparation, both mental and physical. It takes support and understanding from family and friends. It takes a community of runners and coaching from experts. I realized that by applying these principles to completing my marathon goal, the journey towards the marathon and the marathon itself became pleasurable and manageable despite the numerous obstacles I had to overcome. These principles can be used to meet any goal I choose to meet in the future. I know not everyone can or wants to run a marathon, but with commitment to these principles you too can achieve your goals with ease and joy.
In this coming year of 2016, my wish for you:
- to find the commitment and dedication you need to have a healthy year!
- to have the patience and perseverance to get through the journey to a long awaited goal!
- to have the love and support of your family, friends and community!
- to find the right teachers, coaches, mentors to guide you through the coming year!
- to, “Shut Up and Dance” in order to make your dreams and goals a reality!
My goal this year is to provide physical therapy to as many patients as I can, provide physical therapy education to the community, and in April run the Illinois half marathon in Champaign, IL. As for the marathon, I’m not sure if I will run one this fall but definitely have a future ultimate marathon goal, The Big Sur Marathon which runs on Pacific Coast Hwy in beautiful Big Sur.
For your inspiration: