I’m not athletic. I know, that statement isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s known me in the last 30 years. 10 year old softball Dana would probably be pretty disappointed at this discovery, but 45 year old me is OK with it. Why does it matter that I’m not an athlete? Because this post is about putting a bow on finishing my 3rd half marathon. Like a lot of people I have an image in my head of someone who does long distance races, and I’ve never looked like that person. I do it anyway.
After this year’s race we made a list of the highlights from our experience. The first one wasn’t actually on that list, which is one of the coolest things about me writing it down – my Type 1 was a non-factor. This is the first race we’ve done since I got my CGM, so we had no need to worry about stopping to check my sugar. The end result of that is that neither of us really thought about me. Every now and then I’d look at my watch to check my digit and that was all. I wasn’t high, so I didn’t need insulin. I wasn’t low, so I was safe. The focus was on the race, on getting through 13.1, and on our shared achievement. That’s exactly how it should be.
The race itself was an adventure and another unique experience. We saw a woman running barefoot right from the start, and firefighters running in full gear. We interacted with more walkers than we’ve ever seen before, and shared an experience with several of them when a total psycho thought he could ignore barrels and cones to drive down the course that we were all racing on. Three times. We had several full marathon runners near the end of the race come up behind us and shout encouragement…when they’d already run about 25 miles in the time we went 12. As we have every year, we found the fans in Tremont handing out little cups of beers to the racers. 5 miles was a long time to wait for that sample! We got an incredible laugh at a fan wearing only a royal blue Speedo and a smile while he lifted a sign that said “Shut Up, Legs” somewhere in the 10-11 mile area. We found a water stop volunteer with a pitcher who refilled my friend’s backpack with water, a helping hand without which we wouldn’t have made it to the end. We went past a random fan offering up a bowl full of ice cubes to cool us off as we went by, and another volunteer offering to hose people down. And we enjoyed the most supportive crowds of the 3 years we’ve done this race. Cleveland came out in force for the 40th annual marathon, and that helped us too.
We finished in pouring rain, and very few drinks have tasted as good as the free beer we collected at the end and drank huddled under a mostly useless tree. This is hard, and we haven’t had a race that didn’t present its own list of challenges. We didn’t hit our time goal, finishing 4 minutes behind last year’s pace. But we finished, and there were a few times that we both doubted whether we’d make it that far. We’re not athletes, but we finished and we finished strong. Next year we’ll still be aiming to finish in less than 3:30, and I wouldn’t bet against us.