I believe I have mentioned on here once or twice that I was training for a half marathon. It was a positive goal to focus on while I’m “not allowed” to get knocked up again, and it was a great motivator to get me back into pre-baby shape. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, my sister and I ran the Seattle Half Marathon, the culmination of all that training and hard work.
It was the worst I have ever felt running.
I’ve run a full marathon, a HARD one, and at no point while running those 26.2 miles did I feel as horrible as I felt at about mile 10 of the Seattle Half Marathon.
I trained pretty diligently for this race. I actually think I followed the half marathon training plan (good ol’ Hal Higdon) better than I followed my marathon training plan. I’ve had the time to do my mid-week runs, 5-milers became routine, and I was feeling pretty good about my race pace (my goal was to finish in 2:25, which averages out to 11-minute miles).
But for whatever reason, on November 25th, at mile 10, I hit the wall so hard I honestly didn’t think I could finish the race. I would have cried, but I’m pretty sure I had sweat out all my excess fluid. I felt panicky and my legs ached. Worst of all, my mental fortitude, your best and most important asset come race day, just went out the window. I took a walking break, and my brain could not convince my legs to start running again.
Thank God for my sister.
She ran the race with me, stayed with me the whole time, and occasionally barked at the spectators, “Can I get a shout out for team Hudson’s Heroes?”
She could tell I was fading, that I didn’t have much left in the tank. And when I hit that wall, she starting asking me what I needed.
“Want some funny motivation? Or maybe something a little more sappy?”
I didn’t know what I needed. I didn’t even really have the energy to answer.
So she started out with funny motivation, recounting tales of running-bathroom-near-disasters. One of my secondary goals for the half marathon was not to poop my pants, so realizing that I was probably going to accomplish at least one of my goals that day helped me pick up my feet and start running again.
My sister moved on to something a little more sappy – telling me how proud she was of me, how impressive it was to even be doing a half marathon so soon after having major surgery and going through the life shattering loss of Hudson. She talked about how much she wished Hudson were waiting with the rest of my family for us at the finish line, how much easier it would be to fuel these last miles if I had gooey baby kisses to look forward to. She told me that what I was feeling during these last miles of the race was nothing – I’ve been through much, much worse and I came out stronger, I pushed through.
She got us a few more Hudson’s Heroes shout-outs from spectators. She helped me break down those last miles into manageable chunks, and when we got into the finishing chute, surrounded by cheering fans (the race finishes in Memorial Stadium), she saw the clock time and told me we were going to make it in under my goal.
It is a lot easier to sprint when you realize that you are so close, that you don’t have that much further to go, when you can see the clock and you can see the finish line and there are thousands of people wishing you well as you grind out those last steps.
And that’s what I did. I started to sprint when I realized how close we were, shaving seconds off, so close to that blissful feeling of accomplishment and a huge, carb-tastic lunch. My sister leaped across the finish line with me, we got our finisher’s medals, and then we spent a good amount of time intermittently stretching and hugging.
My goal was to finish in 2:25. Our chip time was 2:24:22. It was, as my sister put it (on Facebook, of course), a “Hudson’s Heroes Triumph.”
Christmas might be my “Mile 10 Wall”. Soon, we’ll have the all-clear to start trying for Baby Dub Dos, my imagined “Finish Line” (even though I have a lifetime to face without my girl, and there is no finish line for dealing with loss). If I do hit a wall though, and lose my mental fortitude, I know that my sister (among many others) will be there to help me pick up my feet and power through.
Maybe it will require some funny motivation (delivering a baby, much like running a marathon, is fraught with risk of pooping oneself), and probably it will require some sappy motivation (because who doesn’t like to be reminded that you’re stronger than you think you are?).
I’ve been so encouraged by comments on this blog, Facebook messages and more from people who are looking forward to meeting Baby Dub Dos almost as much as the Hubs and I are. So much positive energy is directed at me and my reproductive bits that I really don’t think we’ll have much longer to wait (we might even finish in under our “goal time”!). And I know that when I start to near the finish line, there will likely be thousands of spectators rooting for us, giving us “team Hudson’s Heroes” shout outs, and encouraging me to sprint the last few steps.
Yes, I will sprint to that scheduled C-Section!
And when Baby Dub Dos arrives, Team Hudson’s Heroes will have another co-captain, and I’ll gladly trade my Half Marathon registrations for 5K walks (pushing a stroller!).
And I’m WAY cool with that.