Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Marathon by the Numbers

26.2 - Number of miles that constitute a marathon.

644 - Miles I have logged since February.
3 - Weeks spent biking and swimming to rehab a bum knee smack in the middle of the training calendar.
3 - Pairs of running shoes that I went through all during training and racing.
5 - The time of morning that I would have to get up and go run for way too many times to count.
20 - Perhaps the amount of pounds that I lost? We don't have a scale so I can only speculate.
45,000 - Number of participants that signed up for the Chicago Marathon.
50 - Approximately how many paper cups I threw to the ground after gulping precious, precious piss warm Gatorade and water.
80 - The temperature mark that the heat soared above for most of the race day.
11 - My mile split time for the first 13 miles.
13 - The split time that I slid down to after the sun really started to fry.
5.55.45 - Hours it took to finish that damn race. If I ever do this again, I'm pretty certain I could shave and hour or more off of my time. The heat really did nobody any favors that day.
47 - Times I really wanted to quit, but couldn't let myself do it.
13 - Number of eighty-year-old-something grandmothers that passed me. No not really, but I'm sure some could have.
4800 - Dollars raised to go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation to fight Cancer.

9 - Months it has taken me to train, fundraise and complete a marathon.

I don't think it is a stretch to make the comparison of 9 months of marathon training to that of a pregnancy. I'm pretty sure I would know. The experiences of both have had a lot of similarities. In the beginning you jump into the commitment full steam ahead and at first it doesn't seem too hard. As time progresses you get used to the inconvenient changes you have to make and you fall into somewhat of a routine. All the while you try to imagine what the big day is going to be like. It's an event that you can read about all you want, but until you experience it for yourself you can never really understand. Finally, once you tough it out through the final event you are left totally spent and exhausted with an overwhelming whoosh of accomplishment.

I'm so grateful that I decided to take on running this marathon in honor of Herb, Patti and others. It has been spiritually uplifting to set me and my own wants aside and to do something selfless. It felt so good to be on those Chicago streets in my bright yellow Livestrong shirt, showing everyone that I was out there for a reason. It was an honor to wear the names of people that deserved to be remembered and I was more than happy to lend my feet to the cause. Because really, what was one day of me dragging me behind across a finish line compared to those who have had to fight cancer from a hospital bed for months, maybe years? Not much at all and so very worth it.

Nine months later and one marathon completed, I think that perhaps there was a birth. A rebirth of me. I like to believe that with all of these months dedicated to one cause and a few precious people, my sense of compassion has been reignited. It is easy to get caught up in our own lives, and in today's world dealing with our own survival is sometimes more than enough. Financially there is not much I can do to help with many charitable causes, but one thing I can offer is my time. I am finding that in a lot of ways, our presence and time can mean a whole lot more than the dollar, and that is one of the many lessons I hope to carry with me now that I have crossed that finish line.

1 - Marathon ran for charity? Priceless.

Holy Crap, I Finished

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

And she ends it with a smile! Love ya!! Dad and Jo

Momouk said...

We are so proud of you - for taking on the challenge of raising money, training and for finishing the race! So, now that you're all fit and trained...what next? Love ya' - Mom and John

Ambrewskins said...

Probably an even bigger and more monumental challenge...

Getting us freaking hitched already!