I’m so excited about todays post!!!! I want you to meet Christie. A dear friend and fellow baseball mom for the past 5 years. Her hubby has coached Jake’s baseball team since these boys started playing. And we heart them. They have poured into our kids and our family so faithfully and consistently and they will be forever friends. Christie works full time as an Area Learning Director at Lancome. She is an amazing wife, mom, career woman and friend. I know her story will touch you and be something so many of you can relate to. That’s been the spirit of this marathon series. To show you that very ordinary people can do extraordinary things. The every day runner who does this for the sheer love of the sport can tackle a marathon. Because anything is possible.
About 13 years ago my husband and I were DINK’s (double income, no kids) and had just moved to St. Louis. Having just relocated, I had no friends, so I started running, not much, just a bit here and there. After a few months my husband treated me to a “real” pair of running shoes (you know the kind you DON’T buy at TJ Maxx). The guy at the running store asked how much running I did and I replied, “Until I can’t breathe anymore, so about 2 miles”. He invited me to join their running club, which met every Saturday at 7 a.m. They ran a 10 mile out and back, “but you can turn around whenever you need to”, he said. I thought “sure, I’ll be turning at the first turnaround possible, you know, when I can’t breathe”. So I went, reluctantly, by myself, and met some amazing people.
It just so happened a few of them were training for a ½ marathon in St. Louis. Within a few weeks, I was running the full 10 on the Saturday run and before I knew it, had signed up for the ½ as well. So on the perfect September morning I did it, barely under 2:00, just like I planned. Afterward, my husband took me for a bagel and we started researching full Marathons (this was before Google people, so we’re talking real research!). He found one in January in Houston. His parents live in Houston……perfect! Free lodging! So that was the plan! Pretty soon my husband’s competitive nature kicked in and he signed up as well! We were drinking this Kool-Aid together.
Two weeks before the race I wasn’t feeling well. And we finally figured it out… I was pregnant! “WHAT? Are you kidding me? What about the race? I’ve trained so hard, how could this be happening?…. oh and I hope the baby is healthy!” Not to mention this was NOT in the master plan(you know God’s favorite source of entertainment is OUR master plan). We had NO plans for children at all. We were career people, not to mention, 35! So to confirm that the stick with the “+” sign was, in fact, defective, we went to the doctor. The test concluded that the stick, in fact, was in working order and we shared our dilemma with the doctor. “Do you run a marathon 9 weeks pregnant?” She said as long as we were trained and ready it should be no problem(Thank God she was a runner!). So next hurdle… when do we tell the family? We will call them after we cross the finish line! Perfect! The next week my husband fell off a ladder at work and really messed up his ankle. Ok, really? It was like everything that could go wrong had. But he pushed through it and kept training. We had come this far!
So on a very crisp January morning (well, as “crisp” as you can get in Houston) we were doing this! Oh, on a side note…. My sister-n-law, Cathy, decided she would “walk” the ½ at the same race. I said “Are you sure? Have you trained?” Her reply was “I walk all the time”. So she shows up in those (wait for it) TJ Maxx shoes I told you about earlier. So picture this, a 37 year old- swinging single, with no training, shows up in her cutest “walking” attire sporting a cute pair of Tommy Hilfiger tennis shoes to walk a Half Marathon. Don’t get me started! I couldn’t even respond when she said, “do you like my shoes?”. Oh, and by the way, it was the first day she had worn them. Amateur! So, game time! I have to say in all honesty the race was going really well! The crowds were amazing, the weather was perfect, and I felt great, until mile 22.
Steve and I chose not to run together, as our paces were a quite different. I heard him call my name… and there he was, sitting on the side of the road. His ankle was the size of a grapefruit. I thought…”this is it, we are finished”. But he took my hand and said “you’ve got this, I’ll see you at our meeting place”. I protested for a while, but he would not take no for an answer. So I went on, not enjoying it AS much, but still pretty impressed with myself and all of these amazing people around me and loving my husband for not letting me quit. So I finished! A bit over the time I wanted (I was going for Oprah’s sub 4:00, which haunts me still to this day, I blame Steve). All I could think about was Steve. He came hobbling in about 10 minutes after! Of course I was waiting in the wrong place, so I made him walk even further than he needed to AFTER finishing a marathon on a sprained ankle. My bad! I was so proud of him… and us! So I know your are all wondering what happened to Cathy. Well let’s just say she too finished with the bloodiest toes I have ever seen! Thank you Tommy! I think she burned the shoes.
When we got back home I got a brutal stomach bug. I got really dehydrated so Steve took me to the ER, to make sure the baby was ok. Everything checked out fine, except the Dr. said, “your potassium levels are really high”. I told him I had eaten 6 bananas the day before which of course led to a marathon conversation. Then Steve said, “while we’re here, do you mind looking at my ankle?” The look on the doctor’s face was priceless. He replied, “good thing YOU weren’t the one running the marathon”. AWKWARD SILENCE Needless to say, by most people’s standards neither of us should have run. But we all know those of us who choose to run, don’t go my “most people’s standards”, or we wouldn’t be doing this in the first place!
Fast forward to today! Let’s just say the last 13 years, running has taken a back seat. Ok, to be honest, it has been more like in the trunk. Stuff happened. 3 children. (don’t laugh! Our master plan changed slightly along the way!). I had 2 back surgeries in 3 years. I would say the biggest setback…. both my brother and sister passed away within 2 years of one another, which affected me in ways I could never explain. Then this year I was on vacation one week in May. I had a beautiful afternoon with no plans, so I went for a walk. Then I kept doing it. Walks turned into walk/runs, which turned into runs and my husband once again, joined in. Then I bought a book called “Get Off Your Ass and Run”. By Ruth Field. It was just the jolt that I needed to get back out there. I have been running for about 5 months now and training for a ½ again in January.
I’ve lost 15 pounds and feel so much better. I am eating a bit better than before, with the exception of my Diet Coke and Cherry Tootsie Pop addiction. When Kelly wrote in her blog about why she does all of this, I wanted to confirm why I was writing this before I began. I did not write to say “look what I did!”. I wrote because I thought someone might be in the same boat as I am. Just because you stop running, doesn’t mean you can’t start again. If you think about it, we stop and start every single day. It’s the first step out the door that is the hardest. Once you get past that, you all know what happens after. Whether you believe that running is physical, or mental, at the end of the day, for me, it’s a God thing.
At the moments in my life when I needed something more, He reminds me what running is for me. It’s that healthy choice that affects everything else I do! I feel better about myself and others. I use my time more wisely. And let’s be honest, there’s a little bit of that good self-righteousness that comes along for the ride. So if you need to take that first step out the door and this is what will get you there, then my job here is done. Oh and by the way, I know you didn’t ask, but I HATE treadmills. You are literally going nowhere! (I know I just offended several people, but I will live with that) Get outside and enjoy the scenery, God worked hard on it. Thanks for reading. Gotta RUN!
Thank you Christie!!! I adore you and am SO stinking proud of all your hard work getting back out there these past few months.
Happy Monday and happy RUNNING my friends!!!!!!