The end of this part of the journey

race medalThe tears totally surprised me.

Not long after I began my first half marathon yesterday, I got choked up, thinking of the magnitude of what I was doing, and the fact that not only had I raised $1,720 for World Vision, but I was running in honor of Bennett, a little boy with Down syndrome. Got choked up several times along the route.

After training for so long and anticipating (and dreading?) race day, and then to be starting off in the rain with little hope of it stopping during the race, the experience was a bit overwhelming to say the least.

As we all stood shivering in the cold rain in our corral, inching up as each corral ahead of us started off, conversations started up – several people from places like Chicago and Ohio mentioned it was warm and sunny where they were from, and here they were in the cold and wet!

We made it to the start line, and the horn blew and suddenly we were running. I was pleasantly surprised that I found my groove and began to warm up. I managed to find pockets where there weren’t other runners, and I also managed to ignore the folks passing me and just focused on running my own pace. The mile markers came fast and the rain wasn’t really a factor– there were bands every mile or so, and hearing that music let me know I was at another landmark. Plus there were folks all along the route cheering us on.

I finished my first half marathon in 2:26:36 (my hope was to beat 2:30). It rained the entire race. But what an experience it was!

After running a practice route 2 weeks ago, the hills didn’t seem so bad this time, and running with so many people didn’t freak me out or frustrate me like I had feared it would.  I actually thought to myself about mile 9 that I felt good and I was going to do this without walking.

And I did. I ran the entire race. I did not have trouble with my pulled hamstring. I did not have trouble with my asthma. All in all, a successful race day!

And then I came home. Family was visiting, so it was late afternoon before I sat down to check Twitter and Facebook. And boy, did I miss a lot. There were so many touching messages of praise, and excitement, and questions about how it went – and again, the tears flowed.

Not sure why, but it was so overwhelming that so many people, from family and friends here in Franklin to all my online friends, were expressing support and asking how I did. Very emotional.

Most touching were the sweet messages from Bennett’s mom and dad, thanking me for running in honor of their little boy. But honestly, I am so privileged because I can run. I am inspired and humbled by the fact that I Run For Bennett. I will be sending him the cool medal I received at the finish line (pictured above).

Thank you Bennett – we did this one together!

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