Monday, April 04, 2011

On Challenges and Epic Adventures

Knoxville Half-Marathon

Ten months ago, when Dr. SmartyPants and I decided to start running again, I never dreamed that this day would happen. All we wanted to do was increase our fitness levels and run a little 5K.

Nine months ago, when I realized I was a delicate flower who was aging a bit and has a magical unicorn toe, I didn't even know if I could run the 5K we were training for. But I did. And then I ran another one.

Five months ago, when we moved back to Knoxville, we decided to try and take on something of an epic challenge and run the Covenant Knoxville Half-Marathon. I know I didn't exactly mention it on this blog, but that was because I was a little bit terrified of failing dismally, and I didn't think I could handle that on such a public forum. Our training was going great until about a month ago when it derailed entirely because we decided to build a patio, so I was sure that I would be able to run exactly 9 miles and then promptly die.

I was kind of ready to quit, honestly - chalk it up to a great idea that just didn't pan out, but Dr. SmartyPants wouldn't let me. And I'm really glad he didn't.

Because we did it. We did it. We did it.

And, while I can't exactly walk very well today, I'm better for it. Today, I feel like I could do absolutely anything.

Yesterday, at about mile 6, I was struggling up the hills (ohmygoodgod the hills...seriously, people...damn.) I sent the Smarty ahead and told him I'd see him at the finish, but I was concerned I wouldn't make it. The Knoxville marathon course is known for its hills. But then I made it up the mother-of-all-hills, and knew that, although other hills were coming...none would be that bad.

At mile 10, when I got a cramp in my right thigh, just above the knee, that was so bad I had to stop and stretch and pray in between running intervals, I wondered if I would be one of those people who had to ride back on the emergency cart. But I limped on and walked it out and grabbed gatorade and gu and forged ahead.

I also walked the entire time between mile markers 11 and 12. And I made a walking friend - her name was Shelby. Great walking with you, Shelby!

At mile 12, I ran again, but the thigh cramp stopped me, and as I started walking it out again, my left foot turned kind of sideways and I lost the ability to move my ankle.

That was weird.

Shelby caught up to me and we ran together, once my various strange cramps were done. We crossed the finish line on the 50 yard line at Neyland Stadium - our faces enlarged on the jumbotron - hugged each other and put our medals around our necks. I looked up and saw Dr. SmartyPants beaming at me, waiting just beyond the finish.

And suddenly...I felt like I could run 13 more. Right then. I had wings.

Today...I'm tired. My legs are sore. My feet hurt.

All. Completely. Worth. It.