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My first Half Marathon...Philly Rock 'n' Roll HM

Monday, October 08, 2012

This is a little late coming. I mean I finished this race almost a month ago. I worked hard, had a set back or two, managed to continue training while preparing to move, making a move, and then going on vacation. Four attempts were made at running the entire 13.1 prior to the race itself (I know, I know that is not what the training schedules say to do). Only the week before the race did I feel good about completing the distance.

I made sure that once I committed to running this race, that is paying for the registration, I told A LOT of folks. It was not to brag to say, "Hey see what I am doing." It was to keep me committed and make sure I finished. Every time I saw those folks they made sure to ask how much longer until the race and how my training was going. That my friends, keeps you going, keeps you honest. More importantly my kids kept me motivated. They knew my plan to run the race. They knew I had to take time to run. And every night during our daily goodnight routine in addition to them saying "I hope your other toenail doesn't fall off." they said "Good luck on your race." How can that not keep you going?!?!?

So as race day approached I was surprisingly calm. Disbelief perhaps. The morning of the race I got up took the train into the city with many other runners. I walked to the Philadelphia Art Museum to my corral, all as if this were any other day of the week. Did I mention I was doing this solo?

Arriving at the race

Waiting in the corral to start

Once the race started I kept to my plan...keep my race pace, walk through the water stations, smile for the pictures when you know they are being taken. Early in the race I saw a co-worker on the corner with his wife. He was cheering his daughter and looking for me to cheer on as well. This made all of the difference, a little pep talk if you will. I looked like a crazy person waving my hands and smiling when I realized who it was.

Chugging a long it was a gorgeous day, I actually kept a better than normal pace. I watched the crowd. Dare I say it, I was having fun. A few time I felt my calf cramping up and just stepped to the side and stretched it out.

Smiles for the camera

Still going strong

More fun for the camera

Now all the fun I was having amazed me. As I approached the finish, I'd say 0.2 mile away, I started thinking of my youngest brother who died suddenly in March. This race day was 6 months since his passing; he was on my mind. I had my race shirt I made in his memory and a a pendant with his picture that a dear friend had made for me. Phil Phillips "Home" came on my ipod and suddenly I was about to fall over in heaving sobs. I did not know where all of this emotions came from. I just wanted to cross that finish smiling and I am about to stop because I was crying so badly. I happened to look over to my left and there were signs that folks put on the wall when they were done cheering for their person. At that moment, when I was grieving my brother yet wanting to finish strong, I saw a sign"Becky, keep going, just one more to go" I knew Frankie was with me and I knew he was helping me to get to the end not, grieving his death but celebrating my accomplishment.

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