Friday, September 14, 2012

Who Says You Can't Go Home? (Part Deux)

I wanted to think of a clever way to open this post, but there's just really no other way to say this: When I was home last weekend, I ran 18 miles.

Phew. Feels good to get that one off my chest! I ran 18. Freaking. Miles. It was my longest run ever and I am still alive. Sorry if I ruined the ending for you.

The manner in which I got to these 18 miles was somewhat unconventional and is what I would like to discuss today. In that I ran 5 miles around my parents' neighborhood and then got in a car and ran a half marathon. This half was the annual Run to the Rock race in my hometown. Wherein you run. To the rock.

I wasn't supposed to be home last weekend. I was supposed to do this longest run with my running friends in New York with my charity group. But, due to some very, very sad circumstances I was home and I still needed -- and wanted -- to get that run in. The half marathon seemed like the way to do it, so I entered, but with trepidation.

Before I go into what happened, let's first start out with what I was presented with the morning of the run. I had asked my mom, as I always do, for an English Muffin and Almond or Peanut Butter. And possibly a banana. This is what I found on the table the next day:

How CUTE is she!?!?!
And how much Almond and Peanut Butter did she think I was gonna eat? 
So then I did the 5 around the 'hood. NBD (that means "No Big Deal" for those of you who still like to spell out the English Language.) Then the fam loaded up in the car and we drove to the Miles Standish State Forest to the starting line.

Thumbs up at the start!
It was my very first non-New York Road Runners race and I was actually a little skeptical of this small-town run. Would there be water? Gatorade? Enough people running near me that it would actually feel race-like? The answer was yes, yes, yes for it all. There were about 500 people running the race -- a nice lil' crowd! Volunteers were out and about passing out water cups every couple of miles and a smattering of people along the way were cheering us on.

Miles 1-4 (i.e. 6-9 in MeriG's world...) were lovely.

Great scenery and very peaceful. Around the 9 mile marker I saw the family for the first time, being oh so cute!

My dad took a photo of me photographing my mom and sister.

Resulting photo

So great to see them. My Dad was snapping away and got some decent shots, as were some official race photographers that were scattered along the course to take photos for later purchase. Some of the results were super cute...
Mile 9! Thumbs up!!

And some...were not so cute. I am going to share a couple of those photos with you today because I, friends, am secure and I know that I am a beautiful person on the inside if not on the out.
Look at me glaring at the photographer. Get. Out. Of. My. Face.
Mile 12 of the Half = Mile 17 of my run. This is how you look when that is happening.

And there are more. I am considering nominating myself for this (hysterical) site:

The photographs aside, I was very lucky to have not only my parents and sister watching me, but to also have seen my dear family friends Val and Robb when I ran by their house at around mile 15. They held up a sign that said "Run Meri Run!" and it was so cute! Truly it kept me going, and I so appreciated it.

Pic taken near Val and Robb's house. Are we in Plymouth or in the midwest?! There were horses! HORSES!

At the finish line, my friend Emily and her husband Rich were waiting with their adorable puppy Sadie. They saw me end the race and were there to congratulate me while I waited to meet up with my family.

The whole experience that day was very powerful for me. It gave me the trust in myself that I can push my body beyond its previous limits. That I will push my body to that point and beyond in November.

It also showed me that a friendly face, a sign, a cheer, can make all the difference. Knowing my family would be there along the race and my friends at the end (and a surprise appearance from Val and Robb!) gave me something to focus on and something to look forward to.

I wrote in my last entry about the power of Home, and that power could not have rang truer last weekend when I was supported in this scary undertaking by my loved ones.

I've written many entries with tips about how to run a marathon. The steps you need to take. The foods, the actions and the gear. But ultimately -- and I know this next statement to be true -- you can NOT do this crazy thing without the full support of your family and friends. I know I have that through the actions of my family. But I also have it through the support of my faithful blog readers, through kind words and Facebook comments, and through the everyday support of the many wonderful people in my life.

It was very poignant to reach my longest marathon milestone at Home. To push beyond the ache in my muscles and the ache in my heart for the weekend.  It gave me a vehicle to see the true power of Home: unyielding love and support. And best yet, I can take that with me wherever I go.

Because if love isn't a sister waking up early on a Saturday to cheer you on, or a father printing out maps of his own town to ensure he doesn't miss you on the route or a mother buying two full jars of almond butter so that you will have your choice between chunky and creamy...what is?

And, the most important lesson of all...

I can still rock a photo after 18 miles.
Bring it, Marathon.

1 comment:

  1. YES for showing 18 miles who is boss - you've got this marathon. That's pretty damn beautiful.
    I also learned the importance of a "cheering section" especially during 18 miles...oh man. Sometimes, that extra boost of human support can mean so much.
    PS THANK YOU for finding that tumblr. OMG. Perfect. I have a pic from the Brooklyn 1/2 that I want to submit