|Dad & I. Team: Pounding Pavement|
I have run the Beltline several times over the years. Most people grumble about it. Others speak profanities about this part of the race. I have always enjoyed it. That was until Sunday.
|Heading out to the "Frying Pan"|
I was happy with my pace up until around mile six. Around this time I realized that in order to finish this race I would have to slow down and be sure I listened to my body. Part of me wanted to push myself a little harder than I was but I knew that I couldn't. I resorted to a comfortable pace and by mile 8 was just happy to see the end of the Belt Line. I knew after that the last five miles would be kinder to me. This proved to be to be partly true. The sun was not the only evil factor, the humidity had started to come play too. Cheers from the crowds were being competed with by the sirens from rescue attending to other runners. Mile 11 I saw a marathoner just stop and stagger.
The people in the neighborhoods were amazing, as always. Out there along with the volunteers handing out water and snacks from there house and standing there hosing down runners as they passed by. I made sure to run in every hose I went by as I prayed for clouds and rain. It was evident I was going to finish this part of the race without either one of those.
As I hit mile twelve I felt a wave of relief. Instead of the usual push in that last mile I simply was just happy it was almost done. I finally came into Oakledge Park and handed off to my father to finish the last half. I finished in 1:41:39. Despite the conditions I was happy with my time and that I was able to finish safely.
I was worried about my father and the other runners. The heat and humidity were increasing. I waited with my brother for my sister in law to come in (it was her FIRST Half!!! Congrats to her!) and when she did we all headed to the finish to wait for my father. I was reunited with my kids who at this point were happy to see me but also ready to go home.The heat turns even the sweetest children into grumbling little monsters. I managed to get my youngest to sleep on me as we watched waves of runners come in. I got to see a couple of people I know finish and the guy that I was pacing with up until my last mile. As we waited Run Vermont asked for every one's attention and announced that the race was officially closed due to the heat and humidity and needing to keep everyone safe. The crowd fell silent, cheers suddenly stopped, and people were crying. I felt a sinking in my stomach and my heart suddenly felt heavy for the runners out there. I also wondered if my father would get to finish his Half or would he be pulled off the coarse.
I continued to cheer on the finishers with my family, repeatedly checking my phone to be sure dad hadn't sent a text. Then suddenly we saw him and it was such a great moment. We eagerly went to greet him and he had no idea that the coarse had been shut down. That last wave of runners were just getting in and would be the last to celebrate their victories.
I understand why the coarse was shut down. It still does not change the fact of how many runners were crushed by this. All those that trained so hard to run these miles only to be told that they couldn't. They stopped running and they didn't have a choice. Months, miles, and sweat all came down to Mother Nature taking control of this day and devastating thousands who had worked so damn hard. It was someones goal, someones dream, and someones journey that was taken away. I hope all those runners dig deep and realize they did not fail. I hope that they know there will be another marathon and they will be even stronger for it! Anyone who ran this race Sunday, whether three miles, twenty miles or 26.2 deserves a medal.
|189 is mine!|
I want to end this on a happy note. My son and my nephew ran their first race this weekend, The Yam Scram!!! They ran their own "Half"... a half mile. This mama couldn't have been more happy and proud of these kids. To see their faces and eagerness was awesome. I love that Run Vermont puts this on for the kids. This was truly a highlight of my weekend! Chase was thrilled he got a medal and once in the car asked when he could do it again. That's my boy!!!
In closing, I think it is important to remember that even though our bodies are amazing vessels and capable of some crazy things, we also have to be sure to listen to our bodies. We need to know when to slow down, when to walk, how to breathe and when we need to stop to stay safe. Remember, running is a gift!
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