And just like that?
Mama ran a half-marathon, chickens.
Ha! "Just like that." I saved y'all the details of my training. Some weeks were better than others. Some runs hurt like hell; others felt like I could have continued on for days.
When I started, I could barely jog a mile. I crawled around the local high school track, with J yelling, "Push yourself!"
"I AM!" I growled.
When I birthed Hendrik (really, I will tell you that story one day), I remember thinking: half-marathon? I can run an ULTRA-marathon! I am a fucking warrior.
And then I fought for every tenth of a mile, until it got easier.
The change is gradual. One day, your lungs feel like fire as you begin your fifth lap. The following week, you realize you've run several miles, unfazed.
One Sunday, your long run is an insurmountable THREE.
Another Sunday, weeks and weeks later, you run 10.2. And you don't die.
The half meant a lot to me. It was nearly six months to the day after I gave birth to my son. I am proud of the physical accomplishment. Running also became very spiritual for me; I would trot along Kelly Drive and tell myself: I run for the crunch of the gravel beneath my feet. I am so thankful that my legs are strong. I'd use the time to reflect. I thought. I wrote blog posts I never had the time to transcribe.
Most importantly: I finished something I started.
When Hendrik was born, I vowed to do better. To be better. And that begins with being a woman of my word.
I accomplished that on Sunday. And because of that, each of the 13.1 miles I ran were filled with joy. I was thinking: I'm doing this! Me!
I've never been an athlete. And I. Was. Runnnnnnnnnning!
I'd like to thank the Academy, but most importantly: my amazing husband. The one who encouraged me each day; who - thanks to road closures - dropped me in the more questionable neighborhoods in Philly, and followed me with his blinkers on until I reached safer ground so I could be sure to get my miles in. The man who forced my family to be there to share in my moment; the man who stood on the course by the finish line snapping my photograph; the man who didn't balk when I ordered the eggs benedict and the brioche french toast at brunch.
His selflessness humbles me. I am eternally grateful.
I did it, you guys. And I feel weightless.