Happy, cold and nervous before the race... check out my new red racing stripes...
I'm not sure why we're laughing, but I'm laughing right now at Erik's face.
I DID IT!!!
We are hardcore. Well, some of us are...
I did it. I ran more than 13 miles. I didn't walk at all. It was so crazy and so horrible and so fun all at once. I have never scored a goal. I have never shot a basket in a game. I have never spiked a volleyball in someone's face. I am not athletic. Before I got sick, I had never run more than a mile. I tried running for a little before my 10 year reunion, but I never made it past half a mile without walking. I can't say that I love running, but I am so proud of myself I could burst. Yay me!
I was going to go alone and when I arrived at the Charleston airport - there was Jaymeson waiting for me. He's a good boy. Maybe the pets weren't arranged for, lessons might not have been covered and kids didn't have clothes for their stays at friends' houses - but he was there and that was awesome. (Boys!) A few phone calls and all was well. (Thank you Mami and Amy for making that possible - sorry for the unnecessary stresses!) He was so supportive and made me feel so good. I'm so glad he came.
The night before the race I had planned on making a playlist. Unfortunately, I didn't have internet access and couldn't buy the songs I had been thinking of. (No minute like the last minute!) I decided instead to just dump every fastish song I had into a playlist and hit shuffle. Jaymee gave me a blessing the night before and it was answered in part through those songs. At mile four, I was done. D-O-N-E. I had not gone far enough to feel like it would be wasted if I quit. The first couple miles everyone pretty much ran together, but by mile four we had all spread out and I was being passed by everyone. It was very disheartening. I thought, "I knew I wasn't good enough to be here. I should have never tried this. Everyone else makes this look effortless and I'm dying. It's only mile four. I should just go back." I was being a victim. At that same moment "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley was playing.
And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them
Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun
And it's no coincidence I've come
And I can die when I'm done
Maybe I'm crazy
Maybe you're crazy
Maybe we're crazy
I thought - hey, I can die when I'm done - and I kept running. Slow and steady. My pace was very consistent. By mile eight, I was passing people. That felt awesome. Throughout the rest of the race, songs that I needed to hear and others that fit the people I was thinking about came on at just the right time. It was no coincidence. Jaymee promised me that I'd have help and I did.
I love the camaraderie amongst runners - even if you are a slow, slow newbie. My shirt had my name on it and people would cheer me on personally. People would ask if I was a survivor and then pat me on the back and tell me I could do it. I met an older man who was jogging and in obvious pain. (an older man jogging in pain = shelby running at her top speed) We got to talking and he told me it was his 92nd marathon. Seriously? He had pulled his hamstring ("pulled a hammy") and was going to quit at the half. We talked some more and got to know each other better. I told him my story and he was really sweet about it. When we made it to almost thirteen, I was turning to be done and he limped on the other way saying,"I'm going to finish the marathon - if you can do what you did, I can do this. I'm jogging the second half for you, Shelby." Of course, when I was sick - I didn't have a choice. He was crazy. Almost four hours after I finished he came around that same corner. I ran over and gave him a big hug and he said,"You waited for me! I can't believe you waited for me!" I said,"I can't believe you ran thirteen MORE mile on a hurt leg!"
I can't believe people can run full marathons. Or halves, really. During the race I made me promise me that I'd never do something so horrible again. "Look me in the eyes and promise me!!" I said to myself. "What? Of course I'd never do this again, Self!! This is a nightmare!" Ten minutes after the race was over, I was planning my Nashville run. I don't understand it either. When I saw Jaymee cheering at the end of the race, it was all I could do to get to the finish line. The tears started flowing and I couldn't see. (I have pictures of that, too, they're lovely) They announce your name as you come to the end. Everyone cheers! Then I crossed the line and turned into a gooey puddle of crying shelby. Unfortunately for Erik (my brother-in-law), he was there to catch me. I sobbed and sobbed. Partly because I had no physical strength to stop myself, and partly out of total disbelief. I had crossed the finish line. I was healthy and strong and I had proved it. I am now officially done with this whole cancer thing. I will print this blog into a book and physically shut it. (Of course, I'll still blog, but it's not a cancer blog anymore. It's just a boring shelby blog. Boring is good.)
I survived. I thought about that while I was running. No matter what your trial, you can be a survivor or a victim. Divorce, sickness, hard kids, financial troubles - whatever we go through we get to chose - survivor or victim. A person who gets cancer and dies from it can still be a survivor. Another could live and yet be a victim. It's up to us. A survivor uses everything he has to come through to the other side of a trial with his spirit intact. Maybe not even our bodies. Our spirit is what matters and that is the reason we're here. Heavenly Father will give us hardships our whole lives and then tallies up the columns when we are done. (it may be a little more complex than that.) I hope I have most of my check marks in the "survivors" side.
And now with the knowledge that I - the least athletic person ever who was at the weakest I could possibly be less than a year ago - could do this thing, who wants to join me in Nashville in April? If I can do it - anyone can.