|Ring the Bell|
So, lets set the stage of how all of this went down. In early December she had a full shoulder replacement. Of all of the replacements, it is believed that the shoulder is the most difficult recovery. Since her shoulder replacement she has lost nearly 20 pounds, always good to be lighter as a runner/walker. She also has had two full hip replacements. So how then does someone run/walk 13.1 miles in a race, not just by dong a lollygag walk? In Wilmington I ran along side a lady with one prosthetic leg which I also find astonishing. In many ways its a mindset, a can-do, no-excuses attitude allowing the mind to control the body and not allowing the body to be the lazy self it wants to be. Its easy when you are a natural runner, young and hardly know what aches and pains are yet. It is not so easy as you age, have bionic limbs/joints and a metabolism like a turtle in hibernation. Its not so easy when you like being comfortable. Its not so easy to do the work and training day in and day out to even get to race day.
Cindy did it all and she never complained. She adapted. We figured out how to combat the issues with her feet. We figured out the right clothing for the roller-coaster type weather we experienced this year in North Carolina. She worked on balancing the amount and timing of the walking and running she could do. We tried different shoes to find out what worked best. We figured out how to keep the tendon in her shoulder replacement arm from aching. Then came the actual miles. One has to put in the miles to finish the distance. First we always do two dog walks a day mostly because giant Casey won't go without one always standing at the door in the morning and evening. After the morning walk I do my running and Cindy does her fast walking/running. Then throughout the day she gets all of her additional steps/miles in never missing a 10,000 step day. However, the weekends were where the real work was done. Since we live near the course, we were able to train on most of it. I would do my 10 mile runs while she did her 6+ mile training walk/runs. In February she got real-world race experience by doing the 10K in Wilmington. I could see the joy in her face that day knowing she completed a new, longer distance and it was great training for the half. Then it was time for a 10 mile training walk/run. Since I had done a trail half (WTF in Gibsonville) the day before, I did this 10 miler with her and frankly I found walk/running 10 miles harder than running it. We did this training on miles 3-8 of the half marathon course. Most of the course is on crushed stone which has a different feel than the pavement so it was good to have her train on this portion. However, the start/finish is 2.5 miles each way on road and is more challenging due to the hills. Two weeks before the race, we did this stretch, 2.5 miles to the trail and 2.5 miles back. Overall, she trained on 90% of the course. Training on the course obviously gives you experience on how to run it but sometimes knowing what is to come plays with your psyche.
Since we didn't have parking passes (register early if you want them) we needed to shuttle from NetApp to the start/finish line which meant a 3:45 AM alarm, on the bus by 5:00 AM and waiting 90 minutes for the start at 7:00 AM. The weather was perfect, 45 degrees at the start and ended up partly sunny. This race draws thousands of runners and has become one of the premier races in the triangle so it is a bit crowded.
I felt great staying with the two hour pace group. Once we turned around I knew I would be seeing Cindy soon. Well, it was sooner than I thought. She was doing fantastic and ahead of the 3 hour pacer. I first thought, ut oh, she may have went out too fast, a common mistake that I still make. After I saw her it motivated me to turn the second half into a negative split. I was at 59 minutes at the 6.65 mile turnaround. My splits from mile 10 on were 8:45, 8:34 and 8:24 finishing the second half in 57 minutes for a 1:56:42.
Now it was time to cheer Cindy (and other runners) into the finish. It was really fun seeing all of the half-marathoners finishing and cheering them on. I also got to see the top 20 marathoners finish including the winners separated by 1 second.
|Smiling all the Way|
Alas, here comes my girl, just over 3 hours with 600 meters to go. She gave it her all as I ran in front to get some video and then waited behind the finish barrier to watch her finish in 3:06. She has been at nearly all of my finishes, standing and waiting behind those same barriers and now it was my turn. I could not have been more proud of her. After her first hip replacement, we did a 100 mile bike ride on the C&O canal over two days. After her second hip replacement we climbed a very steep mountain in Alaska, and now after her shoulder replacement, she finished her first half marathon.
This is who she is, a strong, persevering, can-do, no excuses, bring-it-on type person. Remember the bell? She rang it and rang it loudly. The joy in her race pictures tells the entire story of her journey, the story of "yes I can, yes I will" Ring the bell people and ring it loudly!
|...and Half Marathon|
|Our Start and Finish Line|
|Lined Up To Start|
|Chillin' Before Her Race|
|Off We Go|
|Running With a Smile|
|1/4 Mile From Finish|
|Smile and Two Thumbs Up Crossing the Finish|
|Done and Happy|
|Ring the Bell!!|