Thursday, March 22, 2012

Some Tough Bitches



Greetings from the Atlanta Marathon/Half Marathon 2012! That's what the caption would say if this were a post card.  
 This past weekend, I had the time of my life cheerleading for my two buddies, Annie (my Cuz) and Missy (my friend/doctor), as they ran in the Atlanta Marathon/ Half Marathon.   My role in this major running event was strictly limited to moral booster/photographer/cheerleader because let me make this clear:
My ass does not run.   
A nice lady on the hotel elevator asked me if I was participating in the event.  I wanted to say, "No, that's why I'm holding an egg and cheese croissant, while everyone else in running at the moment." But I just shook my head.  She said, "I understand.  Girl, you won't ever catch me running unless somebody is chasing me!"
Those were my sentiments exactly.  
Let me say, I took a lot of crap (mainly from my husband) about going away for the weekend as a cheerleader.  I think he just wanted me to feel bad about leaving him with the girls (I totally don't!!) But, he made numerous comments about how I should just jump in there and join the race...why not?? Perhaps because I had never run a complete mile in my ENTIRE LIFE!  But 13.1...sign me up!!
Maybe I should explain how I got involved in this trip.  My cousin Annie, made it her goal to run her second half marathon this year, so I said, "Sure, I'll come along!", since her hubby would be at home watching the kids.  Once she made this commitment, I started to notice something uncanny.  Runners came popping out of the woodwork EVERYWHERE.
You may have heard me mention my beloved small group (it's a church thang) before. Well, as chance would have it, several of the couples in that group are runners.  Two of the ladies are even pregger runners (show offs)!  Then, my friend Kristen updated me on her life, and told me that she is coaching a group of girls in an organization called, "Girls on the Run," which is an incredible non profit program for girls in the third through eighth grades.  Finally, my buddy Missy started training for the Atlanta Marathon.
Here were my thoughts on all these lady runners: Ya'll are some crazy bitches! 
But now?  After this weekend? I'm starting to drink the Kool Aid. If you do not enjoy running or have never attended a running event, you probably feel the way I did.  But, something happens when you stand on the sidelines and cheer as the runners push themselves over the finish line that they have been running toward for hours.  
You get it.  It is an accomplishment that no one can ever take away. Like raising a child, or completing a college degree, or making a marriage work, no matter what challenges arise.


So I woke up at about 5:30 AM with the ladies to see them off and it was a crazy scene.  The hotel lobby and downtown Atlanta were like this alternate universe that was totally dedicated to people who run.  It was pitch black outside; the streets around Centennial Park were totally shut down and roped off for the runners.  Club music was bumping through massive speakers and nervous runners were finding their corrals, or starting points.  It was one of the largest crowds I have ever been a part of, easily 20,000 people. 

I was expecting a flash mob to start dancing at any moment (very disappointed about that).
I blew kisses goodbye and to be honest, it was very emotional.  For one, I was worried about them.  Annie had run a half marathon once before, but this time she had not trained properly because both Annie and Missy had strep throat just two weeks before the race!  So neither one made it to their training goal before racing.  

And let me add that people freaking die from running marathons!

As Annie took off, I could clearly see the picture of her Dad, my Uncle Frank, pinned to the back of her shirt.  I cried just a little.  Race day was the anniversary of her Dad's death.  Not to mention that my Uncle was born and raised in Atlanta.  Oh, and just for good measure, the race was located spitting distance from the CNN building, the news network that Uncle Frank had a major hand in launching.  

Annie ran every single step of that 13.1 mile race, and at the end she told me that her Dad pulled her through.  Every time she reached another hill and wanted to give up, she whispered, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy," and goose bumps would cover her body.  She felt a gentle lift, and knew her Dad was there to send her on her way.  

You did your Daddy proud, Annie. 


Missy was a little disappointed that she had to walk a few steps at mile 17.  OMG!! Can you even imagine?  She is a woman of steel.  Missy never ceases to amaze me.  You know the person you meet who can conquer ANYTHING life throws at them? That's Missy!  Become a pediatrician and internist while raising three kids?  No problem!  Run 13 miles a couple of times a week?  Why not?!  It wouldn't even surprise me if she dropped out her babies while jogging and then strapped them on her back.

Her beautiful family was there at the finish line to cheer her on.  

So now what?  

Well...I'm running.  There are no 5K's in my future; let's not get crazy!  But, I will say this.  I ran my first entire mile the other night and it was surprisingly wonderful.  You know that John Mellencamp song, "It Hurts So Good."  Yeah, that would be a good way to describe it.  

 It's not that I am excited about doing it.  But, I want to know that at age 33, I can do whatever the hell I set my mind to.  Because, if I don't believe that, then who will teach my girls to?  

 Congratulations, girls!  Next time, I'll make a shirt that says, "Girls who run like it tough and fast!"  No?? Too much?



2 comments:

  1. Katie-Bug,
    I can't thank you enough for being there for Missy and I. You were the best cheerleader in the world! I will never forget your face as I crossed that finish line. It meant everything to me to have you there. I love you so much!!
    Annie
    xoxo

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