At the age of 40, I decided that it was finally time to run Grandma’s Marathon. This had been on my bucket list since I was in my early 20s, when I worked in Canal Park as a waitress at the Timber Lodge Steakhouse, and I waited on the runners who were carb-loading for the next day’s race. These people fascinated me, and I thought they threw a pretty good after-race party too. I didn’t run track or cross-country in high school. In fact, I spent many years thinking that being chased by the police was the only reason to run (which I never was btw).
When I turned 40, I felt different. I felt like it was finally time to really concentrate on doing the things I felt I was meant to do. Grandma’s Marathon was on that list. I had run two 5ks up until this point, but I was not really training. First,I started running and following some training guidelines I found online. I made the decision to sign up for the race on January 20, 2014, which I only realized after doing so, was the same day that, 3 years earlier, we took my mom off of the ventilator that was keeping her alive.
Somehow my running journey has become a way to do something to honor my parents who both have passed. Neither of them were runners or athletes in any way. In fact, they were both arthritic, and when I run I celebrate my ability to move and thank them for my existence. Florence and the Machine says “Run for you mother. Run for your father…” and I do.
On June 21, 2014, I completed Grandma’s Marathon with my husband, two daughters, two nieces and sister-in-law all cheering me on in front of the Club Saratoga, which I found so fitting in ways I will never completely explain to everyone. I cried at the finish line. I was so completely overwrought with the joy that I had worked on something I had dreamed of for 20 years and finally made it a reality.
The whole experience was a poignant one, but one thing that really stood out was a woman holding a tag board sign at about the 25-mile mark. It read, “You WILL do this again!” I laughed when I saw it and shook my head to say “No I won’t!”, and I think I am remembering correctly that she gave me a nod as if to say “Yes you will.”
As it turns out, she was right. Running races has become the best drug to me. I am addicted. I will be running the Des Moines marathon in October, and then I will only have 51 or so to go. (I decided one day on a run to do all 50 states and Guam and Puerto Rico – I get all my BEST ideas while I am running). So check in regularly, as I will be adding more running stuff as I get the hang of this whole website thing!