In March a friend emailed me asking if I'd like to do a half marathon with her the end of June. I'm always up for an adventure or new challenge, so without thinking this thing through I said "yes". Later that afternoon I went on line, paid my registration fee and signed up. As I hit the send button a feeling of exhilaration flowed through me and remained my constant companion in the following months until the morning of the marathon. The morning of June 29 arrives with the
harsh sound of the alarm going off at 4am. As I cracked my eyes open the feelings of exhilaration quickly were accompanied by thoughts of "what in the world was I thinking?" Our spring and early summer had been filled with unusually cool and damp days. The kind of walking weather I like to participate in. But the week prior to the half marathon the temperature hovered in the 70's with forecasts of the 90's for the week-end. That sent a tremor of fear through my body as I'm not a hot weather walker. I entertained thoughts of how to not participate in the walk. But then reminded myself, I'm not a quitter. I glance over at the clock and it's 4:15. The air already feels warm and sticky. My husband was joining my friend and I and I could hear him stepping into the shower. I sat up on the edge of the bed and as my feet hit the floor, I thought, "you can do this". I have found that often the best times begin with feelings of trepidation.
I headed to the kitchen to prepare a protein drink for each of us to drink on the way, and mixed up
whole wheat pancakes to fill us with fuel (carbs) for the trek.

We climbed into our car and as I was clicking my seatbelt my husband glanced over at me with a smile on his face and said "this is going to be a great day". We headed down the steep hill from our home that took us around the lake. As I caught site of the lake a layer of fog hung lazily over the water like a patchwork quilt. Overhead patches of clouds dotted the already blue sky. I had secret hopes that maybe the weatherman had miscalculated and there was a little rain in store for the day. A girl can always hope, right? I immediately got pulled into the silence of this early morning hour and I had forgotten how private and fresh these early morning hours feel. I have always loved rising early before the rest of the world wakes up. For those brief moments the world belongs only to you. My husband breaks into my thoughts to tell me to look up at the tree tops, the sun has just broken through the clouds. He sounded so pleased with his announcement. OK, once more I tell myself, "you can do this".

Not far into the drive we are both chattering, happy to be up in this early morning hour, excited for the challenge that lay ahead. For most of the drive we have the road to ourselves as we speed towards Bellevue where we will board a bus that will carry us to the University of WA where the walk begins. We meet our friend at the Bellevue park where already lines of participants are waiting for the arriving buses. I feel myself gaining energy from all the people around me, and yes, I am excited to cross the starting line.

The marathon runners take off first, followed by the easy runners and then us walkers fall in behind them. The air is still cool and my excitement returns as I fall into step with those around me. We head across the 520 bridge which provides us with startling mountain views, sail boats
already lazily carrying their passengers across the flat, shimmering water. I tease my friend, do you suppose we could just pay a boater to carry us to the finish line"? After all, with all these people, who would know?

The next 4 hours and 15 minutes are filled with sprinkles of hills to climb, water sheds to share cups of cold water and glucose water to keep us refreshed, spectators cheering us on, and friendly neighbors with hoses to cool our warm bodies. At mile 7 we were offered energy gel. Just the thought made me quiver. As I watched my husband squeeze his into his mouth the look on his face quickly told me to retire mine to my pocket. After all, I only had 6 more miles to go.

At the end of the day I was happy I chose to go. And somewhere in the midst of the walking I failed to feel the heat of the sun, and the 13 miles melted away with ease as I chatted with strangers, losing myself in the beauty of nature that surrounded me, and pushing myself to do something I had never done before. Yesterday my friend emailed me to say, "let's do this again next year!" And before I could stop myself I hit the reply button and typed in the word "YES!".


goatgirl said...

Hey, welcome back! I know those feelings of regretting saying Yes and then once I get going glad I did. Sounds like a very fun day.
I must say I got tired for clicking on your blog and seeing that, although wonderful, same quilt. So I almost gave up. I am glad I didn't. I feel like I was right there with you. You probably have more time since your hubby isn't doing much walking in this world lately:)
Keep writing!

JillyGirl said...

Yes yes yes! We're SOOO doing this next year! Hehehehe...It was such a wonderful time with the two of you by my side. I couldn't have asked for a better day. :)