Yesterday was the day that I was waiting for. It was my 12th half marathon during this calendar year. It is ironic that the Skyborne Half Marathon was originally going to be my very first run last year. Due to my best friends funeral I was unable to run, so it was fitting that I ended my year of running with this one. I wonder though if this would have been my first if I would have continued running. It was a tough half marathon…
I think what made it tough was a number of factors. It was one of the runs where there were not very many runner, which isn’t always so bad, but it seemed to have a lot of climb in this run. Also it started late (8:30 and it was already warm out in the desert). Not very many water stops which made it difficult, and you felt as though you were running alone in the desert all by yourself!
The best part of the run was meeting up with a woman named Kathy. I remembered her from the Turkey Trot where she cheered everybody she passed with words of encouragement. She came up behind me around mile 7 and kept pushing me to carry on. I (as I always do) asked her questions about herself, I learned that she was 64 and had run her first race at the age of 37. She said she signed up to do the LA Marathon as her first ever race! Since then she has completed 56 Marathons and this was her 15th half marathon. She also went on to tell me that her son was a marine and used to run the 100 mile runs! Wow, was I impressed. She then went on to tell me that he was wounded in Afghanistan when an IUD blew up in front of him and he lost both his eyes and was covered in shrapnel all over his body. She told me she runs for him, he is still alive and this morning she wasn’t feeling too great and she said he called her that morning and said, Mom, you are going to run today aren’t you.
I felt so in awe of this beautiful woman. Her spirit really touched me. It made me realize that every body does have a story to tell. I hope I see her again at another race and I want to encourage others the way she encouraged me. I really don’t know if I would have finished yesterday if it wasn’t for her pushing me to keep going.